Tod Slaughter's

Tod Slaughter's

Friday, April 1, 2016

Godzilla versus Cthulhu: American Apocalypse Part Five

Read Part Four first!

                The two gods met in a Nebraska cornfield. They stopped and faced each other half a mile apart while a gentle breeze blew among the corn, rippling the long green leaves and swaying the yellow tassels. Godzilla thrust her head forward and roared; Cthulhu responded with a deafening volley of alien bleats. The battle commenced.
                The earth shook as they rushed toward each other and the impact of their collision sent out a shock-wave that leveled the corn in an expanding circle around them like a rock thrown into a pond. Their gigantic clawed fingers grappled, struggling to find a purchase, and Cthulhu was the first to fall. With a hand on each shoulder, Godzilla forced the winged creature to the ground. Cthulhu blasted her with a series of pulsing bleats and its tentacles writhed upward, wrapping themselves around Godzilla’s massive head and pulling it downward.
                Godzilla’s spikes glowed and she poured a torrent of blue fire into the creature's face. They rolled over, Cthulhu's tentacles now dripping blue, and Cthulhu grabbed Godzilla’s mouth, clamping it shut. The two gods stared into each other’s eyes for a brief and silent moment. Then Godzilla turned quickly, whipping her thick tail around and dashing it into Cthulhu’s side. Cthulhu staggered and fell backward into the cornfield. A nearby stand of silos toppled to the ground.
                Cthulhu rose slowly. Dirt and cornstalks showered down from the monster’s shoulders as black membranous wings spread. Rising into the air, Cthulhu glared at Godzilla with impenetrable eyes before hurtling downward. They collided and this time it was Godzilla who fell, plowing backward through the field with the tentacled creature perched on her chest. The gods writhed and they battled, clawing, kicking and rending the air with their titanic siren calls. They rolled across the land, obliterating a farm house and neighboring barn beneath them, eventually collapsing motionless on the torn earth.
                Helicopters circled overhead. The monsters, though breathing, did not move for some time. Even with the reverberations of the helicopters, the world seemed to have grown quiet. Godzilla stirred first. She rose to her feet and shook the dirt from her body. Cthulhu rose beside her, wings outstretched. Together they raised their heads and roared at the sky in unison.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Godzilla versus Cthulhu: American Apocalypse Part Four

Go read Part Three first!

