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View Poll Results: Which is your favourite?
Sunshine 2 20.00%
Nothing Under the Sun 4 40.00%
The Hourglass 2 20.00%
The Last Captain 2 20.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-04-2017, 06:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Horror Writing Competition Round 2: Voting

Alright, it's time for the competition! There are four stories in the running: Sunshine, Nothing Under The Sun, The Hourglass, and The Last Captain. After I post them all, and the mods update the poll, vote for your favorite!
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It was still dark. That didn't mean much down in the sleeping quarters. There weren't any windows down here. The sunlight couldn't reach us if it tried. What this bunker lacks in sunlight, it makes up for it with timed florescent lights in all the rooms. Still dark. Must still be the middle of the night. Something woke me up though. I am usually a heavy sleeper. Suddenly, I hear it.
The radio.

Really? They're playing the broadcast now? I just checked my watch. It's 3:47 in the damn morning. They've never broadcast this early. Mitch is up too.
Mitch is pissed. I can tell he just got to sleep.
"Yeah man. It happened. Everything has gone to shit but they don't have any problem trying to ruin the last thing we have left. Sleep. "

We have been in this shelter for almost five months. We're all construction workers. We were contracted to rebuild the underground tunnels of the Paulunskill Chemical Labs when something happened. Fuck if I know what it is. All I know is that before we started work, we were given detailed and explicit training on what to do when an "event" like this occurs. That's what they keep calling it. An event. What kind of event they're referring to is still unknown to the five of us in this bunker. We have communication with the other bunkers by way of the same radio that the broadcast just came over. There are eight other bunkers, all filled with different people who held different jobs at this place. Some of them may have been working on the tunnels. I don't know. All I know is that when the signal blared over the PA that we needed to be in a bunker in the next sixty seconds, only five of us made it to this one before the doors automatically closed. Some of my friends made it to other bunkers. Some of them didn't. What happened to them is a mystery. Here we have waited ever since. The only information we have is the information that goes over the broadcasts and it's been the same broadcast since day one, the one that just woke us the fuck up.

I can hear Juan and Carlos moving around. They're awake but probably still trying to fall back asleep. Latinos love their siestas. The only one who is still fast asleep is Riggs. Riggs is 340 pounds so I'm just going to assume that whenever his gigantic body decides to shut down, it stays like that for a while, like hibernation.
"Well, I'm not going back to sleep. You want to throw some coffee on in the kitchen Mitch? We can see if any of the others got woken up."

We make the coffee which must have smelled good because Juan and Carlos are out of bed and headed down the hall towards us. We tried to radio the other bunkers but haven't heard back. Either everybody went back to sleep afterward or we're the only one that heard it to begin with.
"What did it say?"
"What do you think Carlito? The same as always."
I hated the radio. You think they would tell us what the fuck happened out there. Some of us have families. Riggs has seven kids. SEVEN. I don't have kids but I have no idea if my wife knows I'm alive.
Carlos hasn't been dealing with the cabin fever as well as the rest of us over the last few months. We keep telling him that getting so damn upset in here with us is only going to piss off and annoy, well, us. I know it annoys Juan. They're brothers after all. They usually get annoyed with everything the other does but Juan is always the first to tell him to shut it.
I spent the morning in the gym while Juan and Carlos argued. Mitch was busy reading the manuals that we found in one of the filing cabinets. Mitch and I have been friends for almost twelve years now. We started at the company at the same time and always ask to be assigned to the same projects. We work well together and usually get the work done with the smallest amount of fuck ups. It's for that reason that Mitch had decided four weeks ago to share the fact that he knows how to get out of the bunker. You see when the bunker sealed itself, it prevented whatever was outside from getting in, yet it also prevented us from getting out. The doors were made of nearly eight inches of re-enforced steel. The control panel only had a keyboard next to it, with its sole purpose to be fed a password which opens the door. Mitch had found a small handwritten note in one of the pages of the manuals to the septic system. We figure whoever wrote it wanted us to find it, but probably wasn't allowed to disclose such information, so he buried it in the chapter about shit. How poetic.
"You happen to find a secret room hidden in this thing that houses a McDonalds?"
"That's really all you want right now? You just worked out for two hours. Have some self control."
The two of us knew the password to open the doors. The thing is, is that really what we want? SOMETHING is happening out there. Riggs thinks it's a chemical leak of some sort. Yet, I think about the broadcast.
Who in the fuck is "They"? It's something that has both confused us, and terrified us. Mitch seems to think there is something in these manuals that could be a clue to what sort of chemicals this lab creates and houses. I'm dumbfounded really. Why would they tell us not to let sunlight into the bunkers? There are no windows. How the hell does sunlight get down here? These are the questions preventing us from opening that door. We haven't told the others because we don't trust them. I've explained the brothers. Riggs we haven't told merely because we're afraid the chance at seeing his kids would cloud his judgement. So for now it's just me and Mitch, and neither of us is opening that door with the little information we've been given. Hell, we don't even know if it works.

We tried again to reach the other bunkers. We still didn't hear back. Riggs was still in his room since the morning. He tends to sleep later than the rest of us. The four of us were standing in the kitchen when we heard it.
A knock.
"How the fuck is there somebody knocking on the other side of the door? Even if they WERE there, we couldn't hear that through the steel."
Juan tried to explain to Carlos that it could be coming from outside just not on the door. The bunkers all opened out into the same hallway and there was a lot of space. We could be hearing something coming from the hallway or maybe even one of the other bunkers. It did sound like it was right outside though. Either way, it's not stopping. It's the same rhythm and frequency, a light tapping. We decided to get Riggs up and see what he thought.
"Riggs isn't in his room. "
I asked Juan to repeat himself.
"Riggs isn't in his room."
Riggs is a behemoth. If he had gotten up and started walking around we would have heard him. This bunker is almost made to reverberate sound. We all head to his room and the big man isn't there. We check the bathrooms. We check the gym. We check the lounge and storage room and we can't find him. Panic started to set in. Carlos naturally being the one to express it the best.
"Holy shit. What the fuck? Where the fuck is he? You think he got outside? You think that's Riggs knocking?"
"There is no way."
Mitch knew the systems after all.
"He can't get outside. Nobody has the passcode."
Juan chimed in.
"It would make sense. Riggs has hands the size of boulders. If anybody could make that noise, it could be him."
I walked to my room.

"Hey man. Don't leave me in there with those two."
Mitch looked worried.
"Dude, I don't know what the fuck is going on. I'm not freaking out yet but where the fuck is Riggs?"
I'm not one to freak out. However, this is kind of concerning. The five of us have been here five months. We know every inch of this place. There is nowhere a large man like him could be.
"You think we should tell them about the passcode? Maybe it IS Riggs out there. We could help."
I'm starting to lose Mitch to the crazy brigade.
"NO. You know there is no way he's outside. We would have heard the door open even if he did open it. We both know there is no way he got out another way. There is no other way out beside the door."
Mitch looked at me as if to say he understands but what else are we supposed to think. I know something is going on but I'm not going to start to lose it until it becomes more apparent. We tried to think but the fact that I didn't hear the brothers arguing anymore bothered me. I shouted at them.
"You two finally learn to shut up? Come in here and help us figure this shit out!"

