The drive up the wharf approach was taking longer than usual; the driver could see the sharp right hand turn onto the wharf proper ahead of him but it stayed some several hundred meters away. The approach road itself was not different from its usual appearance; long steel pylons buried deep under the ocean floor supporting slabs of reinforced concrete, but he could have sworn that yesterday it was made entirely of wood.
The building at the turn rose high. Impossibly high. As he drove towards it, the roof appeared to lose itself in the heavy, grey clouds that blanketed the night sky. Its rough brick surface crumbled lightly as the vehicle rumbled down the gravelly, broken road that had always been there.
Out of nowhere, sooner than could reasonably be expected given the distance only a second ago, the driver pulled alongside the building. It’s shiny, steel walls glinting in the full moonlight. The driver cursed the streetlights which had seemingly all died since this time the night before, he hated driving along here by headlights only. He peered out the window, and realised there were no streetlights at all. Frowning, he tried to force the image of a brightly lit road from his head.
He pulled the car over and walked up to the small, temporary hut that stood on the corner of the wharf, dark and empty. Entering it, he found himself inside what appeared to be a stone cave. Crude drawings of creatures and objects he did not recognise covered the walls and ceiling, some 20 feet above his head. Light came from dozens of naked flame torches that lined the walls along the hallway that extended what looked like miles into the rock.
A table stood near the door. It was carved out of a dark red wood and stood at least 12 feet high. The man laid his paper and writing implements of all shapes and descriptions on the table and sat at it, on the floor with his legs crossed. The granite of the table top made demonic sounding scratching noises as he wrote various symbols and runes across the page. A voice from deep in the ground said something unrecognisable. He knew to ignore it, even if could make out some words. The ground grew warm.
Exiting the building, the man grimaced at the ever present arctic wind that blew down the strange, alien wharf. The man wandered to the sheer edge and looked over. Green water lapped at the wharf structure slowly. Warm air rose lazily up from the surface. Nothing lived in this water, not for as long as any towns person could remember, and these people had long, albeit disturbed, memories. The man walked the length of the wharf, this time it was shorter than it should have been, the man surprising himself when he nearly walked off the edge into the churning black water.
Turning, he found himself at the opposite end to where he just was. He started walking again, not knowing exactly what he was doing, nor what he was supposed to do if anything happened while he was there.
A bright light near the horizon blinked off and on several times, irregularly and with different intensities. The man frowned. While he had never seen the light before, he knew the light was not supposed to blink in that pattern.
As if responding to his concerns, the light changed to a bright red, flared even more intensely once and blinked off and did not reappear.
A ship appeared. The man did not know where it came from, nor when it appeared. In fact, the man did not know how long he had been on the wharf. Time seemed to have lost meaning since he had entered the gate at the bottom of the wharf approach road. It felt like it had been a matter of minutes since he parked, however, upon looking at the spot where he had parked his vehicle, only a rusted, dilapidated wreck stood. Every pane of glass had been shattered, the rubber of his tyres had rotted away.
The ship was closer now. Shrouded in the thick fog that coated the water, it’s muted light swum through the haze. The man could hear something else in the fog. It wasn't anything distinct. Almost far away. However, the man knew it was coming from the ship. It had happened the last time the ship had appeared. An infamous day for those who could remember.
Another person had appeared on the wharf. The man was unable to determine anything about them. The figure was at the far end of the wharf, surrounded by all manner of nautical equipment, most of which the man did not recognise. Coils of rope dotted the ocean side of the wharf. The figure was beginning to slowly wander up the wharf.
The ship boomed a foghorn and the man jumped at the sound and stepped away from the edge of the wharf. The other figure did not react to the noise in any way, as if expecting it. The far away noise was different now. Not louder, not closer. The muted effect was less, yet the noise wasn't any clearer. The figure walking up the wharf, throwing the coils of chains at the ship stepped back, concerned with something.
The ship had come along side the wharf. The figures along the side of the ship howled something above the muted noise from the ship itself. The chains hung taut between the wharf and the ship. The figure on the wharf started walking backwards, seemingly afraid of the ship or the figures aboard. It turned and ran towards the man. Blowing past him faster than any human should be allowed to move. And the ship had vanished. Or it was never there, the man could not say.
The midnight moon shone on the water, clear and blue. The noise, muted and dangerous, hung on the horizon, yet it also was everywhere.
The water beneath the wharf roiled and churned. The man could hear the old, crumbling concrete pylons falling into the devastation below. He knew that something was about to happen.
It started from the far end of the wharf. Bits of concrete, metal and wood, rubber, rope and chains all falling into the water. The noise was becoming clearer, less muted as if the source was establishing itself from somewhere that wasn't here, wasn't now.
Some thing, black and awful and forgotten pressed itself out of the water, forcing what wharf supports were left into the churning mess it came from.
The man knew what it was, somehow. It was something he had always known and it was something he had just learned. Something terrible and amazing was happening to the world.
He ran and jumped into the mess of water the thing pushed out of before he could experience it.