This is the thirteenth part of a serialized giant monster story published in weekly installments on this site.
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13. Monster Beach Party
~ Tottori Beach – July, 1966 – Afternoon ~
Jotaro “Jo” Koike gaped at the roiling water offshore behind the beach party staging area. “Whoa, man! Wild!”
But the rest of Surfer Go Go weren’t paying any attention to the disturbance in the breakers. Both Ichiro and Mai were staring at Rin as though she’d gone crazy.
Rin desperately wanted them to understand, but her headache had flared up with a vengeance; her skull felt as though it might explode. She tried to stand but, instead, slumped to her knees, images of carnage and destruction rampaging through her head.
“Rin, I’m serious,” Ichi asked, annoyed. “Did you take some kind of bad drugs or something? Are you okay?” He whispered the question, so no not even Jo or Mai could hear. Even backstage, the band’s lead singer seemed more concerned about Surfer Go Go’s public image than about Rin’s health.
“M-m—” Rin stammered.
Monster! You fools! she wanted to scream. Can’t you see the monster is coming?
Mai Minami, their drummer, knelt down and put her arm around Rin’s shoulder. “You’ll be okay. Do you need some water? Maybe you’re dehydrated.”
“Water, man!” Jo enthused. “Dig that crazy water show!” He pulled on Ichi’s shirt and pointed to the frothing waves.
At first, Ichiro Kanno looked angrily at the bass player, but the lead singer’s annoyance quickly turned to puzzlement. “What in the hell is that?”
“M-monster!” Rin managed to gasp again.
Mai looked now, too. “Maybe it’s some kind of underwater eruption.” Concern played across the drummer’s thin face. “We should get out of here. In case there might be a tsunami or something.”
“Can’t be a tsunami,” Jo said. “Tide always goes way out before a tsunami comes in.”
“You sure about that, Jo?” Mai asked.
Ichi tossed Mai his car keys. “Mai, you pull my van up. Jo and I will gather the equipment, and we’ll all split.”
“So you think it is a tsunami?” Jo said.
“No,” Ichi replied, seeming none too sure. “But just in case.”
“What about Rin?” Mai asked.
“She’ll be okay here until you pull the car around,” Ichi assured her.
No, Rin wanted to tell them. I won’t be okay! We’re all going to die! But with blood and thunder pounding in her head, all she could manage was a weak moan.
The two men helped Rin into a nearby folding chair while Mai ran off to get the car. Jo and Ichi moved quickly, hauling the group’s equipment to the edge of the loading area on the far side of the stage.
The band that followed Surfer-Go-Go in the lineup—Rika Tadaka’s nameless touring group—had just started playing the intro piece that would end with the starlet taking the stage (to anticipated thunderous applause). Neither the band nor the audience seemed to have noticed the disturbance offshore yet.
You have to warn them! Rin’s conscience screamed.
Despite the overwhelming pain, she stumbled to her feet and groped her way toward the stage, trying to find concert security.
Out of the corner of her eye, between the flashbulbs bursting in her head, Rin could see an enormous surge, like the wave at the bow of a boat, moving toward shore. There was no boat making this wave, though; it was caused by the thing Rin feared, the image that she saw in her mind: an enormous, hideous, reptilian face.
“Monster!” she shouted.
The nearest security guard, a half-dozen yards away, looked at Rin. He, too, seemed to think she was crazy.
She pointed frantically toward the onrushing wave.
Then he saw it, and the audience must have noticed the disturbance at the same time. First, a few people gasped in awe and applauded—apparently thinking it was part of the show. Before that appreciation could spread, though, the applause turned to murmurs of worry.
Rin, still struggling to stand, watched from backstage as more and more people began pointing and shouting.
The band onstage hit the climax of its song, and Rika Tadaka strode triumphantly from the wings and up to the main microphone. She looked stunning in a glittering silver dress, her arms and neck draped with gem-encrusted gold and silver jewelry. Not a trace of wind caressed the beach, but Rika’s long hair still billowed behind her in a glorious mane.
The crowd rose, screaming—but it wasn’t the type of adoring cries that Rika expected: instead, these were wails of panic. Some people turned and ran.
The starlet-cum-singer stopped in mid stride, confused. Her mouth hung open, the first note of her song stuck in her throat, as her backing band’s melody degenerated into a musical cacophony; they’d spotted the huge wave, too.
Suddenly, the ocean exploded upward in a fountain that drenched the stage and sprayed the fleeing audience with fist-sized droplets. A mini-tsunami rushed up the shore and crashed against the people and equipment in the concert-staging areas.
Rin grabbed onto a thick tent pole and barely managed to keep her feet amid the swirling waters.
From the center of the upheaval rose a titanic, serpentine creature.
It towered over the beach, its long neck rearing up more than ten stories tall, dwarfing the concert stage. Brine and froth dripped from the spikes surrounding the monster’s reptilian face and cascaded down its blue-green scales. It opened its mouth, revealing rows of needle-sharp teeth, like the maw of some hideous deep-dwelling fish.
The crowd panicked, screaming and trampling each other, rushing away from the beach.
Chaos reigned in the staging area, too: people who had been knocked over by the wave scrambling back to their feet, people who’d managed to keep their footing running in every direction, people shouting to each other, people bawling.
Rin had lost track of the other members of Surfer Go Go. Had they pulled the van up to load the equipment? Were they looking for her? Had they left her behind?
She couldn’t tell. She couldn’t see any of her bandmates through the sea of rushing bodies and the heavy equipment knocked over by the wave.
Rin’s headache had stopped just as quickly as it had begun, but she almost preferred a pounding skull to this living nightmare.
A torrent of water, like the spray from an immense fire hose, rushed from the creature’s mouth. The jet crashed into the concertgoers, smashing many of them into the sand, where they lay flopping and sputtering like beached fish.
The monster roared—a hideous gurgling sound—apparently delighted at the success of its attack.
The beast lunged down, striking cobra-like into the floundering people and scooping a dozen of them into its mouth. It threw back its titanic head and swallowed the whole lot with a few bone-crunching bites.
In the awful moment of silence that followed, a woman screamed.
It seemed strange to Rin that one person’s voice should be so audible amid the turmoil. Then she realized:
Rika Tadaka was still onstage.
The starlet stood frozen, right in front of the main microphone, shrieking, while scant yards away, the terrible sea serpent devoured her fans.
Thanks to Vicki, David, Edward, and Kiff for beta-reading.
All contents, copyright 2013 Stephen D. Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.