Sunday, 31 August 2014

Another late pictonaut!

As the terrible human being that I am, I am posting this month's pictonaut far too late! And it is so short as well. And it's fanfic! I feel all dirty. It is called Rise, rise, rise!

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The swell receded, the pure white foam bubbling away, dissolving back into the sea and Milo stooped down to discovered what had been washed ashore. Many - indeed most - feared the ocean now. Mankind has retreated in waves from the shore, swifter, they hoped, than the water rose to swallow them. Evil had come from the sea, rising up from the depths to wreak destruction on the land as it had beneath the waves, and just as suddenly had floundered and died, unable to survive outside its natural habitat. Debate still raged as to what they had been. Like people built by crazed gods, they craved and killed and broke and begged for something that did not exist, and when they could not find it, they died - mostly by their own hands. That time had passed, but the shore was still a cursed place to most.

Actually, Milo thought to himself, 'shore' is inaccurate. It wasn't like he stood upon a golden, sandy beach, surrounded by sea shells and crustaceans. Junk yard would be more accurate. For after monsters, other things started to come from the sea. Glass things and concrete things, metal things and stone things. It was all so alien to Milo, so exciting. It was sure to make his fortune, as he alone was brave enough to explore the water's edge.

He hadn't found much so far, but he knew the time would soon come when his patience would be rewarded. Last time he had seen syringes and vials. All broken, empty, worthless, but if he could get some intact he might make millions selling the world its next great dream.

Today did not yet look as though it would be his day, however, as he picked through the usual assortment of chipped brick and twisted metal. Still, he scrutinized every nook he could find unscrupulously. Another wave would hit in a second, and Milo knew that the future could be changed by something small, far more easily than it might by something big; something he might miss; something that might get swept away by the next swell.

The next wave broke and Milo looked up in time to see a soft toy bear be taken up and out to the boundless ocean. It looked man-made - human-made, he should say - enough and probably came from the discarded refuse of some other city.

The wash of the breaking wave moved over Milo's shoes as the sound did over his ear, a great crescendo finally fizzling away to a soft hiss, and then... the hiss did not fade. While the sea had grown silent, something unidentified still remained. Milo's keen ear picked it out and he began moving to the source. Every strike of wave on refuse scrambled his sonar, forcing him to stop and wait but, little by little, he approached the prize, growing in his imagined estimation as he grew nearer to it.

Finally, Milo knelt down amongst the flotsam and pressed his ear to the box that was hissing at him, whispering to him promises and dreams. The sea heaved once more and the sound changed to piercing feedback, forcing Milo to move away from his prize. Nevertheless, he was rewarded for his caution as the whispers of the deep began to take form.

"Thi... apt....er."

Milo waited, listening for more.

"Thi... apt...  er," the box repeated, and again. Milo investigated closer, searching for whatever might be supplying power to this mechanical voice. Somewhere, an ancient power source, rusting on the ocean floor, was breathing these dying half words to the surface. Milo discovered the cables, somewhat exposed and sparking concerningly, on the back side of the box. He pulled on the wires, but something beneath the sea into which they trailed was holding them fast.

Milo pulled with all his force. A large object in the murky waters shifted and rose, sending its own microtides spreading across the civic graveyard. Bubbles rose and grew and shattered to reveal - bubbles; a great metal dome, three times a grown man's head worth, punctuated with dark glass bubbles, smaller hemispheres spread over its surface.

There was something else attached to the dome, just as it curved under the water, pink and loose, some kind of fabric. For a second, the light fell in such a way as to convince Milo that the clothing was occupied. He fell into a panic of altruism and waded out into the ocean to rescue the poor soul trapped beneath the Atlantean waste. He pulled ferociously at the rags floating before him as soon as he was within reach, but his efforts were in vain. The cloth came away easily enough, and had indeed once been a dress, clearly belonging to a very young girl, but these garments had not contained a child for countless years. Only the shadow of her life remained.

"Thi... a... apt... mi... er."

The box spurted out its broken message with renewed vigour, now permanently audible over the sound of the waves, causing Milo to turn his attention from his new discovery. He stood and waited for more.

"This... a... aptur... minder.
"This is a... apture... minder.
"This is a Rapture reminder. This is a Rapture reminder."


The great bubbled dome beneath him sprang to life, red light spewing forth from within the blistered windows. To Milo's left, water began to run off an object that rose from the waves, a large gloved hand, and to his right, something big and metallic, a large conical drill, began to spin, spraying the suds of the tide into Milo's face. The monster beneath him shifted and threw him down onto his back. A hulk of a man in some kind of terrible suit, which sustained its life beneath the waves, rose out of the water and let out a horrific moan that shook the buildings around them. The monster saw the cloth in Milo's hand and screamed, bearing down with its terrifying spinning drill.