An Ocean of Crabs

You and your significant other have decided to vacation by the beach for a weekend. It’s your first day and you hurry to the ocean, ready to relax. Once you get to the beach, you find that the ocean is full of crabs. There seem to be more crabs than actual water! You marvel at this phenomenon and turn, only to find that your significant other is running towards the water and beginning to morph into a crab! How do you respond?

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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211 thoughts on “An Ocean of Crabs

  1. busbender

    “Lucy. Lucy! LUCY!”

    Derek was freaking out. Fingers and thumb elongating and solidifying into monstrous claws, eyes bugging out of her head on long stalks, her back arching over, her legs dividing in two and then again, and again, his wife of eleven years was turning a deep pink all over, and not from sunburn.

    “What the f***? Help?! Someone help”. He ran his hands through his hair, clawing at it, pulling it straight up. He swung his head from side to side as he shouted. As he moved forwards, he found himself sidling away and back again, as he tried to avoid stepping on or being pinched by the hundreds of other crabs on the beach. He suddenly realised she was shrinking.

    “Oh my god!” he gasped, leaning forward to rest his palms on his knees as it dawned on him that she was going to disappear amongst the throng of pink monsters. Distinguishing marks, distinguishing marks! Must remember distinguishing marks!

    He stared intently at Lucy as her metamorphosis continued. His eyes lit up. Tattoo, her tattoo is staying the same shape!

    The Chinese characters Hóng long (Red Dragon), for her hair, seemed to be staying the same, though shrinking as Derek staggered backward up the beach, not letting her out of sight for a moment. He dropped to the sand and grappled with his trainers, cursing to himself as he slipped his feet in.

    Just for a moment he glanced down to his left foot, knowing as he did it was a mistake.

    When he looked up, all he could see was waving pale pincers and black eyes on a sea of crustacean pink.

    He hurled himself forward to where he had last seen his Lucy about to dive into the water. Frantically he kicked crabs out of his way, not even considering the implications of what he had only just witnessed. The crunch of cracking carapace did not even register as he picked up, examined and flung away those creatures which didn’t have the mark he was searching for.

    After three minutes of wildly scrabbling, glaring and lobbing away crabs, sustaining hundreds of small blood blisters and cuts from claws, he finally saw what he was searching for. Three tiny Chinese characters across the shell.

    He stood, open mouthed, wanting to say something. Can crabs even hear? Will she understand anything I say? What can I say? What do I do now?

    He glanced around him. The beach was empty. Not a single other human being in sight, which was precisely why they’d chosen this beach. Precisely why he’d been able to see her tattoo when she was changing.

    Clutching the Lucy-crab to him, he stumbled across the sand to where their towels lay and desparately looked about for something to put her – It? No, definitely her! – into.

    He emptied out their lunch salad from the box and put the crab into it. Turning his back for just a moment to tug on his trousers, he heard a sudden splintering noise as twenty year old Tupperware disintegrated.

    “That was…trippy,” lilted Lucy. “You should try it.”

  2. ShirleyVegas

    I apologise, this is waaaay too long! I got started and I couldn’t stop!

    “Everything has damn crab in it!” I looked over the top of the menu at Joe. “I hate crab!”

    “Can you pretend to be enjoying yourself?” He sighed heavily.

    “I am enjoying myself. I just don’t want crab!” I rolled my eyes.

    “If the lady isn’t in the mood for crab, we have some excellent shrimp dishes, and the Filet here is the best in Oregon.” The manager, Maurice DeJohnne smiled down at us. “Are you guests of the hotel?”

    “Yes.” Joe smiled back. “We’re locals though. It’s our thirtieth anniversary, so we decided to spend a couple of days at the beach.”

    “Congratulations!” Maurice boomed. I squirmed a little, as the other guests turned in their seats to stare at us. “In that case, I strongly recommend the Love Chowder. It’s my Grandmother’s recipe from Louisiana.”

    “What does that mean?” I looked at the menu. “For two only?”

    “Well to be honest, it is a little bit of an aphrodisiac.” He nudged Joe. “It wouldn’t really be fair if only one of you ate it.” Joe’s eyes widened. “And it includes a complimentary cocktail on our private beach.”

    “You can only get on the beach if you order the soup?” What kind of bullshit was that?

    “Just this section of the beach.” Maurice informed me. “It’s bathing suit optional.” Oh great, just what I needed, to be bearing my fifty-three year old ass on a nude beach.

    “We’ll try the chowder!” Joe beamed across at me.

    “I don’t want chowder, you get it.”

    “For two only, remember?” Maurice reminded me. I looked across at Joe, he was getting ready to pout.

    “Fine.” I succumbed. “I’ll have the chowder.”

    The restaurant was not exactly bustling, but there were a few others in the place. A young couple in their twenties were giggling at something on the menu.

    “What’s in the Love Chowder?” the young woman blushed slightly, I smiled.

    “Oysters, clams, bay shrimp, and our secret seasoning.” the server informed them. “Are you guests of the hotel?”

    “No, we’re just driving through. We’re on our…”

    “Oh, I’m sorry.” the server interrupted, “we’re out of the chowder right now.”

    “We ordered it just in time.” Joe whispered.

    I was surprised when the chowder arrived in one bowl, with two spoons. I got the whole romantic, sharing thing, but come on, really?

    “Nah! Not my thing” I put down my spoon. “You eat it.”

    “You barely even tasted it!” There was the pout again. “Come on.” He held out a spoonful of the creamy soup. I sighed softly and obliged him.

    “It’s too salty for me hon. You eat it.” I watched as Joe polished off the chowder.

    The complimentary cocktail was not as romantic as promised, served in a plastic cup. No glass on the beach. It wasn’t much of a nude beach either, Joe and I were the only ones on it.

    “Let me take your picture.” Joe pulled his phone out. “Go stand in the surf.” I obeyed reluctantly, and walked out a few feet into the chilly water. Joe started taking shots.

    “Hurry up! This water’s freezing!” I snapped. “How many are you going to…Ow!”

    “What’s wrong?”

    “Something bit me!” I yelped as I felt another sharp pain. “Shit! Joe look at this!” I quickstepped it onto the sand. “Joe, come here!”

    He walked to the edge of the surf and stared at the water. His mouth fell open at the sight. Crabs. Lots of crabs. Not just a dozen or so, but hundreds, thousands, literally on top of each other. I pointed at a large net spread across the ocean about a hundred or so feet out.

    “That’s keeping them in here.” The small cove we were in was like a huge crab trap. “No wonder there was so much crab on the menu.”

    We opted to walk the length of the small beach, making sure to stay on the dry sand. Joe held my hand, something he hadn’t done for a long time. After thirty years of marriage we were lacking in the romance department. He kissed me softly on the lips.

    “Happy anniversary. I love you.”

    “I love you too!” I kissed him back, and squeezed his hand. “Honey you need lotion, your hands are….”

    We both gasped as we looked down at Joe’s hand. It was a claw. Not like a cat claw, or a bird claw. It was a huge crab claw. I looked up at where his face should have been, only it was not there. His face was now level with my breast, and it was shrinking. I screamed as it seemed to recede into his shoulders. No, not shoulders, his shell.

    I stared at the crab at my feet. It was staring back at me. Beside it lay a gold wedding band, the only evidence that this was once my husband, well apart from the shorts, shirt, and flip-flops. I slapped myself hard across the face. The sting let me know I was awake.

    I reached down to pick up the ring, I froze. My middle, ring, and pinky fingers were gone, replaced by a hard crusty shell-like digit. I had half a hand and half a claw. What the hell was happening? I stared at my hand for what appeared to be an eternity, waiting to transform like Joe, but I didn’t. Why? Then it hit me.

    “That fucking chowder!”

    Maurice DeJohnne was surprised to see me. I placed Joe on the desk before him. He glanced at my half-a-hand.

    “Someone didn’t eat their chowder.” he said dryly. “I’ll have to speak to your server.”

    “You son-of-a-bitch! Fucking fix it!” I reached into the waistband of my shorts, and retrieved my 9mm. I pointed it at his face. “Fix it NOW!”

    “Im sorry. The spell doesn’t work that way.” He was totally calm, without emotion. “This is dark magic from Haiti. It can’t be reversed.” He stared up at me. “I’m afraid I can’t allow you to leave either. It would be bad for business.”

    “Oh you’re going to let me leave.” I pushed the gun against his forehead. “Unless you have a spell that will reverse your brain being splattered all over that fucking wall.”

    “You have a point.” he raised his eyebrows. “So what do you want me to do?”

    “Put my husband in a box, and bring me a cup of that chowder to go.” He nodded.

    “Mom, you want me to drive down there and pick up a couple of crabs? Really? Just bring them home with you!” Stella could be such a selfish little bitch at times.

    “I told you, your dad and I are going to drive up the coastline for a couple of days.” I sighed. “Could you please do this for me? It’s only fifteen minutes from your house. Windy Beach Motel, room 217, I’ll leave the door unlocked.”

    “Where’s dad?” she asked. “I have something I need to ask him about my car.”

    “He’s in the bathtub.”

    I took off the rest of my jewelry, and placed it with our wedding bands on the dresser, next to the letter I had written for Stella. This was going to be so hard for her to believe. I only hoped she would believe it, I wouldn’t.

    Joe looked up at me from the middle of the tub, his eyeballs sitting just above the water line. I shook my head.

    “Jesus Joe! Could you make a little room for me please?” He scuttled down toward the drain obediently.

    I let my robe drop to the floor, and stepped into the cold water. I shivered. I sat down in the tub, looking at Joe the whole time. His eyeballs were focused on me. I gave him one last smile before I reached down and picked up the cup of now cold, and congealed chowder, and a spoon.

    “I’m coming Honey.” I told him, as I spooned the thick, salty concoction into my mouth.

  3. 1andonlykellyd

    I KNOW THIS IS LATE BUT JUST IN CASE ANYONE IS STILL CHECKING >>>MY WORK INTERNET WAS BAD LAST WEEK AND I AM TOO LAZY TO DO IT FROM HOME

    I have tried to get Phil to take a beach vacation with me the entire time we have been together all the while knowing he just isn’t an “outdoorsy” kind of guy. Imagine my surprise when he tells me he booked a trip to a string of islands off the coast of North Carolina called the Outer Banks!

    We arrived late in the afternoon and decided to clean ourselves up (and christen our Hotel room) before going to the restaurant where Phil had made our dinner reservations.

    The restaurant was beautiful both inside and out. The Hostess seated us at a table on the patio overlooking the beach and soon the waiter was bringing us water and menus and the most delicious warm bread I had ever tasted.

    “Keep an eye out for Ghost Crab”, he warned, “They start to come out in the evening.”
    “Come out?” Phil asked.
    “Yes sir! They hide in holes they make in the sand during the day and then emerge in the evening”, the waiter explained, “It’s quite a sight to see.”
    “Should I be afraid?” I asked, not wanting there to be anything that could dissuade Phil from attempting another outdoor adventure in the future.
    “Not to worry ma’am the Ghost crab are very skittish and generally run at the sight of any movement in their direction. People actually come to Vacation here and enjoy chasing them for entertainment because they are fun to chase, they are not however, fun to catch. They pinch rather hard if you manage to catch one. Fair Warning.”
    “Duly noted.” Phil said, turning his attention to the menu.
    The dinner was exquisite, with all of the talk of crab, I decided to have that for dinner, and it was so succulent and sweet that I didn’t want it to end. Phil Had steak and salad. We drank wine and talked and laughed until the sun was down and then Phil suggested we go for a walk on the beach before heading back to the hotel room.

    We walked hand in hand down steps that lead from the restaurant’s patio down to the beach.
    “Did you see that?” Phil asked.
    “What?” I said surprised, I was lost in the beauty of this wonderful day we had spent together.
    “I think I saw a Ghost Crab skitter across the sand there!”
    “Where-“, I started to ask and then saw two or three of them myself seeming to run sideways always keeping their eyes on us. “Oh Phil isn’t it just the best day?” I both ask and exclaim.
    “Well, let’s see if this makes it better.” He both reaches into his jacket and lowers to one knee as if he has rehearsed it a thousand times. He presents a ring box and opens it. “Kristi, you are the most amazing woman I have ever met and I want to be with you for the rest of my life, will you marry me?”
    “Oh My god PHIL! YES! Yes I’ll marry you!” I say beginning to cry. He stands up and we embrace. Out of the corner of my eye I can see the Ocean and think how perfect this moment was. I also notice that there is something churning the water.
    “Phil, look!” I gesture toward the shoreline where suddenly there are what seems to be millions of Ghost crabs climbing over and over each other.
    “OUCH!” Phil cries in pain as we look down and see that he has been pinched by one of the crabs. His skin starts to change from his usual peachy color to a bright yellow. I watch, frightened, as he goes to both knees in agony. He seems to be shrinking at the same time. I grab him and try to pick him up and feel that his skin is beginning to harden.
    “Oh my GOD PHIL! I think you are turning into a crab!”
    It has been 2 years since that day but it still feels like it was yesterday. Phil is still with me, he said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and he will. I have an aquarium filled with sand in my living room next to the window. Phil burrows himself into the sand during the day and then comes out to visit me in the evenings. I won’t dare let him pinch me though and I’ll never eat crab again.

  4. SLWalker

    Lathering on the sunscreen I take a deep breath in, I’ve always loved the way it smells. Sitting upon my towel I gaze at the ocean and marvel at its beauty but something is quite different today, there isn’t the sound of the crashing waves. In fact the ocean is as calm as ever.
    Raising my hand over my eyes to take in a better look I see what appears to be crabs, a mighty army of crabs. Hurrying I search for Roman on the beach line and spot him just as he begins his sprint towards the water.
    “Nooooo!!!!!!” I scream out taking off across the sands screaming his name over and over.
    Turning around he looks at me questioningly as his feet hit the rush of water but it’s too late, he morphs robotically into a crab. I have no time to scream as I hear the shrieks of the crowd behind me as everyone takes in the horror of the beach. Anyone who touches the ocean water is transformed into the crustacean.
    A man grabs me from behind, “Don’t touch the water… hurry go, leave!”
    Standing in utter shock I notice as he leaves me that he’s wearing fatigues. He runs over to a crowd of men who have rushed onto the beach with massive amount of firearms.
    “Roman!” I turn to where he was and see nothing. All of the people who had transformed had set out and become part of the collective mass gathering in the Atlantic.
    They’re going to kill him, no one is going to look for a cure or to bring him back. They’re just going to let him die this mutation. That’s always the answer to just destroy before finding any logical reasoning to a situation.
    An old man wonders passed me, his footing is giving him problems with the sand. He shakes his head, “Do you think if I turned into one of those things I’d still be old?”
    “How could this be happening?” I say in response, “my love he just is gone…”
    Scoffing the old man says, “He isn’t gone woman! He’s in that ocean, if I weren’t so scared I’d go for it. What an adventure they will have.”
    “The military are going to kill them,” I say pointing.
    Walking away he yells, “Then they better hurry away into that ocean.”
    “Yes,” I say looking at the massive lump in the ocean and then towards the military group still configuring what their next move shall be.
    “I’ve always been a good runner,” I say darting for the shore line to warn them, to save them, to save him, my love.

