(MESSAGE FROM MR TWYST) – This began as an attempt to take King Kong in a completely new direction. I had trouble trying to work it out, but I decided to combine it with my desire to write a Dr Who story – hey presto, 25-foot gorilla and blue box. I think it works. There is a focus on the King Kong side of the story (particularly in this chapter), but later it leans on the Doctor Who format, which is why it's in this section. Note that there will be scientific claptrap later. That's enough of me – on with the story… (END MESSAGE)
It fell from the Void, wreathed in the flames of Time. It split the sky as it fell, ripping the Earth as it smashed into the fragile crust of the planet. The impact sent hundreds of tonnes of rock and dust into the upper atmosphere, blocking out the life-giving rays of the sun over thousands of miles. It would have caused much more destruction, wiping out life just as it was rising by destroying the entire world, but some force acted as it entered the atmosphere, slowing its descent enough to preserve the planet below.
This force was not of Earthly making.
Millions of years passed. Land bridges came and went. Life evolved, spread, multiplied. It lay dormant for aeons, waiting for the time to be right, for the time of the Return. The time when the Web would be ripped asunder, and all things would face the end. For all things are destined to end. Together. And very soon.
It is Time.
The ship rocked gently as the waves lapped against its rusty sides, but everyone aboard was used to the swaying by now - they had been journeying for a little over two months, so no one had any excuse. The ship was an old tramp steamer which had, to be honest, seen better days. But she didn't leak, much, and her engine worked fine. For the captain, and most of the crew, it was the only home they'd known. The SS Venture.
Although, at the moment it did feel to the Captain that his home had been appropriated by squatters whilst he was there. The 'squatters' in question were an American film-maker and his crew, bound for the mystic east. Singapore, to be precise. Alright, not all the passengers were that bad, but it only takes one to give the whole lot a bad name.
The captain stood on the deck outside the wheelhouse, and lit a cigarette. Idly, he watched his passengers on the fore-deck, filming a scene for their movie. Carl Denham - the unpleasant one - was strutting across the deck directing a classically handsome actor in his movements for the scene. Bruce Baxter nodded quietly as he received instructions, completely ignoring the older woman who was adjusting his make-up. The captain knew from conversations with her that she found Baxter thoroughly vile. Privately, he agreed. Baxter was arrogant, vain and chauvinistic. Nothing like the characters he'd played before his career took a dip. The other people with them were more likeable - Herb, the cameraman, Mike, the sound technician and James Leonard. Leonard was a small-time theatre actor who'd agreed to be here to support his wife and kids. There were a few others on Denham's payroll, but they were below decks.
The captain turned away and re-entered the wheelhouse, pausing to flick his cigarette into the sea. It was late summer, and outside it was very hot. The captain found just a few minutes outside uncomfortable, and he didn't like to think how his crew felt on days like this. On the other hand, Denham must be feeling quite tortured.
There was another thing about Denham that was in the captain's mind - some of the sailors were spreading rumours that Denham was searching for some mythical place. Not that he was as superstitious as some of his sailors. Most men seemed reasonable enough not to fear such superstition, but when you were on a ship with one person who believed a legend, it wasn't long before the legend became more real in people's minds. It wasn't that the captain believed the rumours about 'Skull Island', but they were demoralising his crew. And a demoralised crew could mean a threat of mutiny. It annoyed the captain how rumours could have such a great effect on people. How could this island be real? This was the twentieth century, for god's sake! The so-called 'Age of Reason'! Even if the title was debatable, every inch of the world had been explored, with the possible exceptions of the heart of the Congo or the Amazon.
The captain turned to the large black man at the wheel, his chief Mate.
'Mr Hayes,' the captain said in his clipped German accent, 'do you know where Jimmy is at the moment?'
'No sir,' Hayes responded, glancing at the captain, 'but he's off duty right now, so I'm not sure where he is.'
