by Lavie Tidhar
“Watchers” was originally published in World War Cthulhu, ed. Jonathan Oliver, publisher: Cubicle 7, 2013. “Very little of this is made up. The coastwatchers on Leserser were there as described – as was I, half a century later.”
Lavie Tidhar is the World Fantasy and British Fantasy Award winning author of Osama, The Violent Century and many other novels, novellas and short fiction. His new novel, A Man Lies Dreaming, was published by Hodder in the UK in October. His comics mini-series ADLER came out from Titan Comics at the end of 2014.
The story is narrated by Robert Gonyo. Robert A. K. Gonyo is a theatre director, actor, voiceover artist, and musician residing in Queens, New York, and the producer and host of the “Go See a Show!” podcast, which you can find on iTunes. Horror fans in New York City can see him perform weekly in End Times Productions’ “The Ded Sullivan Show,” Saturday nights at Times Scare — visit robertgonyo.com for more information, and discounted tickets.
The city is buried deep under the South Pacific ocean, and that is all I want to tell you about it.
In 1942 South Pacific Command was established on the island of New Caledonia following the hurried departure of its French colonial administration. Nouvelle Caledonie, unlike the other islands of Melanesia, was not volcanic. It was, in fact, the sole remnant of an entire sunken continent called Zealandia, a fragment of the once-mighty Gondwanaland.
There had been monsters on New Caledonia, before humans came. Meiolania, a giant horned turtle, two and a half meters long with an elongated skull and multiple horns protruding from of it. Or the Sylviornis, an almost two meters tall, flightless bird with a long reptilian tail. Or the enormous, armoured Mekosuchus crocodiles.
Real monsters, all of them. But when the humans came, when the ancient Lapita people crossed the ocean in their giant canoes, they settled the islands, and they killed the monsters.
I was not in New Caledonia. I was with III Island Command, first on Espiritu Santo and then on Vanua Lava, in the islands of the New Hebrides.
Sounds used in this episode: