Okay I really need to edit stuff on here more, please don’t hate me I’m a very sloppy typer and a very lazy person. But this is a rough first draft of the first chapter of another novel I started a few months back. I know that in real life it’s “narwhal” but in this story it’s narwhale, pronounced like it sounds. That’s just what I decided. Anyways, enjoy.
Tonight Calder would ride a narwhale for the very first time.
He was kind of excited about it, but then again it was only a narwhale. Most people he knew already learned how to ride one, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Just a part of growing up, a new mean of transportation to conquer.
He stood by the edge of the shore, his olive skin lightly coated with the silvery sand. It shimmered with a glint of pearl moonlight.The water reached in and out in long breaths, coming out to meet him and then pulling back into the depths. His brother stood in the water, his shorts rolled up to his knees. He seemed impatient.
“Darn it Calder I called the whale like five times. You must smell like some kind of leviathan. ”
“Me? You think it’s scared of me?”
His brother shrugged, scratching his underarm.
“Dunno. Probably you because usually every time I call him he comes.”
Calder frowned. “Maybe he’s just caught up in something?”
“It’s the middle of the night. And anyways they have to respond when they’re called, it’s a natural instinct.”
“What if you did the call wrong?”
“What do you mean what if I did the call wrong? I did it the same way I always do it!” He made the obscure gurgling sounds with his throat to emphasize his point.
Both boys stared out at the dark, teeming night as the waves stayed empty. No whale came up to greet them, as they expected. Calder plopped down in the sand and stared at the stars. They were like little white paint splatters on a canvas of deep blue. His brother was growing increasingly agitated.
“Get in the water! He needs to be familiar with your scent.”
Calder obeyed, stepping in slowly. The water was chilly around his ankles and calves, and as it rose higher he shivered even more.
“It’s s-so c-cold… How long do I have to stay in here?”
“As long as it takes for Larry to catch your scent.”
“His name. Now shut up and stand still.”
Calder sighed, crossing his arms as his teeth chattered. The writhing waters intimidated him slightly, although he knew he would have to learn to steer through them soon. The city of Cresta was positioned right in a middle isle, surrounded by water and other islands only accessible by whale travel. Unless he wanted to stay in his own isolated village his entire life, he would have to get his own whale. The first step was learning about his brother’s, which at that moment was not going as planned.
“Ben… Nothing’s happening,” he complained.
Ben rolled his eyes. “Your stink is probably scaring him away. What, do you roll around in fish poop for fun or something?”
“I don’t stink! And even if I did, how would Larry be able to smell it underwater? Do whales even have noses? Ugh, this is so stupid!” Calder complained, sneezing after he said it. He was probably catching some horrible illness all due to his brother’s stupid whale.
“Ugh, you know what, let’s just go home. Whatever. I’ll teach you tomorrow.”
“You’re giving up?”
Calder watched him leave, so he followed back up the beach and into the village. The huts looked like domes in the darkness, strung with lanterns. Some men sat nearby around a campfire, laughing and drinking beer. One of them chewed on a fish, charred from the fire. Calder could smell it on their tongues. He actually had a very refined sense of smell, which was why he knew for a fact that the whale was nowhere near them and that he did not stink. Ben walked past them and into their house, a large round hut at the end of the village. A clothes line hung beside it, the shadows of underwear and t-shirts glaring through the dark.
Ben went into his room and laid on his flat mat-like bed, pulling a blanket over his shoulder. Calder poked his head in, seeing his brother who had already started to snore.
“Psst. Ben. Ben. BEN.”
Ben mumbled something that sounded like “Go away.”
“When will I learn? What’s wrong with him? Ben? Are we doing this again?”
Calder went in and started shaking him. Although he was fairly mild mannered, he knew how to be annoying. He learned it from his older brother.
“You haven’t even been sleeping five minutes.”
Ben kicked him off, throwing him to ground. Calder sat up, spitting sand and shaking it out of his hair.
Calder frowned at the irritated lump on the floor.
“Can’t. You got me awake!”
“Sleep or I’ll give you a wedgie.”
“Is that a threat?”
Ben grunted, and then was silent. Calder leaned over him and poked his nose. He was asleep. He would have punched him straight in the gut if he wasn’t.
Calder never knew how he did that. Most nights he couldn’t sleep at all, and even when he could it took him an hour or so of sitting still and concentrating on nothing to settle down. Ben on the other hand could sleep at any time, at any place. He didn’t even have to be tired. It was like a magical power. Calder envied it. Insomnia was an ongoing enemy that never seemed to stop taking siege to his body.
He wandered out of the hut and stood at the edge of the water. It felt cold on his feet, but at that point it didn’t matter because he knew he wouldn’t sleep that night anyways. He plopped down in the cool, fluffy sand and stared up at the sky.
It was soothing. He often slipped out and wandered at night, to stargaze, to dream. It was nice to be away from all the people. It was nice to just sit and think. He truly wanted to ride a narwhale, but Larry didn’t seem to like him much. It made him sad, because he was quite fond of animals and took personal offense when they weren’t fond of him. Larry listened to Ben, and Ben often put Calder down. He tried to convince himself that the creature’s apparent disdain for him was only caused by his brother.
