Out with the New, in with the old Ones
By Matthew C Nelson
Aaron was overjoyed as the day of his departure arrived. He'd been working and studying long and hard for this day to arrive. Sure, it would mean that he'd be away from his fiance, friends and family for awhile, but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and he was sure that they'd understand.
Striding with a bit of a jump in his step, he wandered from his bedroom and into the bathroom to begin the routine that would start his day. He reached for his toothbrush, prepped it with the usual "rinse with water for a minute, apply the toothpaste in an even fashion, rinse one more time for good measure, then begin brushing" routine, and set it to motion.
Aaron looked up into the mirror as he began brushing and he froze. Behind him in the mirror was a horrific looking man staring at him. The man's eyes had been torn from their sockets, his lower jaw just about torn off and dangling on but one strand of skin, and his skin looked the way chicken did after it had been on the grill for far too long.
Frightened, Aaron dropped the toothbrush and spun around, only to find that nobody was there. Looking around franticly, he realized that there was nobody there. By this time, his breathing was strained and his body began to sweat profusely. It took some time before they returned to normal. Chuckling to himself, he resumed brushing.
" It's just the nerves," he repeated over and over in his head. Finishing up, he quickly hopped in the shower and continued getting ready. The fact that he never saw the appariton again only supported the idea that his nerves were indeed on edge.
Getting out of the shower a few minutes later, he went over to his bed and began to dress. He looked up at the sound of his phone ringing. Flipping it open, he responded.
"Well, hi honey. I was hoping to talk to you before I left. I don't have time to talk right now, but I will later on tonight, ok? I love you." He ended the call and finished getting dressed.
The two hour drive was rather uneventful, aside from the fact that his stereo cut out for a few minutes. The only other sound in the car, aside from his voice and the news correspondent on the radio station, was the voice that called out his GPS locations to him.
As he pulled up to the naval dockyard, he smiled and let out a whistle. Looking out at the end of the pier was the ship that was going to take him and his research team out to begin testing on the new deepsea submersible he was chosen to pilot. Aaron has spent fifteen years in the navy as a navigational officer aboard a submarine.
As he exited and walked up, one of his fellow scientists approached him and returned his handshake.
"We were wondering if you were ever going to arrive. The crew is all itching to get this rolling."
"Hey Jim," replied Aaron, "yeah, I got stuck in some traffic. I wouldn't miss this opportunity for anything. Is all the equipment and personnel onboard?"
Jim nodded, "Ready and awaiting the arrival of its captain." The two of them turned and headed towards the naval vessel, the USS Lovecraft.
After several hours of reviewing the pre-launch, the naval vessel pulled away from the dock and headed out to sea. After several more hours, the captain signaled to all aboard that they had arrived. Jim and Aaron stared in amazement at the submersible. It measured thirty feet long and about five feet wide. It was covered in a material that reduced the drag and the effects of depth pressure. There was a sphere at the top that allowed the pilot the ability to see three-hundred and sixty degrees. It also was coated in a material that polarized the light, to offer them the ability to see clearer and farther.
Once he took his place in the submersible. After running through one last checklist, the sub launched itself from the USS Lovecraft. All ran with textbook precision. That is, for the first hour. A few minutes after, the entire cabin lighting, as well as all the command and navigational consoles went dead and the sub began to sink.
Aaron was a very cool-headed person, and actually thrived in these sort of situations. However, after about an hour of doing everything he could think of, he knew that he was in trouble. He knew that he was at the mercy of the ocean, and that he was going to hit the bottom far below.
Hours passed by. Without anyone else aboard, the vessel was extremely quiet. Aaron just stared out the bubble and watched as his world plunged into darkness. He knew that this would be his tomb.
The front end hit first, followed by the back end. The vessel his something so hard that it jarred Aaron out of his seat. He went to stand up, but he never got the chance. He heard the sound of metal scraping on metal under water, and that sound sent him running. He immediately dove straight forward and lunged for the submersible suits. Tim was of the essence, and he realized that if he got it on, there might actually be a chance of survival. As slim as that chance was, he had to take it.
Aaron had just finished putting the suit on when the aft of the sub was torn apart. Aaron scrambled to get out of the way of the walls as they began collapsing inward. He was completely caught off guard as something massive wrapped itself around his waist several times and began pulling him out of the submersible and into the deep depths of the ocean.
The suit's auto-light turned on, bathing everything in a light that shot out for about forty feet. This was a place where light had never been seen. All the sights that Aaron saw were bizarre. However, he didn't have the luxury of looking around at his leisure. He was at the mercy of whatever had dragged him out of the sub. All he could make out was that it was a greenish-grey tentacle that had the texture of stone. It looked like it was covered in thin black lines that criss-crossed and spiraled outward.
His body was being pulled at such an amazing speed as he bounced off the ocean floor. He bounced a few more times and then darkness . He had the split second to look around at his surroundings. Whatever had him was dragging him into the deepest regions of the Marianas Trench. His mind went numb when he realized that. Nothing man-made could withstand the pressures of the Marianas Trench...nothing.
Miracle of miracles, he was still alive. As he was being pulled, he saw something floating past him....he bumped it and it was snagged in his arms and legs long enough for him to see what it was.
It was a body....it was the body he saw this morning, standing behind him, staring at him in the mirror.
Aaron screamed inside the suit.
The waterlogged body wrinkled its face as it spoke. Aaron was even more shocked when he could hear the words inside his head.
"You have been chosen. You are the six thousand six-hundred and sixty-sixth soul to be collected. The Old Ones have chosen you to be the last one....the last one that leads to their beginning....you have broken open the seal....you are in the arms of the great and insane lord, Cthulhu....all praise him."
The Old Ones had come.....Aaron had been the way....Aaron had made a name for himself after all.