If the tourists sitting at the slot machines were worried about some giant creature that had destroyed Los Angeles and was now heading east, they didn’t show it. The girl tending the Big Chill Bar at Circus Circus flipped the channels trying to find something that didn’t show a giant dinosaur, but she was unsuccessful. A drunken man in a seersucker jacket he’d been in since yesterday stumbled to the counter and thrust out the giant blue plastic sippy cup he’d purchased from her earlier.
“I need a refill, baby. And a side order of you.”
“You’ll get neither,” she said. “Now run along.”
He didn’t though, and another man, equally drunk, staggered up beside him. This one had a green cup.
“God Bless America!” Green Cup shouted. There was a large smear of barbecue sauce on the lapel of his wrinkled linen suit and another across his cheek.
“Wassat song?” Blue Cup asked.
“What song?”
“The one about America.”
Green Cup raised his green cup in the air and bellowed, “… and I’ll proudly stand up next to you!”
Blue Cup joined in and they shouted in discord, “… and defend her still today! ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land! God bless the USA!”
“Do I need to call security?” the bartender asked.
But they didn’t reply. Their drunken gazes had found the television. Blue Cup sipped loudly from his plastic straw and seemed unaware that he was drinking only air. A slightly frazzled reporter was standing on a windy desert plateau.
“Despite the military’s inability to contain the creature that so recently destroyed much of Manhattan, top officials are confident they can halt the progress of the beast that has been labeled Godzilla. As you can see behind me, Godzilla is continuing eastward through Death Valley.”
The camera zoomed in over the reporter’s shoulder and far in the distance a black form was visible.
“We regret,” she continued, “that we are unable to provided closer footage as the military has established a no-go zone approximately fifteen miles around Godzilla. They plan to strike the monster with a nuclear device before it can leave Death Valley. Evacuations are underway and authorities are confident the danger to civilians is minimal. They hope to destroy the creature before it can reach another population center.” 
“I’ll give you twenty to one,” Green Cup said, “that they don’t get it.”
“It’s a nuclear bomb,” Blue Cup said, pronouncing it ‘nukyular’. Of course they’ll get it. S’America we’re talking about.”
“They didn’t get that one in New York.”
“Scientists agree,” the reporter continued, “that the creature is a female, but as of yet there are many conflicting theories on its ... on her age and why she has chosen now to emerge from the ocean.”
A trio of jets screamed over the reporter and the camera panned upward to follow them. They shot toward the distant form. A cloud erupted from the ground and obscured the monster and the camera rocked moments later as the shockwave arrived. The monster appeared again through the dust, moving forward at the same steady speed as before.
“It appears,” the reporter said, “that the nuclear option has been unsuccessful. Anyone in the creature’s current path is urged to take shelter.”
The screen switched to aerial footage of Las Vegas, which was a gridlock of thousands of cars trying to leave the city and military vehicles trying to set up a perimeter.
An electronic voice echoed through the Circus Circus. “All guests choosing to remain at Circus Circus should stay on the lower floor until the danger has passed. Please see any associate for assistance. For your convenience, all bars, buffets, and gaming areas will continue operation as normal.” A loud cheer went up. “Thank you for choosing Circus Circus, Las Vegas’ most vibrant casino since 1968.”
Blue Cup banged his blue cup on the bar. “Hey, how about that refill?”
The bartender looked at him coldly. “What the hell. Why not?” She filled the cup. He handed her a fifty and she rang it up as a twenty. “And how about you, sir?” she asked Green Cup.
“Fill ‘er up!”
He handed her the cup and wad of crumpled bills that turned out to be seventy-three dollars. She entered another twenty and handed him back the cup.
“Now why don’t you boys run along and win some more money.”
“Come on,” Blue Cup said. “There’s a blackjack dealer over there that’s got a pair like you wouldn’t believe.”
They made their way to the blackjack table and found two empty seats.
“See, what’d I tell you?” Blue Cup said, nodding his head toward the dealer.
Deal us in, baby. Little strip poker on the strip, if you know what I mean?”
She ignored him, dealing the cards as efficiently as a machine.
“Eighteen,” she said. “Dealer stands.”
“That ain’t the only thing standing,” Blue Cup said. “Hit me, baby.”
She gave him a ten and took his chips. A few hands passed until Green Cup reached into his jacket and came up empty.
“I need some more chips.”
There was a dull thud, followed shortly by another. The voice came again.
“Attention guests. You may hear the report of guns and other weapons outside as our Armed Forces deflect … Godzilla’s … course. Please remain inside on the lower floor and do not be alarmed. Thank you for choosing Circus Circus, Las Vegas’ most vibrant casino since 1968.”
The thuds were closer. Chips jumped on the blackjack table. They could hear the muffled blasts of guns and tanks outside. Television screens showed the great beast at the western end of the strip. Everyone in the casino was now following the battle and some began screaming and running for the door as Godzilla easily breached the military line and began moving toward the strip.
“This I gotta see,” Green Cup said. He joined the flow of people running for the doors and Blue Cup got up to go with him, but first reached into his jacket and put a business card down the neck of the dealer’s shirt. She was fixated on scenes now showing Godzilla trampling the planes at McCarran Airport and didn’t notice.
“Room 213, baby, Green Cup whispered. Let’s get together later.” He joined the surge for the door and looked around for his partner.
The strip was chaos. Godzilla had moved through the airport and was now approaching Mandalay Bay. A line of tanks positioned themselves in front of the Luxor and began blasting the monster. She stopped for a moment and looked down at them. There was a strange humming sound like a giant electric engine coming to life and the lowest of the jagged spikes on the monster’s back began glowing blue. The blue light surged up the larger spikes and the beast opened its mouth. A torrent of blue flame burst forth and washed over the tanks, melting them into shapeless glowing hulks.
A fighter jet flashed by and its missiles struck without effect. The jet swung around for another pass, too close this time, and Godzilla swatted it with the back of a reptilian hand, dashing it into the side of the Bellagio. The monster roared and moved forward, destroying the Excalibur with a swipe of its tail.
Blue Cup stumbled and fell to the asphalt. He reached up and grabbed someone’s leg. Linen pants. It was Green Cup. He fell down on top of Blue Cup. Waves of people washed over them, mindlessly kicking and stomping. Their cups were crushed and the colorful drinks spilled out on the pavement like alien blood. The ground was shaking and Godzilla was looming over them looking a million feet tall. The monster raised a gargantuan foot and it blotted out the sun as they disappeared beneath it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Godzilla versus Cthulhu: American Apocalypse Part Three

