“Oh. My. God!” Cassie exclaimed in her valley girl accent. “It’s, like, soooo close you can reach out and touch it. Rad.”
“Yeah, that’s the beauty of this new 3D technology,” Jason said like he knew what the fuck he was talking about. He was currently staring at her profile, wondering how the hell she got her hair to stand so tall. It was amazing.
Cassie was already reaching out to touch the tentacled appendage that was obviously filmed to create a reaction in the viewer. She giggled at the magic she saw through her red and blue lensed glasses.
Jason and Cassie had parked on the first row of the drive-in. Jason’s thinking was the closer you are to the screen, and with the nifty glasses, the closer the movie elements would be. He had backed his Chevy so that the flatbed faced the screen. So he had brought some blow-up floats and blankets to sit—and eventually lay—on for the duration of the movie. He hoped for some under-the-shirt and pants action in exchange for missing this creature feature.
“Oh, grody! You can even feel it too,” Cassie whispered in amazement.
“It’s sooo slimy!”
Wait. Jason looked from Cassie’s profile to her outstretched hand. His eyes narrowed. You…shouldn’t be able to—
The tentacled arm she was stroking snaked around her arm, latched on above her bicep, and jerked her from the bed of the truck.
“What the ever-lovin’ fuck!” Jason yelled and stood gaping in disbelief. The creature was insanely close. Jason cowered, fumbled with the glasses, and finally managed to rip them off.
The octopus/squid hybrid from the movie—The Tentacled Deep—they were watching was right there before him, lumbering down out of the movie screen, its multiple arms reaching out in all directions. The storm waters in the movie were still raging behind the monstrosity, but the water also gushed out of the white screen like a waterfall and surged toward the parking lot full of cars.
Cassie’s single, high-pitched shriek started mass hysteria. Then, a domino effect of yells erupted from more surprised throats. Numerous engines fired up; wheels squealed in their panic to exit this place to find safety.
The tentacled arm that had pulled Cassie from the truck immediately slam-dunked her back down into the truck bed. At the force she’d hit its metal surface, she simply exploded, and Jason was instantly awash in a crimson coating. He looked up from her mangled body in open-mouthed wonder—a scream, unlike anything he’d ever voiced, ripped from his body.
Mass pandemonium ensued; everyone was screaming and running for safety, cars were barreling through the parking lot. That simultaneous action seemed to confuse the giant cephalopod. Arms snaked down with tremendous force and crushed the ones closest to it, bashing them into stillness. Then, the sea beast picked up their crumpled hulls and hurled them toward other vehicles that were out of its reach.
Jason saw its aim was highly accurate. Seeing multiple automobiles tossed around willy-nilly caused more screams to erupt out of his—and others—already terrified throats.
Some cars detonated as the upheaval happened. The exploding gas tanks seemed to startle the creature, which caused it to grab more automobiles and toss them away. It seemed to Jason like it was raining Camaros and Mustangs all around him.
People Jason knew all over town were either plucked out the T-Tops of their Firebirds or ripped from their convertibles. Others were dragged by kicking, screaming, and begging for help. Seth Morris, his co-worker at the paper mill, yelled as he passed, “Don’t just stand there! Do somethhiinnngggggg—” then Seth was snatched away like some of the others and tossed, their bodies cartwheeling, like pieces of candy into the creature’s gaping maw.
Jason finally uprooted his grounded feet, jumped over the wheel well, and slung open the passenger’s side door. He jerked open the glove box and grabbed the box of shotgun shells. Snatching his shotgun from the gun rack, he quickly loaded a few shells into the loading port. He pumped the fore-end and chambered a round, then scrambled up into the back again. He fired a shot at the sea creature to gain its attention, then said, “Hey, asshole!”
The creature flinched and bellowed, then jerked in Jason’s direction.
“Yeah! I’m talkin’ to you, motherfucker! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size, bitch! Wanna fight, fight m—”
A tentacle appendage slammed into his body, whisking him up out of his truck. The arm hit him so hard, his head whiplashed, and he almost dropped his shotgun.
Jason saw he was headed straight for one of the creature’s eyes; apparently, it wanted to see him in 3D.
“That’s right, you ugly piece of whale shit,” Jason said under his breath. “Let’s get up close and personal, big guy. Just a little closer and I’m gonna dot that eye.”
When Jason was in firing range of the creature’s bulbous orb, he slung the shotgun forward and chambered another round, but he never had a chance to pull the trigger.
The Cthulhu-like creature was seconds quicker. With a single squeeze, the bones in Jason’s body snapped like the whole basket of nachos he and Cassie had eaten for dinner earlier that evening. The last thing he heard was the instant crunch of numerous bones before his body divided into separate pieces. His upper torso rolled backward off the tentacled arm and met his lower abdomen that had already landed fifty feet below.
The behemoth looked around at the utter destruction surrounding it to make sure it had eliminated every threat. Its numerous arms nudged or flicked some of the insignificant remains. Finding nothing of importance, it turned from this laid to waste space and clambered back up into the stormy ocean from whence it came. The movie continued to play as it disappeared into the ocean of the film. It moved on to find more tasty morsels like the ones it had devoured. It was going to take so many before its appetite was satisfied.
* * *
SIDENOTE: The story you just read was a Shallow Waters anthology submission for Crystal Lake Publishing, giving writers monthly prompts to submit their stories for a contest. First-place winners would be published in the ongoing Shallow Waters anthology; they’re up to Volume 6. This story’s prompts and requirements were: 1,000 words max, and two: it had to take place at a drive-in or movie theatre in the 80s. Thus, the call-out for big hair, the lingo, muscle cars, and my love for creature movies, especially hinting back to the film, Tentacles, from my childhood. And I have sense re-tooled it to the 1,017 words. This story is where my mind led me. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.Recommended2 Simily SnapsPublished in