I heard their footsteps coming down hall. They were weird though. They were walking together, in sync, very slowly, almost like a slow march. I get up to walk to the hallway.
A flash of light whizzes past me nearly knocking me on my ass. My eyes are burning.
"What the fuck was THAT?"
Mitch saw it too. I ran to the kitchen where Juan and Carlos were standing and Carlos was on the ground. There was blood pooled around him. Juan stood hunched over him. His back was toward me. I could see that in his hands was a large kitchen knife.
Mitch heard me yell and ran behind me just as Juan was turning around. The front of his shirt was ripped. Deep gashes in his chest in the form of an X. He was smiling. I've never seen Juan smile like this. His mouth had too many teeth. His eyes were black and lifeless. He started towards us and I slammed the door in his face. He didn't attempt to open the door. He just stared at us, shook his head, and went back over to his lifeless brother. He bent down and took the knife to Carlos's neck. I didn't need to see this. I grabbed Mitch and we ran toward the store room. There were tools there. I grabbed a hammer. I tossed Mitch a wrench.
"What the fuck? What the fuck? What was wrong with his face!"
I told Mitch that I didn't know but I wasn't ready to find out. Nothing has been happening in any sort of normalcy. The broadcast waking us up. The bunkers not returning our attempts at contact. Riggs missing. The knocking. The bright light. Now this. I'm not taking chances. Something fucked is happening.

We waited for two hours in the store room. Juan never came out of the kitchen. Mitch said we couldn't stay here and he was right. We couldn't. He brought up the passcode. I reminded him how risky that was. He reminded me of Juan's face. Mitch can be pretty convincing. In reality there just wasn't any other option.
We headed toward the kitchen. I led and Mitch followed and watched our back. I peered through the window to the kitchen. Carlos was gone. The blood wasn't. If he was alive he had probably lost half of his blood. I opened the door and the metallic stench of fresh blood nearly made me puke. We decided Carlos was most likely dead, we didn't want to find Juan, and Riggs had disappeared. We headed towards the bunker entrance.
We got to the end of the hallway and were about to round the corner when we felt heat on our back. The kitchen was glowing. The light i the window was so powerful that I felt like my skin got instantly sun burned. Suddenly the door swung open and for the split second before I turned my eyes away in pain, I saw Juan bursting through the light. He was on fire or at least looked like it. He had the knife raised above his head. I turned and grabbed Mitch.
"Get the fuck up. Now. Run."

We ran towards the entrance. There were fire doors between us and the kitchen. I closed and locked them. That bought us a few minutes. Mitch was at the control panel.
"Here goes nothing."
The door compressed. The hydraulics could be heard hissing and the door began to move towards us. I turned back toward the fire door and the glow was too bright to look at. This door had better open quick.
As soon as we saw the crack of the door open we squeezed through. There was no control panel as far as we could remember on the other side. There was no way to close the door. We still needed to run. The air was crisp outside. I almost half expected to be writhing in agony from whatever was keeping us inside but it was relatively normal in the vast halls of the undergound lab facility. There was one thing I noticed that was different though, or at least unexpected.
"All the bunker doors are open."
Mitch screamed. I turned. It was Juan.
Juan had his hands around Mitch's throat. Mitch was screaming but it wasn't because he was being choked. Mitch's exposed skin was literally burning. Juan was a glowing walking ember. The shock of the sight stopped me in my tracks. It took me a second to register what was happening. I came to and grabbed the hammer. I ran over and with all my might, swung and smashed Juan in the face with the claw end of the hammer. He let go of Mitch. I reached down to pick him up and Mitch's skin came off in my hands. I grabbed him under his armpits, where the shirt had prevented the burn, and dragged Mitch down the hallway.
Mitch was in agony. I couldn't get him to stop screaming. His face was a mess and he could barely talk. I dragged him to the elevator which was miraculously still working. We fell inside the doors and hit the button to bring us to the surface. It was a four minute ride to the top.

Mitch died in my arms.
The burns were too severe.
He died in agony and there was nothing I could do.
The elevator reached the top and the doors opened.
I found Riggs.
I found what was left of Riggs.
He was burned beyond recognition but I could make out his tattoos and nobody in the facility was as large.
I found more burned bodies as I walked towards the building exit.
Whatever this burning substance was had killed and possessed everybody but me.
I reached the exit.

It was dark. Night time. The air was cool and there was a slight wind. The parking lot was abandoned. Cars burned to a crisp. I started to run towards the road. It was the only road that led towards town. I reached the bridge that crossed the river dividing the public land from that of the facility. The water was boiling. I couldn't understand what was happening. It felt like it was fifty degrees out yet everything was charred and black. I ran until my legs burned along with the landscape. Suddenly, a noise. It sounded like the loudest foghorn I had ever heard. I turned around and saw the glow.

The glow was cresting the hills and coming towards the facility. In one sweep the entire building was ablaze. It was moving, fast. There was nowhere to run. It would catch me before I got to shelter. I stood there and watched as it barreled towards me. I didn't see my life flash before my eyes like in the movies. I thought of my wife but only briefly. I thought of her smile as it always seemed to be the brightest thing in the room. I thought of Mitch squeezing my arms as they held his dying breaths. I thought of Juan's face and morning before the broadcast. It was a gorgeous sunny day. I drove to work singing in my car. I never sing. I just couldn't believe the world could be that vibrant that morning. Finally, the flash came before my eyes. It was the searing brightness from inside the facility, screaming its way towards me. I sat down and crossed my legs. I was going to be comfortable for my death. I felt the heat as it grew near and before I knew it, I was engulfed in light.

There was no pain. There was no sound. Everything washed in a thick blanketed white haze.
I saw a figure come toward me out of the light. I couldn't make out any features. It's odd because I could tell he was made of the same material Juan was engulfed in, but it seemed lighter than what had now become everything around me. The figure reached where I was sitting and bent down. I saw its face. It saw mine. He slowly smiled. A mouth full of razor sharp teeth. I lifted my head to his.
A smile came across my face.
Then it went dark.
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Nothing Under the Sun

“Horseshit!” yelled Logan, as he threw his guitar full-force to the side, sending it crashing into the drummer’s kit. All at once, the rest of the musicians ceased playing, and the studio fell silent, save for the brief yet glorious sound of the drummer’s hi-hat falling over onto the keyboard.
“What the fuck?” asked the bassist, peering at Logan through large sunglasses and raising his hands in the air.
“It’s not right. It’s not pure. It’s… it’s horseshit,” Logan replied, wiping back his hair as he began to pace back and forth.
“Here we fucking go again…” groaned the keyboardist, as she lifted up the drummer’s hi-hat.

