Warm Tide
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You found her on the shore. A leviathan of flesh and blood, marbled white and blotched with seeping rivulets of red, larger and grander than anything you had ever known in her debased glory. Bloated and warming she sat, stinking in the grey sand, waiting eyeless and finless for the inevitable congregation of hermit crabs and seagulls.

When you saw her, you knew without words that she was a mother. The depth she reached now was not her own. She knew it, wore the invasion of a new space like a banner on her stretched-taut skin, her gelatinous body too powerful for a world of so little pressure. But even still, she was a mother.

What would she birth from herself, when the time came? A squirming thing, perhaps, unable to see or to cry, dying within minutes with lungs pink and a blowhole bloody? Or would it be a leviathan-child, dark-skinned with eyes like milk-marble, inborn grace on display for all to bear as it danced, punctured her rotten womb and slipped knife-skinned into the sea, only remembered by those who saw, scant surgeons they were, in the most terrible of dreams?

Or maybe she came to bear herself for the world, bringing nothing. If so, to whom would she give herself and her godhood?

By the time the tides retreated again she was gone, her fervent admirers vanished. But the memory of her lingered on the shore, sat heavy and made itself known in yellowed dreams and in the great song of foghorns turned to plaintive warbles calling across the bay. Some, unsatisfied with memory alone, searched. Others, in terror, blinded themselves. But for everyone the result was the same: she did not return, at least in body. Her mind and memory, however, stayed so you could become part of the aftermath.

That night, you dreamt of her basking on the beach under the moon, in company with her children. The young were squirming things, wriggling and writhing, blind-eyed and bulging in her softness. They nestled within her ribs, suckled upon her fermented flesh, and you watched as they tore strip after wet strip, chewed with beaks and serrated teeth, with ragged wings and claws, stealing ribbons of godhood for themselves. In your dream, you watched from above, and oh how you longed to be with them. With your siblings in grace.

And then you awoke – everyone did. The sun was hot, the air was dry, and the beach was still clear. But between shifting sandbars of thought and isolas of rocky work, fathomless currents ebbed and flowed through your mind, pressure and numbness from the deep swelling like punctured arteries within your waking days. When you could, you stole back to the beach to stand in the shadow of her presence, that great expanse in the spot where no creature would tread, and remember.

Even now you still feel her call: a droning comfort arising from the dark and the unknown, a clarion song of death and ceremony. You know that soon it will fade. And you know that soon she will call again, and this time you will hear it, and you will finally swim with your siblings into the sea to carry her aloft and finally take a shred of her cadaverous godhood for yourself.

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