Go read Part Two first!

The F-16s roared through the air while a procession of tanks and Jeeps crawled up Interstate 95 below them. One plane dipped low over the interstate and Boomer’s voice came over the radio.
“Got your ears on, Hoss? How about we wake up the ground pounders?”
“Roger that, Boomer.” Hoss dropped down behind him. They pushed the planes up to Mach I and smiled while they imagined people jumping from the sonic boom.
“HQ’ll have your ass for that,” Shag said.
“Thanks mom.”
“Now tell me again,” Hoss cut in. “Why can’t they get a tank into Manhattan?”
“Communication breakdown,” Shag replied. “They get to the Hudson River and then no one seems to be able to function anymore.”
“Wrong,” Hoss said. “They can’t get a tank into Manhattan because New York decided they had enough pansies on the ground already.”
“Nice,” Boomer said.
“Breaker breaker,” the squad commander interjected. “Real cute, boys. Now quit grab-assing around out there.”
“Roger that,” Boomer said laughing. “No grab-assing here, sir.
“Official word from the Pentagon is this thing emits some kind of frequency that interferes with communication,” the squad commander said. “You’ll likely be flying dark.”
“But I like it with the lights on,” Hoss said.
“So does your boyfriend,” Boomer said.
The squad commander ignored them. “Go in hot and hit it hard.”
“That’s what she said.”
“Civilians?” Shag asked.
“Collateral damage is expected and justifiable.”
“Lima Charlie,” they replied. “Roger Wilco.”
The spires of New York were now visible and they could already see the thing, black and hulking on top of the Empire State Building.
“What in the hell?” Boomer asked.
“This just in,” Hoss said, “Boomer’s mother vacationing in New York. And it looks like she got into a fight with the Statue of Liberty.”
“Looks like she kicked its ass too.”
They banked right over Jamaica Bay and circled the city.
“That thing is three hundred feet tall,” Shag said. “Gotta be.”
“Let’s see if it likes Sidewinders,” Hoss said. They shot out over Newark and made a wide right turn, crossing the Hudson River again and coming in low over Yankee Stadium.
Boomer wanted to say something funny about catching a ballgame but found himself unable. He wanted to fire the missiles and blast the creature from its perch, but his hands wouldn’t comply. It seemed as though the creature was the entire world now. It was in his head, not because it wanted to be, but because it was the only thing that mattered anymore. He felt the same sort of horror that someone who is completely paralyzed might feel if a giant spider were crawling up their legs toward their face. His hands fell from the controls and he slumped in his seat, overcome by terrible alien visions.
The F-16s screamed over Central Park, low enough to rustle the trees now. Boomer watched mindlessly as Shag slammed into a hotel and Hoss flew into Trump Tower so hard that his jet blew out the other side in ball of fire and glass. The upper half of the tower buckled and fell down onto the Crown Building, crushing it like a crystal hammer.
He was tearing down 5th Avenue now just feet above the cars and trucks that littered the street like toys abandoned by a child called off to dinner. His head rolled back and he could see the thing directly above him, crouching still like some monstrous statue save for the writhing tentacles, and then he collided with the Flatiron Building at five hundred miles an hour.
Neither the thing nor the chanting worshipers paid the screaming jets or fiery explosions any mind.
“ia! ia! Cthulhu!” they chanted. “ia! ia! Cthulhu!”
The thing turned its tentacled head westward. It bleated its terrible call once more and crouched down, crushing glass and concrete with its clawed fingers before leaping from the summit. The force of its legs destroyed the upper floors and sent them raining down where they obliterated the worshipers chanting below. The thing circled the city once, blasting the air with its horrific cry, and then flapped west over the Hudson River.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Godzilla versus Cthulhu: American Apocalypse Part Two

