Francis McQueen had been on the force for just long enough to not immediately remember how long he’d been on the force, and he’d never seen something like this.
Though honestly, he was surprised he hadn’t seen enough to feel like he’d seen it all yet.
The call was over the disappearance of one Aku Aku, who was a mask. Good for him.
His roommate, who insisted on being called Frankendude, had reported him missing a few days prior, but had upped its priority when he received shaky iPad footage of his location five days before he was reported missing. On an island nobody in the precinct could find.
Also, their apartment was bursting with the occult stuff and Frankendude had metal coming out the sides of his head.
McQueen couldn’t get a break.
So, on the morning of [random date], McQueen downed a coffee, Dooley downed five full of muscle powder and energy drinks, and they took the police cruiser down to the weed scented just off campus apartment the two college aged debatably kids owned.
“So, are you like, the Frankenstein?” Dooley asked, visibly resisting the urge to poke Frankendude’s metal bits.
“Ugh, no okay, first of all Frankenstein was the college dropout, and second of all his monster- who was super smart and had glowing eyes- had no metal bits.”
McQueen looked up from where he was confiscating a bong (weed was legal, fun was not) and sent a dubious glance at Frankendude.
Frankendude huffed and looked away.
“I just think he’s neat. Just a casual interest, I swear.”
Dooley was across the room failing to notice that the magazines he was looking at were focused on gigantic monstrous penis’, and not flexing abs. McQueen decided to quit while he was ahead. He did spare Dooley by tapping him into attention and facing Frankendude seriously.
“You say you have footage from the victim?” McQueen asked.
“Yes, sorry, here.” Frankendude passed McQueen a #notsponsored iPad, revealing an email of all things with a video attachment.
It was an orgy.
“No seriously this is it.” Insisted Frankendude, over Dooley’s rapid switching between casually watching and scandalized gasps.
On the screen, shaky party footage revealed a variety of monstrous people getting their rave on, some in odd but distinctly sexual ways, such as some sort of hunchback being electrocuted by some sort of electricity vampire thing. McQueen took a risky glance and was disappointed but not surprised to see Frankendude looking…kinda into the idea.
Two robots with sharp angry metal bits pressed up to each other, fingers in a radio between them. And amazingly (especially considering the robots and their whole deal), this was all on a beach with some vague forest island backdrop. The person holding the camera was laughing with people, and then heard that Aku Aku (You know, the mask) was streaking and promptly printed over to a clearing. The camera shot up to reveal Aku Aku, a few of his feathers dropped behind him, floating rapidly over hills. The land was strange, like a crosshatch ink drawing but made real, with almost physical lines clinging to the trees even as the color tinges stayed normal.
“Is he like, technically streaking? I mean, he sorta is clothes…” Dooley asked, strangely transfixed by the chiseled ridges of Aku Aku.
McQueen elbowed Dooley before Frankendude could flip his lid about this speciesism, making frantic ‘he’s a cop you know how it is’ motions at him to dissuade dialogue about it. Fortunately for the narrative, it worked.
The iPad was dropped, the one in the footage not the one being held over two years of Dorito dust (#notsponsered) , and the footage cut out to static.
The three men stood in silence for a few seconds.
The three men continued to stand silently.
The three men stood silently, listening to each other breathe, and tried not to feel weird about it.
The three men kept stan- “Oh thank god.” Said Officer Dooley as the footage cut to a video of a tv screen showing pro monster propaganda.
“Wait wait, how is this what we’re seeing, they were just at a beach?” Detective McQueen said, looking confused at the screen.
“Maybe they taped over another film?” Dooley asked, squinting like he needed glasses but considered them for nerds.
“This is on an iPad.”
“Yeah, but does it know that?”
McQueen couldn’t honestly say it did, so he shut up and watched the video of the video.
“Monsters get a pretty bad rep, being unconventionally attractive and all, but this is just another example of the cruelty of media.” The cheery voice played over a video of diving in some sort of coral reef, vivid blues and purples overlapping.
“However, this is just another example of speciesism, or even just plain racism. What the white man lizards who run our government don’t understand- must be evil, right?”
Dooley and McQueen got uncomfortable, McQueen because he resembles that remark, and Dooley because everybody knows the lizards that run our government are piloted by little green men, not white men. Dooley, while beloved, is not woke to the limitations of his upbringing in white suburbia.
The footage panned up slightly to reveal a very high underwater mountain, its height and the lack of sunlight revealing this footage is much deeper than a coral reef.