  5. ShamelessHack

    “Hey, Gino. Check it out.”
    Gino scuttled over the backs of a few of his pals and swiveled his eyes toward shore. He saw the two humans staring back at him in disbelief. He clacked a claw in the air and said, “Yeah, Carlo, two more of them soft animals with only two legs.”
    Carlo squinted at them for a second and said, “I recognize them.”
    The squirming reef of crabs surrounding them shifted, but the two quickly regained their footing.
    Gino peered at the humans, then back at Carlo. “You know them? Who are they?”
    Carlo belched up a fragment of seaweed. He pointed with a claw. “You see the guy?”
    “How can you tell which one is the guy, Gino?”
    “The one with the shiny head. That bald guy, his name is Klems. Brian Klems. He runs a website called Writer’s Digest.”
    “What’s a website?”
    “Never mind. The other one, the female. That’s E.L. James.”
    “Who’s that?”
    “She’s the broad that wrote the book ’50 Shades of Grey’.”
    “What’s a book?”
    “Never mind. Hey look!” Gino said. “The chick is turning into one of us! She’s growing claws and now she has a big shell instead of a body. Sweet!”
    “She’s coming our way, Gino,” Carlo said excitedly.
    Gino slid sideways toward E.L. James. When he was within clawshot he said, “Hey, baby. You’re lookin’ hot—boiling hot actually. Anything I can do for you?”
    E.L. James eyed the crab, shimmied her supple antennae, and purred, “Wanna hurt me, baby?”
    “Sure.” Gino reached over and smacked E.L. James across the shell.
    “Ooh, do it again…”
    As Gino and E.L. James consummated their odd mating ritual, Carlo glanced toward shore. He saw Brian Klems looking out to sea and smiling. The man raised a hand with and gave a big thumbs up.
    Then he turned, and walked back to his car.

  6. cosi van tutte

    I decided to take this into a different direction…

    River Goddess Esmarala had traveled 12,000 miles to visit King Tryan. She was tired and hungry and her joints yearned for fresh water. But she stood on the beach, tall and proud, with her watercress gown blowing in the warm breeze.

    People in bikinis and swim trunks stared at her, but she paid them no mind. She waited all day.

    But he did not come.

    She stood her ground. Waiting as the day passed into evening into night.

    He did not come.

    Yet, still she waited.

    Midnight arrived in full moon splendor.

    She had been away from her river for too long. Her dry skin flaked and itched. The white water lily crown in her hair faded into wilted beige. And she was tired. Oh so tired.

    But she held her head high with a goddess’ pride. She would not crumple to the sand, even though she longed to do so. She would stand her ground to the very end.

    At the last moment, when she was about to give in to despair, he arose out of the ocean. Golden starfish ringed his red hair. “Esmarala.” His voice was rough and caustic like rock salt. “You waited.”

    “And you came.”

    He offered her a cup of fresh water.

    She did not question how or where he acquired it. She took the cup and drank it in several small sips. Every sip reinvigorated her. By the time the cup was empty, she felt quite like herself again. “Thank you.”

    “You may speak the reason for your visit.”

    She handed the cup back to him. “My daughter, Espriana, wishes to marry your son, Dinpaon.”

    “This I know.”

    “Your son is a good man. My daughter loves him and I approve of him.”

    “Yet, you do not approve of their union.”

    “I cannot. Your ocean would be Espriana’s death and my rivers would be Dinpaon’s death. Yet, I do not want to disappoint them.” She lowered her gaze. “I have known disappointment in love. I know how such disappointment stings and bites a heart.”

    “You want my help.”

    She looked up at him. “If you have help to give.”

    “I do. But understand this: If you accept my help, Espriana will never be able to return to your rivers. Can you accept such conditions?”

    “If it means her happiness, yes.”

    “Bring her here in a fortnight. Dinpaon will be here on the beach, waiting for her.” His expression softened. “Say your good-byes before you come. For, once she steps onto the sand, she will forget you and the rivers. She will run to him and they will run into my ocean.”

    “No! You can’t. That will kill her!”

    “Don’t worry, Esmarala. I will change their bodies so that they may live in the ocean without fear. Unless…” He studied her face. “Unless that is not what you want?”

    Esmarala thought about her daughter. “She is the light that dances on my rivers. I will miss her dearly. But I want her to be happy. Tryan, will she be happy in her new form?”

    “Yes. What do you say?”

    Esmarala wanted to say no. She wanted to keep her darling child all to herself.

    “Speak, Esmarala. What do you say?”

    She would not weep yet. She would save it for when she was home in her river bed. She held her head high with a goddess’ pride. “Yes.”

  7. Spaceman

    A seagull cried overhead, swooping down to peck at some sort of food. Holly clutched at her oversized sun hat, the wind threatening to carry it off on a trip around the world. Peter held Holly close to him so that the wind didn’t carry her off on a trip around the world. He also carried two heavy beach chairs and an umbrella, keeping a tight grip on the objects so they wouldn’t meet the same fate possibly opening to Holly or her hat.

    They climbed the steep sand dune, drawn in by the smell of the salty ocean water. Sand burned at their feet, sliding between their toes and quickly becoming an ever present aspect of their lives. The dune was so massive, it felt as if Holly had been climbing this dune her entire life. She was doomed to climb this dune for eternity, a modern day, beachy Sisyphus, sand forever lodging itself into crevices previously unknown. God, did Holly hate sand.

    As all things, the climb came to an end. With one last single lurch and a hopeful smile, Holly crested the dune, Peter stumbling after her. The blue ocean would stun her with its beauty, the sound of waves crashing on the saturated sand would be a sweet music to her ears, and the mixture of sun and wind and water would keep her happy until the end of her days.

    Or so Holly thought.

    She saw the first one out of the corner of her eye. A tiny baby of a brilliantly red crab scurrying from one shadow to the next. It was sort of cute, if tiny red crabs were your thing. It wasn’t Holly’s thing, and she assumed it wasn’t Peter’s either by the way he stood stoically beside her. But one itty bitty crab wouldn’t have ruined Holly’s experience.

    The thousands of crabs littering the beach would, however, and did.

    They came in all shapes and sizes. Crabs as large as dinner plates with claws reminiscent of those from carnival games, or as small as that first one darting between the shadows. Every crab was the same bright shade of red, made even brighter and more effervescent by the sun beating high overhead.

    Only one or two seagulls dared to try this all you could eat buffet, and they were rewarded for their efforts by the largest crabs rushing them at once, their herculean claws waving. The seagulls quickly flew off, cawing protests and disappointments all the while. Holly almost felt bad for them.

    Her attention was drawn by Peter, who had very gently placed the two chairs and umbrella on the sand dune, his eyes transfixed on the multitude of crabs beneath them. Holly stared at Peter with anticipation, wondering what he would say about this crustacean takeover.

    Peter, taking very deliberate steps, strode into the sea of crabs and sat down. Almost instantly, he was covered in crabs; they crawled over him and each other, engulfing the man as they engulfed the shore. Soon, the form of Peter disappeared as he was transformed into just another part of the red landscape, more crab than man.

    Holly, still clutching her hat, only shook her head and began to descend the sand dune she spent an eternity climbing. She left the beach chairs and umbrella, started her car, and drove away from the beach.

    “I’m never trusting Match again,” she said to herself before turning on the radio.

  8. Witt.Stanton

    A lightning bolt arced overhead and struck the ground next to Cas with a crack. Sand was flung into the air, blinding him. Raising his arm he began the spell, muttering the words he knew so well.

    Rye stood next to the ocean, waiting impatiently. It was his turn. In a quick movement he made a fist and slammed it into the ground. Seconds passed. Then the sea began to boil, writhing as grew warmer and warmer. Rye grinned and the sandstorm diminished.

    “You’re getting better.” Her skirt whipped behind her, trailing into the water. Instantly the water stilled, gentle waves rolling onto the shore. “Of course, it’s not what we were going for, was it?”

    With a groan, Cas shook his head. He had meant for the water to build into one large wave so he could knock his partner off her feat, but still he hadn’t mastered Water. Fire was his best. He was decent with Air, and passable with Earth. It was Water that he couldn’t get.

    “Sorry. Don’t know what happened,” he apologized, ruffling his hair with a hand to get the sand out. He had no idea what went wrong.

    Rye sighed and stepped forward, towards him. “Let’s try again tomorrow. Show me Fire.”

    His mind blanked. Fire. He slowly extended his hand. Fire. He felt her gaze on him, and he felt his focus slipping. Rye was his crush since the Academy. She was the reason he had joined the Elementalists. He loved her, but had the feeling that she had no idea.

    Cas stuttered the spell for Fire, hoping he wouldn’t make a fool of himself. A small ball of fire formed in the center of his palm, warming his hand. Slowly, a rusty brown tattoo on his arm faded into focus. It was a beautiful design, made by Rye. It was to keep his Fire under control.

    Rye was a Water, strong and free. They were an odd pair, because neither could help the other. Most Waters choose an Earth as a partner, simply because together they were stronger. Rye and Cas actually made each other weaker. But Rye had chosen him, not a Wind or Earth. Him.

    Cas hoped that meant she liked him. She took hold of his hand, and for a moment Cas didn’t know what she was doing. Then he remembered. He felt himself blush. Idiot. It was time to go.

    He felt her Water tattoo come back, and cross over onto his arm. His tattoo did the same, and soon their forearms were covered in a swirl of reds and blues. In the distance a conch sounded, and she released his arm.

    The water that she had stilled bubbled to life, filed with thousands of crabs and other sea creatures to welcome her back. With a wave, she allowed the Transformation and dove into the water. This time she was a beautiful, tiny crab with a swirling white shell of light greens.

    Cas heard his signal, a strong, hot wind, and he himself Transform. He wished he had the courage to tell her how he felt. Tomorrow, he promised to himself, tomorrow I will tell her. After one last glance at her small form vanishing beneath the waves, he turned and galloped off into the trees.

  9. XzBlack0ut

    It was so romantic, we ran hand in hand down the path as the sun fell and shimmered off the water of the bright blue ocean. We arrived at the beach and stumbled over these odd shaped rocks that were covered in slime. We laid down in pain that was overcome as we looked into eachothers eyes, then I went in for the kiss when this thing pinched his lip! I jumped up in fear and saw all of these “rocks” unfold into millions of snow crabs. I screamed for help from Gabe. I looked at him and saw the crab’s claw around his lip grew tighter. His face and lip started turning red, his is figers grew attached and made a claw, his legs became arched and pointed. Then he grew an extra 3 legs.

    My once loved boyfriend was now a giant King Snow Crab! He started crawling toward me, so I tried to run. I got halfway down the path when he grabbed my ankles and started dragging me toward the ocean. I tilted my head up to see the army of Snow Crabs retreating into the depths of the ocean. From this moment I realized I was as good as dead. Suddenly I took a deep breath and watched the sun disappear over the horizon and down I went. I kicked and kicked at him and after about 30 seconds of descending into the depths of the deep blue until I ran out of breath and blacked out.

    Minutes later I had awoken it had appeared it was a dream I had attempted to move and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t move my legs. I looked at my arms and noticed my dark tan skin was turning red! I started running as the adrenaline pumped through my veins, but i stumbled as my legs began to disfigure themselves. I layed there in pain and blacked out once more. I woke up to the crab eyes of my beautiful crab Gabe. I jumped up and kissed him and we lived in the depths for years, but I was still in a heavenly hell!

    1. snuzcook

      If this is your first story here, welcome, XzBlack0ut! You’ve drawn a complete story in just 357 words, not an easy task! Your story more than any others I have read on this prompt, put me in mind of 1950-60s creature features, with the hapless/helpless damsel almost escaping, only to be pulled back. You last line, ‘…but I was in heavenly hell!” evokes the whole ‘can I be happy if I give up my identity for my boyfriend’ angst. Nice!

  10. JosephFazzone

    I blinked. I blinked twice. On the third time, I also closed my gaping mouth. My love was transformed, and into a crustacean of all things. Not so easy to explain to the parents, this. I looked right and left and saw many couples running out into the ocean, and they too were melding into crabs and dancing with the crashing waves. In the distance, I can see the outcrop of jagged boulders that served as home to these crazy crabs. They swarmed it, and appear to be facing the sun with their claws outstretch.

    No offense to my girlfriend, but I couldn’t make her out amongst the throng of sun worshiping crabs. They all look the same to me.

    I felt a huge claw tap me on the shoulder. I turned and saw a gorgeous blond woman smiling at me. At her side was what I presume to be boyfriend. He had the face of a crab massive claws. He smiled or made chewing motions towards me. Lucky for me, she spoke. I don’t know if I could understand the clacks and clicks that the boyfriend was making.

    “Join her”, the blonde said.

    “Um”, I responded. “Ummmm.”

    He clacked at me insultingly.

    “It’s not hard to do”, the blonde reassured me.”Just run towards the waves, and everything will be fine.”

    Click clack from the boyfriend.

    “Fun”, she amended smiling towards him.

    “Whatever”, I said, “I have no intention of becoming something I’m quite fond of with a little melted butter.”

    Clicking furiously, the boyfriend smacked me in the shoulder with his massive claw. My jaw made contact first on the gritty grainy sand, and I got a mouthful of the stuff. It tasted of brine, and what I imagine seagull poop to taste like. Repeatedly I tried to spit out the sand, but to little avail, there was going to be some fun crunching at least a half hour.

    “Look”, I barked, “I’m not in the mood to be a part of some sick mating frenzy. I don’t even know why I am here.”

    “She invited you”, said the blonde with the patience of a saint. Her boyfriend had wandered off, and waited toward the shore for her.

    “He doesn’t like me”, I said.

    “He doesn’t have to”, she responded, and indicated towards the rocks. “She does.”

    I looked out at the rocks again, and I thought I could make out one staring back at me in anticipation. What did I know, I’m not even sure where the eyes are these things. Still, I felt drawn towards it. I took off my shirt.

    “Just run into the waves?”

    “Yes” she said softly.

    I whipped my arms back and forth, “This is crazy!” I repeated, and then I gave in, and ran towards the inviting ocean. The call of the waves, the air, the smell of the ocean just felt so right. I gave into the call of the sea, and the splendor, my antennae soon detected an invited vibration. It was the call from my girl, and this time I knew just where to find her. As a I skittered along the shore, I knew we’d be in each other’s claws soon.

    1. snuzcook

      Welcome, JosephFazzone!
      I really felt sorry for your MC. Stuck on a beach with everyone doing something he doesn’t really want to do, but no good reason not to except it makes no sense. Why would anyone want to change into a crab? At last, in this retelling of the age old, he can’t think of any reason not to, so he takes the plunge. Immediate gratification. Yay! Then what? Your story illustrates this nicely.

  11. pvenderley

    AFTERMATH

    Henry stands at the top of the hill overlooking the beach and takes in the scene.

    “Babe,” he calls back to his girlfriend. “I don’t think we’ll be doing any swimming today.”

    Sheryl wraps her arms around Henry’s waist, rests her head on his shoulder. They survey the secluded inlet as one.

    “Crabs?” she asks.

    “Yeah,” he says. He picks his way carefully down the path, nudging little ghost crabs out of the way with the tip of his flip flop. “Tons of them.”

    Sheryl remains at the top of the hill. “Why are you going down there?” she asks. She’s standing on her toes as if the waves of crabs might reach up there to dash upon the frayed hem of her shorts.

    “Curious,” he says. “Want to see.”

    Water boils with more crabs than a Boston chef’s stove top. Crab-laden waves slap the shore. Henry picks one up by the carapace and stares at its beady, translucent eyes.

    “Neat,” he says.

    The crab waves its claws futilely, blows angry little bubbles.

    “What’d you say?” he calls back to Sheryl. She shrugs her shoulders and shakes her head.

    “Huh,” Henry says. He heard someone say something, but he and Sheryl are the only ones on the beach.

    A bubble bursts from the crab’s mouth. “Lame.”

    “That’s weird,” Henry says. He puts his ear as close to the crab as he dares.

