Phillipsport, Maine seems to be the perfect place for novelist Rick Sychek to settle in to. A small seaport village, it is quaint and peaceful, just what Rick needs in order to write his next novel.
On his drive into town Rick runs over what appears to be a large crab in the road. About the size of a common house cat and sporting a segmented tail that resembles the stinger of a scorpion, it is unlike any crustacean he or anybody else in town has seen before. Within the next day the town is literally besieged by hundreds of the creatures -- which Rick calls Clickers due to the sound their claws make as the click together -- as they ravage and plunder anything unlucky enough to get in their way.
NOW THE WAVE OF TERROR BEGINS...
Hundreds of Clickers literally beach themselves in a wave of terror that ends in horror and death for some....but it brings the town together collectively in a fight to drive the creatures back. Rick joins his new friends in fighting the creatures off only to discover that the Clickers aren't merely here to ravage and pillage. They are being driven up on the shores of this New England by instinct. For something is hunting the Clickers. Something far worse than any of them could ever imagine...
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.60(d)|
Read an Excerpt
North Atlantic Sea
IT WAS UNUSUALLY cold that day.
The chilling wind licked at the surface of the water, causing frigid whitecaps on the churning waves. This section of the Atlantic, roughly fifty miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, was always cold, but never like this. Captain Kim Isaac had never seen the ocean behave this way in all his twenty years of experience at sea. It was just too weird.
Kim stood on the upper deck of the Lucky Mariner -- a weathered fifty-six foot Seine Boat that he had bought ten years ago -- as it crested a rising swell. A spray of foam splashed over the railing. The burst of cursing that rose from below told him that a good portion of his crew had become drenched with the icy brine.
Kim gripped the metal railing and gazed out at the ocean. He took a long pull off his old walnut pipe, letting the scented smoke warm his lungs. His mood was pensive. This excursion had been plagued with unnatural occurrences from day one. After three days at sea, his crew of seven had been able to haul in less than seven hundred pounds of fish. Cod and Herring were usually pretty plentiful in these waters at this time of year. He had brought in nearly two tons of Cod on one trip alone last season, but now there was almost nothing. The ship's cook, Danny Walters, told him that could all be blamed on the over-fishing. That was the rational explanation for it.
Directly above the main cabin Kim heard his first mate, Dave Johnson, curse as he swung the wheel to avoid another swell that was rapidly approaching. The waves had been rising steadily during the past hour and the wind whipped from the north,blowing freezing cold air across the bow. The black mass of clouds from the east indicated that Mother Nature was going to bless them with a mighty storm. There had been nothing about it in the latest weather forecast. Kim shook his head in dismay. Great, just fucking great!
One of the crew sat in a skiff fifty yards out, maneuvering the far end of the gill nets. They had been dragging the nets for the past four hours and had come up with nothing -- another oddity. Gill netting was constructed with a lighter gauge weave. It floated in the water, creating a purse-like shape that trapped fish in currents like the scoop of a shovel. The fishes' gills got hooked in the netting and they couldn't wiggle free because the rest of them would pile in behind, trapping the whole school. When you thought about it, it was pure torture.
But for some reason the fish were getting out this time. They were tearing themselves from the nets, leaving bloody strips of flesh and scales tangled in the weave. They were swimming madly, as if propelled by some unseen force. It had happened the day before as well. It was the first indication that this trip was in no way normal.
The second indication was when the bottom-dwellers had come up in the nets earlier that morning. Flounder, lamprey and others of their ilk were rarely seen by surface fishers. They preferred to stay on the ocean floor and suck up anything that happened to settle there. Usually they stayed far below the bottom edge of the nets.
Kim had stood on the deck and watched the men haul them up in disgust. Most of the bottom-dwellers were worthless on the open market except for the flounder and a few specialty fish. The creatures just seemed to spew up from the depths in an unending hoard, as if they were being driven up by...something.
Forty minutes after the first wave of bottom dwellers one of the crew yelled that they had caught a large lobster in the nets. They tried hauling it up but before they could bring it to the surface, the net was torn apart and the creature had scurried away into the deep. A moment later, another was captured. And then another. And another.
Kim had hopped down to the lower deck to catch a glimpse and couldn't believe what he saw; it was some type of crustacean, roughly three feet long. Its shell was deep red, darkening to black around the edges; its claws were a good foot long and serrated, making sharp little clicking sounds as it snapped at the net. Round, black marble eyes glared from long, wavering stalks. Its tail was segmented, tapering down to a needle protrusion that whispered stinging pain. In all, it resembled a cross between a mutant crab and a giant scorpion.
Kim saw the creature as the net came up in a spray of foam. The men beside him yelped in surprise as the thing clipped and wriggled through the net with a snap of its claws and slipped beneath the ocean's surface. The cut section of net floated limply in the water. Some of the crew helped Kim bring the net up and he held it in his weathered hands. The thing had snipped through it as neatly as scissors through string. Quite a feat when you consider that this was a wire based net built to withstand the power of thousands of pounds of thrashing fish.