The door opened, and a man in a dark red suit walked in. He stood there for a moment, hands on his hips, staring at Logan, before shaking his head and laughing. “Still not right?” he asked, stepping closer to Logan and putting a hand on his shoulder.
Logan cleared his nose and took a deep breath, replying “God, I’m going out of my fucking mind. It all sounds so… fake. So clean. So old. I’m so fucking tired of doing this same shit, over and fucking over.”
The man smiled, and replied “Hey, fucking relax man. You’ll find it again. You’ve just gotta keep at it.”
Logan pushed the man’s hand off of his shoulder, saying “I’ve fucking tried. For years, I’ve tried, but it’s no use. It’s gone. I want something new. Something real. But I just… I can’t make it work. Not like I used to. Not like we used to. You know? It all used to be so fucking easy…”
The man in the suit laughed. “Yeah,” he said, looking to the side, “I know. I remember. A bunch of art majors with fuck-all experience, murdering songs with a half-broken guitar we got from your brother, a snare that we stole from some stupid fuck that left it on his porch, and that beat up fuckin’ moog I found at a yard sale…”

“Oh god, that fucking moog! You tried so fucking hard to get it to work right, but it always sounded like a robot taking a shit,” said Logan, feeling a tired laugh escape him as he reminisced with his friend.
“Jesus,” said the man between laughs, “those were good times. We were horrible, but they were good times.”
Logan looked at him, still smiling, and replied “We were pioneers. Remember when we saved up enough for those brand new synths, and Cynthia and Jeff took them up to their flat to learn how to play them? They went up there with a keg, a grocery bag filled with coke, and a loaf of bread, and they didn’t come back out for a week. And then, when they did come out, and we played that gig at The Sidewinder, those drunk fucks couldn’t believe what they were hearing!”
His friend, almost overcome with laughter, added “And that one guy on acid started losing his shit, when Cynthia started playing that synth real low and heavy and Jeff was, like, growling, or some shit. That crazy fuck started pointing at Jeff, shouting ‘Satan! Devil! Demon!’, completely out of his mind!”

“Hey, I hate to interrupt you old fucks on your stroll down memory lane, but are we gonna do this shit or what?” asked the keyboardist, nursing a headache.
The man in the suit smiled and waved a hand, saying “You guys can go ahead and head out if you want. We’ve only got like twenty before the interview anyway. ” As the musicians filed out of the room, the man looked at the drummer, and added “Oh, and Tommy, I’m sorry about Logan throwing his guitar at you.”
Tommy, who had been doing his best to keep his head down and avoid causing a fuss, simply replied “Sure,” on his way out the door.

Now alone together, the man’s smile faded away as he looked hard at Logan. Logan looked back at him for a moment before turning away, saying “I know, I know. I can tell you’re pissed off. You’ve got that look, like when you found out that I fucked your sister in your dorm room. I’m sorry, okay? I didn’t mean to fuck up the session.”
The man looked even harder at him, replying “You can’t keep wasting sessions like this. We’ve gone over as it is. The studio wants-“
Logan rolled his eyes and cut the man off, saying “Fuck the studio,” as he turned away.
“Is that what you think you’re doing?” asked the man. “Fucking the studio? Fucking the man? Well you’re not. You’re fucking me. I took a chance on you. I set up the contract. I promised the studio that I could get you into shape. When you pull shit like this, I’m the one that gets fucked.”

Raising his hands and turning to face the man, Logan replied “You’re right. It’s not fair to you. I’ll… I’ll just find a way to make this shit work. I’ll finish this fucking album, even if it fucking kills me, which it damn well may if I have to keep putting up with that fucking cunt on the keys.”
The man laughed through his nose and shook his head, before replying “Just try. For me. Okay? That’s all I ask. I swear, I love you man, but I don’t know how the fuck Regina's put up with you for thirty fucking years.”


“So,” continued the interviewer, a young college student with a half-shaved head, “it’s been ten years since your last album, hasn’t it?”
Logan shrugged, replying “More or less, yeah.”
The interviewer smiled and carried on. “And that last album, along with your three other solo albums, unfortunately failed to chart, despite the success of your work with The Neon Stilettos. Why do you think that was?”
Logan shrugged again, answering “I suppose I was struggling to find my own sound.”
“And have you found it now? Your own sound, I mean.”
“Well, yeah. I guess I’d have to have a handle on it by now, considering I’ve had ten years to figure it out.”
“So, what’s changed?”
Logan shifted in his seat. “What do you mean?”
The interviewer shrugged. “I mean, what’s different about this album, compared to the last? What’s new?”
Logan thought for a moment. In all honesty, he couldn’t come up with a legitimate answer. However, unwilling to embarrass his friend by ruining yet another interview, he bullshitted as best he could. “Well… I think, being a bit more mature now, my perspective has changed. My view of the world. While those last albums lacked direction, I feel like now I actually have something that I want to say. Something I want to contribute to the world.” Good one, he thought, laughing internally.
“Mm, well, here’s hoping the world wants your contribution. Anyway, changing topics a bit, I wanted to ask you a bit about your wife, Regina, who used to play the saxophone and later the theremin for the Neon Stilettos. Lately, there’ve been rumors of her maybe recording a solo album of her own. Can you give us a confirmation, or any details?”
God, I hate this bastard. Smug little fucking prick. “Ha, no, I’m afraid I can give neither. She’s sworn me to secrecy.”
“What has she been up to, though? I mean, since that collab she did with Cynthia. Can you tell me anything at all?”
Yes, I do know what she’s been up to. She’s been fucking pricks like you while I’ve been in the studio. “Again, sworn to secrecy.”
“You two must have a close relationship, then, being such confidantes. So, changing the subject yet again…”
Logan nodded and listened with his ears, but not with his mind. Within him, there was a deafening sound, a wind of frustration that ceaselessly howled around him. The interviewer asked him a question, and he gave another bullshit answer. His thoughts, however, were locked on the question he had been asked earlier. It echoed throughout him like a jagged vibration: ‘So, what’s changed?’ His heart sank further every time he repeated it to himself. Nothing had changed, and, as he looked within himself, he knew that nothing ever would. But he was wrong, for it was there, in the depths of hopelessness, that he found the change that he had been searching for. He saw his wife, embracing him as she had done when they had both been young and utterly enamored with each other. Their love was a pulse, a vibration, a red sound that shook his imaginings. And there, standing before him, they both grew old, and their love warped, until it was a painful yet vibrant sound that cut into him like a sonic knife. And yet, different as it seemed, at it’s core it still bore a resemblance to what it had once been. It was beautiful. He smiled.


Closing the door behind him, Logan set down a large bag and felt for the lightswitch. Though he had lived in this house for the past twenty years, he still had trouble remembering the exact placements of everything. Having found the switch in the darkness, he flipped it, and sloppily kicked off his sneakers. He then retrieved a smaller bag from the large bag, and walked through the living room and the kitchen, making his way to the basement. He opened the door and stood there for awhile, staring down into the inky blackness of the stairwell, thinking. Before long, however, he stepped forward and flipped the lightswitch, before making his way down the stairs. At the bottom were two doors, the one on his right being well worn, as it led to the laundry room. The door on the left, however, was relatively clean, with unchipped paint and a bright knob, for it had been neither touched nor opened in years. Logan took hold of the knob and turned it slowly, as though this was a sort of homecoming that he was determined to savor. Stepping into the room, he gingerly flipped the switch beside him, illuminating his small, humble, home studio. He walked through it, wiping away dust and turning on his cheap yet trusty equipment, setting everything up for a new voyage in sound.

