Author: Joseph Kiley PM
An allegory, as usual.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - Words: 1,246 - Published: 10-17-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3066422
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It was noon. Dr. Yelik squinted at the harsh white rays of sunlight that blanketed the coastline. He had been in India for a few months now, and he was staying at a cheap hotel about a mile away from the beach. He enjoyed the pretty blue water, the orange Indian sand, and the warm climate, but more than anything he enjoyed studying the ancient ruins that peppered the area. He was an archaeologist from America, and his life's work was the study of such structures. His dream was realized when he was provided the funding from his university to move out to the east coast of India overlooking the Bay of Bengal for one year to study the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram. All was not well though.
His main focus was the shore temple that overlooked the ocean near the beach that he normally went to, because, well, it was the only one that could be proven to exist. The rest of the temples were said to have been swallowed by the ocean centuries ago. In recent weeks Dr. Yelik had hit a roadblock in his research, so he could often be found loitering around the shore temple, examining sediment and answering questions posed by curious tourists.
"Pleased to meet ya. Dr. Eli Yelik at your service. What brings you to the shore temple?" He would always begin with in his squeaky voice, often full of unnecessary upward inflections. He was a short man, middle aged and scrawny. He had a full head of black hair and a bushy mustache. He would typically wear shorts that cut off above his knees and a tucked in polo shirt, all a uniform shade of park-ranger tan. The worn sack that he draped over his shoulder contained a pad and a pen, a magnifying glass, a set of brushes, a camera, and a few books about ancient Indian architecture and history that he rarely looked at anymore.
Since he had arrived at the beach at 9:00 AM, he had been discussing the nature of his work with a young man by the name of Vikram Gupta. Vikram was a student of history, on his third year at a university and also very interested in the Seven Pagotas. He stood much taller than Dr. Yelik, about six-foot-three. His body was sleek and muscular, and his head was shaven completely bald. He smiled as he spoke to Dr. Yelik.
"Are you trying to find the other six temples? Or are you just here to observe the shore temple?" he asked. Dr. Yelik sniffled, and with a stern look that avoided contact with Vikram's eyes said:
"Well, boy. I'd love to see the other six temples. In fact, it's mainly why I came here. We already know all that we're going to know about this shore temple." He sighed. "If my math is correct, the closest temple should be right about there," he said, pointing toward the water. "I've had the opportunity to go down there a few times in a scuba suit, and so far I've found nothing. If only I could find that one temple. Just have one piece of evidence that it existed... well, it would prove that the others exist too and my work might be taken seriously." He clenched his fists. Vikram, collecting himself, put his hand on Dr. Yelik's shoulder.
"I'm unsure of what I could possibly do to help make your dream a reality, but I can only hope that you find what you're looking for." He said in his moderately heavy Hindi accent. He stood up and slowly walked away, disappearing into the bustling crowd of tourists and beach-goers, leaving his new friend in peace. Dr. Yelik continued sitting along the worn granite edge of the temple, his elbows to his knees and looked down. The past few months had been full of ups and downs. One moment, he would be euphorically happy, giving tourists information, joking with children, and taking notes on the huge granite structure. The next he would think about the futility of his mission and become rather sad.
If he came back to America with nothing to show for his expensive trip, not only would he never be able to make one again, he would be laughed at by his colleagues. He tilted his head up and looked at the peak of the temple. It looked like a spearhead. The stack of stony slabs seemed to flirt with him. He stood up, grunted, and kicked the wall.
"Well, I guess I oughta call it a day early. Maybe go get some lunch." he said to himself. Just as he was about to leave, he noticed something strange stirring in the water. The beautiful blue sheet crashed against the shore as usual, releasing a harsh mist on impact. It seemed to be low tide early though. Very low and very early. He pushed his thick glasses further up toward the bridge of his nose and stared at the sea in bewilderment. The shoreline seemed to be moving toward the horizon. The churning water pulled back at an increasingly high rate. Before long, he could see no ocean at all. A thought popped into his mind. He looked over to the site where he had predicted the second temple to be. His stomach filled with butterflies. Peaking out of the wet sand was a stone spear head, similar to the one at the top of the shore temple.
This had to be some sort of a mirage. He had to go see for himself. He skidded down the sandy incline and ran toward the stone relic that he had sought for so long. He ran through the wet sand, making loud plopping sounds the whole time. The beach-goers shouted. Cheering him on, he thought. Dr. Yelik finally reached his destination. It was real. He reached out and touched it. He then began digging with his hand. Scooping the salty mud from around it. Just to see how far it would go. He breathed heavily. This was a lot to take in at once. He had left his sack on shore so he could run faster.
He needed his camera, otherwise he would have no proof that he had seen it he thought. No time to waste. He stood up and positioned his hands toward the spear head as if signaling at it to not go anywhere. He heard a faint rumbling. Before he could think about its source, he noticed a line of white on the horizon. It was thickening at an alarming rate. He thought he knew what it was.
He simply stared forward in awe. The sound got louder and louder as the white line got bigger and bigger. It sounded like a freight train approaching. He looked behind him to see that the beach had been completely abandoned. Umbrellas, trash, and towels littered the sand.
He turned back around. It was less than two hundred feet away from him. A wall of jagged foam rushed toward him at an astounding speed. It was at least forty feet tall and spat angry brine every which way. The behemoth damaged the very ground it moved across.
As if in slow motion, the savage, wet entity cast a shadow over the petrified man, punched him with a bone-shattering force, and swallowed him. He flipped several times and felt his ribs crack immediately. He inhaled water and died within a few seconds.