    Another bubble pops. “Lame.”

    “No way,” Henry says. “Babe! It sounds like this crab is saying: ‘Lame!'”

    Sheryl waves Henry’s comment off. She pulls her wrap close around her, a gossamer defense against the ocean breeze.

    Henry places the crab on the ground, watches it scurry off with claws raised in outrage. He picks up another one.

    “Oh, for God’s sake, Henry! Let’s go to another beach, OK?”

    Three bubbles pop out of this crab’s mouth in quick succession: “Rotten rotten rotten.”

    “Babe! Check this out!” Henry calls.

    “No. Fucking. Way. Am I going down there.”

    Another crab. “The hyphens.”

    ‘What does that mean?’ Henry wonders. He shrugs the crab away, selects another one with a frothing mass of bubbles nearly covering its face.

    “Gay agenda,” says the mass of bubbles.

    The unnatural absurdity of talking crabs hits Henry, hard. He takes a few steps back and surveys the frothing ocean. So many crabs. Why are they here in the open? Aren’t they supposed to hide? Under rocks and stuff?

    “Honey, I don’t feel so well,” Sheryl calls. “I’ve got some bad cramps.”

    Henry turns to see his girlfriend curled into a ball on the top of the hill.

    “What the… Sheryl?” he cries out, running up the hill, ignoring the cries of the ghost crabs that are unable to scatter out from under the soles of his Tevas.

    “Trending,” she’s muttering when he reaches her. Sheryl’s hands have formed into rigid claws, spasming open and closed. He touches her rocking body and finds her skin as hard as a crab’s carapace. “Trending. Trending.”

    Henry struggles to ask Sheryl what she means, what’s happening, when a phrase crawls into his head. He struggles to recall its origin, remembers it’s from a book he read recently – a stupid, horrible, crappy book, one that he felt compelled to complain about online.

    Henry opens his mouth to scream. The only words that come out: “Space diapers!”

    1. snuzcook

      Like Rheatha said, pvenderley–a fun read! I have a sense that it is a cautionary tale, but either I am not in the population susceptible to the possible consequences, or I am so far gone that I don’t recognize myself. Those crabs with the sound bites DO seem familiar, though. Hmmm.

    2. pvenderley

      Heh. I figured the content might come off a bit stranger than the actual prompt. An explanation:

      The plan was to have anyone who’s posted a nasty, hateful YouTube comment turn into a crab, repeating their snark over and over. But then I thought: “those are trolls — turning them into crabs doesn’t make sense.”

      So I pulled the crabs’ bits from the one-star Amazon comments for Chuck Wendig’s new Star Wars book. Because THOSE people are just being crabby.

      I’m glad, aside from that weirdness, the story was enjoyable.

  12. Kerry Charlton

    A MIS-SPENT WEEKEND

    “What about it, Delores? A weekend of fun and sun.”

    “In your dreams Charlie, you’re twenty years older and where did your hair go?”

    “Now don’t get personal. I am single, what’s the harm?”

    “What about my reputation?”

    “Why do you think I’m asking in the first place?”

    “Who said that about me?”

    “Not telling, expenses are on me. Don’t you like Maine lobster?

    “Really? We’re not going to stay in some dingy motel?”

    “Atlantic City casinos are not flea bags.”

    “Now you’ve got my interest. Can we take in a show?”

    Certainly, we can leave from the office Friday and be back Sunday night.”

    “Only one thing I ask, you be a gentleman.”

    “Always“.

    “Okay then, we’re on but remember, friends only, no kinky stuff.”

    “Absolutely.”

    Charlie’s Lincoln purred along the expressway after work and despite the Town Car being five years younger than Delores, they rode in comfort.

    “You’ve always been nice in the office, Charlie, how come there’s no woman in
    your life?”

    “I’ve asked myself that, I guess I’m picky.”

    An hour later they pulled up to the Borgata Hotel,

    “Wow Charlie, you weren’t kidding. This is beautiful, what a room, overlooking the ocean.”

    “I told you, didn’t I.?”

    “You did, let’s gamble a bit.”

    On the third pull of a handle, lights and sirens emitted from Delores’ direction. When the excitement cleared, she held a check for five thousand and took Charlie to dinner. Seven martini‘s later, Charlie half carried her to their room. She sleep like the dead until the sun rose well above the horizon..

    After two Bloody Mary’s to settle her queasiness, they hit the beach for some sun. Delores soaked in it for four hours then they walked to the shore,

    “You’ll love this water, no seaweed, no jelly fish.”

    “Charlie, what about the crabs.”

    “They won’t bother you. I hardly ever see them.”

    “Do you think I’m blind, there/s millions of crabs everywhere, thrashing. No one

    seems to care. Am I hallucinating or what?”

    He leaned over and felt her forehead,

    “Your face is burning hot, you need to get out of the sun and heat“

    As soon as they reached their room, Delores merely collapsed on a couch. When her back touched it, she moaned slightly,

    “I’m burning all over.”

    Charlie spent the rest of the day and night applying vinegar and calamine lotion, mopping her brow and caressing her hair,

    “I’m so sorry, I thought you used sun block.”

    “I guess I ruined your weekend, Charlie.”

    He tried to convince her, it wasn’t a problem. Sunday afternoon they returned to Philadelphia. He unlocked her apartment and made sure she was comfortable after stopping at the drug store for sunburn medicine.

    “Don’t worry about the office tomorrow, I’ll cover for you.”

    He leaned over and kissed her hair.

    “I had a marvelous time,” she said.

    “Really?”

    “Oh yes, you’re quite a gentleman. Will you call me before you go to sleep tonight?”

    “Sure, Will you be alright?”

    “Now that I’ve found my prince I will.”
    .

    .

    1. snuzcook

      My first submission was even for me a tad overly poetic. I offer this as an palate cleanser.

      REDEMPTION (468 wds)

      It was insane. It was like the holy men who walk barefoot across hot coals, or a person who escapes a collapsed building running barefoot across broken glass. But I was not a holy man; I was not acting on raw instinct to save myself. I was running a gamut of sharp claws and tearing shells and malevolent magic that bloodied me with every step.

      Lyea had run off into the Snapper Tide. Everyone knows that if you do that, you can’t come back. You become a Snapper just like them. But my Lyea was not in her right mind; she was bewitched. And I didn’t want to lose her.

      The legends say that if you can manage to carry someone who has been bewitched by the Snappers across them and into the open water without looking back, that person will return to their human form. But once they sink down onto the sand with all four limbs among the crabs, it was too late.

      I was fast enough to catch her by the shoulder before she dropped to her knees. I lifted her into my arms, holding her tight while her legs, now covered in shell and sharp saw-tooth bumps, fought me. Her hand that had brushed across the tops of the malevolent pavement of shells was curving and hardening into the tip of a claw.

      I ran as fast as I could among and around and on top of the squirming, moving mass of crabs. I could not be bewitched—my deafness protected me. But if I fell I would be just as quickly transformed. I must not fall.

      After an eternity, I half slid, half fell at sudden the drop-off that marked the edge of the shallows. A snapper ripped a jagged gash in my ear when I passed too close to him as I slipped under the water into the cool depths and out of his reach.

      I surfaced, sputtering, still with one hand on my beautiful Lyea’s arm, keeping her afloat. For a moment she looked into my eyes and I saw the spark of recognition re-ignited as the clean, cleansing waters began to dissolve the monstrous mutations from her limbs. Her brow furrowed in confusion, and her eyes searched around. I kissed her to stop her eyes from roving. For a moment, she clung to my kiss like a butterfly clings to its abandoned chrysalis.

      Then, with a wistful expression, she again heard what I could not hear. “No!” But my words could not compete with the song that the Snappers wove and threw her way like a fisherman’s net to ensnare their quarry. Her face turned toward the shore and her eyes again shifted to empty ocean pools. She became heavy by her own volition, heavier than I could hold, and she sank beneath the waves.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Don’t worry snuz, join me anytime you want to. This is one hell of a story, gut writing along with Greek Mythology. It is one fine piece of writing, the visual is amazing to read.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you , Reatha. Too muck gin and sun can put anybody under but my point was, she didn’t realize the prince she looked for was under her nose every day.

    2. Reaper

      Awww. That is so amazingly sweet and well written. Not a lot of time this week again but I have been skipping commenting on the Kerry stories. So I wanted to stop by and say this is a beautiful story of newfound love.

  13. Observer Tim

    EMPEROR CRAB

    Daneel leans over the edge of his bunk and looks down at me. “Okay Ven, I’ll bite. What’s a vision quest?”

    “It’s when they take a little kid, get him totally stoned, then convince him his hallucinations are somehow important. It’s a family tradition that goes all the way back to Homeworld.”

    “Fifteen thousand years? Right. Just because you’re from an old family doesn’t make everything ancient.”

    “Sorry Daneel, this is. My grandmother says came from our ancestral home, a place called Osa-ka.”

    “Yeah, yeah. And what was yours?”

    “Well, Grandmother flew us to Homeworld, past the blockade satellites…”

    “Can you take me there? I’d love to see Homeworld in person.”

    “Stop interrupting. Do you want to hear this?”

    “Okay, okay.”

    “We landed and spent a couple of days at the estate. The third night Grandmother took me down to the beach and lit a campfire, then made me breathe the smoke. It wasn’t long before the hallucinations started. This was wild stuff, not a controlled high like TXD or Ogazm.”

    “So what did you see?”

    “I dreamed I was older, maybe sixteen or so, and newly married. My wife was cute, too.”

    “Did you do her?”

    “Come on! I was eleven at the time, I didn’t think about stuff like that. Much. I was more interested in being an adult. Anyway, we were on the beach and watching the sun rise over the ocean. Suddenly the sea started foaming and frothing, almost as if it was boiling. But it wasn’t; there were sea creatures swarming in the water and churning it up. They were crabs, millions upon millions of little crabs.”

    “So you’re wife got…”

    “Can you even spell eleven? Get your mind out of the thrust-pipe! They were real crabs: you know, seafood. Well, you probably wouldn’t want to eat these ones, they were pretty tiny. And the backs of their shells were little angry faces; actually, they looked kind of like White Rook power armour faceplates. Grandmother told me later they were called Heike.”

    “Rook armour? Did they have little power lances too?”

    “No, don’t be stupid. Anyway, they covered the beach as far as we could see, and I could tell there were lots more even than that. And then they all bowed to us.”

    “Ha ha! And you became the King Crab!”

    “No, I woke up. Vision quest stuff is supposed to be symbolic, not real. When I told Grandmother she said it meant one day I’d be a great leader, maybe even Emperor.”

    “You? Emperor? Right!” He hops down off his bunk and does a deep bow. “All hail Emperor Venaton Aris!”

    “Shut up! If one of the Inquisitors hears you I’ll be hauled up for treason! They’d have to take out everybody on Throneworld for it to… even… be… possible.”

    “Ven, they did take out everybody on Throneworld; blew the whole planet up. That’s why we’re heading out to the fringe to look for whoever’s responsible. And you’re sixteen now.”

    I gulp.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        It’s a great tale Tim. I have been on the beack before in Avalon, when the sand crabs were moving across it in early light. I was nine or ten at the time and felt very uneasy about them. I have a crab story I’ve been dying to write, just waiting for the right prompt or one I can bend it into. But you take these stories to heights no one else has the talent to do. Therefore you shall be dubbed ‘The Master Crab’.

  14. pinkbamboo

    credit given to my friend for bouncing ideas with me this week

    *******************

    “That was a long nap” Andy whispered as he slipped his hand under my shirt. I laughed and swatted his hand away.

    “Don’t disturb me. I need my beauty sleep” I groaned as I turned around the bed, unwilling to get up from the cozy king size bed.

    Andy rubbed his chin on my shoulder and I rolled away.

    “You didn’t shave! Go away” I muffled into the pillow.

    “Fine. Me lady needs her sleep, thou shall play alone” he stood up dramatically as he pushed the sliding door and stepped out to the beach.

    “Bye!” I sat up and pushed my long hair to the back before securing it with a clip.

    Andy turned as he walked along the shore and blew me a kiss. I smiled and rolled my eyes before I got up and tried to catch up with him.

    As I approached shore, I saw a crab. It was a small hermit crab. Oh hello, little guy. Wait, there were two more .. and another five more .. woah .. those are huge. Suddenly the beach was filled with crabs of various sizes.

    “Andy, this is freaky” I called out as I turned to head back to our room when I turned to see him bending forward and slowly .. turning into a crab. I ran towards him but when I reached, he was already hard shelled as he fell among the other crabs.

    “Andy!” I picked him up before I lose him.

    “Sara!”

    Had I gone crazy? Did the crab .. Andy called my name? I ran back to the room with Andy in my hands and shut the door. I looked outside to see the other crabs heading back to the water.

    “Andy?” I whispered.

    “Sara, I am a crab. What the hell!” he shouted as I gasped.

    “Why are you a crab? How am I suppose to turn you back?” I started crying in disbelief.

    “Honey, don’t cry. We’ll figure this out together. I have no idea what happened but we can get through this”

    “What am I supposed to do?”

    “Let’s go home. Just trust me. I’ll be fine”

    It took me an hour to pack our things – my hands were trembling from the shock. I kept crying but I had to be strong for us so I tried to wipe the tears away.

    Back home I made our old fish aquarium as Andy’s temporary home and I seeked various sources to turn him back. I went through websites for witch doctors, curses, alien invasion – because surely a man turning into a crab had to be paranormal.

    Andy constantly reminded me to take it easy but I refused to give up. I wanted my husband back and sometimes when he looked at me, I gave him a smile and continued my research until I was interrupted by the doorbell. It was my mother and brother.

    “Sara, your office called. Are you sick? Why haven’t you been going in for three days?”

    “No, mom. It’s not like that” then I proceed to explain the whole incident.

    “So that’s Andy” Ian, my brother pointed to the aquarium.

    I nodded with a forced smile and turned to look at him. Andy waved with one of his front claw.

    “Sup, dude” Ian smiled.

    “Sara, are you hungry?” mother gave me a hug. I was a little annoyed that mother cared for me more than she did of Andy. I mean, he turned into a crab!

    “No, mom. I’m not hungry” I shook my head.

    “I think you should get some air. Go buy some bread and groceries.”

    “But I ..” I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to leave Andy.

    “I’ll clean up here. Go out and get some food for the house. We’re hungry too” she patted my hands.

    “I’ll watch Andy” Ian walked towards the aquarium.

    “Honey, I’ll be right back” I blew him a kiss.

    I left the house, actually pleased to get some fresh air but I couldn’t bear leaving Andy alone for too long. I was just about to jog when I realized I left my money in my other coat so I had to turn back.

    I stood outside the porch looking for my keys when I heard my mother crying.

    “.. the grasshopper, the snail then now this .. what are we going to do?”

    What was mother talking about? Then Ian cleared his throat.

    “Mom, we need to give her more time. You know Sara’s not the same since Andy.. drowned”

  15. cosi van tutte

    “Mabel!”

    “What is it, Neville dear?”

    “Those dang kids are running all over the yard again.”

    “Oh, boys will be boys.”

    “Oh! Oh, Mabel! Look. Look! They’re jumping in the pool now. Oh, Mabel!”

    She chuckled indulgently. “Neville dear, don’t fret so. You know it isn’t good for your heart.”

    “Now they’re digging holes in the yard! Oh! Where are their parents? I ought to give them a good earful about letting their offspring run amuck on decent folks’ property.”

    “They seem to be asleep.”

    “Asleep? That does it. I’m gonna go over there and—”

    “Neville. Neville. Neville. You always want to do things the hard way.” She smiled. “Let me handle it.”