He spent the next few hours down there, feverishly composing a hellish symphony with his synthesizer, and layering jagged guitars on top of it, until it was an almost incoherent blanket of noise. But, incoherent as it seemed, to him it was beautiful, and honest. And for the first time in years, he felt the hands of inspiration guiding his own, practically forcing him to complete what would have normally taken him months of effort to create. He was no longer making music as a favor for his friend; he was making it for himself. The interview returned to his thoughts in flashes, here and there. ‘I actually have something I want to say,’ rang out in his mind, as though it were a mantra that, through it’s repetition, would reveal something ancient and powerful. For the finishing touch, he pulled a folded up tarp out of the small bag he had been carrying, setting it down carefully. Suddenly, he heard the front door open and close above him, and the clattering of hard-soled shoes on the hardwood floor.

“Logan?” Regina called out. Though she didn’t see him, she knew that he was here. The lights had already been turned on, and his shoes were by the door. As she took off her jacket, she noticed the bag on the floor. Leaning forward, she peered curiously down into it, expecting something bizarre and ridiculous, the kinds of things that Logan often brought home only to leave lying about. Sadly, however, it was merely filled with cleaning supplies, and other things of that sort. Regina shrugged, somewhat disappointed. Taking off her constraining shoes, she sighed and stepped forward at a tired pace, throwing her purse on the living room couch. “Hey,” said Logan, leaning against the doorway to the kitchen.
“Hey to you,” replied Regina, as she prepared to fulfill the proud American tradition of falling asleep whilst watching television.

Logan stepped into the living room, and said “I’ve got something I want to show you.”
Holding back a groan, Regina stepped away from the couch and raised her hands up to her neck, massaging it. “What is it this time?” she asked, with a tired smile. Though he could tell she was annoyed, her voice still had a ring of caring and sincerity to it. It always had, even during the most trying times of their marriage. That was one of the things that he loved most about her; her voice.
“I’ve been working on this project, in the basement. You know, in my studio.”
Looking to the side, with her smile widening, she replied “Christ, I thought you hadn’t been down there in, what, fifteen years? Hell, we haven’t even spoken about it in at least five.”
Logan smiled back, saying “I know. I’m sorry about not offloading all that junk like you wanted me to. But it’s paid off. I’ve been messing around with the equipment, and I think I’ve really stumbled onto something. Something new.”

Still smiling, Regina shook her head and bit her lip. “Look,” she said, “Clement told me all about your… outbursts in the studio.”
Logan rolled his eyes, saying “Clement’s an asshole. He doesn’t know shit.”
Regina stepped forward and put her hands on his shoulders, saying “He told me all about it. Told me you’re a lazy fuck who isn’t even trying. But he doesn’t know you like I do. I know how much this means to you. How much it kills you when you can’t get in the groove of things. Other people look at you, and see an aging musician who doesn’t give a fuck anymore. But I see you. The real you. The one that’s trying harder than anyone can imagine. And I’ll support you til the day I die, no matter how things turn out between us.”
Logan looked down, before smiling and saying “Thanks.”
Regina turned towards the couch, adding “But I’m tired as fuck, so it’ll have to wait till tomorrow.”

As she picked up the remote, and prepared to collapse onto the couch, Logan looked at her and said “I’ve found it. My sound. The thing I’ve been missing. The authenticity. It’s…” he looked down and smiled, before continuing, “It’s like the Stils again. It’s real.”
Regina looked back at him, and saw the happiness in his eyes. She couldn’t help but smile. Letting out a sigh, she said “Alright, fine. Lead the way. This better be some profound shit, though.” Logan laughed joyfully, leading her through the kitchen, and down into the basement.

“Alright, what the fuck is all this?” asked Regina cheerfully as she stepped onto the tarp.
“It’s for you,” answered Logan, as he shut the door and locked it.
Regina turned to face him, raising an eyebrow. “Okay, seriously Logan… what the fuck is all this?” she asked again, though this time with less humor in her voice.
Logan walked past her, and stood in front of his equipment, breathing deeply as he looked down upon it. “I want to tell you something,” he said, still looking down.
Her heart beginning to pound, Regina shuffled her feet uncomfortably on the tarp, replying “Logan…”
Turning around, Logan looked at her and smiled. “I love you,” he said. “I realized that today. I thought that I hated you. After I found out, about your… affairs. I thought that I despised you. That I wanted to punish you.” Taking a step backwards, Regina said his name again, this time in an almost pleading tone.

“But I don’t,” continued Logan. “I love you. I love everything about you. The way you talk, the way you smile… the way you aren’t afraid to go after what you want. I should have been a better husband for you. I should have been there for you, giving you all the love that you deserved, instead of constantly running off and making a fucking mess of myself. I don’t hate you for cheating on me. I hate myself, because the truth is that I betrayed you long before that ever happened. You didn’t give up on me. I gave up on you. That’s what I realized today. And I want to thank you.”

Though his words were sweet, Regina sensed something deeply wrong with Logan. She looked down at the tarp again. ‘For you,’ she heard him say in her head. Backing up to the door, she gripped the knob tightly and fought with it for a moment, before letting her hand fall from it and looking at Logan defiantly. “Give me the key,” she said. “You’re scaring me.”
Logan smiled, and replied “I want to give you a gift.”
As hot tears began to run down her cheeks, Regina shouted “Let me go!”
Logan turned to face his equipment again, pressing a series of buttons. “I want to give you immortality,” he said. With that, he turned on the microphones placed around the room. In his mind, he could hear his masterpiece playing, crying out for him to add the final touch to it, to breath life into it. Turning, he stepped towards Regina with balled fists. “I love you,” he whispered almost inaudibly. Regina began to scream. And before the sun had risen, his masterpiece had been given it’s soul.


“Oh, that is fucking brutal!” said the man in the suit, although today his suit was blue rather than red. Through his car’s speakers, Logan’s masterpiece played at an excessive volume, Regina’s screams mixed and synthesized until they had become an inseparable part of the aural chaos. “It’s been a long god damn time since I heard something that hit as hard as this. God damn!” continued the man, as he drummed his hands on the steering wheel.
Logan laughed, replying “I’m glad you like it.”
The man glanced over at Logan, and said “So, you made this shit on your own? In that tiny fucking studio in your basement? That’s… surprising, man. I mean, this shit sounds better than most of what comes outta the label’s studio, and we’re talkin’ about hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment, you know? But damn if this shit doesn’t sound raw. And new.”