Read Part One first!

The thing had first landed on the Chrysler Building, its dark and glistening body contrasting sharply with the gleaming deco cathedral. The structure threatened to collapse under the immense weight as large pieces of the stainless steel ornamentation peeled away and plummeted nine hundred feet to the pavement where they crashed into sidewalks and streets and cars. The thing clung to the iconic spire a moment longer and then it pushed off, scattering what was left of the beautiful steel and sending the giant antenna down like a mammoth spear thrown from the heavens. The great wings made a dull roaring with each flap as it soared heavily over the Manhattan rooftops before settling at the top of the Empire State Building, where it thrust out its tentacled head and unleashed an unworldly sound, a sound that carried the passage of dimensions and millennia.
And yet there was no chaotic exodus, no screaming tumult as New York City’s millions fled the terror that had descended upon them. An unnatural quiet had seized the city. The world seemed to have gone dark, and people drifted through it with wide and terrified eyes that saw nothing. Their faces conveyed terror, not at what was happening around them, but the terror of battles being fought within their own minds, losing battles where the stake was sanity itself. The thing lorded over them all, blasting their senses with its terrible bleating call.
The passage of time had become difficult to calculate, but soon an ethereal procession marched down Fifth Avenue and stopped at the base of the Empire State Building. The mindless throng wore hooded robes and they chanted in unison, “ia! ia! Cthulhu! ia! ia! Cthulhu!”
The thing gave no indication if it heard them or not.