Kim had watched the creatures periodically get caught only to escape before the crew could drag them aboard. He had tried getting Ralph Hodgson, the lead crew man, to shoot them with the high-powered rifle kept on board to fend off sharks and barracudas. All his shots went wild, or missed altogether due to the awful thrashing the boat was taking from the stormy sea.
Kim's mind snapped back to the present.
His heart raced furiously. He looked out into the rough sea, turning his head to watch as a couple of his crewmen brought up another of the creatures amid excited yells. It snipped through the weave and scurried away with a splash as Ralph popped off a few more useless shots.
He turned to Dave who was at the helm fighting the wheel. "What the fuck are these things?" Kim yelled.
"I don't know," Dave said through gritted teeth. He gestured out to the water. "It looks like a big school of them heading southwest. Must be what's driving the fish crazy."
Dave shrugged and scratched his bushy head. The wind whipped at his heavy coat, rippling it like the waves of the sea. "They must be following this current. Never seen anything like it."
Kim looked out into the gray ocean. The seagulls were circling in wide, erratic circles, cawing frantically. Kim jerked a thumb toward the excited gulls. "Birds are acting real strange."
"Everything is!" Dave said. He had both hands on the wheel, his knuckles growing white as he struggled to keep the ship on course. "Everything in this part of the sea seems to be trying to get away from something."
Kim felt the boat lurch violently. He nearly lost his balance as he grabbed at the wooden railing. He righted himself; his heart still lodged in his throat. Jesus, but this storm is getting worse.
Another length of net was brought up with three of the creatures hanging on by their insect-like legs. He studied the animals intently as he gripped the railing. He had never heard, or read of any crab or lobster reaching the size of the things in the nets. Logic dictated that they probably dwelled on the bottom of the ocean and rarely came to the surface. If that was so, why were they coming up now?
He shook his head as the cawing of the gulls gnawed at the base of his skull. The sky was darkening rapidly. The wind was blowing stronger, the swells rising higher. The mass of dark storm clouds had grown larger and more sinister, painting the sky a dark black. The Lucky Mariner bounced off a swell, nearly knocking Kim off his feet. Some of the crew members weren' t so lucky; a few of the men were thrown to the deck. Heart racing, Kim gripped the railing and made his way carefully to the ladder that led to the lower deck. He climbed down carefully and joined Ralph Hodgson.
He nudged Ralph's shoulder. "Get Jeff out of that skiff and get those nets up!"
"We pulling in?" Ralph asked sharply. He had nearly ten years of crew experience on commercial fishing vessels and the motions of the sea were disturbing him too.
"You bet your mother's ass we are." Kim leaned over and yelled to the upper deck where Dave was fighting the wheel with all his strength. "Hey, Dave! We're bringing up the nets and headin' in!"
Dave acknowledged the order with a wave and steered the boat into the swell to aid in retrieving the large nets. Kim barked the order to those on deck and then turned to steal another glance at the storm before all hell broke loose.
A commotion off toward the skiff caught his attention. The man they had sent out to drag the net -- an experienced seaman named Jeff Bowers -- was yelling and slapping at the water with his oars. His screams washed toward them, high pitched, loud and clear.
"What the fuck?" Kim hissed, stepping toward the railing. He took the pipe out of his mouth and put it in his jacket pocket. His heart beat wildly. He could barely make out roiling, undulating movement below the tiny skiff as Jeff beat at the water with the oars.
The tiny skiff was listing to one side pretty badly as the net grew taut. One good wave and the small boat would capsize. Jeff was trying to cut loose the net, but the rough sea made it impossible. The rough thrashing of the boat made it appear that the net was being pulled out of Jeff's hands.
Suddenly the net attached to the skiff was yanked below and the tiny boat flipped over. Spilling Jeff Bowers into the freezing ocean.
The skiff floated in the water half submerged, and finally sunk. Jeff was nowhere in sight.
It all went down so fast that Kim couldn't believe what he saw. The crew watched in stunned terror, finally gasping exclamations of shock. Kim felt the tension among his crew as Jeff's dark form broke the surface briefly.
Ralph pointed and yelled. "Man overboard!"
Copyright © 1999 by J.F. Gonzalez & Mark Williams
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you like old Stephen King or beast that will eat you alive then you will love this book. It will keep you on the edge of your set, get it you're love it. DP Nashville Tn.
Wow! I just tore through this book! I'd read 200 pages at a pop and not even realize it, that's how engrossing this book was. I'll admit I'm a huge fan of great monster movies like "Them" or "The Creature from the Black Lgoon", so a book that starts with a small Maine beach town being invaded by prehistoric crab scorpion hybrids is right up my alley. But this book just relentlessly portrays the horror of this invasion and what comes after. Let's just say there is a lot of vividly described bloodshed.... I really liked the main character. While not incredibly complex, I thought it was kind of cool that he was a horror writer. The supporting characters had enough backstory to make them likeable, make us care for them, especially when they're killed in gruesome fashion. For all you monster fans I highly recommend this book. If and when it ever gets made into a movie, I'll definitely buy a ticket!