Estimated reading time — 16 minutes
Genova was the kind of the girl you wouldn’t expect the stereotypical school jock to date. You’d think that the captain of the college football team would date a cheerleader or the local rich bitch who bragged about the latest perfumes and her daddy having the latest sports cars, but Seth always called himself a man of “simple tastes”; even when the rest of the wealthy sect of the school mocked at him for being a bit stingy when it came to money. Seth and Genova had meet on their first year as freshmen when they were paired as chemistry partners. While Seth had stuck to his childhood fantasy of playing on the big leagues and winning the Super bowl, Genova stuck to French literature hoping to become a teacher.
Despite being opposites who annoyed the hell of each other, the two of them started getting along. At first, they spited themselves because of their polar personalities. The classic nerdy girl got on her nerves after nagging the lazy uninterested jock about a hundred times, having to lecture him about the importance of paying attention and reciting him the periodic table again and again. This constant bickering and arguing led to Seth trying to ease things up with her, because he started to take some interest in his more professional partner. “It’s just adorable when she’s annoyed”, he used to say.
To his surprise, both had a mutual fascination for cinema. From cheesy nostalgic 80’s films to classic horror flicks; Seth knew he had the perfect string to pull a smile on the nerdy girl. Hesitant to give the lazy jock a chance, Genova surrendered herself to the small pink post-it note Seth had snuck on her bag. She was very surprised by the date the jock had planned: a night screening to Profondo Rosso with cheeseburgers afterwards. She was amazed that the superficial testosterone-filled football captain figured out dinner after a movie could come up with a great dinner conversation. No one would’ve believed that the “deep red Friday”, as nicknamed by their close friends, would become the first of several dates. It wasn’t after an entire year of going out that both realized that they liked each other a lot.
Despite the boy’s nights out where Seth came home smelling of beer and whiskey, sometimes even missing out on a couple dates; and despite Genova’s tight schedule as a T.A.; both lovers had an incredible patience for each other. They literally would overcome storm and hell for each other; the relationship was very special for both. So, it wasn’t a surprise that for their 7th anniversary, Seth wanted something very special planned. After all the cinema screenings, the late-night diner discussions, roses, stuffed bears and casual escapades to Genova’s house after midnight, Seth was more than certain that Genova was the one. He thought of all possible analogies to this special match: The Rose to his Jack, the Baby to his Johnny, the Sandy to his Danny or; as Genova’s personal favorite coupling, the Ilsa to his Rick.
“How should I propose?” was the 5-million-dollar question. “First off, we can cross out public proposals; I don’t want her to feel forced. It needs to be somewhere private”. “Private” was the key word. Private, maybe a park, or maybe camping out in the forest. The forest, of course; a lot of beautiful scenery. Scenery, the lake. Of course! The lake! That’s perfect! A night out at the lake, just the two of them. It was more than excellent. After 6 months of working overnight at multiple gas stations and selling his huge action figure collection, Seth rented a yacht service and bought an engagement ring; a glistening golden halo with a turquoise emerald square. He KNEW that Genova would love it. He even skipped a couple football games to make sure that everything would come out perfectly for a very special evening.
After a light school Friday, Genova was received by a cheery Seth with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates. After picking up the flowers and smelling the delightful aroma of fresh daisies, she started smiling and hugging her special guy. They held together watching each other and as they stared into each other’s eyes, the world around them began to fade into a blur. As the sounds of birds, cars and people muted down; the two interlocked into a calm, yet passionate kiss.
Their small little haven was interrupted by a horn, when a white van arrived to the school’s entrance. A man in a white tuxedo walked out of the car and walked towards the pair. “Are you Seth Myers?”, the man asked. Seth nodded in response as Genova began wondering what was going on. “Everything is set, Mr. Myers. I’ve been sent to take you there.” The man then opened the van’s door for Genova to sit in the back where a small basket filled with chocolates was placed for her, while Seth rode shotgun alongside the pilot’s seat. As the man in the white tuxedo sat and started the engine, Seth had asked if “everything was ready”, to which the man assured Seth it was. The van started and drove off away from the school into the town. Through the voyage, Genova softly munched on the sweets as the vehicle crossed through houses and buildings until it drove off onto the lone dirt roads that lead into the dense forest. As the van drove through the woods on a lonely road surrounded by thick vegetation and rows of pines, Genova locked her eyes on the misty lake that was appearing at the side of the road. “What is going on? Where are you taking me?” Genova asked with giggles cutting into her sentences. “Just wait”, replied Seth.