For reasons unknown to the two hipsters, Venice was completely deserted.
“Too much of that Skywalker last night, bro,” one said, rubbing his eyes. “I think we smoked the world away.”
“Dude, look,” the other one said. There was an open bar near the corner of Abbot Kinney and Venice Boulevard. They walked in just as the power died again. The bartender was waxing his mustache and appeared not to even notice the outage but it came back on after a moment. The TV over the bar flickered to life, showing the tentacled creature perched atop the Empire State Building with its great wings folded around it.
“Occultists believe that the creature you see here is an ancient entity known as ...,” the reporter looked at his notes again, “... Cthulhu. They presume that the seismic activity which destroyed much of the Bermuda Islands was the rising up of the lost city of R’lyeh.”
“Bro,” one of the hipsters said, “that is not Cthulhu.”
“Why not?”
“R’lyeh is not even in the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Says who?”
“Says Lovecraft, bro. South Pacific. ‘In his house at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu lies dreaming.’ Atlantic is out of the question.”
“Dude, Lovecraft was a consumptive hack with a bad case of paranoia. Not exactly hard evidence.”
The bartender put his tin of moustache wax down on the bar.
“No one,” he said, “speaks ill of H. P. Lovecraft in my presence.” He turned his mustachioed gaze to the television. “Still, it does look like Cthulhu. Hard to argue with a beard of tentacles. Now, what are we drinking?”
“PBR,” one of the hipsters said. “Draft.” The friend rolled his eyes.
“Dude, that is very two years ago. Nobody drinks PBR anymore. Definitely not draft.”
“I know, bro. That’s why I ordered it. It’s so mainstream it’s ironic again.”
“I’ll have a Narragansett,” the friend said, idly twisting his beard.
The bar tender gave a noncommittal nod and shuffled toward a cooler. The TV was now showing a giant dinosaur.
“This just in,” the newscaster said, sounding more bewildered than anything. “Santa Barbara has been destroyed by a giant ... dinosaur.” Shaky footage played of mission-style buildings being crushed beneath a huge reptilian foot before whoever was holding the phone turned and fled. “Military efforts to contain the beast have proven ineffective. If you are in the dinosaur’s sphere of influence, please take shelter.” The screen showed a graphic of the towering creature surrounded by a large red circle that now included most of Los Angeles.
“Not a dinosaur,” one of the hipsters said. “Way too big.”
“It’s Gojira,” the bartender said as he put the beers on the counter. “I took a semester of Japanese before manga was a dead scene.”
“What’s Gojira?”
“Typical daikaiju. The Japanese often ascribe earthquakes to him, though he, or she, has never actually been seen.”
“Nuclear tests,” the other hipster offered. “That’s why we blew up all those islands in the fifties. Driving it back to the depths. I thought everybody knew that.”
A dull thud shook the bar. Little waves rippled along the surface of the PBR.
“I don’t think that was an aftershock.”
There were more impacts, and they grew stronger. Soon the glasses were falling from the shelves and crashing on the floor. A deafening roar tore the afternoon apart. The two hipsters walked outside and the bartender followed. They stepped out into the middle of Abbot Kinney and looked up at the looming monster.
“Definitely Gojira,” the bartender said.
Two jets flew by and blasted it with missiles that seemed to have no effect. The monster turned and swatted at them, whipping its gigantic tail around and leveling scores of apartment buildings. There was the loud clanking of metal treads as a cohort of tanks moved down Venice Boulevard and turned up Abbot Kinney, aiming their barrels at the enemy. They fired volley after volley, deafening the two hipsters and the bartender, but the monster paid them no mind and strode on toward downtown.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Godzilla versus Cthulhu: American Apocalypse Part One

A bank of TV screens in the window of an electronics store on East 180th was trying to get some attention but nobody in the Bronx seemed inclined to watch. They shuffled by, tapping on phones or yelling at cabs, smoking cigarettes or whistling at girls, all the while completely ignoring the chaos unfolding on the 11 o’clock news.
The footage was grainy and frantic, but it looked like a security camera on the deck of a large container ship. The sea swelled in front of the ship and something rose out of the water. Something huge and black. Though difficult to discern in the churning waves, there seemed to be a mass of giant tentacles approaching the bow, and what could only be described as enormous clawed fingers grabbed the deck, wrapping around the ship and lifting it clear of the sea. Here the clip went dark and the news anchor reappeared, her muted words falling on deaf ears until the video played again, this time with a banner scrolling across the top of the screen.
*Breaking news – seismic event recorded in Atlantic – multiple cargo vessels missing and presumed destroyed – unknown aquatic creature possibly approaching Eastern Seaboard – stay tuned for details*
The video caught the eye of a grubby man digging half a Camel out of an ashtray. He lit it and exhaled a gray cloud at the glass, gesturing to an equally grubby acquaintance nearby.
“What do you think?” he asked.
“Let him who would raise Leviathan curse the day,” the acquaintance said. “That's the book of Job. Chapter three, verse eight.”
“Hold on to your butts,” the grubby man said. “That’s from Jurassic Park.”
“I suppose the meaning is the same.”
A man appeared at the door of the store. He stepped outside and made a show of locking it behind him and lowering the security gate.
“You bums run on,” he said. “Gonna ruin my investment.”
“I have a feeling your investment will be ruined without any help from us,” the acquaintance said and the two men shuffled off as the anchor made another appearance.