    Neville calmed down. “Of course, dear.”

    Mabel crept out into the sunlight and pointed her sharp hand at the children. “By the fifteen waves of the seven seas, transform and change!”

    The boys turned into crabs. They looked at each other, flopped on their hardened backs, and pitched an unholy fit. Their parents ran over to them and set up a holler and a yell.

    Mabel smiled at Neville, who crouched beside her. “What do you think? Should I change them as well?”

    He gave it deep consideration. “No. Let them figure out what to do with their crabby kids. Come, Mabel. Let’s go for a swim.”

  16. Craig the Editor

    Another Crabby Day in Paradise

    Eddie awoke to the sound of the surf pounding against the sand. It was the same sound he fell asleep to the night before. But there was something different. He and Linda had arrived very late due to a mix up on the part of the airlines and when they did arrive they were far too tired to explore the beach. Especially at three in the morning.

    He listened carefully, and there, very subtly, just under the sound of the waves was a peculiar clicking sound. Like, maybe an army of castanet players had decided to practice on the beach that morning. He smiled at the idea of an army of flamenco dancers clicking away on the beach.

    “Good morning, I was wondering if you ever would wake up. Look, I know you’ve put a lot of effort into this second honeymoon and I don’t really mean to complain, honest, but something’s not right about this place. There’s that odd clicking sound and a really strong fishy smell. Not that you would ever be able to tell.”

    “I heard to clicking sound and now that you mention it, there is a rather pungent odor in the air. Maybe a whale or a bunch of dolphins beached themselves.”

    “Oh my god!How depressing! In celebration of our marriage a whale and a school of dolohins have killed themselves?”Linda asked unbelievingly.

    “Woa, slow down, we don’t know what’s going on. No trip is without it’s own unique problems. We will overcome whatever it is and it will give us something to the grandkids. Why don’t we take a stroll down to the beach and have a look around and then head over to the main lodge. Call ahead and let them know we’ll be having breakfast around ten. ”

    Linda walked over to the phone and picked it up and started to punch in the access code for the main lodge. She stopped almost immediately and set the phone down with a puzzled expression.

    “The line is dead.”

    “I’m sure it’s nothing to be alarmed about. Just another minor glitch in the day. I’ll talk to housekeeping when we go in for breakfast.”

    It was a few hundred yards through the dunes before they could see the ocean. As they approached the clicking sound and the odor got stronger. Eddie was about to urge Linda to pick up the pace when he noticed something. The entire beach was crawling with crabs. It appeared every crustacean on the coast had come to their beach.

    “My god, willl you look at that!” exclaimed Eddie. “I’ve never seen so many crabs! There must be thousands of them. i wonder why they are all here?”

    As he spoke the crabs stopped clicking and turned in his direction. Then they all started clicking their claws in unison and moving towards Linda and Eddie.

    “I don’t like the looks of this!” declared Linda.

    “That makes two of us. Let’s try and make a run for it before we are surrounded!”

    Dropping the beach chairs and duffle bag they started to make a break back to the bungalow. But it was too late. Instead they headed for the highest dune in the area..

    Linda gasped, “I just don’t understand. Where did they all come from? And why us?’

    Eddie wheezed, “I have an idea but you’re not going to believe me.”

    “Really. I will believe anything.”

    “These are Stephen King’s crabs.”

    “What do you mean? Who’s Stephen? And there’s a lot more then just King crabs out there.”

    “No, I mean Stephen King , the writer. Those are his crabs. They’re from one of his books. I don’t recall which one. I just recall there was some story where a guy is trapped on a beach and these crabs crawled out of the surf to slowly tear him apart.”

    “That’s horrible! Do I want to know what happened to him?”

    “I don’t know what happened. The story felt too much like assigned reading for an English class for my tastes. You know where the instructor wants you to explain what the crabs represent and what does the man signify and what does it all mean, that I couldn’t get into it So I stopped reading the story and never read King again.”

    “I am going to get pinched to death because you couldn’t finish the damn book?”

    “I’m really sorry. I had no idea at the time.”

    Just then the sound of a helicoptor could be heard. heading their way. And soon it was directly overhead, the blades thunping loudly. A voice over a loudspeaker boomed out.”

    “Remain calm and stand still. We are going to douse you in melted butter. It’s the only thig the crabs fear.

      1. Craig the Editor

        Thank you for the compliment. Like the hero of the story I vaguely recall reading the story years ago but I couldn’t recall the title and I also stopped reading Mr. King. He seems to have done alright with out me.

    1. cosi van tutte

      😀 😀 😀

      This story made me laugh.

      I especially liked this whole part:

      “I don’t know what happened. The story felt too much like assigned reading for an English class for my tastes. You know where the instructor wants you to explain what the crabs represent and what does the man signify and what does it all mean, that I couldn’t get into it So I stopped reading the story and never read King again.”

      “I am going to get pinched to death because you couldn’t finish the damn book?”

      “I’m really sorry. I had no idea at the time.”

  17. Doug Langille

    ** This prompt seems overly prescriptive to me, but I do have a true story to share. Picks on my blog if anyone is interested. **

    HOPEWELL ROCKS
    ==============

    My bride and I have been together a long time. We know each other well, but it’s always fun to learn something new about the other.

    After a busy summer all about everyone else but ourselves, we jumped at the invitation to join another couple on a Labour Day weekend sortie.

    One of our stops was to the Fundy shore in New Brunswick. Every time there is a television advertisement or brochure for that province, it’s about the Hopewell Rocks. We’d never been there, so it was quite an exciting prospect.

    Now, the Bay of Fundy is noted for its dramatic tides– up to fifty feet in some spots. We arrived at the park in time for peak low tide. I looked at her face and saw pure excitement. We’d get the full effect.

    After a winding walk under the cover of trees in the hot late morning sun, we arrived at the cliff edge. My best girl swallowed her fear of heights and we descended the metal staircase to the ocean floor.

    It was nothing short of spectacular.

    We walked among the tall rocks with trees growing atop high above us. We climbed in some sea caves and took some selfies. Then we walked across the muddy seabed to the ocean’s edge, only nearly losing our footwear to the sandy muck.

    Waves lapped behind us as we looked to the shoreline, impossibly far away, amazed at the spectacle of Nature’s gift. The sun sparkled and dazzled off the many tide pools.

    Something caught my wife’s eye and she crouched down at the edge of a pool.

    “Check this out,” she said.

    “What’d you find?”

    “A hermit crab. I gotta grab my phone and take a pic.”

    I checked out another puddle. “Hey, sweetheart! There’s more here.”

    She whispered loudly from behind me and put her hand on my shoulder. “Don’t. Move. They’re. Everywhere.”

    “Why are you whispering?” I asked and smirked.

    She laughed. “Maybe they can hear us.” I love her sense of humour. Perfectly bent.

    We each whipped out our phones and took pictures of the dozens–no, hundreds–of crabs. Within each muddy tide pool, an entire tribe of hermits struggled to survive. To await the incoming tide. To be reunited with their crabby loved ones in a distant far off pool. How much time would it seem to them between tides? How long would families be separated?

    It was staggering to think about.

    I was lost in my thoughts when I felt fingers lace mine and a soft tug.

    “Let’s go,” she said quietly. “We’ll be careful. We won’t step on any.”

    I squeezed her hand and followed her. “I love you.”

    “I love you too.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You know you’ve read a true story when you read this. You have the talent of a word artist. It’s the small things in this story that ring so true and jump from the computer screen. I wish I had been there with you.

  18. Amaria

    Ok I know I said I was going to sit this one out, but an idea actually popped in my head this morning on the way to work for this prompt. So here’s my take on it :/

    The girl leaned back against the chair. “I had a dream last night. Me and my best friend, Nerissa, were walking along the beach when all of a sudden we came across this huge crowd of crabs. Crabs everywhere! They started walking towards my feet, snapping at my toes. When I turn to Nerissa to say something I saw her running towards the water. I asked her what the hell she doing when she just morphed into a crab and jumped into the ocean.

    Then I heard my mom calling out my name. I turned to see my mom standing by a beach umbrella with crabs crawling all over her feet. She shouted about me “Ginger, I you about that girl! I told you to leave her alone and stop being her friend.” I turned back to the water. I couldn’t find Nerissa among all the crabs. Then I woke up.

    I was sweating, even though it wasn’t hot last night. I’m not sure what it all meant. I mean, I don’t even like crabs. I ate them once when I was a kid and they made me sick. Mom said I threw up everywhere. I’m not sure if Nerissa likes them. She eats lobster and sushi, but they’re not crabs – Dr. Levêque are you paying attention to me?”

    Dr. Levêque turned her head towards her patient. “Yes, of course Ginger. You were telling me about your dream last night about your friend and crabs.”

    “Yes” Ginger said. “What do you think it was about?”

    The doctor shifted in her seat. “Well, some people believe dreams are symbols or messages from our unconscious thoughts. In dream interpretations crabs can symbolize a number of things, such as being too clingy or dependent on someone or something. It can symbolize avoiding an issue that needs to be addressed, or perhaps it means someone is just, well, crabby.”

    Ginger interrupted, “Well, I don’t think I’m clingy. I was feeling irritable the other day when Nerissa wouldn’t return my phone call. I mean, always call and text her back.”

    The doctor nodded. “Perhaps your dream does have something to do with your relationship with Nerissa. You told me before your mother doesn’t approve of her.”

    Ginger shook her head. “My mom doesn’t approve of anyone. She is always trying to be so perfect and want everyone around her to be perfect. You know, she’s probably the reason why I’m in therapy. I remember this one time when I went to summer camp and……”

    As Ginger rambled on about her summer camp fiasco, Dr. Levêque glanced down at her notepad pretending to take notes. She looked towards the window again, taking in the fall leaves and prayed for her lunch break to come soon.

  19. Bushkill

    An ocean of crabs

    The weather was perfect. A beautiful blue sky brushed but briefly with the wispy white of scattered clouds met my wife and me as we crested the dune. The waves pounded the sand with their timeless rhythm and, with the incessant warbling of shore birds, created an atmosphere of sublime relaxation.

    A thought flitted through my mind, “They that go down to the sea in ships”. Reflected upon the white-capped sea, I could see a variety of ships that flitted and floated about their business. I stood at length and stared out at the majesty of the pristine landscape.

    Birds and waves called to me with their siren song and I found my feet moving forward down the dune. All around me a colorful menagerie of blankets and umbrellas dotted the sand casting shadows across bathers. The air was alive with the voices of people and children. It clashed with the melodic birds and failed to sing to my soul.

    Another wave crashed and I watched as sand crabs scurried to burrow into the mud and left little “V’s” in the retreating water. Other crabs were there too, a first for me. I had visited beaches all my life and had never seen so many crabs in one place.

    A slowly flying plane tugged a banner proclaiming the best eats in the area. I thought that Joe, the purveyor on the sign, should see this.

    We picked a likely place and set the blanket down, putting our beach sandals on the corners to hold it from the lightly tugging wind. I set my chair and hers as she found the sunscreen and handed it to me to rub into her back. I squeezed the tube and a golden like liquid poured forth. I lathered my hands and rubbed the buttery substance into her shoulders and back while keeping the tube pinned against my body with my arm.

    Again, I looked to the waves and saw crabs of all sizes meandering about. They crawled over the feet of those standing near the water and skittered across the mud, occasionally scattering like bowling pins or droplets of water as a body surfer crashed through. There were stone crabs and blue claw. King crabs and opilio were there as well and numerous lobster ran amuck in the cascading waves of crustaceans.

    In more than a few places they were cleverly arrayed in a variety of sea vegetation, beady little eyes poking forth and tracking my movements. I was transfixed!

    My wife’s jab in the side and caustic “Hey! Watch what you’re doing!” jarred me back to reality as my ladle of butter missed the bowl entirely and splashed too close to her new outfit.

    Joe’s Crab Shack was packed and an ocean of crabs peered out at me from their warming pans. “I sooo love crab.” I mumble as I reach in and pile my plate high, grinning.

  20. Silver_S

    “Andrew?” I stared at him, my eyes wide. Andrew’s legs had turned a shiny golden color, as did his arms. Why was he turning a rose gold color, and not a fiery red like the rest? Three more pairs of golden legs grew out on each side of him. His body seemed to be turning more and more globular by the second. Andrew’s head and neck were being forced downward into his new golden body until they were completely swallowed. I couldn’t help but to cringe at the sight. “W-what’s going on?” I stuttered. His four pairs of legs and one pair of arms still resembled a human’s, just with more of them.

    Andrew didn’t respond. He couldn’t. Instead, he held out his arm, wanting me to take his hand. It’s my fiance. Do I take his hand, or leave him here? I hesitantly stuck my hand out towards him, but quickly took it back. He quickly dropped down on all eight legs. The cast of crabs in the ocean seemed to be focused on me. They formed multiple lengthy, straight lines spreading over the pink sand, facing me. I know there are more in the water and that fact frightens me. I took a tiny step back. Andrew’s legs instantly turned sharp, and his arms morphed into jagged pincers.

    He dropped down on all eight legs. His golden body began to glow, as did the smaller crabs’ bodies. The army of red crabs increased in body size. Their legs extended, as did their head and abdomen. Andrew was still twice their size, but they were definitely huge. Glowing red shells could be seen peeping out of the cobalt blue ocean water.

    I was frozen, terrified to the point I couldn’t move my legs. Andrew then crawled towards me, his army following. I stumbled backwards, falling flat on my back. I scrambled to get my footing back. One of the red crabs pinched my heel as I jumped up. I kicked it off and sprinted in the opposite direction of the beach up a sand dune Andrew was close. The army was close. They crawled only slightly slower than my running speed. The deep sand was hard to run through. My feet slid under the hot sand with every step, but I didn’t care. I hardly felt it over the adrenaline.

    Suddenly, only halfway down the dune, my foot got stuck under a pile of sand, and I face planted the dune. I flipped and rolled down the rest of the way, my long blonde hair straddled to my face. Andrew and his army easily caught up. They surrounded me and Andrew grasped my waist with one of his pincers, dragging me back to the ocean water. I groaned. His grip hurt my waist. It was hard to breathe.

    When we were only about twenty feet away from the ocean, Andrew’s golden body glowed again. I did too. My own body turned gold, then, I was dragged into the ocean.

  21. vaso

    “You ready?” Andy asked.

    “Of course, made sure I didn’t forget the sun block this time!” I said, while he chuckled.

    We then were off to the beach, for the weekend. On our way I knew we were close by because I seen all the familiar places, my excitement grew. As soon as we parked, I got my stuff and rushed off to the nice warm sand to relax and get a tan on my comfortable beach chair. Soon I realize there’s a crowd huddled over the sand just before the beach, I go to check before Andy makes his way to where my stuff is.

    “Seriously on the sunniest day, crabs have to be all over the shallow water!” A mid-age lady says.

    “Right Pam! How am I supposed to enjoy the water when all these crabs are basically invading this beach?!” Said another mid-age lady.

    “First swim of this weekend!” I hear a splash, and then notice that sounded a lot like Andy! I move through the crowd and even more people come.

    “LAURA!” He screams.

    “HELP like NOW!” I go running to see that HE TURNED INTO A CRAB! Soon everyone was clearing my way as they noticed too that he was once a human, everyone stood there shocked just as much as I was. I was so frightened, thought I was going crazy, I think I could almost hear his little screams,

    “LAURA HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?” He yelped.

    “I don’t know!” I say holding my mouth, I was crying.

