David McNab opened his eyes and found himself amid a landscape that was
totally unfamiliar to him. He blinked several times, but the strange
scene before him remained unchanged. Feeling slightly disoriented, he
realized that he was standing barefoot on a narrow strand of cold, black
sand, while a few feet in front of him lay the edge of a still, dark body
of water, where small, turgid waves lapped sluggishly at the shore.
He tried to take stock of his situation and found that a faint
luminescence was coming from somewhere above an oppressively low-hanging
cover of clouds that stretched away from him on all sides. The resulting
washed-out light did little to brighten his surroundings and added no
color to the drab and barren setting that he found himself in. The
uncomfortable closeness of the clouds also made the air still and humid,
damping what little sound there was and causing the mummer of the small
waves to be weak and flat as they folded themselves sadly upon the sand.
Behind him, stretching away into the dim distance, collections of large,
jagged rocks sat hunched like silent sentinels on the dark sand, while to
either side, the black shore line appeared unbroken and featureless,
until it faded away into the grey shadows at the limit of his vision. A
few hundred feet out onto the water, the clouds had descended and a
thick, slightly undulating bank of dirty, grey fog stretched from one
horizon to the other. David felt as if he was witness to a scene of
primordial Earth, as it must have appeared before life struggled out of
the sea and onto the surface of the planet.
This thought, of course, did not make him feel any better about his
present predicament, but he found that he was surprisingly calm, all
things considered. A pragmatic fellow, after all, he did not feel the
least bit frightened at whatever strange turn of events might have
brought him to this place, only somewhat curious as to what might happen
He did, however, have the rather uncomfortable feeling that he needed to
be somewhere, so after listening intently for some time, but hearing
nothing save the weak waves breasting the shore, gave forth a tentative,
"Hello?" His voice sounded hollow and strange in the thick, damp air and
he did not really feel that he should attempt calling out, again.
About to turn away from the water and try his luck farther inland, he
heard a faint splash, somewhere out in the fog. A few moments later
there came a second muted splash, this one sounding a bit closer. It
soon became apparent that 'something' was moving toward him across the
water with slow, deliberate purpose. With few other options available to
him, he decided to wait and see just what it was.
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