New Blends of Evil
A ripe moon sits low on Raritan Bay exposing every ripple and disturbance on the calm water. The occasional baitfish jumps, a larger predator snaps and there is the odd bird movement, but it is mostly silent.
The traffic light at Broad and Front Streets turns from yellow to red and it is the only movement along the Keyport waterfront.
The disappearing low tide fills the air with her sensual, fertile aroma, like the damp sheets in a honeymoon suite. A solitary fishing boat sits out on the channel rigged for bass, a lone fisherman asleep in a chair with his feet up on the stern. The bay fills her belly with tons of water from the incoming tide.
At AFF, Chester is sitting in the control center tracking the “package”. He is sipping a Red Bull and eating Pringles. All is quiet on his six screen panel except for the top middle screen. Six green dots pulse in unison. Chester measure every change in the water. The six pulsing orbs in formation on the screen tells Chester all is perfect tonight.
Chester once heard that “it is always darkest just before dawn”, but he didn’t see much of a difference between the pitch black of 3 or 4 a.m. He called it dead dark. It can’t get any darker. The fading moon helped a little.
Out in the bay, the six pulsing ping pong’s with antenae form the perimeter of the blob taking form within. The matter glows with a low grade electrical charge, like some deepwater monster fish. This monster, though, would never see deep water. Harm was to be contained within this bay.
Chester pulls up a high tech weather radar screen. The storms were forming to the west and moving in on schedule. Chester adjusts the blob slightly by moving the orbs. The first crack of thunder rips across the bay. The first fingers of lightning dance on the water.
Chester programs the orbs to power up the blob, making it burn white. When lightning finds the target, the organism drinks it like mothers milk. It becomes stronger and brighter.
As the supercharged monster tosses in the now windy bay. Every living thing beneath her has the life sucked from them. Every fish, every crab, clam and plankton. It stores the stolen lifeforce like a battery. The bay bottom it passes over will appear bleached white in daylight. Not black and dead, but translucent white and something way beyond dead. One bayman would describe it as a small nuclear winter.
Pleased with his progress, Chester logs his results and begins to shut her down for the night. The six orbs pulse silently on the one live screen.
A brisk morning breeze with a hint of sea in the air drifts up Broad Street.
A girl walks up the aisle and stands before her 4th grade class and reads in a cheery, upbeat tone.
“A person may think that there’s nothing odd concerning Keyport, New Jersey, but the ghost tales reported by the local residents are enough to make anyone re-evaluate spending the night around here. Ghosts are so usual in this place; a lot of residents don’t even think about it any longer. Some residents assert there are no ghosts, but terrifying things undeniably happen here in Keyport in the night time. These are some of the spooky things that have happened here recently…”
Miss Noonan rushes up to stop her from continuing after noticing a young Spanish boy quietly crying in the back of the room.
The Keyport Police blotter tells the tale. Just past noon, the body of a local drunk is found floating down by the boat yard, strangled. In a local Mexican bar, two fishermen argue over a soccer match on the TV in vivid Spanish and a knife comes out and one of them is left dead. At 4 p.m., a suspicious fire at a church causes a small amount of damage. Curious, only in the fact that that they seemed to be trying to burn the dedication plaque dated 1878.
An Entry from Tom Stones Journal
“Dreams and nightmares echo in the stone and mortar of this waterside haunt. There is more trouble coming down the pike and very few people who can actually do something about it. I have been granted a new insight into what is happening to this town.
Ever since the dinner party at California House, the ghosts have made themselves very apparent to me. I do know there is now one living in my house. He has yet to speak, but I think it is because I haven’t yet asked him to. Julianne says that is a pre-condition.
The ghosts along this Magic Beach area are of particular interest. They are the ghosts of a family that cannot see each other. He cannot talk to his wife, nor her to her daughter, and the daughter to neither. Quite a unique loneliness for each of them. Each one quite an individual on their own. Each a part of the three houses, divided against themselves and each other.
They communicate through chosen mortals. I don’t know why I have been pulled in, but they seem to.
They say if history was allowed to repeat itself, the fire would burn through Keyport and destroy the whole dream. These once wild of woods hold secrets that would be hard to fathom if unearthed once more. There is something else here that I have yet to figure, but I think I hear the ghosts of Magic Beach whispering to me in the hours before dawn.
Sometimes things merge and manifest into new blends of evil. I fear it is happening now.
The spark fixing to blow the powder keg would unleash the force of a thousand Jersey Devils. This is becoming quite apparent…”.
On a crisp dawn, Tom walks into a quiet town and drops a large manila envelope containing the first pages of the commissioned screenplay into the box in front of the Post Office on Front Street. A seagull screeches too close to his head and startles Tom. Tom pulls up his collar and heads toward home.
“The Ghosts of Magic Beach” by Jim Shaffer “The Ghosts of Magic Beach” is a work of fiction. ALL CHARACTERS AND REFERENCES TO ALL FACTS ARE A PRODUCT OF THE AUTHOR’S IMAGINATION. All rights reserved WINK AND NOD PRODUCTIONS 2017.
For Patti Crane, dear reader.