Flash Fiction :
Beyond the Abyss
I wrote this 500 word piece for a competition, where we were given the first sentence and then had to take the story on from there….
1,000ft from safety, a silent submarine is awoken with a bang. Have they finally hit rock bottom or is this the creature they have been seeking?
Now, wide awake, Katsumi, the sous chef on USS Abyss decided he may as well make the most of his time, and put in some practice in the kitchen. Let the others run around like headless chickens.
If he was honest, Katsumi wasn’t really worried about the mythical beast that his senior officers had been searching for on this deployment. All he cared about was getting off this submarine in Japanese waters, and finally leaving the navy. That, and perfecting his chocolate soufflé.
As he broke up pieces of dark chocolate to heat them in a bain marie, Katsumi chastised himself for being part of such a ridiculous mission. Of course, as he was pretty low in the pecking order, he had never been officially informed of exactly what the crew were searching for, but he’d heard it through the grapevine nevertheless.
They were looking for an Umibōzu. The notorious sea creature from Japanese folklore, which had been rumoured to be the cause for the sinking of many ships crossing the Pacific Ocean.
As Katsumi whisked egg whites, then folded them into the chocolate mixture, he thought about what fools would actually search for such a beast. The mission was to seek and destroy the creature before it could sink any more vessels, and for nearly three months now they had been down in the depths blindly following sonar, without a clue of what they were actually looking for.
As he popped the soufflé dish into the oven and set the timer, Katsumi heard footsteps running down the galley outside the kitchen, and shouts of “This is it! We’ve got it! Release the missiles.”
Idiots, he thought, as the oven timer ticked slowly down to zero. As if they could bring down a beast like an Umibōzu with just a missile. It wasn’t the first time he’d questioned his superiors’ knowledge.
He pitied them really. These men who had embarked on this fools errand without knowing enough about their enemy before setting off. Surely if they had, they would know about the beast’s ability to change form and how it could move undetected from ocean to ocean.
With that knowledge, they could have been a little more observant. Perhaps noticing the inordinate amount of time that Katsumi liked to spend in the shower, soaking his drying skin; that when he slept, he did so with his eyes wide open; and the fact that the meaning of his name was ‘Win Over the Sea’.
The timer pinged, and Katsumi retrieved the dish from the oven with a deep sigh. The soufflé had sunk…again. Just like everything else he touched. With a sense of resignation, he realised it was time to take his true form once more. It was time to go beyond the Abyss.
If you enjoyed this, you might light to try Awakening
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