Logan smiled. For a man who valued the past as much as he, he nevertheless adored that word. ‘New’. It was the word that he had longed to hear the most. And, as the warm light of the sun shone down on his face through the car’s windows, he closed his eyes, and let the music envelop him, perfectly content. He had finally fulfilled his lifelong goal. He had found something ‘new’. Something ‘original’. Something ‘real’. He was a pioneer of sound, who had cut away the bramble of his frustration and past failures, and discovered a virgin world of beautiful darkness. “You know,” said the man, “now that I think about it, this kinda reminds me of Van Burace. No offense.”
Lost in thought and contentment, and still smiling, Logan apathetically replied “Mm?”
“Oh, you know,” said the man, “That guy from the ‘70s. Psycho fuck. Damn shame about what happened. But that last song of his, the one that was banned, you know, after the investigation… if you can find a bootleg… man. It kills. Like this.”
“Damn shame about what?” asked Logan.
“Don’t you remember?” asked the man. “Hell, it was huge back in the ‘70s.” Logan shook his head. The man smiled, saying “You really don’t remember? Then I guess I’ll have to refresh your fucking memory. He killed his wife, just beat the hell out of her, and recorded it. After that, he mixed it into a song, his last song.”
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The Hourglass

I could be anywhere. I know where I am but this place is senseless. My mind,even though it’s barnacled to the logic of the map, can only picture a speck engulfed in a universe of directionless ocean. All I see through the cabin window is water. Water here, water there. Crashing, water. Colliding, water. How am I breathing? Am I breathing?

“It’s been like this for years.”

Breathing. My panicked breath stabs my lungs, sending cold electricity up my spine. Where did that come from? That voice, right there. Now, only water. Water there. Is it possible that he’s returning? Aimlessly floating, recklessly hoping for--has it really been years?

No, a year and I would have run out of room to count the days. I imagine I’ll lose track of time when I lose track of all the places I’ve marked. This vessel is only so large.

There was a time when I couldn’t stand up straight in this ship. When waves would rock my balance and the floor would vanish. I would wear coats to keep from bruising myself.

“And now...” a deep voice drones from outside the cabin. He’s returned.

I can’t see him. Only the water. Flooding the deck. Washing away his footprints. Did he jump off? It’s too dangerous to go outside and try to find him.

I call out his name, but I don’t think he can hear me. I don’t think he can sense anything but the water, just like me. At least I’m in my cabin. I have my log.

How many notches are there? This rain will never let up. The walls of the cabin have more marks than I remember. What was once a wall of smooth planks reduced to botched wallpaper from all the inch long gashes I’ve carved into it. This ship was new once. Now it’s so old I’m afraid it’ll fall apart if I go outside. Especially with all the rain. The endless, endless rain.

There is no more room on the walls. I’ve carved away at every last inch trying to keep some kind of grip on things. Maybe it has been years.

The ceiling and the floor are adrift in endless tics made with an endlessly dulling knife. Maybe one day I’ll dig my way entirely out of this cabin. Maybe the knife will disintegrate before then.

I have no idea where else I can mark. This room had grown barren long before I lost Hendrick. This chair, this desk, this hourglass, this small captain’s log are all I have left here. All I have left. I can’t destroy that.

The ship sings as the torrents of rain and ocean wash and flood the entire exterior of the boat. I reach out toward the wall in front of my desk to feel it’s rumbling throat.

I see the blackened, scabby lines that litter my arm. Have I been cutting myself?

I can sense every inch of my body now. I cannot open my eyes, for even the light of the darkness hurts too much. Why am I no longer numb?

I rub my hands over one another to find them untouched. Was I hallucinating? How long have I been here? I keep my eyes closed and run my hand up my arm, brushing the old scabs off. I reach down and feel my legs to find they’re just as bad. Is my entire body scarred?

I lean my head back, eyes still closed. I try to feel my face, but I can’t keep my hands from shaking. Raising my eyebrows, I can feel the blackened bloody scum cracking and pulling itself from my forehead as it creases. I’ve been here for years.

I can’t remember when Hendrick left the cabin. Maybe he was swept away by this endless flooding. Thrown off deck in an abrupt wind. Wherever he went, he’s gone. Hundreds of days. Thousands. I’m captain now. Until I can find land. Once this rain ends.

The water blots out the sun. In this violent wash the world becomes bleak, desolate, nonexistent. The sun might have burned out decades ago. I wouldn’t know.

The hourglass gets louder when it’s close to being empty. The last shimmering grains of sand rattle and echo off the sides of the glass. The last one always takes its time and hiccups before joining the fold.

Silence. Sometimes I take a moment to wallow in the emptiness of it, but it terrifies me. All I can hear is the rushing rain in this empty space where time doesn’t exist. It’s too real, it reminds me that I might never find my way out of the sea.

Frantic, I reach forward to flip the glass to set the time. I exhale heavily--huh. I was holding my breath. One more flip of the glass before I make a new notch.

Time is back. I can see Hendrick, his head rolling lifelessly outside my cabin window. What was once his cabin window, he peers deeper as I try to get a better look at him, his eyes. I had to see if it was really him.

Clinging to the side of the boat all of this time, he had to have died by now or at least drowned in the onslaught. It can’t be him.

As I stand to open the window, endowed with trepidation that it might not be who it looks like, Hendrick’s face contorts, anguished, as he evaporates.

I turn around to see the hourglass behind me, drizzling coloured grains of sand, inspiring clouds of dust to pollute the bottom basin. I don’t want to know if he’s still there. I’ll just sit here, watching the hourglass. The smooth glass soothes my scarred flesh as I run my hand up and down the time-keeper. I think he’s gone for good but I can’t turn around. I don’t want to. The glass is hypnotizing. I close my eyes...I can dip my fingers through the glass and into the glossy sand. I can escape this dingy cabin. The sand sifts through my fingers. I almost feel like I can breathe again.


The hourglass is empty. How long had I been asleep?


The word creeps its way out below my slow breath and jolts me awake. The hourglass is empty.

Frantically I look for a new place to mark. Nowhere to tick on the walls, the floor, the ceiling. The desk, pocketed with scars, is void of free space.

My pulse sprints and causes all of my scars to throb and crack and seethe. I’ve sliced away at my eyelids, my finger webbings, the back of my ankles, most of my genitals, the back of my neck. There’s only one place left to carve away.

Grabbing the length of my penis, I slice into the last remaining space on it. Right on tip, across the urethra. One swift motion. I thrust my head into the wall behind me to lessen the pain. I look down to see the first slice wasn’t enough to make a mark. Tears running down my face, I clench my muscles taut in anxiety, place the dull knife in the same spot and quickly, firmly slash.

I can hear the muffled shrieks of a tortured soul in the distance as I writhe on the splintered and damp floor. My vision blurs from tears or blood--I do not know. Will this pain never cease? Will I ever find land?

I rub my cheek into the splintery floorboards before looking down at the tip of my cock. A cross, pumping out blood. Gashed wide open. With each maroon gush, I could feel my heart accelerate. I can feel my vessels begin to burst.


It tumbled out of my throat between dejected moans and sobs. My breath is stuttery, but plentiful. I can feel senses outside of pain. I can smell the musty wood I lay on. My eyes closed, I clutch the floor. I can see the tall elms that built this ship as I climb upward, forever, towards the sun. There’s a foothold for every direction I want to go, I’ll never fall. I am safe. Safe. The lulling shush of the leaves in the wind echoes and fades into the whirling abyss that slowly swept me away from this elm, this ship.