    ‘Why!’ I thought, out of all people WHY ME. Andy and I were happy but he had to turn into a crab! I suddenly come up with a brilliant idea, I picked him up making sure he didn’t pinch me with his orange claws, closed my eyes and kissed him. I opened my eyes to still see Andy, remaining a crab. I then felt the tears coming up.

    “Don’t cry, I don’t know how I got in this situation but we’ll solve it!” reassures Andy. I liked how he had hope, even when he was in the situation this was really his problem, I mean ours but mostly his.

    A man came and eyed Andy, I eyed the man.

    “I can help you.” He says in a rather quiet tone.

    “How? If you’re serious, please fix this for us please!” I hoped for him to help. He does some weird hand motion thing, “We need to do this somewhere private.” The man says. I nod and lead him to where Andy’s car is he climbs in the back seats and sets Andy down.

    He starts doing this weird hand motion while rubbing the top of Andy, soon I hear a loud noise and look back from the passenger seat and see the crab’s shell rip and break apart. To my surprise I see toes forming, legs, arms, the body, and soon his face. I cried tears of joy, Andy was back and my worries were gone.

  22. AlondraSoto

    Seeing an army of light blue species is very convincing to turn around. But as I start to turn around. Very slowly I start to see my spouse walk towards the ocean. Life is nothing without him. As i’m trying to run towards him, I can see the crabs form A shield around Brad. Usually Brad would fight back. What his he doing? As i’m running, I am blurting out question.
    “Why are you turning against me?”
    “Why are you leaving me?”
    “Do you really want to spend the rest of your life in the ocean alone!?”

    After saying that A few moments later Brad turned around. He’s walking towards me. As his hands are reaching towards me, I noticed they aren’t hands anymore. His arms have been A bright blue color and his hands were bright red. Who knew what else can change in a minute.

    While All the thoughts were in the back of my mind I just focused on the real issue. Why was this happening? Why doesn’t this happen to the both of us? While all the crazy thoughts were on the back of my mind, I am trying to get some answers from Brad.
    Having no space between us is difficult to actually communicate. After staying in silence for not even 10 seconds the silence is broken by Brad’s voice. Finally he says

    “This isn’t any of your fault. This is my destiny. Not ours”

    That got me in A shock. Finally I said

    “What do you mean it’s ‘not ours’?
    “ What ever goes on in your life happens to the both of us.”

    Once again we are in A deep silence. All we hear is the cricketed sound from the crabs. How do you try to keep someone who obviously doesn’t want to be with you? Finally I said

    “What if I go with you?”

    Immediately I hear what almost sounds like Chewbacca. I turn around and see Brad trying to stay human. But it seems as if the army of crabs don’t. As if they worship him as A god or king. Why was Brad so important to them? So finally I run to him. I grabbed his arm, and i’m tugging and tugging. But the crabs just won’t let go.

    After tugging for almost an hour. A bright light came from the ocean. It was so bright the sun couldn’t handle the light. Finally A human looking crab came from the water. Everyone gasped. So I had to be the one to ask.
    It was King Colin. He was half crab and half human. Just like Brad. I’m trying to get answer but King Colin gets out the water gets Brad and leaves.

    The next morning I see Brad next to me. Normal. I didn’t question anything. I was just glad that everything was back to normal.
    The End.

  23. SpaceRock

    “Holy crap!” I said. You could say I was marveled on how ridiculous the size of the crab *ahem* my buddy, was. To be fair, I wasn’t. The other “normal” crabs I didn’t care for, but this, this scared the living daylights out of me. I wanted to move, but I couldn’t, I mean, I couldn’t just leave my buddy, Gage there. My thoughts were swirling around on the what and how this happened. Then suddenly, my buddy-er crab, started crawling towards me, at an unusual speed actually.

    “Look, knock it off. Gage? Gage?”
    Well I was just being dumbfounded. Of course this was normal, morphing into a crab in front of your friend, crawling towards me, fast and slowly. Actually I stand corrected, he wasn’t even fast at all, he was sure a slow poke from what I could witness. As strange as this was, I couldn’t help but take a good long look at him, just full of weirdness, but not just that, he oddly had a very detailed shell. On the middle of his shell, he had a bright yellowish color, then from most I could tell, the rest of his body was sky blue (if you include the red tinge on his legs).
    “My god, my god, my god, this is going to be a looooong time, isn’t it? But oh well, I’ve lost it already,” I said aloud, thinking I’m dreaming or I’m definitely going bonkers here

    Twenty minutes in, and oh boy, I’m still waiting for him to come crawling back to me (get it?). This is now starting to feel like being stuck in a traffic jam, but instead just sitting here waiting for him to come. My goodness, was I going haywire, but like I said, I couldn’t just leave him there. Questioning why I’m not screaming on top of my lungs and running away from “him”, I made the craziest decision to walk towards him.

    Slowly, but surely, I made my way towards him. He suddenly out of nowhere stopped in his tracks. I couldn’t tell if he was actually looking at me, or blind as a bat and looking elsewhere. Where was this going? Did he recognize me? Is that even HIM?

    “Gage, it’s me, do you recognize me?”
    He didn’t move one single bit, I started to worry (yes I admit), will he ever turn back to himself ever again? Or will he be stuck like this forever?

  24. TheMaskedProxy

    The sand was hot against my skin, every step I took was cooking my feet. The pain didn’t matter, because I knew the heavenly waters were just up ahead. My head turns back for a quick second to see Theo back aways. Why is he such a slow turtle? Is he slow, or am I just running to fast? I don’t know, I’m too excited to care. My calloused feet finally hit the wet sand and it felt perfect. As I was about to dip my big toe into the water to test how cold it was, a little crab jumped out. “Eeeahhh!” I squeaked. I had lost my footing and fell a little too hard on my bum.

    “You stupid crab, you almost got my toe you jerk!” I got back up to see another crab. “Is that your little friend? Are they nicer than you?” Their eyes just kept looking up at me. My eyebrow raised slightly. “What?” I shuffled away from where they were at, and tried to do the same process again, but this time, three crabs tried to get my toe. A shriek escaped my lips. “What is up with you little buggers and trying to get my toes?!” Before I could say more. red started to replace the crystal blue of the water.

    I stumbled back, slightly confused and absolutely terrified. “Wh-why are there so many cra-” I was cut off by the happy sounds from my partner. My head snapped back and I saw him running at full speed towards me. The bright red water started to rise above and he jumped into it.
    Then it happened. The liquid started to…morph. It took the shape of a huge crimson crab. It’s beady eyes kept staring down at me. “Are we still little now?” Some ungodly sounds escaped me, and I fell back on my bum trying to get away from the red beast. It started to mumble to itself, the voice constantly changing, until I heard his.

    “Babe, calm down. It’s me Theo. This is um..my family.” My eyes went wide. “Your family is a weird morphed crab?!”

    A loud laugh came from it. “Yeah, it’s complicated.”

  25. Saldana10007

    It had been years since I last been to the beach. All because of what happened last time i went with my friends. My friend David got attacked by a bunch of seagulls and crabs. All the seagulls pooped on him and the crabs just clipped on all over his body. Ever since then I haven’t gone but this time my girl wanted to go so I said “why not, just to relax”. I thought I’d see a lot of people like if I was at a professional game. I was walking on the sand and I started seeing a bunch of big blood red crabs everywhere. I probably kicked 20 crabs away in a couple seconds. I turned around because I felt one pinching my leg, I grabbed it then threw it at the crab coming my way. I turn around at the worst time ever.

    I turned around to see my girl running to the water growing more legs on each side of her body. She started turning bright red like an apple, not just her face but her whole body. Both of her arms suddenly turn into a humongous pincher, she started getting all the bumps on her body like the other crabs. I started chuckling while I was walking over to her to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I got close to her and asked “How’d you do that, it’s kind of funny”. “Baaamm” she hit me with her pincher and i went flying back. As i flew back i landed on so many crabs it felt like a bed full of rocks. I got up and started pulling the crabs off my back when I heard stomping coming my way. I started throwing the crabs that was now a crab women like in that crab man from scooby doo. I hit her a bunch of times but she still wouldn’t go down so i decided to throw the big rock that was on that ground at her. She finally fell down and didn’t move at all. “Hey you good?” I said but nothing, no response. I stayed at the beach for 30 minutes burying her in the sand, not knowing whether she’s dead or alive. I covered up her face with sand after thinking about it for a while. All the other crabs started climbing up on her. Before I left i grabbed a backpack full of crabs to take home.

  26. Jorge

    My darling into a CRAB?! Nonsense as I take of my glasses clean them and rub my eyes.To see if my eyes are playing tricks. No she did turn into a crab because she would be the only crab with lipstick and a bow on her crab head? Oh man what am I going to do? Is that why there is so many crabs? Did all the people who were swimming go into the water and turn into crabs?! No, it can’t be I’m losing my mind I should’ve listened to that hippie who said the world was ending. But why in this way? I can’t just leave Victoria, but she is a crab… what? Am I technically dating a crab now?!

    So many things going through my mind. I sound like a psychopath talking to myself. As I get myself together I look around trying to see if there’s more people because we’re on a private part of the beach that everyone sneaks into. So there must be someone. I hear sand being kicked around behind me I look back, relieved that there’s someone here besides all these crabs. As I turn around I realize it is one of my worst fears. My bully from high school! I stand there frozen, but I realize this guy, the “baddest” guy in the school, is in tears. Well, I felt bad but I was so happy I wanted to record him. But those years are over, I’m grown now. As I go over to see what’s wrong, he says
    “I came here with my girlfriend Vicky. But She ran in the water and turned into a crab!”
    I was surprised, but relieved I wasn’t going crazy.
    I said “Bro, uh I mean Jack, that happened to me to!”
    “What are we going to do?” He replies
    As he says that, I think maybe we can make a serum. Maybe we can turn them back to normal. But we need to experiment. Just as I turn around my dog is repeating everything I say. He stands up and his own two legs and says to me “John eat a snicker. You’re not yourself when you’re hungry.” You think the typical person would not listen to a talking dog but things are already crazy enough so why not?
    I grab the snicker out of his paws and take a bite. And just like that, I see my girlfriend and the beach and all the crabs go away and everything goes right back to normal.
    Never again after that day I went to the beach hungry.

  27. Jasmine_L

    As he runs towards the ocean I blink as if i’m hallucinating. The thought runs through my head over and over again. I’m unsure of what I should do.

    “Do I run to stop him? Or do I just wait and see what happens next to check if this is actually happening?”

    Next thing I know my eyes open and I am laying on a beach. The water loud with crashing waves and people with conversations for days.

    “Oh. It was just a dream.” I say to myself as a tall man is walking towards the water. I brace myself, waiting for him to turn to a crab, but nothing happens. I give a heavy sigh of relief. “Thank god it was just a dream.”

    I don’t know what I would do if the world was ran by shape shifting people who turn into crabs as they hit water.
    This can’t be healthy. Even if it was just a dream I can’t help but think about how it might possibly happen. It probably won’t. It can’t. It isn’t and never will be possible. You know what I’m thinking about this way too much. I’m just going to go home and watch a movie to try and get this off of my mind.

    On my way home I was still thinking about it. I had a long drive ahead of me. I tried turning on the radio to distract myself, but as I did that, I saw people along the road morphing into crabs, hermit crabs, and even lobsters. This is totally not natural. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour to get home. As soon as I got inside, I closed all the blinds and out on a movie. At first it helped but after a while it happened again. The people in the movie were changing. I felt like I was going crazy. I turned everything off and kept the blinds closed.

    A while later almost 2 hours later, I had a tingling feeling in my legs and arms. It was almost an urge to go back to the beach. I tried as hard as I could to stop myself, but I wound up going anyways.

    “What am I doing?!?” is what ran through my head while my body was saying something completely different. I ran to the water (more like speed walked) persistently and never looked back the last thing I remember is the sound of the waves crashing and people talking. And just like that I was too, one of the crabs.

  28. jemo33d

    As we arrived at the hotel we checked into our suit. We switched into our swimming clothes and we were rushing through the halls all the way downstairs to the main floor. We rushed outside to get ready to jump into the nice cold water since it was such a hot day, temperatures past the 90’s. I turned around because my phone fell out of my pocket and then all of the sudden I had seen that the ocean was filled with crabs, but then I seen Victoria slowly turning into a crab. If only you could imagine my face expression I thought to myself what is happening ? “ Is this a dream ?
    “ VICTORIA!!!!!! NO!!!! and the fact that I couldn’t do anything about it. I ran to the main office of the hotel for help. I was crying my eyes out like never before because I kept thinking I’ll never see Victoria again, she was my one and only best friend without her I was nothing. As soon as the police and hotel manager and we ran back to the ocean and it was full of crabs. Big red it wasn’t just a normal crab this was a huge scary four legs crab. Knowing me I always always terrified of crabs ever since I got bit in the leg by one which was the summer my parents and I went to Mexico.
    The officers and news reporters started asking me all these questions if I had seen how and what the crabs did with my wife and which of these big red scary crabs Victoria could be , but the only answer I had for each question was a simple “ no” I felt disappointed in myself for not being able to save Victoria it felt like karma came and stabbed me right in the back.. But the I remember that on our 1 year anniversary we had bought necklaces that said “ his “ and “ her “ she said “ his” and then I looked around and told the officers to look for a crab with a “ his” necklace. An hour passed and we still couldn’t find her, but then out of nowhere we heard a voice saying “ MATTHEW HELP ME “ It sounded exactly like just like Victoria I thought to myself, could that be her and as we searched we had found her and brought her to a State science lab and ran some test to see how she turned into a crab and if there was a way in which we could save her.
    Then a few hours passed and the scientist said that the crabs were poisoned and if they were to touch a human body the human body couldn’t do anything to stop it. It’s like if all your bones just stopped working and you couldn’t move. The doctor said it was contagious that it’d be best if we left her there and for me to move on. Saying goodbye was the hardest thing in my life.

  29. Hunter D.

    What’s going on am I losing my mind? This can’t happen, it’s impossible. “What’s going on?” I yell as she becomes a crab and enters the water. She doesn’t respond, I think since she is now a crab she can’t even talk anymore. At this point I am considering running back to my hotel and hiding because this is seriously weird. All the sudden I start to think of all the other crabs in the water and how this beach is normally crowded. I think all the other people turned into crabs also.

    Then all at once all the crabs started to crawl up the shore and the faster ones, presumably the younger ones were climbing over each other racing toward where I was standing. I realized that they were targeting me and I don’t know what they will do to me. I’m not going to stay here any longer because they are getting uncomfortably close. I turn around running and all the sudden just like in a horror movie, they all yell “YOU DON’T STAND A CHANCE”.

    At this point I think they are going to kill me, so I book it back to the car. As I enter the car and turn the key I realize to my horror it won’t start. I look out the window and the crabs are only about 10 feet away at this point so I don’t dare try to escape because it will just end badly. As I stare out of the window at the sheer number of crabs, there has to be at least a thousand I can see. I look in horror as the crabs reached the window and started to scratch on it. I can only hope they don’t break in and god knows what will happen if they get in here.

    All I can hear is scratching, then the horrible cracking noise. I know they are going to get in, I can only hope they won’t kill me. I close my eyes hoping it will end quickly, but nothing came. When I opened my eyes I looked around and realized I am in my bedroom.

  30. LeftyZ123

    As we approach the swirling water of the beach, my heart leaps. Crabs! Thousands of Crabs doing their own little dance on the sand in about 3 inches or less of water. Although some may see this as inconvenient, I feel a smile spread across my face. How many people get to experience something like this? I think it’s amazing!
    To my delight, I see James start walking straight towards them. At first it’s normal, then I notice he starts walking sideways. Then he starts to “tick” each movement, like a human clock. Tick. Step. Tick. Clasp hands. Tick. Turns head. His skin begins to peel away, and I expect to see exposed muscle tissue and blood. But all I see is the exoskeleton of a crab. Then, almost like a mermaid, the moment he touched the water he immediately fell into the mess of crabs, becoming one of the group! Panicked, I run over to the spot I lost him, but there’s no telling which of the many he may be.

