Posted Jun-16-2017 12:17 AM
Soft tremors began to run through the hull of the Hoto as the faint, rhythmic booms steadily grew in power - soft shockwaves of incredible power carried up from somewhere off shore. As Matsuo listened and watched the ever-darkening sea beyond Sado's small harbors, the wind began to increase in speed and force. Driven by the swiftly-approaching storm, the sporadic gusts whipped and tugged at the young deckhand's clothing and brought the unmistakable scent of ocean-borne rain. Then, for the briefest of moments, Matsuo saw it.
Had he blinked or turned away for even a moment, he would have missed it. However, a jagged fork of lightning had stabbed down from the heart of the roiling clouds to illuminate a swath of wind-swept sea, drawing Matsuo's attention - and causing his breath to catch in his throat. For the briefest of moments, displayed in the fractured light of the flickering lightning, the young fisherman saw something break through the ocean's waves not half s mile from shore. Something massive. Like a dark portion of some jagged, craggy mountain that had suddenly been thrust up through the water only to be dragged back down again as soon as it had appeared - leaving behind a titanic spray and roiling swath where it had once been.
The swells that lifted and pulled at the Hoto and the other vessels secured to the docks began to grow more pronounced, causing many of the small fishing trawlers to sway and list with the wind. All the while, thunder continued to peel through sky in the wake of powerful streaks of lightning - and the low booming beneath the dark waves grew ever louder. The tremors were all too easy to feel now, distinct, carrying the power of a muted earthquake, and altogether terrifying. Matsuo could still hear the laughter and music echoing out from the small bars and shacks along the docks and jetties, and he quickly realized that he was likely one of the few people who clearly knew something was very wrong. That there was something else - something far more nightmarish - drawing closer to shore with the coming storm.
The first drops of rain, fat and heavy with cold, began to spatter and pat down upon the deck of the Hoto in sparse patches. Staying at the rails as he continued to watch the dark patch of ocean where he'd seen the immense object break up through the frothing waves, Matsuo knew he had only about another two or three minutes before the storm at last broke upon Sado in all its fury. Yet, he found himself unable to think - unable to process what he'd seen and what actions he should take in response to it. Everything was -
Matsuo's mind was suddenly dragged away from its inner turmoil as his ears picked up another sound that began to issue out over the wind and thunder. It was faint at first, barely an unidentified echo over the rolls of thunder and crash of the waves, but as he looked down and forced himself to concentrate, Matsuo quickly realized what it was that he was hearing. The low wailing drone of warning sirens. Looking up with a gasp as his mind at last identified the sound for what it truly was, the greenhorn quickly looked out to the bars and simple cottages along the docks and began to run - leaping up over the Hoto's railing and landing roughly down onto an adjoining dock with a loud thump. He could already hear the music and laughter fading away to shouts of concern and confusion as the ominous keen of the distant siren echoed through the air amongst growing howls of wind and increasingly powerful claps of thunder.
The Palm trees along the shore had begun to sway and creak heavily in the wind as Matsuo ran as fast as he could toward the dimly-lit waterside tavern to which his crewmen had departed not an hour earlier. Cold rain, heralding the onset of the storm's siege of Sado island, began to fall from the night sky in torrential sheets. His mind fixed upon reaching his crew, the young fisherman ignored the cold that had begun to seep into his bones from his rain-soaked clothes. Yet, as he deftly leapt a collection of coiled ropes and barrels upon the dock more than halfway to his destination, Matsuo came to sudden and total halt - his honey-amber eyes growing wide with disbelief and horror as his gaze was drawn out to the waves crashing with heavy booms onto the shore. For that is when it at last reached Sado Island.
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