sealie: made for me by tardis80 (seal_two)
[personal profile] sealie
Rating: PG
Warning: horror
Comments: British English spelling
Spoilers: none
Disclaimer: writing for fun not for profit
Notes: beta’d by the wonderful springwoof.

Happy birthday to springwood. Happy birthday to dear springwoof.


The sea; the depths.
The fear.


The old sailors tell stories. They speak of the depths where the unknown hands lie. Steve has his own stories. The unknown and knowing depths of a shark’s dead eye in dark waters best not spoken of. The shark swims past him, rough skin scraping against Steve’s torso as he hangs in the water waiting for death.

His stories are not as terrifying as the old sailors’: the knocking on the outside of a claustrophobic submarine at two thousand metres, and the voices, always voices, sibilant in the depths.

All the sailors -- the old ones -- have stories. The young sailors are dead.

             ~*~




The sea; the depths.
The fear.

By sealie

“Steve? Penny for your thoughts?”

“Hmm?”

Danny pointed outside at the dark night beyond the Ali'iolani Hale’s windows. “Time to go home, Babe,” he said softly.

Home to his house by the ocean – the sea and its unfathomable depths.

“Sure.” Steve dredged up a smile.

“Right,” Danny drawled.

Steve stood, better to move, better to railroad, better to commandeer the car’s keys, and drop Danny at his house deep in the suburbs, inland, far from the sea.

“I’m driving,” Steve said.

“Like Hell you are, you look like shit. I’ll drop you at your place.”

             ~*~

The street lights strobed as Danny turned them onto Piikoi Street. Salt taste was strong on the air when Steve piled out of the car, intent on getting into his house as soon as possible.

“Where’s your head at?” Danny was always bull headed.

Steve arrowed into his house. Danny on his heels. Steve moved through each room switching lights on.

“Okay,” Danny said slowly, “Beers?”

Should Danny stay or go? Go – he’d be safer further inland. But he was here now, and wouldn’t be happy to leave until he was satisfied. And Danny had followed him into the house.

Suddenly, rain hammered against the lanai windows, where they had been bone dry a heartbeat ago.

“Whoa. Came out of nowhere. Tropical storms,” Danny said sagely. “Not safe to drive. Beer.”

“It’s not raining that hard--” The flash of lightning illuminated the living room in stark relief.

Crack!...and the lights went out.

“Better drink the beer before it gets warm,” Danny’s voice was disembodied. Sight struggled between the flare of light and pitch black.

“The refrigerator is insulated,” Steve said practically.

“Hah,” Danny scoffed and, practiced, picked his way through the maze of old furniture and inherited stuff.

Lightning cracked blindingly again. Nothing moved in the sharp, brief, impenetrable shadows. Sheet lightning or forked – Steve hated them both.

“Beer.” Danny strutted back into the living room as if surfing the lightning. “You got candles?”

“Flashlights, batteries, halogen rechargeable lamps, candles, and waterproof matches in the waterproof crate in the cubby under the stairs. Left hand side, on the floor under the shelf.”

“Geez. Here, beer.”

Steve accepted the two bottles, letting Danny go mess up the meticulous organisation of his emergency supplies. He slid over to the doors overlooking the lanai, scrutinising the world beyond the flimsy glass. The rain was hammering down. Even when the lightning flashed, visibility was close to zero. Vague, indistinct shapes moved at the edge of sight.

The trees – probably.

Danny chose candles, of course he chose candles. He was romantic at his very heart.

“You need to leave,” Steve said.

“What?” Danny could blink like it was going out of style. “It’s pouring.”

“You’re from the East Coast; it rains there.”

“Yeah, and we don’t go out when it’s like this. We hunker down and wait it out!”

Steve ground his teeth.

“Why don’t you want me here?” Danny asked, a plaintive edge to the question.

He couldn’t say it. He couldn’t make it real.

“We could go to yours,” Steve said pitifully.

Danny cocked an eyebrow. “If we were going to make that decision, we should have made it when we left the office.”

“Jesus,” Steve swore. Danny was right.

“Hmmmm.” Danny rocked back on his heels. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on, Babe?”

You had to appreciate his dogged support, Steve thought.

It was raining hard enough that Steve wondered whether he should break out his SCUBA gear. The humour made him snort.

“Babe?”

To talk about it would make it real. Would make it something that he had to talk about. He didn’t want his fears to be dismissed. He didn’t want the horror to happen. If he warned Danny, would that make it real? If Danny was kept in the dark, he might be safe. He wouldn’t be worried.

Danny wouldn’t catch its attention.

Denial was a safe harbour.

“Babe?”

His silence worried Danny.