    Sobbing, I run back to the beach cottage we rented out for a few days. I need to get to a phone.
    The first person I can think to contact is Pendant Adams. Pendant and I haven’t always been perfect friends, but I know what her magik can do.
    “Hello?”
    “Pendant! It’s me, Elizabeth! I need your help.”
    “I already know, but let me come over.”
    And she hangs up without a word.
    It’s about an hour drive from her house to where we are, and I freak out thinking about the lost time. How would she even know the address to the cottage? But she’s there within 5 minutes.
    “W-what are you doing here already? How’d you get here so damn fast?”
    She sighs “I believe I said on the phone that I already knew what happened. I was on my way here before you called.”
    “How did you know?”
    “I’m sorry Elly, a witch never reveals secrets outside her coven. But you have other problems. Where’s James?”
    I led her down to the thousands of dancing crabs that made me so happy not even 30 minutes ago. I explained to her what I saw, and she simply nods.
    “So what is it that you want?” She inquires me.
    “I just want to be with James again. I can’t go on with my life without him.”
    “So you want to be with James again? Alright, but that will be costly.”
    “I expected that. Alright.” I say quickly.
    “Oh, really? Well, how convenient.” She says silkily, with the smile of a tigress.
    And then, with a flick of her hand, my vision blurred, the sand came at me, and she grew quickly above me.
    And she walked away.

  31. BlackSeraph

    I ran to my girl and I said “are you ok” she said “no, help me”. I said “no girl you is gone”. She replied with “come on i’m your girlfriend”. As much as I wanted to run I tried to save her, so I pick her up and tried to look for someone who could help. I had no clue where to go and who to look for, and as I was running across the hot black beach I saw something amazing. It was about as amazing as 100 hot chicks hugging you one by one and 1 hour each.
    It was a turtle, so I dropped my girlfriend and ran to the turtle, but it was no ordinary turtle it was a gangster turtle. He had like 20 glocks strapped to his shell, it was crazy and the turtle was just shooting crabs, but more started to appear and I have no idea where they came from. Then out the corner of my eye I saw a crab come out the ground. it was at this point I had no clue where my girl was and I thought to myself “I knew I should have ran”. I had no clue what to do all these stupid crabs and while I was thinking the turtle ran off to save himself.
    So I decided to give up and I laid on the ground to let them take me, then I quickly sprung into action saying “JK” and I started to wreck these crab like it was a trick shot battle. After I killed the crabs I was lost, this has been the craziest day of my life, but if i tell anybody they will think I am mentally insane or high. but when I left the beach the city looked like a nuclear fallout zone, and that meant that these crabs aren’t normal crabs they are… zombie crabs.

  32. Gurney Halleck

    Kelly ran towards the water, seemingly unaware that she was shedding her clothes like a hermit crab sheds its shell. Which made a certain kind of sense. She had become a hermit crab.

    Kyle scooped Kelly up in a bright blue sand bucket that was lying around. There were beach toys, towels, and picnic items everywhere. He stepped over a yellow Spongebob towel and settled down in a beach chair next to a picnic basket. The chair sank deeper into the sand.

    “So what do you think Kelly, the pot or the tank,” Kyle muttered, the sound barely audible over the screeching of the gulls who had come to feast on the impossible bounty that rolled and heaved like actual waves.

    More crabs came skittering and tumbling over the dune behind him, drawn to the sea.
    Kyle playfully trapped one and then crushed it in the lid of a cooler. He smiled at the cracking sound it made. Family ties were less than the pain and rage of a broken heart and betrayal.

    He put a plate from the picnic basket over the bucket and went to get a beach umbrella. Kyle set the umbrella into the sand and sat down.

    Kyle picked the plate off the bucket and looked in. The two eyestalks that had been beautifully blue, like the water in the morning, stared up at him. Kyle couldn’t see understanding in them, but he didn’t care. He had won and that was all that mattered.

    He had been planning this since the voice message that Kelly had left on his machine, only it had been for another man. After that, Kyle had begun to notice other things. Quickly swiped screens, conversations in huddled tones with “her mother,” and broken dates. Their time together had been as continuous as the stars in the sky and then, not as much.

    Being the half son or step-son or whatever of an ancient god had its advantages Kyle decided. Besides the long life, there were the favors owed by other gods. There was fidelity amongst them, if not loyalty. And Hera was known for disliking betrayal. Just a word to her was all it took.

    Taking out a vial of powder, Kyle poured it into the bucket. Kelly quickly ate it up as her kind was want to do. “Never satisfied,” thought Kyle. She would stay that way now. The others, at least those not consumed by each other or the gulls, would soon have an unstoppable urge to come out of the water. As they dried in the sun they would change back. There would be a lot of embarrassment and confusion, but mankind was amazingly resilient when it came to situations like these. It was what the gods counted on.

    Kyle was still unsure what he was going to do as he got in his car, the “CARCINUS” license plate shining in the sun, but one way or another, Kelly would be his, forever and completely.

  33. SheepCarrot

    The door slams behind Amber Rose with a finality that still gets to her, no matter how many times she enters the maximum security facility. The guard escorts her to the private visitation room, most often used by lawyers who were arguing their charge’s case and on occasion, as was the case this time, by the media. As she steps into the room, she sees him sitting at the table. His legs are shackled and his hands cuffed to another chain around his waist. She never gets used to seeing them like this, either.

    She sits down across from him and places her audio recorder on the table. “This is the interview of Joshua Myers by Amber Rose, August seventeenth, nineteen eighty-nine at five-thirty-two p.m.” she says as she hits the record button. “Thank you for agreeing to the interview.” She focuses on the young man before her, whose attention has settled on her with an intensity she finds almost as nerve-wracking as the lock of the re-enforced steel doors of the prison.

    He shrugs a red jumpsuit-clad shoulder. “What have I got to lose? I’m scheduled to die tomorrow.”

    A knot forms in her stomach at the finality of his words. “Tell us what happened that night, Josh. In your words.”

    He takes a deep breath and looks down at the table’s stainless steel finish, his eyes losing focus as he travels back in time. “It was ten years ago now. I met Holly when my mother and I were vacationing on the Oregon coast. I was sixteen, she was fifteen…so beautiful. Her hair was the color of honey.” He glances up at Amber, his gray eyes studying her for a moment. “Just a little darker than yours. Her smile…”

    His eyes close for a moment as he thinks about her, and continues slowly. “My mother was an addict, a hippie still stuck in the ’60’s. She was always trying to find the meaning of life through different substances…LSD and ‘shrooms mainly. Well, I took part of her stash and her half empty bottle of gin and met Holly at the beach that night. We found this little cove between rock outcroppings that we were secluded, like we were the only people in the world.

    “We felt invincible. We’d only just met, but we both swore we were in love. We fooled around, drank the gin and got high on my mother’s drugs.” His words slow, and Amber can see his jaw clenching as his emotions build. “We laid there on the sand, watching the sky change colors as the rocks swayed with the breeze. Holly wanted to go skinny dipping, but when I looked out at the waves it looked like it was a bunch of crabs rather than water.”

    Josh looks up at the reporter, his eyes focused and intent. “I had no idea what we were getting in for when I brought the LSD out that night, and not a day goes by that I wish I hadn’t. I watched her running out to the water, and as she did it looked like she turned into one of them…into a crab. I was seriously trippin’. I couldn’t move, and I passed out. Too much booze I guess. When I woke up the next morning, she wasn’t there.”

    Waves of grief radiate from the prisoner as he tells his tale, and Amber can see a tear sliding down his cheek. “What did you do then?” she asks softly, resting her forearms on the table.

    His Adam’s apple bobs as he tries to swallow the lump in his throat. “I traced her footsteps into the water, and I must have still had the drugs in my system, because I swear it looked like her two feet turned into eight pointed ones, like crabs have…just like I thought I saw late the night before. She was just….gone.” He lets out a ragged breath and meets the wide eyes staring at him across the table. “They found her body that night, washed up on the next beach. The cops came and got me, decided that I must have raped then drowned her, and no one cared that they pinned it on me. I was just an outsider.”

    The chains clink as he shifts in his chair and leans forward, his tone suddenly urgent. “I didn’t do it, Ms. Rose. I could never hurt my Holly. They’re going to put me to death tomorrow, certain that I killed her. The wounds that they said were on her body she didn’t have when she was out there with me. Please, find out what happened to her.”

    Amber nods, biting back her own emotions at his heartfelt plea. She pushes stop on the tape recorder and gets to her feet. She steps around the table and takes his hands in hers. “I will, Josh. I promise.”

    The heels of her pumps echo in the hallway with each step as she leaves, her mind and heart in turmoil. She prays the state’s new DNA tests will find something soon in order to stay the execution. If there is ever one thing she’s sure about, it’s that Joshua Myers didn’t kill her cousin.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Reaper is a wise sage but he forgot New Jersey Blue crabs. On to your story SheepCarrot, you can post part two next week if you need to. I for one, am waiting for it.

  34. jhowe

    The turquois water beckons as the white powder beach slightly scorches our virgin feet. We run to the water’s edge where the sand is firm and cool, the rhythm of the waves mesmerizing. Ahead a thin black man with long dreadlocks toils in the turf with his beaten-up wooden skiff. He pulls it onto the sand as we pass.

    “Welcome to Jamaica mon,” he says, his voice singsong. It must be pretty obvious we’re tourists.

    “It’s very beautiful here,” my wife says. “Have you been fishing?”

    “You don’t fish for Caribbean lobsters mon,” he holds up a squirming specimen. “You trap them.”

    “Oh my,” she says, peering into the boat. Many lobsters scurry and climb atop one another.

    “Are you staying at the hotel or a condo?” he says smiling, several teeth missing.

    My wife starts to answer but I stop her. “Thank you, but we’ll be moving along.”

    “I ask because if you have a condo, you have a stove. And if you have a stove the lobsters are six dollars apiece.” He shows his gap toothed grin. “Best price on the island mon.”

    “Honey,” she says, “That would be amazing to cook in tonight.”

    “See those trees over there mon?” He points. “Plantains at the peak of ripeness. I throw in two for free.”

    “And when the farmer catches us I’m sure he won’t mind at all,” I say.

    “The farmer… he be me.”

    “Well,” I hesitate but my wife pulls my arm. “Ok, deal.”

    The lobster man climbs the tree with ease and cuts down a small bunch of the banana like fruit with ease. It falls at my feet and I pick it up. He jumps down and I hand him a twenty and tell him to keep the rest.

    “Thank you mon,” he pockets it. “Pay no attention to the plants over there. The constable, he be plenty sore if he knew.”

    This piqued something in my mind that suddenly turned nostalgic. “Uh, sir?” I say.

    “Call me Lobster Man, everyone does.”

    “The plants there, the uh….”

    “Ganga mon.”

    “Yeah, the Ganga. Do you sell it?”

    “That would be illegal mon,” he smiled. “But if you’d like to try a sample and perhaps make a donation…”

    I reach for my wallet and my wife grabs my arm. “Honey, what are you doing?”

    I pat her hand. “Would another twenty do it?” I ask him.

    “I usually start at fifty mon.”

    I hand over the cash and he calls out, “Mannie, we have customer.”

    A dreadlocked man of similar appearance comes out of a beach hut carrying a doobie the size of a breakfast sausage. “Pure Jamaican gold,” he says handing to me. The lobster man flicks a lighter and I draw in a lungful.

    My wife’s eyes seem to glass over as she watches. “I haven’t done one of those since college,” she says and takes a big hit. And then another.

    “Easy there babe,” I say.

    “Yeah mon, the Jamaican gold be very potent.”

    I take a hit and she takes another. Clouds of smoke gather and drift in the breeze. My wife starts to twirl and giggle like I haven’t heard in years.

    “Oh Honey, I feel so, so liberating,” she says smiling broadly. She walks to the shoreline and we watch. I follow in case she decides to jump in. But instead she pushes the skiff into the water.

    “Hey mon, what you doing?” the lobster man calls out running after her.

    She jumps in the skiff and grabs an oar and paddles out canoe style. “I’m freeing them,” she says laughing. One by one she tosses the lobsters into the sea.

    The lobster man and I stand side by side watching. “How much?” I say, counting each lobster as it splashes into the water.

    “Tell dollars each mon.”

    “She won’t even pick up a dead spider with a paper towel,” I say as she kisses a lobster before tossing it in.

    “Jamaican gold mon.”

    1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

      lol, well, you gotta go where the writing takes you. You got about as close to the prompt as the beach, and then got lost somewhere along the way. I kept thinking maybe you’d see her turn into crabs or the lobsters would turn into crabs or I dunno… something lol

      Anyway, entertaining story, jhowe. Pure Jamaican Gold.

  35. Pete

    A spur of the moment drive into the night ended on the coast, where Stacey and Hugo stripped to their underwear and raced barefoot in the sand towards the Atlantic Ocean. Stacey—a Midwestern girl, through and through—squealed with each crashing wave, until Hugo wrapped his arms around her and brought her to the shore.

    There, with the Ocracoke lighthouse pulsing in the distance, he plunged a knee into the sand. Stacey gasped. White crests crumbled at their feet and Hugo offered the ring. They kissed, carried off as the night’s magic rode them into the low tide of morning.

    Hugo awoke to a blast of sand in his face. Children screaming. Angry voices circling him like seagulls at lunch. He blinked into the unrelenting sun, unable to make sense of what materialized.

    He looked closer. Her hair. Her beautiful hair was lopped off at the chin. More shocking still was the relative ease in which she rolled her eyes. “Hugo, grab baby Huey.”

    “Huh?”

    She motioned to a toddler kicking sand at other miserable creatures. The nearly secluded beach was swamped with families, each crabbier than the next. An indistinguishable wall of blocky hotels sat at their backs.

    “Hugo, the kid.”

    Hugo snapped to life, chasing down the chubby scrambler, nearly dropping him when he realized that it was his own gut bouncing along his waistline. He returned to find Stacey with three other boys in tow.

    “Stacey,” he muttered, unable to form complete sentences. “Last night.” His head swam with confusion. “Remember last night?” Huey said again. Another look to his roll. “I proposed?” Huey said, continuing his soliloquy. Stacey, exhaled a plume of smoke, shook her head, waving an arm over the flock.

    “Honey, you propose every night, and look where it’s got us.”

    An elderly couple with matching maroon hides haggled over the last soda in a cooler. On the other side two men were chest to chest, something about who could or couldn’t touch whose kid. A woman yanked a child out of the sand by his arms, slapping his backside like an old rug.

    “Hugo, did you bring the sun block for the kids. I specifically asked you…”

    The whole damn beach was miserable. Chocked full of crabs. Old and young, snapping and clawing their way to and from the water. Even the gulls were ornery, squawking over crumbs by the trashcan. But the worst of it—worse than his own bratty kids or the irritable, sunbaked lot of them was Stacey. Or some form of her anyway. Her voice simmered with defeat, more self-loathing than irritable, as though she’d made a mistake long ago and there was nothing he could do to change that.

    “I asked you to bring the sun block. God, Hugo, why don’t you ever listen to me?”

    A mowawked kid with familiar eyes curled his sun shriveled lips into a snotty smirk. “Yeah Dad, don’t you ever listen to Mom?”
    It was all too much.