Still, Calder wondered why the whale hadn’t shown up. It was odd for a whale to be tardy when called, and even more peculiar to be absent altogether. The bigger concern was that he would never be able to explore. Whales traveled long distances in a short amount of time. They were essential to transportation. He didn’t hate his home, he wasn’t particularly attached to it either. It was the place he grew up, but there wasn’t anything sentimental there. All he needed were the stars and the moon, and he’d feel at home wherever he went.
He just wanted to see new things. He was getting bored of all the boring people in his village. All they ever seemed to do was fish and drink. Or drink while fishing. He once saw man get a hook stuck in his nose while he was drunk. Calder had been young at the time, and the incident was quite traumatizing. He didn’t touch a fishing pole for months, and he vowed never to drink and fish.
Deep down he still hoped Larry would show up, without Ben. Then he could learn human without being yelled at.
Larry wasn’t his favorite whale. Larry was kind it like his rider. That’s how Crestan narwhals tended to be. Calder hoped he could find a kind, excitable whale that would’ve happy to take him wherever he wanted to go. He wanted a whale that could be a friend. He needed more of those.
It wasn’t like he was a loner or anything. He was more reserved around crowds, but he was friendly and acted almost like a hyperactive puppy when he wanted to. He was fine making friends, but most of the people he cared enough about to associate with had moved away. Leila, His friends went on their family whale, and went off to another isle somewhere.
After that he’d mostly just stuck to his brother. The other boys in the village were into getting really drunk and skinny dipping with the obnoxious girls. He didn’t care for beer and he was too timid to walk around naked. His town was too small, and anything anyone did was known and spoken about by the next morning.
He really didn’t care much for any of them. Teenagers were stupid.
Life was comfortable enough at that moment, so he really shouldn’t have complained. The sky was beautiful, but he noticed an odd assortment of clouds gathering overhead. A storm perhaps? He sighed. As much as he loved the water, he wasn’t in the mood to get drenched by a heavy downpour. He watched the sky, but stopped as he saw the water rippling and churning in the same formation as the clouds. He sat up and squinted. It was most definitely not normal. A whirpool was forming. The stars flickered fainter, making the night seem darker.
Lighthearted Calder suddenly had an intense feeling of dread. He scrambled back to his hut, jumping on his brother.
Once again Ben tried to kick him off. This time Calder had a sense of urgency to follow. Though he was only going off instinct, he has a feeling something bad was going to happen on the beach that night.
“Please, please wake up. The water is swirling around and the sky is dark.”
“Mm, wha?” Ben murmured. Calder turned his body over to face him. Ben blinked groggily, though Calder could hardly make it out in the dark. He lit a lantern and shone it in his brother’s face.
“Come outside and look. Just tell me what you think.”
Calder was pleading now.
“What are you on about? You’re not funny. This is stupid.” Ben pulled his blanket over his head. Calder yanked it off, and suddenly they were caught in an epic tug of war. Ben was pulling down and grunting while Calder was putting all his body weight into ripping it free. This was not very smart on Calder’s part considering he weighed about ninety eight pounds.
Ben ripped the blanket from his hands with one swift pull sending him head first on the ground.
While all this was happening, it started to drizzle outside. The sand slowly grew darker first in tiny splotches and then in soppy puddles. Calder didn’t notice. He was frustrated that his older brother never took him seriously. Whenever he was genuinely concerned, Ben either made fun of him or waved him off. He stood over his bundled body, breathing in and out. What if some kind of hurricane was brewing? Everyone would drown in their sleep. The least Ben could do was go out and check it out and reassure him that it was going to be okay.
The rain fell harder and harder and with more purpose. The sound of the pelting water was hard to ignore now. He went to the entrance of the hut and stared out. The world was a grey, wet whirlwind.
“It’s crazy out there!” He yelled, hoping Ben would hear. If he did he didn’t put any effort into responding. Calder poked his head out farther. None of the men stayed at the campfire. Everyone had gone inside, except a lone fisherman on the end of the shore. Creeping out and covering his head,(though it did not stop him from getting soaked) he wanted to look at the water again to see if it was really just a storm. The sky was full of fat, pillow like clouds that thundered to the beat of the tide.
Nothing seemed all that extraordinary. It appeared to be a freak, monster storm. Destructive, but not fatal, as most storms were not. Maybe he was wrong. He was rather impulsive, always trusting the first conclusion he came to before formulating the rest.
The rain slid down his face like empty tears, and he walked inside to sit on his bed.
It mostly rained in the spring and summer. This wasn’t uncommon, but the formation of clouds seemed to hold something more benevolent than H2O. It didn’t matter now. No one would listen to him even if they did, he had no evidence.