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Old 07-04-2017, 06:08 AM   #5 (permalink)
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The Last Captain: Part One

Captain Windsor Krade kept his steps light and deliberate as he searched the abandoned vessel. A large and greatly intricate ship that appeared to be crafted by meticulous hands, a ship designed beyond perfectionism. The exterior hull was simple enough, nothing to set it apart from the endless galleons that did stride the sea, though Krade would find himself completely mesmerized and awestruck as he descended the stairs to the dark under quarters. The sparse light of long burning candles illuminated the awesome scenes depicted on these walls. Massive deities conjured from the furthest reaches of the mind, gladiator manned chariots that seemed to rush furiously into battle right before the Captain's eyes. Entire kingdoms, empires, all carved into the cold-moulded timber. Fantastic mountains and lakes, wild and unfamiliar life everywhere throughout the walls. There was no break in the murals, ever changing scenes of the spectacular extended completely across the hall. Krade reached the bottom of the stairs to see a single door directly before him. It would almost appear that the hall stretches as far as it does for the sole purpose of housing this grand spectacle of art. He turned his head to scan the halls on either side. The carving continued as far as he could see before the halls would dissolve into darkness. In fact, Krade didn't know for sure how long the corridor extended, the already dim candle light only stretched so far. There were two candelabras on the frame at the very bottom of the stairs, and in between was the Captain. He soon would fix his gaze upon the door. The door looked to be crafted from a different timber, much darker in hue than the rest of the ship. After two slow and careful steps forward, Krade extended his slightly trembling hand and ran his fingertips lightly over the wood. It was smooth and polished, the sensation of this deep and slick surface upon the Captain's fingers was pleasant. No handle was to be found on the door, it would begin to open as soon as it was felt.

"Aye?" The Captain solemnly called. "Is there anyone present to claim ownership of this vessel?" His voice did not echo far, though it still hung firmly in the dark. With his fingertips still examining the door, Krade looked back down the hall on either side of him once more. The light diminished at the same spot. To himself the Captain thought. These candles are old, they’ve been burning for quite some time. He looked to the floor beneath each fixture and saw no melted wax, just smooth timber akin to the door's. The flame of each candle was still, no fluttering about in the wind. They cast a curious light upon the majestic walls, shadows and highlights of dull orange formed within each depression, even the most miniscule carvings. "Aye?" He called one more time, his voice reserved. Krade let the door swing open after a gentle push, before the ship rocked him off balance. He let out a quick yelp of startled terror. The door opened to reveal nothing but the sea. Turbulent waves crashed before the Captain while his knuckles turned white with an unrelenting grip of the door frame. More waves would soon knock him down onto his back, almost all the way to the stairs he had descended. The door swung shut swiftly and latched in place. The shaken Captain rose to his feet. He once again scanned the hall, before turning around to leave the ship's quarters.

"Have you met the sea... Captain?" Before even reaching the second step Krade found himself on the floor again. A powerful voice that emanated everywhere at once responded to him, and startled as he was, was knocked off his feet by pure shock. His heart began pounding with a fury he'd never felt before, and his breathing grew rapid and uncontrollable.

"Who's there?" His voice cracked.

"Have you met the sea... Captain?" The voice repeated. Krade managed to pull himself up despite his quivering nerves. He shakily felt for his gun, holstered on his right hip, and clutched the handle, but did not draw the weapon.

"This is Captain Windsor Krade, and I demand to see the owner of this ship!" Adrenaline was rushing throughout the Captain's body while he searched for the authority he normally carried in his voice.

There was a silence.

"Why have you boarded this vessel... Captain?"

"I need not answer a man that hides! I don't know where you are but if you could, show yourself and your ownership!" The Captain's voice was slowly regaining its former valor.

"How do you expect me to do that... Captain?"

"Have you a document? I found this ship idle in the sea and simply want to-"

"Do you love the sea... Captain?" The voice cut through Krade's, who grew frustrated.

"Alright, I don't want to play your games. I don't even care anymore. Not about you or the ship. Are you that small that you must speak out of my sight?" Krade began once again to climb the stairs.

"But why have you boarded this vessel... Captain?"

"That's of no matter."

"Do you seek the riches therein... Captain?" Krade ignored the question and kept up the stairs, upon reaching the door to the main deck, he found it locked. "Do you take from the sea... Captain?" He turned around and finally drew the gun he'd been holding. "Come back downstairs, and open the door... Captain."

"You'd see me dead!" Krade scoffed. "Is that your idea of a joke? Leave a door here to simply drop unsuspecting souls into the sea, should they haste?"

"It is the only way out... Captain."

"Where are you, damn it?!" The fear that previously incapacitated Captain Krade would now bubble into rage. "I'll forget the ship, and whatever perverted operations you conduct here. I wish to leave!"

"Open the door... Captain. Please." Krade looked back to the locked door before him then started down the stairs. His pulse continued to rise and his extremities grew cold. It was a mess within the Captain's mind as of now. "There is no man... Captain." Krade's grip on the gun loosened slightly while his palms began to perspire.

"I don't understand." His voice lowered as well.

"Are you here to take from the sea...? Captain?"

"I suppose I would have commandeered this ship if it were empty. But that's not really important anymore, is it?"

"You did wish to see me... Is that correct... Captain?"

"Please, I'm beginning to feel quite ill. Nothing of the like is important anymore. The ship was still. The sail was packed up. I thought it had been abandoned so I boarded to investigate. Should no soul claim ownership of the vessel, I-" The Captain paused. "I am no thief!" His voice wavered.

"Have you met the sea... Captain? Had you been called upon by the sea..? Why are you here... Captain? Here... At sea?" Krade was silent while he searched for an answer. He grew ever more frightened and vulnerable.

"For adventure." He responded. "And an obscure longing of the sea. A captain is free, and endless are the waves. I'm sure I am not alone when I say, I feel at ease here. I have met the sea, and I do love the sea."

"Yet you take from the sea... Captain."

"Please!" The Captain shouted maniacally.
"This vessel does not exist for man... Captain." All at once the flames of the candles extinguished, and the Captain stood enveloped in darkness, only from beyond the beautiful door did shine a light. "The sea does not exist for man... Captain." The door swung open violently to reveal again the raging waters. "Why do you take from the sea... The sea you claim invites you... The sea where you are apparently at ease..." Krade's emotions rock as vehemently as the ship in the waves. Tears begin to form in his eyes. "Why do you take from me... Captain?" He looked up to the mysterious sea beyond the door with eyes glazed over and red.

"What are you saying?" He struggled.

"Are you no thief.. Captain?" The voice somehow grew more menacing to the Captain's ears. "You do not seek freedom at sea... Captain. You are a pathetic criminal. And this I know... Captain." Heavier streams of tears flow down the Captain's face.

"I'm sorry." He whimpers. "Please, I'm sorry." The furious ocean before the Captain began to take on alien forms, as if it were alive.

"You aren't going to die today... Captain. Don't weep for your life." But the Captain, now on his knees, continued sobbing. "Step through the door... Captain."