The van stopped on what appeared to be an old road stop, close to the lake’s shore. Seth came out of the car and cheerfully sprinted around the vehicle to help his girlfriend out of the van. He opened the door and held out his hand to Genova as she gracefully stepped outside the van. As the jock decided to go chat with the driver about where to go next, Genova walked to the near shore. The sounds of crunching leaves and the soft breeze blowing on her reddish hair made her smirk, playing in her mind what was awaiting her. She sat on a nearby green, semi-rusty bench and locked her eyes into the lake. The sounds of the flowing water and the chirping of birds set her in an amazing state of peace. The beautiful picture turned bigger when she noticed a big boat that was parked into the nearby docks, where men in white sailor uniforms seemed to be waiting for something. Her thoughts were interrupted when a hand touched her shoulder.
“I knew you’d find this beautiful, but we’re not spending the day on this bench”, said Seth with a small chuckle and leaded his girlfriend towards the dirt road. As they walked towards the docks, Genova kept her eyes locked on the lake. It was just too beautiful not to look. As she went hand in hand with the handsome man to the docks, the muffled voices of the crewmen began to welcome them to a yacht. She turned her attention to the docks where a row of men in white uniforms greeted them and lead them upon the ship. She was not only ecstatic, but speechless at the entire event. How did Seth plan all of this? How the hell did Seth get to pay this? As the couple were given a tour of the ship, the yacht began to sail off into the center of the lake. Both Genova and Seth had begun fantasizing of what an amazing evening was awaiting them.
The evening was amazing. Cruising throughout the lake with Genova and Seth admiring the misty lake with a cellist aboard playing Bach’s Cello suites (Genova certainly had a good taste in music); not to mention the usual compliments Seth would slip. As night came, the ship’s staff had leaded the couple into the deck where a table and two chairs were awaiting. A nicely cooked three course Italian meal was awaiting the two, along with a bottle of champagne. Italian had always been Genova’s weakness; the smell of tomato and basil was calling to her. The couple had begun their meal while the cellist followed them around, now playing some of Schumann’s best. After the meal was done, Seth had asked the cellist to give them a bit of a private time. The moment had arrived. Seth held Genova’s hand and walked her to the front of the ship, both covered in moonlight.
“Today’s been just amazing, Seth. But I must ask, how did you get to pay this?” “Let’s not worry about that right now, I want you to think about US. How many years have we been together now? I can’t remember…” Said Seth, sarcastically feigning forgetting about the occasion. Genova laughed at the guy’s poor attempt to hide his nervous shacking.
“Seven years. That’s one more than six, Seth.” “Right! Right, seven years. Seven amazing years. Seven years I’ve been stuck with the greatest girl in the town, the city, the state and heck, maybe even the world.” “Oh, stop it you!” Genova laughingly said. “No, I’m serious” Seth replied. “At first I thought you’d be the nagging, annoying nerdy girl who I’d have to stand with for the entire course; but eventually I saw beyond that.” Genova’s eyes began to widen as Seth went on.
“I don’t know if it was those fiery red flames that are your hair, or the green emerald orbs that are your eyes, or that white soft milky skin; but something told me you were something more. And something told me I needed to explore that. And in exploring it, I found something special. You’ve been there for me on so many occasions that I can’t and probably will never be able to repay you for your kindness. Whether it was getting me out of Mr. Simmons’ usual lecture about arriving on time or helping me pass that Algebra test for which I will probably need a bit more tutoring again, heh…” Both of them laughed after the embarrassing statement.
-“…but point is, you’ve been there for me whenever I have a problem. I see you as more than just my girlfriend. I see my best friend, my confidant, my second-in-command; I see the one person I can trust anything with in the entire world, and I don’t want to just see it. I want for that person to become a reality.” Seth’s knees began shaking as he reached for his back pocket for the ring. Genova began shaking as well, when she began placing things together and knew what would follow. Seth nervously got on one knee and took Genova’s hand, who was now tearing up in her eyes.
