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The sailless ship glided smoothly across the waveless ocean. Captain Blake Osric looked over at the crew, each performing their mundane tasks, confused at how the ship was moving without wind. The vast smooth sea stretched in all directions, endless.  It looked like a giant mirror, the reflection of the sun in the sky broken by the small ripples the ship created. The bleak silence of it all sent a shiver up Blakes spine. He could have heard a pin drop into the water a mile away. 

“Nathan!” Blake shouted. The boatswain didn’t answer. He was frantically pulling on a thick rope. Blake stepped away from the helm and went down the steps to the deck. “Hey!” Blake bound toward him, Nathan still pulled the rope, trying to bring down a sail. “Are you deaf? When the Captain calls, you answer!” Blake bellowed.

He heard a mutter coming from Nathan’s mouth. “Sail’s stuck…. Sail’s stuck… Sail’s stuck…” He kept mumbling.

“Nathan?” Blake said anxiously.  He went to turn him around, then pulled his hand back as he realized Nathan was soaking. A smell like a combination of fish and seaweed protruded from him, Blake pressed a tissue to his nose. Water dripped from Nathan's hat, hair, shirt and trousers. All drenched. He kept mumbling the same words as Blake circled around.

The sight almost made Blake vomit. Nathan’s skin was milk white. His face was podgy and swelled where it used to be skinny and sharp. Water leaked from his misty eyes, and from his mouth each time he mumbled the same phrase over and over. Blake stepped away as the salty-saliva mix splashed on his shoes.

Blake left him there to pull the rope and repeat his words. Where’s my daughter? He thought. He saw Benjamin perched up in the crow’s nest. “Ben! Have you seen Anna?” He shouted. Like Nathan, there was no response. “What's wrong with you lot!” He screamed; he could have snapped the steps with how hard he forced his way up the ladder. Sprinkles of water splashed Blake’s face. Not him too...

“Too much rain cap’n… Can’t see… Too windy...” Ben mumbled, rocking around on the spot. But there was no wind. The day was clear, not a cloud in the sky. Blake’s nerves sent him on edge now. He remembered bringing his daughter on the ship, but he couldn’t remember when, or why. He clawed at his head trying to remember, hoping he could pry the answers from it.

Ben’s repeated mumbling in the background didn’t help.  “Damn you wretches!” Blake boomed. His crewmate was behaving like Nathan. Oozing water from his bone white, puffy, bald head, mired in the stench of the sea.

He slid down the ladder and feverishly dashed around the deck to see the crewmembers. Each one stationed at his post, some were scrubbing, some carrying supplies and some fastening equipment down.

“Fatboy! You seen Anna anywhere?” He asked a man carrying a cannonball. Fatboy’s nickname had become his real name long ago. He didn’t stop moving for Blake. The Captain grabbed fatboy’s arm. It felt soft and rotten. Water came seeping out of it, as if Blake was ringing a towel.

“Giant waves… Giant waves… Giant waves…” He groaned, dribbling puddles of water every time.

“STOP IT!” Blake roared. “ALL OF YOU JUST STOP IT!” This felt worse than a mutiny, it was like Blake didn’t exist to them. He had to find Anna; she could be in danger. The thought of her alone with the crew like this made his skin crawl.

Fatboy slipped his arm from his Captains grip and continued walking, aimlessly. What were they talking about? There was no wind, no sail to be stuck, no waves. Which made the whole thing even more confusing. Come to think of it, Blake didn’t even remember how he got here. He only remembered being at the helm of the ship.

Blake made his way below-deck. Thin rays of light pierced the portholes, making the dank room look ghastly as the white crewmembers wandered around. Their low groaning echoed through the deck. He searched frantically for his daughter.

“Sinking… Sinking…” One of them moaned as he walked past Blake.

“We’re not sinking!” Blake shouted, forgetting they were ignoring him. “ARGHH!” He screamed, smashing his fist into a thick wooden pole. A sharp pain shot down his arm and his knuckles were red-raw.

Blake shoved past them to descend to the bottom deck. Anna could be down there. The bottom deck was dark, only lit by the dim light coming from the staircase. The sound of dripping water clapping against wood rang in the room.

“Why did Cap’n make us sail here…” A low voice grunted from the corner. I didn’t make us sail anywhere, Blake thought in response, speaking was pointless. His mind was blank, he couldn’t remember giving orders to sail anywhere… Where was the last place they went?

Blake could see a small shoe on the edge of the light. His body jumped with excitement, it had to be her shoe, she was only eleven. He felt the urge to rush over as fast as he could. The girl became clearer, in her little white nightgown “Anna!” He cried.

“Are we going to die, father?” Came a high-pitched mumble.

The words hit him like a carriage. Don’t you dare repeat that, Anna… Please… He thought as the color left his face. But she did. A tear streamed down his face as he slowly approached her. Where her face was once slim and beautiful, it had turned sour and rotten. Water ran down her thin black hair, and seeped from her face when she spoke, she smelt like a decaying fish.

