The Island of the Giants
The cannon-ship of Her Majesty Setter landed on that island 11th June of the year 1857, nine days after it had been led astray by unexpected storm while on its course to Mumbai, where we should load supplies for our sail to Andamans and to Malay Archipelago. I was working as a ship’s doctor, despite being biologist by profession. I took this job because it was only possible way to visit faraway lands, where, as I hoped, I could find peace for my curious soul.
We had lost our second-in-command in the storm, so captain was the only one on the board who was able to pinpoint our position. We were located somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean, in place where there should not be any land nearby. To our surprise there were silhouettes of strange trees on a wide sandy beach. There were growing in clusters with connected treetops which were laid out in an odd pattern. Never in my life have I seen anything like this.
Fate gave me unique opportunity to make botanical research.
They’re just boulders, declared captain. He then went exploring island escorted by two sailors. At first he dismissed my request to go with them, so I could look closer on local flora, however eventually he agreed after few inappropriate comments and harsh swearing.
When we got to the island, both oarsmen stayed by the boat, while captain and I went to take a closer look on one of the trees, in hopes of maybe discovering new type of plant and giving it my name. I pulled out my knife to peel a piece of bark with it. God stopped my hand right in time.
In that moment sun ascended high enough to shine on sand and reveal that this was not any ordinary trees. These trees were not trees at all. Instead of trunks it looked more like legs of some hellish creatures, monsters from nightmares. Scary but somewhat familiar.
They were crabs.
I know that the biggest living arthropod was found by my colleague Temminck twenty years ago. His Maja kaempferi however was nothing compared to these thirty feet long, ten legged monsters.
What now? We were trapped between these creatures and our only hope was silent but quick retreat back to the boat. Animals acted faster and started to move. Maybe they felt that there are intruders under them. Pincers that could cut bull in two pieces were rumbling, big round eyes on long stalks were moving in all directions.
If they would have food, they will be distracted enough, said captain preparing his gun. Does he think that bullet could pierce chitinous shells? Shooting at them would only enrage them! Had he lost his mind?
In a second I found out that captain’s mind is intact, however his plan was more practical than Christian. He aimed his gun at me.
Thanks to the sound that I made, crabs started to move. Even the one that was looking straight at me. Captain hide right of crab’s leg to not hinder his attack on the bait – on me.
Decapod set forth.
I will never forget that shocked look on a face of man who in the last moment of his life did remember that crabs walk sideways.
"Things just happen. What the hell."
* Terry Pratchett. Hogfather
Welcome to my world. For the longest time I couldn’t think of right name for this place, so I left it without one. Amongst things you can find here are attempts of science fiction and fantasy stories, my collection of gods, bogeymen and monsters and also articles about things that had me interested, be it for a while or for years. (There is more of this, sadly not in English but in Czech, on www.fext.cz)
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