This is the fifteenth part of a serialized giant monster story published in weekly installments on this site.
Tune in every week! Click here to read the first part. Click here to see my new release Zombie Shark!
15. Terror on the Beach
~ Tottori Beach Party – July, 1966 – One PM ~
Rin Murakami cursed softly, her heart pounding, her focus torn between the teen idol and the sea monster. “Dammit!”
A dozen yards away, Rika Tadaka stood screaming, her terrified soprano picked up by the big stage microphone and amplified through every undamaged loudspeaker on the beachfront.
The titanic snake-like monster towered over everything, still crunching on the remains of its grisly meal of concertgoers. Its pupilless eyes glowed a hellish blue. A ring of deadly spines surrounded its armored face. It licked its bloody, blue-green lips, delighted—though clearly not sated. As Rika’s scream echoed through the air, the monster whipped its enormous head around, seeking the source of the sound.
Rin sprinted toward the fear-paralyzed starlet, cursing all the way, unsure whether she was swearing at Rika’s idiocy or her own.
“Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!”
Rika represented everything Rin hated in music: style over substance, money over talent, a pre-packaged sex bomb designed to sell crap records to an undiscerning public that couldn’t tell big boobs from big vocals.
Yet, Rin couldn’t just let her die.
Rika could hardly have picked a worse dress to wear today. Her bejeweled outfit glittered in the afternoon sunlight, making the starlet look like a huge silver fish. Not only did the dress stand out amid the chaos on the beach, but Rin was betting it looked like today’s sushi special to the enormous sea serpent.
Rin grabbed the screaming girl’s hand and yanked her away from the mic, toward the end of the stage. “Baka-yaro! Let’s go!” Rin hissed.
Rika turned, stumbling over her high heels, and a sparkling piece of jewelry clattered from her neck to the stage.
Rin kept pulling her toward the wings.
But Rika yanked free from the guitarist’s grip and ran back toward the microphone.
What was she doing?! Did she think she was invulnerable? She was going to get them both killed!
“Baka!” Rin cursed and ran after her. At least the fool wasn’t screaming anymore.
Rika scooped up the fallen necklace, and just at that moment, the monster spotted her, all bright and shimmering as she stooped centerstage.
Rin flung herself across the platform, tackling Rika, just as the enormous serpent dived toward them.
The two girls tumbled down the left-wing steps as the monster’s scaly head smashed the stage into kindling.
Rin landed atop the soft-bodied actress and quickly sprang to her feet. “Let’s go!” the guitarist said, yanking Rika after her and heading deeper under the backstage canopy.
The creature flipped its reptilian head from side to side, shaking off the flinders of the platform, seeking its lost prey.
Rin dodged between the amps, electronic equipment, and chairs overturned by the earlier tidal wave. She dragged Rika along as the starlet—still tottering on her spike heels—re-fastened her necklace. The pendant was a beautiful jewel-encrusted dragon, rearing up sinuously, like Hokusai’s “Great Wave off Kanagawa.”
Rin thought it ironic that they’d nearly been killed by an actual monster while Rika retrieved a bejeweled mythical serpent. “Are you crazy, risking both of our lives for that trinket?” the guitarist hissed, still pulling the actress after her through the waterlogged backstage area.
“It-it’s been in my family a long time,” Rika explained, trembling and trying to catch her breath.
“Well if you’re not careful, it’s going to be inside that damn sea serpent—and you along with it! Now move!”
“I… My heels!”
“Lose ’em! Or would you rather lose your life?”
Rika paused just long enough to yank off her rhinestone-covered shoes. That moment, though, proved long enough for the monster to spot the women once more.
The creature lunged, surging toward them across the ruined stage like a killer whale sliding up on an ice shelf to catch a helpless seal.
Rika screamed again, but Rin grabbed her and threw them both aside as the gigantic body barreled past, its armored face smashing everything in its way.
The stench from the beast’s snapping jaws made both women gag. It stank of fish, brine, and freshly butchered human corpses. The murmur of its scales on the sand as it passed reminded Rin of the thunder of distant waves.
In her mind, she heard the screams of dying sailors.
“C’mon,” she said, scrambling to her feet and pulling Rika after her once more.
The huge serpent tried to swing its head toward them, but it knocked over several support posts, and its face became tangled in the awning that covered the backstage area.
