By Chris Ringler
First it was one, then two, then three and by the end of the night there were thirteen little bodies washed ashore, their pale peace a startling reminder of the brutal life existed outside of this paradise. The day was overcast and there was no one to witness the landing of the children. No one to welcome them. No one to mourn them. The winds were moderate, the air was cool, but the sky was filled with clouds that warned that the sun would not be making an appearance any time soon. With no sun the tourists stayed away and with no tourists the food vendors stayed away and with no food vendors even the gulls stayed away. The children were alone on the beach, together and alone.
They had come dressed for war. Their clothes torn and burned; faded and small. The oldest of them was ten, the youngest was four. They came bearing no luggage. They had no identification. Lying with the children was a small a black teddy bear with no head held tightly in the grip of a little girl with dark hair and a deep bruise around her throat. The sun rose on the bodies and no one came. The sun rose higher and no one came. The sun finally reached the top of the sky and no one came. The sun stood silent watch over the children for a time before slowly receding and falling and all the while no one came. There were none to bear witness. None to give forgiveness. None to save their souls.
There was nothing but the water.
But the water did not leave the children.
The water did not abandon them.
The water kissed their wounds.
The water caressed their prone bodies.
The water held their hands and whispered that Hush everything would be all right.
Everything would be all right.
By midnight the water had had enough. The sea could bear no more. The children were but three hundred feet from a major roadway and no one, not one person, had noticed the horror that lay on the beach. Not one person had taken their minds away from themselves long enough to give tears to the tragedy that lay in the sand. The water that had risen around the children began to bubble and slowly the mouths of each child opened and in rushed the water, filling each of them with the whispers of the sea.
Come back to me.
Come back to Mother.
Come back to your first Mother.
Your only Mother.
The children stirred.
The children rose.
Thirteen children stood silently on a moonless beach, their bodies bent, broken, and bloated from the ocean’s kisses. The ocean roared behind them and the children began to move slowly, deliberately, holding each other’s hands as they walked slowly towards the roadway and the cities beyond them. When the children reached the rocks they helped one another up them until they were on solid ground again beside the road. The street lights revealed thirteen children with cold, gray eyes, and white skin, holding hands and moving slowly towards the world.
They were no longer human.
They were of the sea.
They were loved.
They were angry.
Behind them the brothers and sisters of the thirteen children began to make the beach, their bodies far less human, the work of the ocean far stronger on them and their purposes far darker. One by one the children of the sea made land and began marching on humanity as the thirteen that had come first all smiled and moved forward to tell the world of the coming flood.
Chris Ringler was raised in Linden, Michigan, a where he lived and attended school. He fell in love with writing as a teenager when he started writing short stories and began working on fanzines with friends. In 1999 BACK FROM NOTHING, a short story collection was published by University Editions. Since that time Chris has been published in BARE BONE and CTHULHU SEX MAGAZINE, received Honorable Mention in THE YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR twice, was voted Best in Blood on HORRORADDICTS.COM, and has been working on his writing and art.
Chris has written and published nine books which range from horror and dark fiction to fairy tales.
Chris is a writer, artist, weirdo, and was the creator of many events in the Flint area such as the Flint Horror Convention.