HOMECOMING

By

Fontay O'Rooney

NOTE: This story picks up immediately at the conclusion of the third Creature film, "The Creature Walks Among Us."

Never, ever, was it supposed to be like this.

The Gill-Man stood on the rocky shoreline, wondering in his own way how things had ever reached this point. It hadn't been that long ago that he had been the master of his domain, the ruler of the lagoon he called home. Everything was part of his dominion. Nothing else in the lagoon could rival him.

All that, of course, changed the moment that the first people invaded his realm. The first ones had found the remains of one of his mate. Was nothing sacred to these monsters? Could they not let her remains stay undisturbed?

The Gill-Man had tried to reach up and grab at them from beneath the surface of the waters, to drag them down and drown them, but he was just a moment too slow and missed his target. Later on, when evening fell, he atoned for his mistake by slaying them all as they slept. Or, at least, he thought he had gotten them all. Apparently one was absent at the time and thereby unknowingly saved his own life. In retrospect, in the manner of his thoughts, he recognized it to be one of the greatest mistakes of his life. He should have killed them all right away when he had the chance.

More invaders came soon after. Their boat had disturbed the top of his water, polluting the air above with its gaseous waste. From miles away, he sensed their approach and swam up the mighty river so that he could attack them and hopefully end their threat once and for all.

That was, of course, until he saw her, the female of their species. In spite of his hatred for the surface creatures, she overwhelmed him. He relived feelings he had not experienced since his mate had died, and he found her muddling his thoughts. In hindsight, she was the beginning of his undoing. Had it not been for her, he would have killed all the males and been done with it.

He did claim a couple of lives, but he impulsively chose to take the female to his lair instead of harming her. For his trouble, he got attacked by the surviving males, who used their long-distance weapons on him. He sank unconscious into the depths as projectile after projectile hit him.

In time he healed, but his battles with the humans were far from over. The boat returned, and this time he found himself captured. They took him to some sort of prison with water, a place where countless members of their despicable species came to watch and make sport of him. Much to his chagrin, there was another female, and he found himself as attracted to her as he had been to the first. The Gill-Man escaped, taking her captive and killing some humans along the way, but he found himself once again sinking into the depths after the humans attacked him with their long-distance projectiles.

However, his last run-in with them was the worst of all. It wasn't enough for them to capture him again, nor was it enough that they burned him. They didn't even have the decency to let him die. No, they have to work on his body, make him an air-breather like them. He tried to swim away and nearly drowned. Then one of them killed another and tried to blame him. He escaped, claiming some victims as he went, and now stood here looking out at the ocean.

The sight broke his heart. Hadn't the water been his home just a short time ago? Now, as he looked out upon it, it represented the prospect of death by drowning—-a death that the humans had denied him, a death that would be sweet release for his tortured soul.

Without further delay, the Gill-Man ran out into the water, throwing himself into it. Much as his new lungs balked at the water intake and screamed for air, he forced himself down beneath the surface. Soon, it would all be over….

Only it wasn't.

The Gill-Man thought death was looming, could nearly see what lay beyond this life, when suddenly something unexpected happened. Something beyond his wildest imaginings, something that gave him hope.

He breathed the water. His precious gills were coming back to him! Much to his surprise, the Gill-Man found himself wanting to live. The thought of being able to call the water home again transmogrified his thoughts of suicide into a sudden determination to hang onto life. What was to be his exit from his tortured existence was now turning into a homecoming.

The gills weren't instantly developed. Several times he had to come up for air, but every time he went down he found himself able to stay down longer. At last, by the time the sun had sunk behind the horizon again, he knew he could stay down as long as he liked.

And he would…for as long as he could. The water had been given back to him, perhaps by the Divine, and this time he would hold onto it.

And woe would come to any human who ever tried to encroach upon his domain again….