Blake didn’t care, the grief washed away any disgust he might have felt. He still loved her, how could he not? He embraced her into his arms as she kept mumbling “Are we going to die, father?” Cold water drained from her, drenching his overcoat and shirt.

He felt memories bubbling at the front of his brain the longer he held Anna. He remembered being terrified, running out of time. Memories of rain lashing against his face, thrown at him by icy wind, Anna screaming in her bed.

“Was it worth it?” A deep, firm voice called from the darkness behind him. Blake heard a metal chain rattling with footsteps getting louder.

Blake turned around. A tall, brawny man with jet-black skin and dark blue runic tattoos emerged from the darkness, drinking in the tiny amount of light in the room. This wasn’t one of his brain-dead crew. The man wore a metal helmet that covered his face, with curved horns arching down from the sides. He was shirtless, only wearing boots and trousers, with chains wrapped around them. He had a rusty unlit lantern in one hand and a thick cleaver in the other, bound to his arm with a chain.

Blake’s heart started thumping. “You did this to my daughter and crew?” He tried to sound calm.

The tall man erupted in a deep laugh. “No, you did. I had a fat feast on their spirits that you so kindly brought on a platter.”

Blake clenched his fists as the tall man faced him, he was twice his size. Blake didn’t care, his blood was boiling. The anger made him forget his fear. This monster took away his daughter, and his crew, he took everything from him.

Blake quickly tried to reach his gun. The man kneed him in the gut, forcing him down to face his lantern, now glowing. A blue light flashed in his eyes, and he remembered everything. How his daughter was sick with a deadly plague, she was running out of time. He remembered hearing of a cure in a distant land. Then it came back to him… The storm. Blake remembered the grey clouds, bright jolts of lighting crashing from the sky, the freezing rain. The Captain commanded the ship to sail through anyway, fearing for Anna's life.

Sail’s stuck!”  He remembered Nathan screaming as giant waves smashed against the hull. “Too much rain cap’n, I can’t see anything, too windy!” He remembered Ben shouting from the crow’s nest when he asked him to spot a way out of the storm. “Are we going to die, father?” The memory of Anna's words were like a shard through his heart, they hurt no less now as they did then, with her crying in his arms. Those were the last words Blake heard them say before a wave tipped the ship over, and the sea claimed them all...

He felt colder as his soul was being ripped from his body. Blake’s life flashed before him on a reel as the lantern sucked in pieces of his mind. He jerked his head free and smashed his face straight into the glow, knocking it away from him.

Blake collapsed to the floor and took a deep breath, his humanity, and all its warmth, poured back into him.

“Irritating mortal!” The monstrous man boomed and swung his cleaver down. Blake slashed up with his sword. A shock cracked through his arm as the heavy chained cleaver bounced off his thin blade with a sharp shriek.

Blake kicked the man's kneecap and sent him reeling. He wiped a tear from his eye as he glanced at Anna one last time, then raced up the stairs, hearing the screams of rage behind him. Farewell, my girl. His crewmates tumbled over as he forced his way past them. The cleaver shot past him several times, like a coiled snake repeatedly pouncing.

He wiped his sweaty palms on his trousers as he climbed to the top deck, the ghost-white crew still at their tasks. There was nowhere to go now, he could try killing the monster chasing him, at the risk of being sucked into his lantern. The man's heavy footsteps got closer, Blakes heart was throwing itself against his chest.

Blake ran to hide around the main mast. Where Nathan kept moaning “Sail stuck… Sail Stu-” The cleaver flew through his puffy white head, soggy green brains and chunks of skull burst out as the cleaver got stuck in the mast. The man tugged on the chain, struggling to wretch his weapon from the mast as Nathan's puffy corpse collapsed.

Blake pulled his double-barreled flintlock pistol from his belt, aimed at his target and squeezed the trigger. The pistol cracked like a whip, with a bright flare and thick puff of smoke. Blake’s face contorted in shock as the rounds bounced off the man's helmet. He roared and threw the pistol at the man, who pulled his cleaver from the wood.

The cleaver crashed into the rail as Blake ran toward the front of the ship and stood at the base of the bowsprit. He looked over the edge at the calm, clear blue water. He hesitated, then looked back at the tattooed jet-black man bounding towards him.

“Don’t you dare! Nobody escapes me in the spirit realm!” He shouted in his deep voice. He swung the cleaver again. Blake jerked to the side, missing it by an inch. Anything’s better than that, he thought. He climbed over the rail and leapt into the water.

It was warm, thousands of translucent corpses with rotten flesh and empty eye sockets were floating around beneath him. His eyes widened and bubbles fizzed from his mouth, he let out a muffled scream. Blake thrashed his arms and legs frantically to get to the surface, but he kept sinking... As if two hands latched to his shoulders and forced him down. Sleep now, a soothing voice in the back of his head sang, he obeyed.




I’m a new writer that fell in love with the craft around a year ago, I started with a fanfic and have since moved onto my own short stories



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