“You’ve been so kind to me, and now I want to be that which you are to me. I want to be the one you can trust in. I want to be the man who gives you everything. I want to be the one who will get you out of troubles and offer you the life you want to have.” Seth got the ring out, and as soon as he did; Genova placed her hand covering her mouth, a muffled crying was trying to escape.
“Genova Lewis Wright…” A green sheen reflected in her eyes as tears began falling down her face. Seth’s nervous voice switched to a higher pitch as he finished his sentence.
“…will you be my wife, and make me the happiest man on earth?” Genova broke into the tears after that final phrase had been ushered. Seth didn’t know how to respond to this. His heart was fiercely pounding and he was sweating cascades. Did he forget something? Did he do something wrong? Did he use the wrong words? Was the ring not perfect? Was he sweating to much? ABORT, ABORT. IT’S TIME TO…
“…yes.” Seth’s train of thought was interrupted at that line. He didn’t believe what he just heard. He mustered up his courage, lifted his face and uttered…
-“…what? What?” -“…yes, I do. I accept”
Genova’s bright face and her smile were a huge relief. Seth got up, took Genova’s hand, placed the ring in her finger and after staring each other for a moment, they locked in the most passionate kiss they’ve ever had.
Who know how much time they spent kissing under the moonlight, but it was more than enough for Seth to fully dig the memory of Genova’s wet kiss deep in his mind, forever to remember. Their moment of isolation was interrupted when the captain arrived to let them know that sleep time had arrived, and all had to go to bed. The couple was led to a bedroom with red walls, dark oak furniture and a grand white bed in the middle of it. The bed was decorated with rose petals, chocolates in the pillows and a bottle of champagne in the middle. The two of them spent hours awake, from what began as a passionate kiss to a full-on lust-driven frenzy. After the two had finished, they held each other and drifted away to sleep.
Genova was lost in her dreams of her future wedding when she woke up to the noise of a bump, coming from below. She woke up her boyfriend and told her about the bump. And then another one came. Bump, bump, bump. A tired Seth said it was nothing and told her to go back to sleep. Just as both were about to fall asleep again, an even louder bump banged, surprising the two of them. Curious, Seth got up from bed and said he would go investigate what was causing that. He told his fiancé to lay down and he would come back in a couple of minutes. Genova nodded and got back to bed, falling asleep again.
After a few minutes, Genova was suddenly awakened by a crewman bursting through the door. He turned up the lights and screamed “Miss, get to cover!”. She was still trying to quickly react to the blinding light and the horrified voice. She got up, shook her head and saw the crewman, paranoid and shaking. His eyes were wide opened, and his hands couldn’t stop shaking. He was pushing towards the door, as if trying to not let something in. Though there was no sign of something trying to break in.
“What’s going on?” Genova asked in a horrifying voice. “Something…” the crewman stuttered. – “Something came into the ship… and… it… the others…” The crewman broke into tears without answering her question, while she stood confused about the situation. The two of them jumped in horror as they heard a sound resonate through the ship. A deep, inhuman sound. The girl entered in a state of panic, afraid of whatever this “something” was, and started rushing to find something to use in self-defense. As Genova started to desperately search around the room for something that could be used as a defense item, the crewman stood in his place, pressing against the door to make sure nothing would notice them. The two started to hear even more bumps which were believed to come from the side of the ship. Bump, bump, bump. Scream.
After finding a handgun on a wooden closet, Genova started heading towards the door, pushed the crewman out of the way and slowly turned the knob of the door; carefully watching there was nothing on the other end. The crewman was starting to get very nervous, whispering “what the fuck are you doing?! They’re going to come out!”. Genova quietly explained that the two of them needed to get out before whatever was out there found them trapped in the room. Hesitantly, the crewman chose to follow her. The two cautiously walked out of the room and walked up the stairs that lead to the outside of the yacht. Genova noted something was different in the air, it was the stench. The air had gained a distinctive smell, like the back of a fish market where the guts and scales were dumped, mixed with the aroma of humidity. She involuntarily covered her mouth to avoid the horrid smell as she and the crewman proceeded through the ship. The two of them stopped on the top rails after watching what looked like wet footprints. They closely observed what looked like a three-toed watery print on the wood. Genova’s heart started to beat faster as she realized there was a trail of these prints, but she broke out of her realization when she heard the quiet words “Do you hear that?”
Footsteps. Heavy footsteps, and running. As the two slowly walked through the side of the ship, they heard the running getting closer and closer. The two immediately opened and got inside a maintenance closet they had passed nearby. Before shutting the door, Genova hid behind it and peeked out to see what was causing the sound. She saw another crewman running away from something. His white uniform had blood stains and was harmed on his arm. He was slowly limping away from something, and he passed through the closet without noticing their presence. As if fate wanted Genova to have a perfect view through the closet door, the crewman stopped as if he had seen a ghost. Blocked by the door, Genova couldn’t see the thing that was walking right in front of her, on the other side of the door. The shadowy figure simply lifted its arm and it gashed through the body of the crewman. As his entrails started to pour out of the wound, the weakened crewman fell on his knees and on his back. He desperately huffed and puffed as his life was pushing its way through his breaths. As the figure approached its prey, the fishy stench was getting stronger.
Holding her hand to her mouth to avoid screaming, Genova observed as the shadowy figure approached his prey and started eating the remains. She saw the man’s intestines slide through the hands of the figure, and splatters of blood erupt as the creature munched on the bloody pile of organs. Disgusted, she started to slowly close the door until she felt a hand behind her. The crewman pushed her out of the room and took the handgun she had dropped. Shocked by the sudden betrayal, she immediately got up and headed back to the closet which was shut in her face. She desperately began banging the door, begging to be let in. As her mind began to remember of the monster that was behind her, she quickly turned back to watch the monster rise from behind her and observe her. She suddenly started sprinting away from it back to the main room. She was now being chased by the thing which flung at her. It was difficult to run through the slippery wood paneling of the yacht back to the room, the foul smell of blood and the stench of the creature made its way towards her lungs as she dashed to run for her live; they filled her lungs with the nauseating aroma as she sprinted. This caused her to almost puke as she ran for her life.
Before reaching the stairs, she felt something sharp gnaw her ankle. The gashing sensation of something cold slide through her caused her to fall down the stairs and lay there in pain. The hard hit on her head was just making things worse, apart from the nauseating atmosphere and the coming sensation of death, she painfully lifted her head and turn to see if she was still being chased. She turned back and observed the great figure at the top of the stairs, which in turn, was observing her. She saw a tall, monstrous figure with bright green eyes. She started screaming and forcefully limped herself towards the bedroom as she heard the monster from behind loudly sprinting down the stairs. She ran shutting the door behind her hoping it would gain her more time to hide, and she dashed to the closet where she locked herself in.
She couldn’t see anything, but she heard the creature break into the room. Her heart was beating faster, and it became more difficult to stay quiet as the creature began exploring the room. She heard it sniffing around the room. Genova was spooked at the sound of gunshots. When this happened, she could hear the creature in the room sprint out of the room. The loud banging and knocking of the monster’s body against the room’s walls shook her even more. She stood there, silent and frightful, starting to weep and cry after the things she had seen. More gunshots were heard which started to concern her even more. What could be happening out there? Her question was answered when she heard someone running towards the room. It was the crewman who pushed her, the monsters probably found him. When she heard the man run into the room and shut the door, she peeked through the closet’s keyhole where she hoped it would be safe.
The room was dark and the figures in it could barely be separated, but she saw the crewman grasp himself against the door, sweat was clearly dripping from his forehead, it was the smell that made it clear. Suddenly, the door burst open, falling on him. As the man crawled away from the door, a gigantic figure took a few steps before catching his prey. She saw the creature penetrate the man with its arm, lifting him up and closely observing him. After a few seconds, the creature took a huge bite out of the man’s face and swung his corpse to the wall, where it switched on the lights upon impact. Trying to calm herself down, Genova finally caught the figure in full light. It was a bipedal creature, with a small hump and long arms, with four fingers; each having sharp, long claws. The creature had the head of a fish, with the mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth and bright green eyes. The creature was covered in scales, its limbs had fish fins that stretched in and out, almost as if was in accord with it breathing. The monster’s silver-scaled skin was spattered with dried blood-stains, a remnant of the vicious killing it had made.