The later into the night he stayed the more jittery he became. His eyes would fall, his body would sprawl out from fatigue but for some reason his mind refused to let him sleep. This was happening to him slowly. He laid on his tummy and rested his chin on his small pile of throw pillows. He listened to the wind howl. It had been a while since he’d fallen asleep during a storm. They either sang him to sleep or fascinated him to the point of insomnia. Tonight he was somewhere in between. He was tired, but the sounds kept him awake while also putting him into a dreamlike state. He felt so lucid, in fact, that he started to see the walls unhinge around him. He blinked, his head sinking farther into the pillow. He kept his eyes closed for a few minutes.
When he opened them hazily. hr saw only the foundation of his house around him. Ben was up, screaming. Calder was so sleepy. His mind went to peculiar scenarios when he got to this state. He closed his eyes again.
He felt a hard slap to his ear. Again he awoke. Ben was pulling him up and pushing him towards the other side of the island, opposite of the beach he had visited the night before. His vision was blurred, and nothing was coherent. Ben dragged him by his wrist, still only wearing his wet, rolled up shorts. Caldur’s head bobbed up and down as he tried to walk while half asleep. He didn’t know what was happening. He thought he was dreaming lucidly until his brother set him down on the raft.
It teetered violently, only staying in place because of the rope securing it to the dock. He stared down at his feet. Ben was talking but it was muffled and intangible.
Why was everything so dark? It was morning wasn’t it? Why did Ben seem so scared?
He looked like he was trying to calm down. He spoke with wild eyes and slow lip movements. Calder yawned. “I wanna go t’bed,” he said.
“Leviathan. Have to evacuate,” Calder suddenly made out. “What? Did you say Leviathan?”
He opened his eyes and tried to look around at Ben. He moved to obscure his gaze.
“It’s going to be okay. Stay still, I’m trying to load the supplies.”
He placed a crate on the raft on Caldur’s side, and then climbed on. It nearly slid straight up in the air. Calder clung onto the sides with small fingers as his brother tried to balance the weight.
He was becoming fully conscious. He saw the storm above and below him, he clearly acknowledged the groups of people running out of their houses in a dizzied panic. He didn’t understand what was wrong. Wasn’t it just a storm? What did Ben mean when he said Leviathan?
His eyes caught something in the whirlwind on the other side of the mountain. He craned his neck to see as Ben untied the rope and set the raft adrift. “Wait!” Calder cried. “Where are we going? What’s that?” He stuck a finger out at the whirlpool. The center was opening up and a large shape was rising out of the maelstrom. It wasn’t large… it was gargantuan. It was astronomically sized, and it looked like it had teeth.
“What is that?” Calder asked. Ben was trying to propel the boat forward using a broken paddle. “I told you. The leviathan.”
Calder let this sink in. This mammoth beast roared above the waves, flailing fat, grotesque flippers and tossing its neck. It was a nightmare and a fish in one horrible body. He knew he was right before, that Ben should have listened to him. He looked at his brother paddling with all his strength, looking like death. This was hardly the time for an “I told you so.” He kept his mouth shut and focused on staying on the raft. Water splashed up and he had to grip the corners to stay above the sea.
He felt salt in his eyes, he tasted the fowl mixture of fish and salt. The leviathan was advancing on shore. Huts were smashed and people were swept up from the waves it caused. Each long flipper created unholy earthquakes in the sand. He could see its face. Jaws dripping with saliva, yellow and uneven.
The beast’s head reminded him of a lizard- a fishy lizard that had morphed into something else by spending too much time in the water. It was the most unpleasant color, a moldy brownish yellow banana color. Its neck held huge clusters of barnacles and seaweed. It gave Calder chills, but he found himself unable to look away. It was terrifying and entrancing all at the same time. Those eyes…
“Calder! Snap out of it!” Ben yelled. He clapped in front of his face. Calder blinked. “Sorry…”
Ben looked very serious. “ Don’t make eye contact. We’re almost out of its reach. Just a few minutes.” Calder gulped and nodded. He wanted to leave his small town, but not like this. He didn’t want anyone to get hurt. Other people were trying to get on boats. None of their whales came to their desperate calls.
Suddenly he had a very grim thought. What if the leviathan killed all the whales? He shivered. They may never see Larry again.
They drifted for hours. The farther away they got from Cresta the calmer the waves became. Soon the beast was out of sight. Soon the skies returned to a natural color. He watched the water, staring down and hoping somewhere along the line Larry would surace and he would be certain he was still alive.
The narwhales that people road were bred to be smaller and sleeker than regular whales. They were still large, but still significantly smaller. Would he ever rise his own whale now? What would become of his city?
Up and down the raft bobbed. Up and down, back and forth. He never felt seasickness before. He vomited over the edge and then passed out.
He woke up with seawater in his throat and sand clinging to his scalp.
He coughed, and then felt the tide wash over his head. He washed up on the beach. Broken shards of raft stuck out of the sand like spears. The tide washed over him again and he scrambled to get up. Wet sand gathered on his chest and inside everything it shouldn’t have been inside of.
Where was Ben? He felt his heart drop. Had the monster gotten to his brother as well? He got up and examined his surroundings. Far ahead of the beach he saw a great stone city. He walked along the sand until he came to a sign and a stone path. It read, “ Welcome to Atlantis”.