Damn it.

“Beer?” Steve took a deliberate quaff of his Longboard. “The gas is still on. I’ve got a pizza in the freezer. Hawaiian.”

“Hah!”

A knock at the door made Steve jump.

“Geez!” Danny started at Steve’s reaction. He automatically moved towards the door. “Who can that be?”

“Don’t.” Steve raised a hand.

I don’t understand. All I know is the fear.

“There’s no one there,” Steve explained.

“A knock generally means there’s someone at the door,” Danny said, as if talking to an idiot.

“Not in this weather.” Steve stared at the door. It didn’t go away.

Danny reached for the door handle.

“Look through the little window,” Steve said. “There’s no one there.”

Plainly distrustful, Danny stretched up on his toes and peered out into the night through the small rectangular window.

Steve held his breath.

“Huh,” Danny said, “no one there.”

“Told you,” Steve managed. “It was probably something in the wind. Gust. Litter hitting the door.”

“Yeah…. Okay?”

Steve found a shrug. “Pizza?”

“Yeah, but we’re not having Hawaiian.”

“It’s that or salad.”

The lights switched on.

Yes.

Shadows scurried away in the face of bright, electric, modern illumination.

River in Egypt.

             ~*~

Mumble. Mumble.

Steve flipped on to his stomach and punched his pillow hard. In the living room below, Danny had switched on the television for the background white noise. What felt like a hundred years ago, Steve had left him as snug as a bug in a rug, wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, when Danny had fallen asleep mid-diatribe about anything and everything. He must have woken.

Disturbed – albeit that was a lie, he hadn’t slept – Steve sat up. A couple of beers, pizza, and good company. They had eaten food and the very act had been grounding. Faced with Danny’s own personally snarky bonhomie Steve had found logic and sense in the face of what were obviously irrational nightmares.

Danny was endlessly patient. Steve wasn’t stupid, Danny was not going to let what he figured was PTSD lie. Steve was much happier to let Danny think that he was having flashbacks than the reality of….

Damn it all to Hell. Steve flung himself out of bed. Perfunctorily, he went to the bathroom, not necessarily to relieve himself, but mostly to break the circle of his thoughts.

Automatically, he flicked the light switch, and no light illuminated the bathroom.

The power was off again -- cut. It wasn’t unexpected since rain drummed against the bathroom window.

He dealt with matters.

Mumble. Mumble.

The noise wasn’t the television and interminable infomercials.

Danny was a sleep talker; it made sense, he never stopped talking when he was awake.

Finishing, Steve washed his hands, a mere splash of water, and slipped over to check the perimeter through the bedroom windows.

Clear.

Mumble. Mumble.

It behoved him – behoved – to check downstairs. To ensure the doors and windows were indeed closed. To check on Danny. If he was sleep talking, a little YouTube videotaping would be called for.

He scooped up his bedside P226 E2 from the table, flicking on the pistol taclight.

He had his gun out and was ready.

Steve froze half way down the stairs.

Why did he have his weapon?

Shit.

The stairs provided a vantage point to scope out the open plan of the living room. A blanket was puddled on the floor. The cushions on the sofa were dented.

Steve glided down the stairs, scanning the environment. Crouching by the newel post at the bottom of the bannister, he systematically evaluated each logical sector of the living room and the dining room.

No Danny.

He could be getting a drink of water.

Steve slithered along the wall and then the built in shelving, keeping them at his back. Craning his head, he peered into the kitchen.

Clear.

But no Danny.

He wouldn’t have left.

Danny would never have left him.

Knock. Knock.

Steve went cold.

The knocking had taken Danny.

Shit. Shit. Steve’s breath caught in his throat. Where was the knocking coming from?

He wanted to call out – call out for Danny, but the words stuck in his throat. Steve stood in the alcove and breathed. His breathing matched his heartbeat – In out. In out. In out.

Shit.

He scanned left. He scanned right.

Knock.

Steve held his breath.

He wouldn’t drown in fear. The knocking had taken Danny.

Furtively, he glanced to the closed doors leading to the lanai. Knocking on a door had to come from the outside. The knocking had Danny – therefore Danny was outside.

Rat tat tat.

Shit.

Deliberately, Steve held his breath, forcing his over-breathing to stop dead.

Dead.

Danny was outside, so he would go outside, and get his Danny back.

Knock. Knock.

He stalked across the room, cutting through to the closed doors leading to the lanai. The night was dark beyond. No rain hammered. But it was dark.

Steve set his hand on the latch.

“The only easy day was yesterday.” He opened the door.

He would face the very Kraken to get Danny back.

And he would succeed.



Never the end.

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