"I-What are you doing?" Krade managed through the sobs.

"You have not met the sea... Captain. But if you feel that it calls out to you, that you can make its acquaintance, then step through the door." Krade rose to his feet once again.

"No!" He shouted defiantly. "You'll have me dead!" The door slammed shut yet again, and the candles re-ignited.

"I told you... Captain. you were not to die today. Perhaps you should, scum that you are. "

"I'll say it again, I am no thief! The sea is my home!" There was a pause in all activity. The Captain heard no voice response, and no waves struck the ship's hull. He turned around to see that the door atop the stairs was open again, and he rushed outside frantically. Not bothering to re holster his gun, he ran across the deck to the bridge extending from his own ship. He let up the sail hoping to retreat as quick as humanly possible.
"No... Captain. You have yet to meet the sea."
Miller rose from his bed and stretched his stiffened arms. For a brief moment, he only sat on the bed, pondering. Afterward he rose to his feet to get dressed. There was a small trunk packed with a plethora of neatly folded clothes. Atop the trunk lay the specific outfit Miller had picked out for today. Navy blue cardigan of a soft, velvet like material, white slacks, but a peculiar white, striped pocket lining. A pair of subtle and black boots that didn't call for much attention. Dressed up in his suit, Miller opened the trunk to retrieve a pin which he'd placed on top of the clothing. A meticulously crafted galleon of gold. Miller paced to his desk and watched himself in the mirror while the pinned the ship onto his top, the right breast. A calendar lay open on the desk in front of him. It was open to September, and there was a personal note jotted down on the tenth, the current date.
Around the world!
The note read.
Miller left his lighthouse home and began to the pier. He enjoyed the waterfront. It was its own humble community, everyone was a friend. After walking some feet, the ground turned from stone to wood. He walked to the farthest end of the boardwalk to a boat.
"Captain Krade!" Miller cheerfully exclaimed. In front of the boat stood its captain, Windsor Krade. They wore matching outfits, down to the smallest nuance.
"Miller!" Krade answered. "Are you ready to become a legendary sea fairer?"
"I have been looking forward to it, Captain. I'm nervous but just as well excited. The journey may be arduous, but to step off that boat to this very spot-" Miller was cut short.
"Well we can't be completely certain of that, of course."
"It will be a thrill either way, Captain, just to make it back." Krade stepped forward and placed his hand on Miller's shoulder.
"It will be, mate. Here, follow me to the tavern."
"You don't think it's too early?" Miller asked while looking forward to the morning sun.
"Nope." Krade smirked. "It’s breakfast time isn't it?" The two walked single file down the boardwalk from the ship, then side by side upon the stone street. It was about a two minute jaunt to the waterfront's tavern, the Undertow. Miller opened the door for his captain, who entered with a positively confident stride.
“Morning all.” Krade said as he entered the bar. “Breakfast ales all around, It is a momentous day!” He and Miller walked to the bar to pick up those ales.
“Congratulations Windsor.” Said a bloke from a table. “You’re gonna go down in history as only the 700th man to sail around the world!”
“We may not be the first,” Krade began to answer. “And we might not be the fastest, but I’ll be damned if we aren’t the best looking!” He bellowed boisterously and approached an empty table, slid a map from his pocket, and sprawled it open on the surface. “Don’t you love these big maps? Look here. This is where we are. And from here, due north. Simple enough.” He pointed out a handful of islands that sit along the path. “I think we should reach the first island within a week. After port, we replenish our food supply and press on. We are traveling light.”
“Don’t you want to, not go by the Arctic Circle?” A man asked.
“We’ll be miles away. Well,” The Captain chugged his ale. “I’m sure we all know that I’m an early action man, or just quite antsy, but the time is here to depart. Bartender! Reserve a fine bottle of gin for our return. The finest. We are off!”
Krade walked to the ship alone while Miller returned to the lighthouse to retrieve his truck. Krade had already boarded and Miller was close behind. The Captain grabbed a thick rope tied to the ramp to board, and pulled it up off of the pier. “Gonna be a slow start.” He said, observing the atmosphere while going to raise the sail. Fully deployed it caught a very faint breeze and the ship sluggishly drifted to the sea. “Real slow.”
“Nothing’s changed about the ship since the last time you were on it.” Krade said as the two began to tour the vessel. “This ship never does me wrong. Let’s head downstairs to unpack our supplies.” They carried their bags below deck. “Well there they are.” Krade said at the bottom, pointing out the Captain’s quarters at the end of the hall to the left, and Miller’s room opposite. Miller glanced around him to notice some intricately carved wood illustrations.
“Who did this?” He asked while tracing his fingers over the ridges.”
“I’m sorry?” Krade was confused.
“Who d-” Miller turned his head back and saw the wall at his fingers, smooth and basic.”
“What, the wall?”
“It seemed…” Miller trailed off. “It looked like it may have been touched up or smoothed.”
“Nope.” Krade said. “Same old walls.” He and Miller continued back up the stairs after putting their luggage in their respective rooms
The ship had not yet traveled far, but the dock was no longer visible due to the grey clouds across the sky. Nothing in sight anymore besides the horizon itself. The two would officially appear to be helpless, should they ever need it that is. But the ever confident Windsor Krade would never show weakness in even the most dire situations. He and his first (and only) mate slowly shuffled around the deck. Minor winds remained in charge of the sail, and the ship moved forward casually.
“How long do you think it will be to the first island?” Miller asked, but his Captain only shrugged.
“Could be a lot quicker with some better wind. But what is there to do but wait? Time flies or something like that, right?”
“Captain…” Miller started. “There’s a lot of legends about great monsters of the se. Have you ever seen anything like that? I feel silly saying ‘monster’.”
“Don’t.” Krade interrupted. “There are always obscure presences in the sea. It may not be a traditional or beastly thing, but can be all the more horrible.” Miller watched his Captain speak inquisitively. “The creatures mostly, are just any huge, absurdly huge, individual of its species. Giant squids and whales, we don’t call them monsters because they live here with us and coexist with all over life. But imagine a human-like visitor to the planet encountering a blue whale. There’s monsters everywhere.”
“I suppose.” Miller said.
“The sea is home to many different types of presence, the ocean is filled with souls and spirits, so to speak.” Krade chuckled as he said this. “They don’t want to hurt anyone. Not without reason.”
“Unforgiving waters, are they?”
“A man hower, may not seek reason. The most twisted inhabitant of the sea is a man unbound by law, reason, or compassion. A man with no limits to hold back his sadism. The animals think only of sustenance when it eats any other life form. But the nautical man has a mind developed far beyond any animal. He may only wish to hurt you, in the sickest ways imaginable. And there’s no consequence, not even a witness. You may come across a man that seeks sanctuary at sea, with the sole intent of causing pain. If you ask me, that is more horrible than even the most hostile animals.”
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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The Last Captain: Part Two