A bank of TV screens in the window of an electronics store on West 7th was trying to get some attention but nobody in Long Beach seemed inclined to watch. The ground shook again, and the big plate glass window, already cracked and hanging loose from the storefront, fell out onto the sidewalk and shattered. Clay tiles clattered down from the roof of an apartment building while a church steeple across the street buckled and collapsed in on itself. Smoke rose from myriad rooftops. Screams rang out, compounded by the wailing of sirens. The TVs flickered for a moment but came back on.
*Continued seismic activity along the coast from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo – widespread structural damages reported – the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility has suffered severe damage and evacuations are underway – those not in an evacuation zone should remain sheltered – aftershocks will likely continue – stay tuned for details*
A grubby man stepped through the broken window, carefully avoiding the large shards of glass still sticking up. He unplugged a large TV from the display and hoisted it to his shoulder.
“Hey, you can’t do that!” a voice called from beneath the cash register.
“The Lord helps those who help themselves,” the grubby man said and stepped out of the store carrying his prize. The ground shook again but he didn't drop the TV.


The admiral stood on the bridge and surveyed the bustling crew as they tended to their myriad glowing screens and blinking lights.
“Chief Mate,” he said. “The sit-rep, if you please.”
“Looking good, sir,” she replied, brandishing a clipboard. “The entity is continuing northwest at a speed of roughly twenty knots. We intercept in approximately twenty seven minutes.”
“Excellent. And then we will show it what a United States destroyer is capable of. It’s one thing to pick a fight with cargo ships, but this is an entirely different playground.”
“Yes sir.”
“Guns are ready?”
“Yes sir, I have seen to them personally.”
“Excellent. I’d like to see the entity that can withstand our Mark 45.”
“As would I, sir.”
The minutes passed and a deck officer soon called up. “Two clicks leeward, sir. ETA approximately five minutes.”
The admiral nodded. Sirens sounded to clear the deck and then it happened. The thing rose from the sea in front of them. It brought blackness with it, not the blackness of night, but a different black. The sun still shone in a cloudless sky, but it was a black sun glowing in a field of ebony and the whole world had gone silent. There were no sounds of the engines, no beeping computers, no barking orders; there was only the ship and the thing that should not be in front of it.
The admiral wanted to fire the big gun but he could not give the order. His mind had become a landscape of strange buildings rising from the depths. They loomed at weird angles, not because they were old and falling down but because they were built that way, and they were gargantuan in size.
Someone managed to fire the Mark 45 and it erupted in a cloud of flame and smoke, hurling a five inch shell at the atrocity still rising from the depths. The shell struck somewhere on the bulbous head and exploded, blowing a plume of inky jelly into the sky, but the thing took no notice and the wound disappeared almost instantly. The admiral wanted to order a reverse but he had no voice and the ship continued forward. Through the fog of the dream city, he looked around at his slack-jawed crew. There was the Chief Mate, staring in mute horror. Her clipboard was on the ground. There were the deck officers, screaming silently. Someone should reverse the ship but it was too late. The thing had them now.


The anchor spoke calmly into the camera even as a tremor shook the news room.
“We have confirmed via the aerial footage you see here earlier reports of a geologic event in the Atlantic Ocean.”
The video playing behind her showed an expanse of ocean and then what appeared to be a looming island composed of large, irregular blocks. A ship that had run aground gave context to the massive size of the structures, and when the camera panned left or right the island seemed to stretch to the horizon.
“Earlier reports indicated a large earthquake along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge a few hundred miles east of Bermuda. Scientists believe this earthquake raised the island you are now seeing up from the seabed. They do not believe that this event and the seismic activity off the California coast are related.”
The footage segued to scenes of coastal destruction.
“The tsunami generated by the Bermuda earthquake was estimated at twenty five feet when it struck the Bermuda Islands, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. Though the killer wave weakened as it moved westward, it still retained enough force to inundate much of the coast along Georgia and the Carolinas.”
Someone handed the anchor a piece of paper.
“This just in: California has experienced a second earthquake, this one estimated to be at least 9.0 on the Richter scale. Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and surrounding areas are experiencing widespread flooding and property damage and the reactor at Diablo Canyon is fully compromised.”
There was hectic coverage of screaming people running through city streets, of buildings collapsing and coughing up giant clouds of gray dust, and of the cracked domes of the smoldering nuclear plant. The famed Hollywood sign had lost an O and an L, and the roof of the Griffith Observatory had fallen in.


