Short of a Long Holiday (short story) - eBook

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The darkness of the ocean hides a sinister terror.

When Balvan Parekh and his family arrive in a New Jersey beach town for a vacation, they expect to escape the struggles of the past year. 

But when dead seagulls wash ashore and the weather turns violent, something huge and otherworldly breaks free from the depths. 

Now, Balvan and his family must face the terror that lurks beyond the sea.

Buy this short Lovecraftian horror story now before the price changes. If you enjoyed the horror of H.P. Lovecraft, you will be captivated by this story of a family struggling to survive the monstrous forces of the deep.

Balvan Parekh stood in the cool water, the waves lapping up to his knees, when he spotted the seagull floating a few yards away. The beach wasn’t crowded for the 4th of July, people were still being cautious or scared due to the respiratory virus that has killed almost a hundred thousand people in the country. No one wore medical or cotton masks but they all kept a safe distance from strangers in case someone was infected. It was a perfect day for many. A relief from the hard times of shut-downs and unemployment. The temperature reached ninety degrees, a soft breeze cooled off the sweat. Everyone seemed relaxed and content, if not cautious.

“Daddy,” Tanish shouted farther out in the water than him. “Do you see it?”

Balvan did see it. Even though he could swim he was not a fan of being beaten up by the waves. He preferred to spot dolphins but today they were few and far between. He waved and nodded to his thirteen-year-old son wearing a swim shirt with trunks. His head soaked with seawater and his skin darker from the sun, almost as dark as his father’s.

“I do,” Balvan said.

“Is he eating fish, you think?”

Balvan shrugged. Before the shutdown, he worked IT at an insurance company. He knew nothing about birds, never even had a canary as a pet. The gray and white bird seemed motionless as it floated, suspicious. Balvan was too far away to be sure but it appeared that its head moved up and down into the surface.

Tanish brought his attention back to the water, cautious of the others around him while joyously battling the waves that struck him off his feet or clashed over his head. Balvan, with one eye on his son who was not the perfect swimmer yet, followed the floating gull. As it waded closer and to the side, others started to notice it, too. Tanish stopped his battle with nature and stood next to his father. They agreed, the bird was definitely dead.

The dead bird grabbed the attention of the other beachgoers at the shoreline. They cleared out of its way as the waves pushed it back and forth to the sand. A lifeguard eventually came over, slipped a mask over her nose and mouth to protect herself from the crowd, and fielded questions from the disgusted. Balvan and Tanish were too far away to hear anything. It was not a big deal to the guard. Perhaps dead animals, murdered by pollution or fisherman, washed up often. She talked into her radio, probably asking for animal control. Why would anyone want to touch the damn thing? Yet vacationers gathered around the dead bird on the beach. Some took pictures.

“Daddy,” Tanish said. “Look.”

A few yards away, more birds floated towards the shoreline. What started as ten or fifteen became fifty. No one else seemed to notice. Maybe the birds were too far out. Maybe the one on the beach held their attention. The dark gray clouds in the distance certainly went unnoticed by them, too.

“Let’s move out of the water for a bit,” Balvan said. “Do some digging.”

They made sure to bring along Tanish’s beach shovel this time. He liked to create dams and drains for the water to break through. The short wooden stick with the small, blue metal blade waited for them at the top, adjacent from the lifeguard stand, plunged into the sand by their solitary beach chair and backpack.

“It’s not supposed to rain today,” Tanish said as they walked out of the water, pointing to the darkness in the distance. “None of the models said so.”

Tanish loved to follow the weather. The boy spent hours watching the weather channel and studying the types of clouds and patterns on the internet. Balvan didn’t doubt him.

“Maybe it will stay out to sea,” the father said. “Stay away from us.”

Tanish observed the darkness beyond.

“No, I don’t think so. Look! Did you see that?”

A bolt of lightning in the distance. Then another. Oddly, they heard no thunder. Did that mean the storm was too far away to affect them?

A whistle sliced the air.

The lifeguards waved everyone out of the water.

“Well, I guess they don’t want anyone electrocuted,” Balvan said, trying to ruffle his son’s wet head.

Tanish, smiling, jumped back from his father.

“No one will get electrocuted,” he said. “The storm is too far away.”

“Hmmm. Maybe. Maybe that’s why there are so many dead seagulls. They all got electrocuted.”

Tanish shrugged and gazed out at the horizon. The sky’s darkness was closer, streaked by lighting.

The lifeguards left their stands, blew their whistles some more, and kept waving. This time Balvan heard them. The beach had to be cleared.

“Ahh, well,” Balvan said. “We have to get ready for dinner anyway.”

As the father folded the chair and made sure everything was still in the bag, Tanish watched the darkness consume the sky. There seemed to be no end to it. The wind increased. Not a strong gust here and there but a long hard blow that picked up the sand and water, creating a grimy mist.

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Short of a Long Holiday (short story) - eBook

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I want this!