Photo by Lisa Shambrook (please do not use without permission)
Nobody expected the fog. It rolled in overnight and as Kit stared out the window she smiled. Only faint halos from the white gas lights could be seen, like will-o-the-wisps lost in urban alleys. She backed away from stark oblivion, her skin taut and cold in the early morning air, and slid back into bed beside Tay. He grumbled in his sleep and Kit ran her finger down his exposed spine. He tensed, his whole body suddenly alert, and she giggled.
“Don’t do that!” he admonished sharply as he relaxed and rolled over.
She responded by curling her legs around his torso and placing her lips firmly on his.
“Okay, you can do that…again…” he said as he pulled away then drew her close for a more intimate kiss.
She gave herself for a few sweet moments, sharing passion as if they were sharing their last minutes together, before reluctantly pushing him away. He watched, sated, as she rolled out of bed and pulled on her underpants then drew her jeans over her long legs.
“Come back, just for a few more minutes…” he urged.
She shook her head and pulled her sweater down over her body and stood. “C’mon Tay, it’s perfect out there today, and there won’t be much time, it could change any moment!”
Tay grumbled again, but pushed the covers away and got out of bed. She grinned, and threw his shirt at him. “Get dressed!”
Kit shivered as they stepped out of the apartment and into the gloomy world. She reached for Tay’s gloved hand and gripped it tight. “Don’t let go,” he warned.
“I should be the one telling you that!” She rose on her toes and kissed his stubbled cheek.
Whispers of frost coiled within the fog and she shivered again. Holding hands they moved along the wall and waited at the corner.
Kit listened. Her hearing was perfect, and in this low visibility hearing was the greatest weapon they had.
The city was quiet, almost silent.
The birds never sang anymore, and the only birds they ever saw were ghostly corvids, and they sat lonely and lost atop the gas lamps, like black shadows in the mist. They never sang.
Kit squeezed Tay’s hand and they moved, heading into the labyrinth of alleys. Glancing down, Kit could barely see her feet. She pulled her soft leather jacket tight amid the cold, white fog. They were prepared, and ready.
Their familiarity with the dank corridors kept them on track and they ran silently through the streets.
“Almost there,” whispered Tay, as they came to an abrupt halt.
Kit listened, and Tay’s nostrils flared.
“I can smell the river,” he murmured. “I can smell…”
“Don’t!” Kit placed a finger over his lips and she strained to hear. “It’s quiet, but I can hear them…we’re not alone.”
They stood with their backs against the once imposing, now dilapidated, Savoy, disguised only by the blinding fog. Kit reached into her jacket removing her hunting knife from its leather sheath. She noted the narrow trident dagger strapped to her boot, and felt the comfort of her combat knife snug against her thigh. Tay stood beside her similarly armed, with his kukri held close.
They moved stealthily forward, until reaching the embankment. On the river’s edge, they stood, back to back…ready.
Tay squeezed Kit’s hand and then let go.
Sweat sparkled in the fog and they waited for their scent to betray them.
The water was still, stagnant and foul, but Kit listened as its tiny lapping waves grew and the tendrils emerged. Like snakes tentatively searching, tendrils peered through the fog and curled before their faces.
“Now!” Kit’s battle cry rang through the fog. “The Kraken wakes, but so do we!”
The swish of knives swung through the air, sweeping through tentacled flesh and ripping jellied arms and limbs from the leviathans.
From the Thames came explosions of water as creatures from the deep surfaced and climbed out onto the promenade, but alongside Kit and Tay, all along the embankment, came shouts of battle and wrath, and from the fog emerged a force so large and enraged that bloody battle to the end was the only possibility…