Rin and Rika staggered from the shadows of the toppled canopy into the bright afternoon sun. Everything around them lay in ruins: smashed speakers, torn tarps, crumpled equipment, and overturned cars and trucks belonging to the acts and support crews. Concertgoers were fleeing in all directions, screaming in terror.
For a moment, Rin wondered about the other members of Surfer Go Go. Had they escaped, or were they lying crushed and broken under the rubble? Or had they, like so many others, been snapped up in the beast’s terrible jaws?
Before she could discover the fate of her friends, though, the glare of the sunlight off the bright white sand made Rin’s headache flare up again. It also caused Rika’s sheer attire to shine with the brilliance of a thousand tiny mirrors.
That dress is going to get us both killed!
“Lose the dress!” Rin commanded, pulling them both through the wreckage as fast as she could.
“What?” Rika asked, confused. Though her feet were bare now, the starlet still couldn’t seem to run. Was she in shock, or just totally incompetent?
Rather than explain, Rin turned and, with one swift move, tore the glittering outfit off of the starlet’s willowy frame.
Rika shrieked and threw her hands over her breasts.
Rin realized, suddenly, that the girl hadn’t been wearing a bra, and her panties were so thin as to be almost transparent.
Mai, the band’s drummer, probably would have taken a moment to enjoy the sight, but Rin merely cast the dress to the ground and growled, “You can protect your modesty or you can run for your life! Choose!”
Without waiting for an answer, Rin ran as fast as she could away from the beach. She was only slightly surprised—and mildly disappointed—to find Rika keeping pace behind her.
“What is that thing?” the starlet gasped.
“It’s big bloody death for both of us!” Rin replied, chancing a brief glance back the way they’d come.
The monster had shaken itself loose from the backstage awning, and its pupilless eyes now scanned the beach for new victims. Spotting Rika’s dress, lying on the sand, it dove on the garment like a striking cobra.
The impact of the thing hitting the ground nearly knocked over the girls, but Rin caught Rika by the elbow and managed to keep them both on their feet and running.
Fleeing concertgoers howled with dread as the serpent reared up again, angrily shaking sand from its enormous scaly face. It spat out Rika’s dress contemptuously.
“Oh, gods! Oh, gods! Oh, gods!” the starlet whimpered.
“Don’t look! Just shut up and run!” Rin urged.
Rika shut up, but some of her fans kept screaming.
A moment later, their wails cost them their lives as the sea monster lunged into their midst and scooped the terrified concertgoers into its toothy maw.
Rin, still clutching Rika’s hand, could feel the half-naked starlet trembling, but she kept the two of them moving, angling for a nearby overturned truck.
“In here,” she said, pushing Rika inside.
“Do you have a better idea? Now … in!”
She thrust Rika ahead of her and then followed, stepping over upended food carts and other cooking paraphernalia.
The truck—about twice the size of a VW microbus—was lying on its side, half buried in the sand, but its bottom lay between the women and the serpent, and would shield them from the monster’s sight.
The top of the truck was made from a translucent sheet of plastic, and its sides had big windows for serving customers. Under normal circumstances, these features would have given the business’ crew plenty of light to work by. Now, though, all the glass and plastic made Rin feel a bit like she’d gone to ground inside a fishbowl.
Cursing silently, she pressed both of them up against what had been the bottom of the truck, but was now its side.
“Don’t make a sound!” she warned.
Rika, trembling and clutching her necklace, nodded mutely.
Rin saw panic in the starlet’s pretty face, and felt the emotion clutching at her own guts, too.
This rickety vehicle would prove scant protection from the ravening monster—if it found them.
Had she led them both to their deaths?
Fear brimmed in Rika’s big brown eyes, and she squeezed Rin’s hand almost hard enough to break the guitarist’s fingers.
Please, gods, Rin thought, don’t let me die here with this talentless phony!
Outside, the screaming stopped abruptly.
It’s killed all the rest, Rin realized.
Rika’s long fingernails dug into Rin’s palm.
The guitarist’s heart pounded, and the flimsy service truck trembled, as the sea monster slithered across the beach, searching for new prey. Searching… Searching…
Thanks to Steve, Doris, Chris, David, Edward, and Kiff for beta-reading.
All contents, copyright 2013 Stephen D. Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.