It was Christmas Day when out of the ocean lobsters came ashore. They didn’t linger by the water but skittered further inland across the snow-encrusted sand.
Then they all, all seven of them, stood on their rearmost walking legs and strode forth like people. Their pincers raised in glory they exclaimed as one, having found human voice as well, “We are seven,” making a mockery of Wordsworth’s verse.
It was an abomination to behold that on the day of the Lord’s birth these lobsters should rise from virtual state of brain death to intelligent life in a profane Easter. I couldn’t stand the sight of them and couldn’t allow them to walk the Earth. Running over to my boat I got my fishing net and caught them all. Their hubris was too much, they thought they could walk untouched.
When I got home I set a pot of water aboil. Lobsters thrown in, how they screamed as they died.
At night I’m kept awake by memory of the crustacean cacophony.
It has been a year since I found them and nearly that long since I’ve had a full night’s sleep.
Outside carollers sing and snow falls, but here I prepare to repent for my sin, for how could I have assumed the lobsters were evil? How can I know it was not God’s will for them to walk and talk as they did? Last year I put them where they could not survive, tonight I will put myself where I cannot survive and walk into the sea. As I walked in lobsters rose up. They would not let me be.
Walking toward me, they said, “We are seven times seven.”
A wave crested, more arose, saying “We are seventy-seven.”
Their blasphemous utterances stilled my limbs and froze my heart. Immobile, waves pushed me around, the lobsters acrawl all over me, pinching, biting, and screaming.
“We are legion…” they said in unison as scores descended upon me. I heard not how they finished their latest misbegotten phrase.
Bernardo Villela has short fiction included in periodicals such as LatineLit, Penumbra Online and Horror Tree and in anthologies such as We Deserve to Exist, Enchanted Entrapments and There's More of Us Than You Know. He’s had original poetry published by Phantom Kangaroo, Straylight, and Raven’s Quoth Press and translation published by AzonaL and Red Fern Review.