    Hugo stood. Nearly fainted. He brushed through the mess towards the waves. He fought through the crabbiness. The pushing and pulling. The desperate struggle to find happiness, or at least post a damn picture of everyone smiling at the same time. Stacey, somewhere behind him, yammered on about sun block. Another couple stood dueling in ankle high foam, a child screaming at their waist.

    Hugo stepped into the water, surprised as the deep chill gripped his foot to the bone.

    “Hugo.”

    A soft rasp in his ear.

    “Hugo wake up.”

    He awoke dry and warm. Five hundred-thread-count dry. A sea of blue. Sandy blonde strands tickling his cheeks. Hands on his chest. A kiss to the forehead, a playful giggle. “Are you okay, sweetie?”

    Stacey.

    The apartment. The sweet, silent, one bedroom apartment. He nodded, her smile pulling him upward. She smelled of something flowery, a trace of mint on her lips. He stroked her hair, each strand like a ray of rising sun on a morning returned to him. Hugo rolled on top of her, kissed her gently, and then saw the suitcase by the door.

    The plan.

    The beach.

    He hopped up and started for the closet.

    “You’re acting kind of weird, Hugh.”

    “No. No, no I’m fine. I’m uh,” he peeked inside, where the rock lay under a sweater. Waiting. Kids with mohawks. A distraught wife. Family vacations. Stacey slid off the bed, an eyebrow cocked.

    “Did uh, did you pack the sun block?” he asked, surprising himself.

    “Sun block?” she repeated, a mischievous smirk curling on her lips. She hung an arm around his neck. “Actually, I was thinking we’d stay in the hotel room most of the weekend.”

    Again Hugo kissed his magnificent girlfriend. And with one hand, he slowly pushed the closet door until it clicked shut.

    1. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

      Your descriptions are better than usual this prompt. That’s not to say they’re always bad, no, just better than your usual stuff.

      That said, the only thing that stuck out was you telling the reader that she was a Midwestern girl through and through, but with no real explanation of it. If I hadn’t lived all over, that statement would probably mean nothing to me as a reader.

      Overall, nice job.

    2. jhowe

      Well done Pete. I enjoyed reading it. It looks like Stacey and Hugo will get started right away making all those little babies, or maybe Hugo will bring lots of protection to thwart that for a while until he figures out if his visions will come true.

  36. ShamelessHack

    “Oh, Eddie, we made it. Boca Raton! I’m so happy.”
    My wife Emily had been looking forward to this vacation for a long time. She deserved this trip. She’s a lovely woman, and I’m so lucky to have been her husband for the last 25 years.
    “You’re so sweet, Eddie,” she said. “I love you so much. You know that.”
    “Of course, Emily, darling,” I said, as I lugged two beach chairs down the sand. “And I love you even more. You’re the apple of…”
    We both stopped in our tracks.
    The ocean. It was…
    We slowly advanced to the edge of the surf.
    We stood and stared…

    ****

    “Hey, Murray, who the hell are those two?” Irving complained, knee-deep in the surf. He pointed to the pair of newcomers on the shore.
    “How the hell should I know?” sniped Murray, scratching an angry red patch on his thigh. “Why don’t you ask Brenda? Stop bugging me, I have phlebitis.”
    Brenda piped up. “Shut up, why don’t you? Stop pestering everyone with your phony physical ailments.”
    “Drop dead you wrinkled old bitch!” shouted Mildred. “You’re as ugly as dirt and older than death.”
    “Will you all close your damned mouths!” Jeff kicked water on Mildred. “And stop crowding me. I’m getting a migraine.”
    Marty grabbed Jeff’s hat, spit in it, and tossed it in the surf.
    “Gimme my hat, you fat prick. I’m prone to melanoma.”
    “Oww!” shouted Al. “My bathing suit is creeping up my ass.”
    Debbie scowled. “Yechh. I’m going to throw up on all you jackasses. Keep your descriptions to yourselves.”
    Al bent over, picked up a handful of wet sand and threw it at Frank. “Up yours!” he shouted.
    “You got sand in my eyes, fartface!” Frank yelled, rubbing his eyes. “Shit, I just had cataract surgery, you jerk.”
    “Who give a rosy rat’s ass, eh? You’re an imbecile.”
    “You’re an idiot, and a sterile one at that.”
    “You have syphilis.”
    “You’ve got the clap.”
    “You haven’t been able to get it up since the Korean War.”
    “Yours never went up.”
    “You have cirrhosis of the blowhole.”
    “You ARE a blowhole…”

    ****

    We watched in silence as the odd scene before us unfolded.
    Suddenly Emily kicked off her sandals and said. “I’m going in.”
    “I don’t know, honey,” I said. “I don’t think it’s a…”
    She turned to me and raised her middle finger.
    “Screw you, asshole!” she yelled, morphing into just another crab, and waded into the surf.

      1. Lucretia_BezBawni_Amstell

        Hurray to that. I can’t even write comments to the stories, let alone come up with one myself. I endured cows on bikes and manages haunted amusement parks, but werecrabs? What has Brian been watching?This is the worst prompt (to me at least) for the whole history of me being on this site…

        However, Shameless Hack, you managed to turn something so onerous as a prompt about werecrabs into so much fun. Thank you.

    1. Reaper

      I was feeling so connected on an almost surreal level and a very emotional one. Then you made that juxtaposition at the end and I started laughing. Both of those are amazing reactions. Well done.

  37. Reaper

    25! Sorry for being a bad community member again last week. I’m trying to learn to rebalance. Lots of great stories out there though.

    In the Beginning – The Sixth Sign

    The left Jack in charge of the women. Nicole thought Chester deserved a vacation. Even prophets needed a break every now and again. Chester liked the beach. So she arranged this weekend for the four of them, parents and children. Not the most romantic getaway but they didn’t trust Jack that much yet.

    As soon as they arrived, Chester insisted on heading to the water. Nicole knew he would, it was still warm enough to swim. She barely convinced him to wait while she checked them in and gave the bags to a bellhop. Their clothes would be waiting when they reached in the room later.

    Chester’s impatience to reach the surf left Nicole carrying their infant son and holding the hand of their daughter as they followed the man of the house to the sand. Nicole had forgotten the sign. With only two left and things proceeding so well her mind refused it on instinct. She had a moment to wonder, was this how the unbelievers felt when confronted with the harsh reality that would bring paradise? If so she could pity them but not understand.

    The waves boiled with crabs, king crab that had no place in this particular section of the planet. Nicole slipped to her knees with tears sliding down her cheeks. Her son wriggled free and began to crawl towards the water. Her daughter knew her job as an older sister. Until the wars came she was to protect her little brother. Nicole simply looked upon the water. The kind of water Jesus could walk on without a miracle. With more crabs than spray it looked solid. They skittered over each other and rolled in just like a wave of pinchers and shells.

    The smell of salt was the most tangible thing on that beach as everything else grew surreal. Chester ran towards the waves, the crustaceans. He stripped his clothes as he did. With every inch of skin exposed he morphed further into a crab. Their children toddled and crawled after him, but as he shrunk his speed lessened and theirs did not. They quickly gained on him.

    “No!” It was all Nicole could think to scream. She knew the outcome in advance though. That was the disadvantage to prophecy.

    Their son caught up to the Chester crab. He grabbed it by the claws. Instinctively the crab snapped and pinched at its son. The boy cried out in pain and gripped tighter, pulling until those claws ripped free with a sound too like rending flesh. The boy lifted the crab, not yet done with his angry vengeance. He brought it’s back down on a hard rock, shattering its body and spreading the meat and life across the sand.

    Meat that the daughter picked up happily. She raised it to her lips and tasted the transformed flesh of the father, of her first god. She declared through a smile too young to be sadistic but with all the signs of such, “Daddy nummy!”

    Nicole fainted.

    1. cosi van tutte

      Poor Chester. 🙁

      For some reason, I like this part a lot -> “She declared through a smile too young to be sadistic but with all the signs of such, “Daddy nummy!”

      Nicole fainted.” 😀

  38. cosi van tutte

    Yay! It’s under 500! 😀

    Elissa grabbed her husband’s arm. “I don’t know why you’re being so stubborn.” She jerked and dragged him out of the car. “Our therapist said that this would be good for us.”

    “Hmph. She also said that bonding over making tofu would be good for us. I hate tofu and I hate the beach.”

    “Don’t be such a stupid—”

    “Don’t call me stupid.”

    “Well, don’t be stupid.” She slammed the door shut. “I don’t care what you say or what you even want. You and I are going to sit on that beach and meditate.”

    “Of course, we are. After all, the great goddess Therapist has given her command and we must hasten to obey.”

    Elissa sighed. “George, please. We won’t even have to talk to each other.”

    “Well, isn’t that a blessing.”

    The corners of her mouth dipped downwards. “How did we reach this point? I love you.”

    A pained expression came upon his face. “Just like you love the dryer repair guy.”

    “I made a mistake.” She reached for him.

    He backed away from her touch. “I’ll see you on the beach.” He headed towards the boardwalk.

    She bowed her head and followed him. Her mind raced and babbled about what she should have said. Kind words. Loving words. Gentle words. Persuasive words. But, she thought. I called him stupid. Why do I always let my anger get the better of me? Why can’t I keep calm? Why—

    “Elissa. Look.”

    The wonder in his voice made her stop and look up.

    The ocean was gone. An innumerable amount of crabs skittered and crawled in its place. Some were as gray as a stormcloud. Others were as orange as the setting sun. A select few were as blue as the morning sky.

    “What?” It was the only word she could get out of her mouth.

    He grinned at her. It was his first real smile in months. There was no malice or sarcasm in it. Just pure happiness.

    Elissa couldn’t help herself. She smiled back at him. A smile without guilt or shame.

    “Isn’t it wonderful?”

    “More wonderful than you know.” She reached for his arm, but she moved too slowly.

    He ran down to the sand, to the crabs.

    As he ran, his body changed color and shape. His arms shortened and hardened. His legs multiplied and shortened and bended. His body turned vibrantly red.

    “No.” Elissa ran after him. “George! Don’t leave me! Come back! Come back!” Her body began its own transformation.

    By the time she caught up to him, their transformation was complete.

    He turned and looked at her – a perfectly blue crab. “Elissa?”

    “George.”

    “You came for me.”

    If she had a proper human mouth, she would have smiled. “Yes. I love you, George.”

    He tried to stroke her face with his claw, but his claw was too big and her face too small. But it didn’t matter. “I love you too.”

    1. snuzcook

      Well done, Cosi! I particularly like this:
      “She bowed her head and followed him. Her mind raced and babbled about what she should have said. Kind words. Loving words. Gentle words. Persuasive words. But, she thought. I called him stupid…”
      A sweet ending.

  39. snuzcook

    PARADISE

    She’s gone. I had hoped we might have more time, but now it was impossible.

    This is the perfect romantic Paradise, this island cradled in Titian-blue waters. The sun immerses the body in delicious warmth; sea breezes sweep the island with coolness in the hottest part of the day. Ancient wind-carved grottos and fragrant green vegetation create trysting places around every corner to rival any setting on earth.

    She was the perfect companion for this Paradise. Warm as the sand, exotic as the flowers, welcoming as the hidden lagoons–in the short time I knew her, she made my lonely existence complete.

    She had come to me with the sunset. Like a shape shifter she stepped out of the tall, sculpted rocks around my camp. Without a word, together we explored the wonders of the universe while the celestial wheels turned ever onward overhead. Bright stars sped by that might have been satellites or meteors or orbiting space craft, and they alone were witness to the ecstacy that inhabited the opposite face of day.

    Dawn came at last, but we slept entwined. In the fullness of day, we rose and she led me to the beach. I was eager for the caress of the waves, and like me she hurried to the shore. I hoped the waves would be clean and clear, abandoned just for us.

    I should have known it was not to be.

    The sea could not reach the shore for the hundreds of crab-like creatures crowding the tide line. Shining shells in colors of gray and putty and rose and adobe, with black and red-tipped claws pushed their neighbors aside. They jostled each other for a stones-throw out into the surf.

    The woman slipped her warm, soft hand out of mine. I called her back, but she could not heed me; she was already transforming. She was drawn back to them, back to the creatures that were her true kind and soul mates.

    One day I will be ready to join her, to join all the others who, because of curiosity or pity or some other need, have come out of the sea these past years in assumed shapes, to visit the stranded and slightly deranged Earthman in the camp among the stones. They have the capacity that I do not possess, they can assume the shape that pleases them and pleases me, and we can pretend to be of the same flesh. But they always return to the shore and I am left alone.

    When I finally accept the fact that I have been given up for dead by my own people on this lost and uncharted planet, on that day I will come alone to the beach. When I wade into those shell-infested waters, I will not be going to them as a companion or visitor, but as a seeker of oblivion. In their primal shape, they devour anything that is not their own. In that way and only in that way, as disassembled bits consumed and defecated, will I become part of this planet and at last truly belong to Paradise, and lie beneath the warm loving sun forever.

    1. Reaper

      I didn’t notice tenses being wrong snuzcook. Just got sucked into the power and beauty and tragedy of the story. I think the brain under my brain was too busy trying to interpret all of the possible meanings in this for the rest to notice anything wrong.

  40. Who I am

    “I woke up sweating this morning.”

    “Was it the same dream?”

    I nod.

    “Relay it to me this one more time. Focus on anything that may have been different than last time.”

    I do. I tell him the same story, however. The details remain the same.

    He chews on his pencil until realizing he was doing so. Then he says,

    “Crabs are significant in the dream world. They can mean many things to many people. Reoccurring dreams, however, hold a much higher significance. It could mean that you are holding on to whatever the dream is, that when you wake up, even if you had dreamed something else, you simply remember the same.”

    “It’s not like that,” I say, but how do I say it? How do I tell him?

    “Well,” he says, putting down his yellow legal pad, “I’m not a psychoanalyst, dad. Maybe you should go see one.”

    I shake my head, sipping from my coffee. “No.”

    “Is it possible that you are afraid of something? Perhaps of leaving your skin? The girl that turned into the crab did so without hesitation, right? And,” he looks at his notes, “you told me this girl isn’t mom. Maybe the girl is you. Or a version of you that you envy, or are afraid of.”

    I consider it. “Alright,” I say.

    He narrows his eyes. “That’s not it. You’re holding back.”

    I sigh, dragging some time from the bottom of the coffee cup. “The girl on the beach, my loved one, she was my sister.”

    “You have a sister?”

    I shake my head. “She drowned. Before she was even two.”

    He writes this down with the intensity of a scientist. But with the wisdom of a psychiatrist, he let’s me say the next word.

    “The crabs,” I say, “don’t signify death. You’d think they would, the ocean of them. But they don’t. I know this because I don’t feel scared or sad when I wake up in a sweat. I feel… heavy. And envious. I feel as though I were the human in my dream, but the crab upon waking. My shell dense and impenetrable. My inadequate legs only able to skirt around my problems, coming at them sideways, never facing them head-on. Do I feel envious because, maybe, my sister never had to stay on the beach, a crab inside a human body? Do I feel like I’m cheating myself, not becoming the crab that I am? Why am I the human in my dream? What is my sister experiencing in that ocean of bodies? When will I have the courage to break out of my shell and join her?”

    “Dad,” he says. “Dreams are about as odd as the universe: we’re never going to find all the answers. It doesn’t even work that way, one answer to one question. In science, in life, there are a thousand answers to one question. But more importantly, there are a thousand questions in one answer.”