                A loose front page of the Daily News blew across Broadway. The cover photo was a grainy blow-up recovered from the Navy ship’s cameras that showed a mass of tentacles rising from the ocean, and the headline read ‘Release the Kraken?’ in large block letters. The paper caught on the shoe of a man trying unsuccessfully to negotiate prices with a hot dog vendor.
                “I’m not paying five dollars for a hot dog,” the man said.
                “Then you are not eating a hot dog.”
                “Come on man. They’re two bucks around the corner.”
                “Then you should go around the corner. His hot dogs are garbage anyway. You get what you pay for.”
                The man picked up the paper from his shoe and swatted it with his other hand as he showed it to the hot dog man.
                “Would you look at this?”
                The vendor glanced at the paper but he did not seem particularly interested.
                “What is this kraken?”
                “I don’t know,” the man said. “Probably one of them government experiments gone wrong.”
                “Yes. Now do you want the hot dog or not?”
                “Yeah fine. Four dollars.”
                “Five dollars.”
                “Five dollars, hot dog and a Coke.”
                “Eight dollars, hot dog and a Coke.”
                The man counted out eight dollars and put them down heavily. He took the hot dog and Coke and stamped off toward Battery Park, studying the errant Daily News page as he walked and ate. When he reached the walk along the water he sat down on a bench to finish the hot dog. He would not have said so to the vendor, but it was quite good, possibly even worth the five dollars. He looked out over the water and though the morning was foggy he could make out the Statue of Liberty standing tall just past Ellis Island.
                What he saw out there caused him to choke on the portion of bun he was eating, not because he was surprised but because his mind seemed to have forgotten even its most basic duties. Something huge rose from the water. It flapped two great, bat-like wings and lurched into the air, swinging one arm to the side and striking the Statue of Liberty. The great monument toppled slowly, twisting as she fell from her base and crashing to the ground with a loud metallic gonging that echoed across the bay. Her head broke loose and rolled down into the water where it collided with a ferry boat. The thing was not concerned with the statue and flapped toward land, its wings spreading darkness as he gasped his last breaths around the bun that had lodged in his throat.


Stearns Wharf and most of Santa Barbara was still soggy from the after-effects of the flooding. Palm branches and other debris littered the road but miraculously a shaved ice truck was parked near the pier and open.
“Look,” a tired man told the shaved ice vendor, “I’m not a tourist. I’m not paying ten bucks for some ice and food coloring.”
“Cataclysm prices, mate. Ice is at a premium.”
“My apartment is five minutes from here.”
“Then you should get walking,” the vendor said.
“Quake knocked out my power. And water.”
“Then walking won’t do you much good. Ten dollars.”
“Fine,” the man said. He slapped a ten on the counter. “Black cherry. And don’t skimp on the flavor. Or the ice.”
The vendor pocketed the money and began grinding the ice. Eventually he dumped some in a paper cup and squirted it with flavor.
“More,” the man said.
The vendor squirted some more flavor, this time missing the cup and landing some on the man’s shorts.
“Sorry mate.”
The man snatched the cup, spilling some of it on his hand, and stormed off toward the sand. While he ate the snow cone he inspected all the creatures so recently washed up. He really liked the starfish, especially the bristly ones with lots of arms. While nudging one with the tip of a palm frond the beach fell dark under a shadow, so he turned his head back to see what could be blocking the light.
The hand holding the cup trembled and the snow cone fell, staining the sand a deep purple. Towering out past the end of the pier was an impossible giant. It looked like a colossal dinosaur, like a tyrannosaurus but with tall spikes running down its back, and it blotted out the sun. The beast tilted its head skyward and roared, unleashing a sound that defied description. The man could feel blood trickling from his ears.
When it rose from the below, the beast had created a substantial wave that was now reaching the shore. The man thought to turn and flee, but the water was fast upon him, picking him up and bashing the life from him against the side of the shaved ice truck.