“This has been a trope in media, since the Lovecraftian times, where H P Fearcraft wrote scary depictions of things he didn’t understand and hated. Like immigrants, air conditioning, and most importantly….”
The mountain was really, frighteningly big and wide. It seemed to shake.
An incredibly huge eye opened, at least as high as two law enforcement officers, glowing and shifting to the cameraman’s. The shakes continued.
“You see, whether you’re monster or man, the ocean is one thing you can agree upon. It’s big, and scary.”
Flecks of dirt fell off the mountain, revealing shiny underneath’s.
“The ocean is run by one fish, who is well beloved and overlooked in turns, fed by the one who loves him most, and cares for him least.”
The camera panned off the fish (?) to show a cliff, where a being bigger than a human with long blood colored hair stood with a leather bag, Two men behind her guarding. One was wearing a chest plate and had brown hair. The other was elongated, human adjacent but not quite, covered in course fur with fangs. Another man came into view, slightly rushed seeming, and stood beside the one with brown hair. They looked identical.
“He rules the fish like a mob boss, his faked stupidity worth nothing without the eyes of man to be fooled by it. Only small fish must deceive to survive. He is anything but small." The woman dutifully dumped out her bag, live fish unable to escape the mountains mouth.
McQueen paused the video to freak out a little. Dooley and Frankendude respectfully looked away as he examined the mountain while hyperventilating in like a cool way.
He felt like people who see the Grand Canyon. He felt like nothing, and he wasn’t even truly there. Bear with me, for a sec.
Imagine the biggest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s fine if you were a kid when you saw it, and know it isn’t really the biggest. Just let the scale hit you. Now imagine you’re up real close to it, and it’s even bigger than it first seemed. Imagine it’s so big you can’t even scale it, can’t even put an estimate on it’s size. And then, imagine it moves.
Imagine it lives, and breathes, and it’s so big you’re nothing to it, all of mankind is nothing to it, like the uncaring eyes of the universe but much more personal. Imagine that you know this, see this, and then realize you’re only seeing a small part of the whole. The head of a moray, but there’s no way to find the bottom of the hole, no way to know how vast, not even if you decided to try to die to see it, because even your death at your mightiest doesn’t require more than a breath to secure.
Mankind is egocentric, is the thing. Even when mentioning how little we are, we compare ourselves to the skies, as if we can be so bold. We don’t need to look to space to be insignificant. What is mankind, all of it, its sprawling habitation of earth, to a fish far too deep to reach. What is the millennia’s of expansion, of evolution, to a fish who’s head alone could topple cities without harm? Humans act as if they have claimed the earth but are barely skin deep. They scorch the earth but ignore the worms. They take claim as if the world is 2d, as if holding the top of a stack of plates means you can carry it.
Imagine being so hauntingly, undeniably aware of your own species insignificance to something within your reach, and knowing you are insignificant to your species, and then trying to compare yourself to the fish. And then imagine you’re having this realization, clutching an iPad showing an emailed video of a recording of a tv screen, your goodwill brand fancy boy shoes lost in a forest of chip dust and uncleaned gunk, as your partner and a stoner play tic-tac-toe on the back of a witness statement form.
McQueen takes a moment to shake himself, and then waves Dooley back over. He makes vague just lost tic-tac-toe sounds, and McQueen pushes play.
The woman dumps the bag out more, and it’s a grocery list of food. Dead sharks, a live stingray, two dead bodies that look exactly like the living woman but with fish bottoms, and lastly she takes one of the brown haired men and tosses him too. All within the gaping maw of this mountain of a fish, as the mud upon it slowly drips away.
The camera is zoomed enough at this point to see the woman’s sharp fingernails, her webbed fingers holding the bag with a frightful casualness. The voice over has gone incoherent, passionately ranting about revolution and the cruelty of mankind, as Dooley is putting two and two together.
The woman smiles, sharp and jagged, and nothing about her moves for a long tense second. Then the camera scrolls to the side, the filming still smooth, as a copy of the woman stands, completely skinless and made of muscle.
“Ew.” Says McQueen.
The muscle woman takes the leather bag from her molting and pushes it off the cliff with the rest, leaking red into the water and obscuring her form. The camera zooms out, keeping an eye on the molting as the red woman walks off, trailed by the brown-haired boy and the monstrous boy. It goes serene as it tracks the molting, even the voiceover silent to watch, as unmistakable yellow lips consume the leaving, as bright blue markings are slowly revealed, and as Dooley, soft as a gunshot, says,
“Holy shit. That’s flounder.”
Cue title sequence!