Amazed by the sight of the monster, she covered her ears when the creature let out a deafening roar. Recovering from the horrible sound, she peeked again to watch 2 other monsters come into the room. Though different in size and shape, the three abominations shared the same physical characteristics. It was obvious these things were part of a community. The three creatures got down and started to feed on the body of the deceased crewman. She quietly wept while she heard the munching and crunching of organs and bones. The horror of it all was so heavy on her, she didn’t notice she started to fall asleep from exhaustion as the sounds of the savage feast began to fade away.
Genova’s slumber was interrupted by the sound of heavy footsteps. Quietly and cautiously, she observed through the closet’s keyhole. Due to the sunlight crossing to the room, she figured out that it was early morning. She was so tired she didn’t even flinch at the sight of the gory mess from last night. The walls were splattered with blood and in the center of the room, all that remained was a man-sized carcass, still filled with flesh and bones protruding out. Her instinct of fear kicked back when of the creatures entered back into the main room. The creature grabbed the carcass from which they fed the night before and dragged it out of the room. A bloody trail was being left as the animal headed out of the room. She stayed quietly in that closet listening closely to what was going on. She heard the heavy footsteps again. Steps, steps, steps and then a splash. And another, and another one. She was too scared to go out but after what felt like 10 minutes of hearing absolutely nothing except for her heavy breathing, she came out of the closet and followed the bloody trail, which led towards the edge of the yacht, where it disappeared towards the water. She reached the deck of the ship. It was early morning, the air stanched of humidity and blood. She searched throughout the ship and found the bodies gone. The creatures had gone away, and they had taken the corpses. The yacht was surrounded by the thick fog that had been there the day before.
Genova was alone on the yacht and with no one to pilot it, she was forced to remain in the ship and wait for someone to come, or for the monsters to come back. She retreated to the maintenance closet she had hidden and closed the door. She stayed there, waiting.
An old man gathered his fishing supplies and loaded them to a truck. Before exiting his house, he put on his fishing cap and said goodbye to his son. The man who had been fishing for the local fish markets began hunting for where to find bigger and better fish, he needed a greater income due to his son almost going to college. He got on his truck and drove to a lake where he heard it was rarely visited by people, that could be a good place to find better catch. Once he arrived at the misty lake, he pulled down his fishing boat, his supplies and began rowing towards the center. From an aerial shot of the lake, he determined the dead center of it would be the best place to start. It was very difficult to row the boat as the fog made it difficult for him to see where he was going. He was surprised when the boat bumped into the yacht, which was completely hidden by the fog. Curious as to what was this doing here, he got on the yacht which appeared to be abandoned. As he searched the yacht for anyone, he noticed the blood spatters and the abnormal footprints. His attention peaked when he reached a maintenance closet where he heard heavy breathing. He slammed the door open and he was shocked to see a young girl, laid against the wall. She was not in a good shape. Her skin was very pale, there was a lot of mucus running down her mouth, her eyes were horribly red and her ankle was covered in pus and bruises. The man knew she wouldn’t have the strength to get on her feet, so he dragged her out the maintenance closet.
He sat her down at the front of the ship and started asking questions. What had happened, who did this, who hurt her ankle, if she could hear him; all these questions were answered with the same thing: silence. Scared about her, the fisherman told her to stay there, he would call the cops to come and check what happened. The fisherman headed back to his boat and left Genova sitting on the deck, assuring her he would come back. Tired after all that happened, Genova slowly crept towards the open edge of the yacht, and threw herself in the water.
She didn’t struggle as she started to sink down. Her vision started to blur and she could feel what little life she had starting to fade away. As water started to fill her lungs, she smiled when she felt something that could put an end to her misery. She felt two pairs of scaly hands grip onto her wrists. She felt relief that the nightmare would end as the hands dragged her down to the black depths of the lake.
CREDIT : Vartomio Cain