The captain left Hayes at the wheel, and headed out into the heat. Jimmy was the youngest sailor on the ship, about seventeen or eighteen. He'd been a stowaway, four years before, when Hayes had found him in one of the animal cages in the hold. The boy didn't like to talk about his past, or why he'd been in the hold. Maybe he couldn't remember, but, from the broken arm Jimmy had when he was found, and from some of the scars Hayes had mentioned, the captain suspected abuse. Or maybe his parents had crossed someone, maybe a high-profile criminal. In any case, Hayes had taken a shine to the boy, and persuaded the captain to let Jimmy stay on as a crewmember. The captain had been sceptical, but now thought differently.
A bare-chested young man moved past the captain, an armful of fishing nets obstructing his vision. The captain put out a hand to stop him.
'Sam,' he said, causing the young man to lean to the side of the nets, revealing sharp features, dark hair and darker eyes.
'Yes captain,' he answered, smiling warmly. The thing about Sam Griffin was that he was perpetually cheerful and optimistic. It did get annoying when everyone else was stressed, but he was usually right. Also, he was quite friendly with Jimmy, as they were close in age, and usually knew where the younger man was.
'I think Mr. Driscoll was helping him with something in the hold,' Griffin replied when asked. The captain nodded in reply, and moved away. Griffin hitched up the fishnets, and continued towards the middle deck.
The captain found his way down to the hold. Jack Driscoll was part of Denham's little crew, a writer. It gave another reason to dislike Denham. Driscoll's name hadn't been on the list of passengers Denham had given the captain, and it seemed Denham had tricked Driscoll into staying on the ship against his will. The captain had never seen one of Driscoll's stage plays, but he'd heard they were good.
When he got to the hold, the largest room on the ship, it was to find it filled with cages of all sizes and the constant scent of animals. Over the years this hold had transported all sorts of animals across the world - from camels to crocodiles, otters to oxen. But on this voyage, it carried animals of a different kind. When Denham had tricked Jack Driscoll into remaining aboard, the captain had been unable to provide him with a cabin, so Driscoll had been forced to bunk down in one of the larger cages. There was a barrel positioned next to the cage, where Jimmy was sitting, staring intently at the open book on his lap and resting his feet on a small cage.
The young sailor glanced up as he heard someone enter the hold, and sat up straighter when he saw it was the captain.
'Jimmy,' the Captain said, 'I need a word.'
'Yes, sir,' Jimmy said, 'Jack's just gone to the bathroom.'
'What's he doing with you?'
'Helping with some of my reading problems.'
The captain smiled, 'Mr Hayes would like that.' The captain knew that Hayes wanted Jimmy to get an education, so he wouldn't be stuck on the ship his whole life. Jimmy, however, preferred to stay on the ship. With Hayes. 'Jimmy, I need you to do something for me. I need you to clean Denham's cabin.'
Jimmy winced. Like the captain, he didn't like Denham, and Denham didn't like him. He didn't like the idea of what would happen if Denham found him in there. Wild accusations would soon follow, then threats and likely violence.
'And while you're in there,' the captain continued, 'look for anything that mentions Skull Island.'
'Are you sure about this, captain?' Jimmy asked. 'You know what'll happen if he finds out.'
'I need to know if what you overheard is true,' the captain snapped, 'He wouldn't plan to film there if he didn't know that it-'
The captain stopped, staring. Jimmy's hair was waving in the wind. But they were inside, how could there be a wind? Then the noise started. The captain spun round as he heard a deep groaning sound, like the grind of the Venture's engines, only much deeper, infinitely more ancient. A light began to pulse, two metres off the floor, in the centre of the vortex of wind. The captain's cap flew off, heading towards the light.
'Oh my god,' Jack Driscoll stepped off the ladder to the upper decks, staring as the air around the light began to fizzle, as if the air itself was being pushed apart, making room for something. Then it happened.
A blue something began to fade into existence below the lamp, solidifying with each pulse of the light, until it became solid. And then everything was still.
(MESSAGE FROM MR TWYST) There you have it – chapter numero uno. I'll try to update often, but things have a knack of 'coming up'. Note that this is my first story, so any comments are welcome! Thanks to Lorze the Brooks for beta services. (END MESSAGE)