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The Day They Found The Train

Something had gutted the whale in the night.
Yet in the dawn, the leviathan was still strangely beautiful, its muscles jeweled with tiny crabs, a glimmering carpet of life gorging itself on the still-warm flesh. Soon, however, the offal would be eaten, and the sun would bake the bones to ivory, would burnish it with a colder splendor, pale as the children of deep water.
The town found the discovery alarming. But it was not the sight of the dead whale that disturbed the denizens, nor even its careful disembowelment. They were used to it. For years, all manner of monstrosities have washed onto their shores: tentacled beasts and things that were almost human, tendrils cancerous with human mouths, forever frozen in triumphant grins.
It was what they found inside the whale that shocked the little coastal settlement.
They didn't find it on the first search. They did not find on the second either, too preoccupied with extricating the bones of old James the Fisherman from between immense vilia, each fleshy nub as large as a man was tall.
They might have not found it at all, if it weren't for the sound that wretched toy made, a small red train tortured into a voice.
A dry, sick fear washed over the skins of the search party, like the drought they'd bartered away. They recognized the fingermarks notched on the train's wooden sides, the name rolling under its wheels. More importantly, they recognized what this meant.
From somewhere in the darkness, a small figure staggered forward.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 27th, 2017

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