    1. snuzcook

      I really like your turns of phrase, Who.
      “I sigh, dragging some time from the bottom of the coffee cup.”
      “He writes this down with the intensity of a scientist. But with the wisdom of a psychiatrist, he let’s me say the next word.”
      This story has a wonderful sense of density of meaning, and the way you introduce the narrator a glimpse at a time is well done.

    2. Reaper

      I really like the wording here. There is a bit in the middle where I get confused by who is telling the story. Not sure if it is the son being the psychiatrist or what but they kind of morphed for me and I had to go back to get the who of it here. After that first bit there was no problem telling them apart.

      1. Who I am

        Thanks for your take! I’ll put a stronger effort into distinguishing between separate lines of dialog, whether that be in explicit wording (i.e. he said, she said) or developing unique character voices. Any other suggestions on how I could help clarify between two characters (especially when I get into the more daunting dialog scenes of multiple characters!)?

  41. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    Word Count: 496! Ha! I know, it’s rare. 😉 Also, I guess I found something to write for this prompt after all. *shrug*

    This Is Our World Now

    Over the past few days, we called it a vacation. By convincing ourselves this was okay, that’s how we coped. It was easy, too, because I’d always been resistant to change. Even in the hours leading up to this inevitable and unavoidable end of the world, I still deny it.

    When we step into the warm sand, I look out at the water. The sun blazes at the farthest end of the earth as it lays itself to rest, and a brilliant citrine shaft glistens from the calm, blue ocean. The orange sky is empty of everything but small clouds that hang there like soft balls of gossamer laced with thin, golden threads of silk. The crisp breeze eddies from the sea, contrasting the final moments of the dying sun. It’s everything I had hoped my last moments would look like, except for one thing. I glance back to find Crystal. I want to kiss her, feel her soft lips upon mine just one last time, but I can’t. She’s already gone.

    I follow the remnants of her existence across the beach. It starts with her sandals followed by her thin, peach shirt as the breeze folds it over. Her white shorts lay half-covered in the creamy sand. Her bra hangs from a jagged, brown rock jutting from the earth. A pair of blue satin panties I always liked on her float languidly at the center of a tide pool. Her footsteps thin by the time they reach the ocean where hundreds of thousands of crabs play overreach other. Crabs that used to be human.

    Three weeks ago, The Makers returned. Those who created the world. Those who constructed humanity from nothingness. Those who watched us for centuries. Those we disappointed with our humanity.

    After imparting their disgust with us, they allowed us a few questions, because they knew, as humans, we had many. Nothing we said or did changed their minds, though. We already proved, through years of unchange, that we’d never get better. They maintained that we’d still wage wars if left alone. Irrespective of how many of us had grown to accept those who were gay or of a different ethnicity or religious belief, there were still far too many of us that couldn’t respect or love their fellow humans. We failed, and thus had to pay the ultimate price.

    Not long ago, they required us to surrender to a mutation that retrogressed us to an undetermined point before we were human. Many fought this, and many died because the makers had no problem exterminating anyone who refused. Which led me to this beach.

    I take a deep breath, and stare down at the green laser line in the sand. All I have to do is step through it, and I’ll transform, too. This is the end for us, but I suppose it’s also a new beginning. I shrug, whisper my last goodbye to those I love, and step into the transmogrifying light.

    1. Reaper

      Interesting take Jay. In response to something you said last week or the one before. The reason I bust your chops for long stories and not Snuzcook’s is because she never unintentionally accused me of deviant sexual practices. 😉 I also note, I always read your stories when they are long or short. I can’t say that about every long story on here, but it is true of yours. So I hope you know when I point out the length I mean it as a compliment to your skill, because I still read it. Anyway, this is good. I think I need to read it fully awake, a scientific apocalypse and an inverse of the New Twilight Zone episode, A Small Talent for War. Very well done.

  42. ReathaThomasOakley

    Sarah’s Journey
    (Four weeks prior to last week’s episode, still 1906. 500 words, just the story.)

    I held my hat, looked at Horace, his face most hidden by goggles what I’d teased him ’bout when he come to take me motorin’.

    “Like a bug you look, with them big eyes.” He took no offense, just smiled, like he does when he sees me, from the first time when he’d called from the window of his grand new house.

    “Ah, Girl,” he’s taken to callin’ me that, “when this roadster’s on the highway, you’ll be a-wishin’ it was you had bug eyes. Ask yore aunts for a veil or scarf for yore hat, else you’ll lose it.”

    Now, my first time in an automobile, Horace in goggles, duster over his suit, gloves on his hands, I thought back to what brought me here…

    “Hit’s time,” Gran had said, “Girl gotta go.”

    “Where?” I’d asked.

    “Get your head outta them clouds. To Florida, your mam read out the letter.”

    I’d gathered up the fox glove I’d been pickin’ over, put it on the table, put Queen Anne’s Lace in the Mason jar for my room.

    “I heared, but don’t rightly know what she be readin’,” I knew ’bout the letter, ’bout the plannin’. My mam, bent over the counterpane she was stitchin’, smiled.

    Gran’d shifted her chaw, spit in her little jar what we’d lost the lid for. She’d grinned, I’d seen her two extra teeth, stained brown, not white like mine. When I was a young’un I’d vowed never to chew.

    “Sarah,” my mam’d started, “stop yore foolishness…”

    “Yes, ma’am.” I’d knelt by Gran’s rocker. “I know I gotta walk to the train station, then go a far piece to yore sisters, so’s I can learn things.” I’d put my head on her knees. “But, I’m afeared to leave you.”

    “I’m afeared for you to go,” Mam’d said.

    “Hush up,” Gran’d said to Mam, harsh-like. “She’s got the gift, got it strong, like my sister what moved South after the war. That’s why I had you write her, why The Girl gotta go.”

    “Will I see the ocean?”

    “Most likely,” Gran’d answered. “But, take care. We be hill folk. Even when the old ones crossed, they took care.”

    I remembered as the smell of the air changed.

    “We be close?” I asked Horace.

    “Down this road, then next curve. Now, Girl, there she be, the mighty Atlantic, a-waiting for you.” Horace stopped at the top of a wooden ramp down to the sand. I took off my hat, felt the damp wind blow my hair.

    “Horace, what be that by the water? Sand’s come alive! Horace…”

    “Just crabs, nothin’ to be afeared of.” Horace let off the brake. Closer I saw hundreds a creatures, pilin’ over t’other, claw hands fightin’. I recalled Gran’s words, turned to beg him to drive away from this, but, there sat a giant crab.

    I closed my eyes tight, thought, t’ain’t true!

    “Sarah? Don’t squinch up yore eyes.”

    I opened my eyes, blinked. Horace smiled, took my hand, and said, “The ocean.”

  43. Trevor

    Word Count: 479

    Crabby Date

    The evening started out well enough. For once, my date turned out to look exactly like her profile picture. Jennifer had long curly brown hair, green eyes that seemed to look into your soul and the complexion of a Victoria’s Secret model.

    We had a very lengthy, engaging conversation over dinner that night, learning all there was to know about each other. It seemed that we had almost everything in common. We both worked with computers. We both were addicted to Words With Friends and The Bachelor. We even liked eating walnuts covered in cream cheese, something all my friends found strange and revolting. We seemed perfect for each other. If only I’d known what was to come….

    After we finished dinner, Jessica suggested we go to the beach for a walk. “It’s so beautiful there at this time.” Jessica said, pointing out the sun setting over the horizon. “The view of the sunset is incredible. We have to go!” There was a pleading look in her eyes, as if she would just fall over and die if she didn’t get to the beach right that minute. Fearing that refusing would upset her and cause our perfect date to end on sour terms, I agreed and we headed for the coastline.

    As we walked along the beach, I stared out at the sun, which was halfway down the horizon now. The sky was an astonishing mixture of blue, gray, and purple. It looked like something Picasso would create.

    “You were right, Jennifer. This sunset IS beautiful!” I commented. But Jennifer didn’t respond. In fact, it seemed like all her attention was on the rapidly vanishing sun.

    “Jennifer? Jen?” I tapped on Jennifer’s shoulder to get her attention, but her eyes remained locked on the horizon, where the sun had nearly disappeared behind the sea. Finally, the sun was gone, leaving the evening sky a dull shade of gray. Jennifer turned around and stared at me with her illuminating eyes. But now, instead of eyes that seemed to gaze into you, I saw eyes that looked like they could kill a man with a single glance.

    “It’s time now.” Jennifer said, her once lovely voice now turned into an icy hiss. That’s when I realized that an army of small creatures was emerging from the ocean behind her. Several dark orange crabs were crawling out of the murky waters, their eyes giving off a bright green glow.

    “And it’s time for you to join our army.” Then, without any warning, the voluptuous woman I had been swooning for all evening shrank down into one of the evil-eyed crabs crawling onto the sand. But instead of orange, Jennifer had turned into a larger crab that was a dark shade of purple. With a point of her pincher, her orange minions charged at me…..

    And I thought my last date was crappy.

    1. Bushkill

      Good take. Editorial comment … Jen was Jessica at one point which stuck out to me. I like the sense of ” shrugged shoulder whatever ” the MC has at the end too.

  44. Jay "The Doc" Wilson

    I watched her crawl into the sea of crustaceans, transforming into one herself as the red and cream waves enveloped her. The annoying itch I’ve had since the day I slept with Regina came back, and I scratched my jewels.

    I nodded in frustration, and as I walked away from the beach, I said, “Crabs. I knew it.”

    (Okay, okay, normally I’m not one for toilet humor, but I had to. -_-; Anyway, a real story to follow… if I can find good inspiration somewhere in this uninspired prompt.)

  45. bfarlow

    I stop short of the ocean, staring at the seething motion before me. Instead of water, the shimmer of the morning sun reflects off of the shells of millions upon millions of crabs. Mass after mass of crabs crashes upon the shore in a mockery of tidal waves, and then recedes back into the seething mass. Where I had expected water, there are only crabs. I turn to exclaim what I had found to Sandra as she trotted toward the ocean. Her auburn hair, still breathtaking after all of these years, blew in front of her face. She brushed it aside with one claw and continued forward.

    “Sandra, you have got to see… ” I began to cry turning once more toward the seething mass of crustaceans, only to stop short as the last image of my beloved registered with my now over taxed mind. I turned quickly back to her to see her eyes bulge out from their sockets extending on long stalks. Her auburn hair seemed to recede into her flattening skull as her lithe toned legs shortened and turned a reddish hue. I stood dumbfounded with my mouth hang dumbly open at the sight.

    Numbly I looked down at my own arms and legs only to find the proper appendages for a human. My mind raced to categorize the stimuli my senses were providing it but to no avail. I turned again to my Sandra only to see that her transformation was complete. She passed me by and joined the roiling mass that had once been an ocean. Unable to cope any longer I began to run in-land, away from the ebb and flow of crabs. As I neared the boardwalk, I looked back again, forlorn and confused. My dazed mind finally stumbling across one thin shard of my shattered sanity on which to cling: She always did love the ocean.

  46. Kaden Shelton

    As I witnessed the love of my life take off torwards the water and turned into a crab herself I knew it was a sign. A sign saying I must Kill her, I could not let our child see his mom like this. But at the same time thinking of what to tell him so what do I do?. I do What is right I go and buy a 50.Cal sniper riffle and shoot every single crab except my wife. I then go and get my wife and she is a crab and im think what to do… I then grab a big clear bucket and put beach sand in the bottom and fill it up with ocean water. She gets in.. then I pull up in a garbage truck and attach her to the back and start to drag her home where I will be turning her into the FBI in Michigan. 5 Days later I get a call from Sgt. Saucey Stating that she is a adult crab and they are gonna try and clone her old human self back and make the crab body she is in will just be a 6 foot crab which will be sold at Red Lobster. 2 hours later I get another call from Sgt. Saucey as im folding the last shirt from laundry. Mr.Sosa im sorry to tell you… but she didnt make it…. as I paused and didnt say anything for about a minute I could hear Sgt. Saucy .. Hello..Hello hello Mr.Sosa… said Saucey. After I responded yes? he said I am so sorry she is right her you can pick her I am sorry I called the wrong number your wife is fine she pulled through….oh yeah she is smart as a 2 year old okay bye. Ss he hung the phone up quickly.

  47. Kaden Shelton

    As I seen the love of my life take off torwards the water and turned into a crab herself I knew it was a sign. A sign saying I must Kill her, I could not let our child see his mom like this. But at the same time thinking of what to tell him so what do I do?. I do What is right I go and buy a 50.Cal sniper riffle and shoot every single crab except my wife. I then go and get my wife and she is a crab and im think what to do… I then grab a big clear bucket and put beach sand in the bottom and fill it up with ocean water. She gets in.. then I pull up in a garbage truck and attach her to the back and start to drag her home where I will be turning her into the FBI in Michigan. 5 Days later I get a call from Sgt. Saucey Stating that she is a adult crab and they are gonna try and clone her old human self back and make the crab body she is in will just be a 6 foot crab which will be sold at Red Lobster. 2 hours later I get another call from Sgt. Saucey as im folding the last shirt from laundry. Mr.Sosa im sorry to tell you… but she didnt make it…. as I paused and didnt say anything for about a minute I could hear Sgt. Saucy .. Hello..Hello hello Mr.Sosa… said Saucey. After I responded yes? he said I am so sorry she is right her you can pick her I am sorry I called the wrong number your wife is fine she pulled through….oh yeah she is smart as a 2 year old okay bye. Ss he hung the phone up quickly.

    1. Reaper

      I think I have mentioned that I took a class on Spanish language surrealists in High School. Every once in a while a story takes me back to that and I am never sure if that is good or bad, which is how surrealism should be I guess. This is one of those moments. I liked this in that style.

  48. ISSAQH

    As my girlfriend finished morphing into a crab, multiple questions ran through my head. Why is this happening? Why am I not doing the same thing? Regardless, I ran from the beach, only looking back once. But what I saw, were the crabs growing, changing into a different kind of creature. Curious, I watched the scene unfold. They grew and grew, until each one of them was around 6 feet tall. They took on a more human shape, with crab features. They were all bulky, wore nothing, and had sharp pincers. They had a second set of arms under their claws, but they looked thin and weak, like they were used for handling delicate objects instead of fighting. Their heads were stumpy, their eyes were set on opposite ends of their heads, and were the darkest shade of black. Slowly they marched towards the shore, making unholy sounds, sounding like a mix of human screams and nails on a chalkboard.

    I decided not to wait any longer as they started running, destroying anything in their path. I ran towards the nearest shelter, which happened to be a gun and ammunition shop. I ran in and yelled, “God is turning people into crab monsters!” The 3 people in the store laughed at me but yelled as I took their guns. Suddenly, 3 of the creatures broke down the door, and attacked the people inside. I escaped along with one boy who looked to be around the age of 16. We looked back to the the person behind the counter without his head, and the creature looming over him with a blood covered mouth.

    “Don’t think about it!” I told the boy running with me. we ran until he pointed out his car parked on the side of the road. We jumped inside and floored it until the city was far behind us. Tired, I fell asleep in the passenger’s seat. I woke up to a jarring motion, as our car went off road into a tree. I looked to my left to see the boy gone, with a crab beast in his place. I scrambled to open the door, but it was locked tight. The guns I had with me were snapped in half, and I had nowhere to go. The crab beast I had once thought to be a regular human being, was digging its claw into my chest. My vision started fading, and I looked up at the thing looming over me. The last thing I saw was It’s twisted grotesque head. It seemed to have almost a pleased expression.

    1. Reaper

      Doug said it really well. This is epic. There are a couple of small things in this one but they all come down to this. The story is epic and pretty amazing. This could turn into a longer story using this as the frame. Anything I would point out as something that could be fixed comes from pushing to put so much in so few words.

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