On this day, it was the feeling more than the distant sounds that woke me. Vibrations filtered down to my rocky den and I knew the one I loved had returned. I hesitated to rise from my home, fear filling my frightening body, an irony I did not miss. Today, I assured myself, would be the day of triumph. Today I would return not in solitude, but with that which I desired more than I could contain.

I rose up slowly, watching the rays of the sun glint pale gold through the deepest blue. Sounds were easier now and I heard the undulating roar that had first caught my attention nearly a season ago. When I finally surfaced, I lay back and turned one of my large eyes towards her, admiring that which I constantly admired, desiring it all the more for its distance.

The ship’s bottom was not unlike many I had seen, and many I had destroyed with malice: the brown of dying seaweed angled to a spine that bit through the surface of the water. Jets of bubble chopped by quickly spinning fins propelled it forward to the places where sand reached up and over the sea. But above the simple underside were flashes of gilded scales, giant scales that outshone the rays of the sun. The scales coated towering vents reaching up and breathing out plumes. Where other ships would have large white triangles, curved and dainty, this ship spit steam into the sky as it coursed across the ocean.

My love did not long touch the water, though. A great sphere, rivaling the sun for space in the sky, elongated at the bottom, hung above and guided the ship up and away from the water’s surface. One of the cylinders of brilliant glint spit clouds into the stretched orb, expanding its fire coral- and starfish-dyed stripes with each puff. I had seen some of these before, many round as this one, others, like long fat fish with squat tail fins, but none that carried more than small structures below them. And none that came close enough to touch my home with their bellies.

Today I knew I could reach out my great, long arms and touch that which I desired. I stretched myself out, my suckers pulsing with anticipation.

When I had first seen her, she had been slipping along the surface like any other ship. I had considered destroying her. It was natural to try to grasp with my two longest tentacles and then cover the ship in my eight arms. But just as I had reached the boundary between sea and sky, the ship’s roaring increased, and slowly its spine rose and rose, out of the water and into the air. I watched, confused and somehow elated. The big balloon filled taught with steam and the ship shrank away into the sky, joining the others that stayed so far from my reach.

I would often catch her just as she lifted off, teasing me, showing off her colored stripes and shining scales. But this time I was faster, or perhaps she was ready for me.

A new sound arose. Sharp and chirpy, I had heard it before on the inferior vessels. The small erect creatures that rode on these beasts like shark-suckers had noticed my presence and scrambled. But this time they would not scare me away. The roaring grew and I knew my love longed for me as much as I did for her. She cried out for me. And I cried out too as my first tentacle slipped itself along her center and began pulling her down to meet me.

The small creatures struggled, but I did not feel the sting of their spikes. They quickly lost their fight as I gently pulled my love down into my native waters. Her roaring ceased. Instead she gurgled in delight as water replaced the clouds in her crowning sphere.

Under water, her scales caught the diffuse light and heavy darkness. Fish fled from her as they did from me. She was frightful. She was large. She was perfect. And now, at long last, she was mine.

About the Author

“I came into the world of Steampunk as a creator of jewelry and still make and vend at conventions. I now also find the aesthetic slipping into my writing which I enjoy very much to play with in non-traditional ways.”