The original, 3-page short story version of


Copyright © 1980 by Roger M. Wilcox. All rights reserved.
(typing on this story began 28-September-1980)

The original draft was written on a mechanical typewriter, with no right margin. All spellings, punctuation, capitalizations, excessive verbosity, etc. are as in the original.

You have been warned.

Preface: I didn't really want to write a story about my brother, but since he offered to pay me 1¢ per word, I reconsidered. I am not charging him for this preface, though. So screw the preface, and let's make some cash!!!

He was the best surfer at the beach that day, and he knew it. Yes, Tim was unchallenged by anyone. When he surfed, all moved out of his way. But this day was to be different from any other he'd experienced.

He jumped out onto the waves as they began to curl. Indeed, a tube was beginning to form. Tim wasted no time in getting over to the tube and entering. He sank down on his board as the tube of water enveloped him. This was a long tube and the light about him grew dimmer by the second.

This was the largest tube he'd ever encountered. It seemed to go on endlessly, each foot darker than the one before it. It even seemed as if the water wasn't closing in on him , but creating, curling, and falling constantly. The world grew dark as night, yet Tim pressed onward.

Suddenly, the infinite darkness around him turned to brilliant, shining red, and the curl's end materialized just a few short feet before him. As Tim came out the end, he saw the horrifying, totally red world about him — as if he'd been wearing red colored lenses over his eyes.

He looked back at the sickening red curl behind himself. The infinite water suddenly pressed flat against the rest of the ocean, and dissipated. He was in shallow water, so he walked up onto the beach.

The entire place was deserted. The uneasy feeling of loneliness and fear gripped Tim from head to surfing toe. With surfboard in arm, he walked slowly up onto the beach. This whole thing seemed like an episode from "The Twilight Zone" to him, but the worst was yet to come.

Suddenly, the ground below him (which was still made of sand) began to quake, and a huge, slimy, red arm protruded through the granular rock, and grabbed its way for anything around it. Tim was unreluctant to jump quickly out of the way. The whole shape of the thing was becoming apparent — it was a vaguely humanoid blob, with all four limbs plus a head; yet it was oozing and had a sickening mouth. The whole creature was about 15 feet tall.

The thing began to bound toward Tim. Thinking quickly, he threw his surfboard straight at the thing's center. Yes, it was a direct hit — however, all this did was split it up into two 7½-foot vaguely human blobs. One of the things suddenly flung its arm, and from its hand came a glob of glowing red liquid, which missed Tim and reflected off the ground into the air. In its place on the ground, the sand had been transformed into glass. And the only thing that can do that is over a thousand-degree temperature.

Suddenly, another red hand came out of the sand, even larger than the first. When it completely emerged, it stood over sixteen feet tall. Seeing the two smaller things, the large one immediately loosed a hand-to-hand attack on them, while Tim watched, astounded. Even though Tim could easily get away, where would he go?

The big thing swung at one of the little things, and knocked its hand off. As it fell to the ground, the big thing placed its hands on it, and sucked the very material of its body into its own, growing as it did.

This gave Tim a brilliant idea. He ran around the outside of the battle, practically unnoticed by the things in combat, and recovered his surfboard. He swerved around so that he was facing the battle, and again hurled his surfboard at the big thing's head. This was a hit only by luck, but the thing's head snapped off with a squish. There was just one flaw in Tim's plan — the little thing sucked up the big dead one, ending up to be almost thirty feet tall.

Tim was almost certain he was going to die, when suddenly, the ocean behind him began to roar. He turned just in time to see a large wave, of seemingly infinite length, curl and start to tube. With new confidence, he again ran underfoot of the giant thing, and recovered his surfboard. He wasted no time in running, full tilt, into the salty water. With a few bounds, the thing nearly caught up with him, but would not enter the water. Instead, it flung its arm, and send a hot, red liquid ball at its target. Fortunately for Tim, the thing hadn't very good aim, and instead vaporized a patch of ocean water.

With his superb surfing skills, he managed to enter the tube and keep on going into the apparently infinite darkness. The bright red of the world around him slowly faded into pitch darkness.

Suddenly, the world around him filled with ordinary white light. The end of the tube was in sight. He came through with a great sigh of relief. At last, he was back in the normal, hum-drum world. He looked at a far-off clock 'way up on shore. It read exactly the same time as when he went out into the tube of death. No longer, never again, would he ever enter extremely long wave tubes again.

--THE END?--

Author's notes from 2013:
Send comments regarding this Web page to: Roger M. Wilcox.
Click here to go back to my main old stories page