Dead CircleWavering strands of green and yellow seaweed reached from around the edges of the stone circle. The stones were a greenish hue with tiny bits of bright red coral covering the deep recesses between each section of the circle. Distant from the thriving port city of St. Nathan the stones were a dark portal to another time, a time when ancient sailing vessels and pirates scouted the waters off the coast. The designs inscribed upon the surface of the stones were an arcane message to the wont of those who might find the need to open unbidden secrets, to the wont of searchers and treasure hunters alike.
Nate Dove swam in slow lazy circles around the circle of inscribed granite; his scuba tank had forty-five minutes left in it and he wanted to mark the spot for future explorations. He had searched for the massive granite circle most of his life, the portal for dark dreamers and the gods of ash and blood. Nate touched the surface of one of the stones, it was warm to the touch and beneath the surface a hum, a vibration, like a heartbeat throbbing with the pulse of the ocean and all the clandestined whispers of another age. A shadowy embrace enveloped him as he pressed his hand against the inscriptions and he was transported to another time, another place closer to the eye of creation.
Images flashed before his eyes, great gushing torrents of lava and towering mountains of ash. In the vision he saw distant vistas near the coastline and old remnants of fire. A group of men on the beach line, they were cooking fish over an open flame, “Food for the angels.” one of them said. The other man grunted and looked to the sea, “The stones will tell the beast to march.” as Nate dreamed of the men his eyes saw and the knowledge they presented to him was a silhouette in terror, the beast the men spoke of stood from the ocean beds on two gigantic legs, as tall as a skyscraper. He saw the men on the beach run and scream in terror as an enormous wave swallowed the tiny campfire and the beach line.
Nate shook his head is slow nods as he stared at the stones that formed the circle; it was dead it had to be he thought, a dead circle, dead creatures of old he prayed.
The stones began to glow a pale red luminescence as he pried at a loose rock near the center of the circle. In that moment Nate saw the bodies, old having died years and years ago the men had perished at the hands of the monster. What had brought the monster to the surface, what had driven it to kill the men; the visions weren’t answering his questions.
A deep rumbling sound came in waves beneath the surface of the ocean, deep within the ocean currents. Nate Dove pried at the stone in the center of the circle until it came loose. Tiny tendrils of silt and sand clouded the recess beneath the stone for a moment, then a flitter of gold. Nate reached down into the cavity and pulled out a long rope of gold with a medallion attached to it. Wiping the surface of the medallion clean he studied it with an eager appreciation.
The opening in the circle began to glow red with a pulsing strobe-like rhythm and then a bright red liquid smoke began to pour from the opening in the gahnite. Nate tried to back away and found that he couldn’t move, his oxygen tank had five minutes left in it and he began to panic flailing wildly as he tried to escape the pull of the stones.
In a final attempt to break free he placed the necklace back into the opening and replaced the stone. The pulsing increased and the circle began to crumble revealing plumes of crimson smoke. Nate screamed inside his mask and yanked free from the magnetic pull of the stones. Swimming upward he got to the edge of the speedboat and climbed in.
Nate jerked the mask from his face and cranked the engine speeding in the opposite direction of the roiling waters. From a distance Nate looked backward and saw a giant shadow that climbed across the sun and threw him into its cool silhouette.
Nate considered the dream for a moment as he headed up the coast away from the approaching hand of fate. They had known and soon St. Nathan would know that the circle was indeed alive and the fates had a surprise in store for them.