Midnight had fallen, and Miller sits at his desk before a blank sheet of paper and a pencil in his right hand, adjacent was a mug of beer. He wanted to start a log for the journey, but could only think back to the wood illustrations on the wall. It was so vivid, he thinks to himself. I can remember so much detail… He introduces the paper to the graphite of his pencil to write, but he begins to sketch instead somehow. Without ever lifting the pencil or slowing down at all, Miller’s hand ebbs and flows all over the paper, building abstract scenes of impossible geometry and illusion. Soon the paper was filled to the absolute brim with complex tessellations of ancient crusades and kingdoms.
So much detail…
Miller lifted his head to see the wall in front of him. Once again he was floored by the scene. How could I know this? He thought, lowering his head again to the paper. He pondered it a moment.
“It’s exactly the same.” Miller filled more and more pages with surreal doodles. He couldn’t understand it. He could never draw like this before. The illustrations continued to flow like a waterfall. The more he drew, the more complicate the images became. Lines would turn around to burrow all the way back through the labyrinthian scenes. Even already drawn details unknown and unnoticed made themselves apparent as the sketches continued. It seemed like his hand had a mind of its own, a step ahead of himself. Just as soon as he would make out a man’s likeness, he’d already drawn him dead further along. Spread out before Miller were a dozen pages of the mad sketching, all filled as much as they could ever be without being solid walls of penciled grey.
“Miller!” Krade said while standing outside his first mate’s room. “What have you been doing shut in here all day and night?” Miller shot his Captain a puzzled expression.
“Well I’ve just been drawing. I guess I got caught up in it.” Krade walked over to the desk.
“You drew these?” He said, sounding subtly impressed.
“Yeah… Been practicing.” The Captain studied each piece intensely. His face grew cold and rigid as he examined the drawings. Though utterly still, it would almost seem like the Captain was holding something back with great effort. His face was unfathomable like he was trembling with fear or anger, but showed no physical sign of anything like that. The sight of the drawings paralyzed Captain Krade, just for a moment.
“How do you come up with this stuff?” He asked. Miller didn’t know what to say about these drawings, knowing that it wasn’t him who crafted these scenes.
“It just comes to me, I guess.” The Captain picked out a single page and held it closer to his face to behold.
“That’s some talent, Miller.” He placed the paper back down. That’s uncanny, hr thought to himself. “Well it got a bit late. I just wondered if you had eaten anything.”
“Oh yes, Captain. I’m fine right now.”
“I’m turning in.” Krade said. “Hope for winds.”
“Good night, sir.” Krade inspected the drawings a last time before returning to his quarters. He dressed for bed then lied on his back and thought before closing his eyes to rest.
“How could he know?”
Captain Krade woke early the next morning to find the clouds gone, and a bright sun twinkling in jovial little clusters atop the ocean waves. The horizon remained empty, however. Must have kept going a while last night, he thought. He checked his compass. At least we didn’t get off course. Stay North. His matched his sight with the compass hands. Nothing yet to see.
Miller woke later and lifted his head from the desk. He grunted and felt a heavy soreness on the side of his face. He’d fallen asleep at his desk, the drawings scattered about. He downed the rest of the ale that he’d neglected from the night before, now lukewarm and flat. “Perfect.” He said out loud to himself.
Miller met his Captain on the deck beneath the radiant sun. “I don’t know why I was so tired last night.” He said.
“Liquor.” Krade said.
“Did you see anything?” Miller inquired anxiously.
“Not yet. You act like this is your first quest, be patient, mate. And all the way around the world, it will surely be your longest, don’t be surprised to go a long time with no action. You’ll forget about any of it after the first island. Time flies at sea, or does it stand completely still? Ha!.” Krade let out a boisterous laugh, but Miller kept an pathetic expression. “You sure get caught up in your drawings easily.”
“Yeah…” Miller said. “It feels natural.” He drew a telescope from an inner pocket of his cardigan. “I want to watch out from the crow’s nest for a little bit.”
“Of course, mate.” Said Krade. Miller started up the ladder with his telescope still in hand, but he could easily grip the rungs. At the top he stood up to scan the horizon. The wind was stronger up here. He pulled the telescope out to it’s full size and peered through. He slowly turned while studying the view.After a complete 360 he saw nothing, and packed the telescope back into the same pocket from which he’d retrieved it. He looked down to notice Captain Krade observing the sea as well, his hands resting on the ship’s coping.
Miller closed his eyes.
They opened some moments later. Miller’s elbow felt sore from being pressed down onto the hardwood, his head resting lifelessly upon his palm. He looked down to see the Captain in the same position as before. The wind continued as well, cooler at this height. Thin clouds passed overhead, breaking apart and merging together seamlessly in the breeze. The clouds were light and fragile, showing no sign of an approaching storm. Miller thought to himself how much he enjoyed the rain. Not too heavy, but more than a simple mist. He found it to be refreshing. He imagined a mild shower for just a moment, to wash away the sun’s stressful beams, obscured by light storm clouds. Of course he knew rain was not ideal for the voyage, and dismissed the thought. At least, he remarked silently to himself, it is nowhere near the torturous temperature it could reach. A ship alone at sea bathed in the direct rays of sunlight, also reflecting back upon the waves.
Miller’s eyes closed again.
From a dark and thick, purplish fog, approached the Captain.
“You haven’t seen much yet, have you?” He spoke to no one. “I’m sure you must wonder, how many hours have passed, how many are passing. How many days, weeks. Perhaps years. You haven’t been keeping track, have you? Of day and night. Do you know how long it has been, just sitting here in the nest? Can you say, for certain?”
Miller’s eyes opened this time to a dark and star filled sky. He was on his back, stretched out completely in the nest. He pulled his stiff body to a standing position and looked down to the deck. Krade was still there, hands upon the wood, eyes to the endless sea. It would appear that he hadn’t moved an inch, a statuesque figure determined to make something out of the horizon.
Miller started down the ladder to the deck. At the bottom he looked up to the sail, which seemed to be caught in a draft, but only slightly.
“Captain…” He spoke quietly. Krade stepped out of his trance and turned around. His eyes looked heavy from scanning the empty sea, and he did not respond audibly. “I am retiring to my quarters. I think you should too, you must be tired.”
“Oh yes. I will in a moment.” The Captain replied, and turned back around. “I must say goodnight to the sea.” Miller spoke not another word before descending below deck. In his quarters he changed into his bed wear and poured himself a modest glass of rum. He sat on the edge of his bed for a moment while he drank.
“An entire day gone so quickly.” He said to himself, now thinking of his dream from before. As he climbed fully into bed, the thought lingered on.
“An entire… Day.”
Captain Krade stood unflinching in his quarters staring at the wall as more complex images carved themselves into the wood. Starting at the floor, an outline that resembled a human form manifested itself. The depressions were filling in with a bloody red shade. The lines began inward now, drawing the features of a full sized, naked man. Immaculate detail presented a rugged man, even the smallest nuances forming into the wall. After the body reached its complete conception, the red color of blood began to drip from the carvings. Thick and true, it was real blood running down the walls and forming a sanguine puddle on the floor before the Captain. He did not make a move, but his pulse began a rapid acceleration when suddenly the figure stepped forward from the wall, leaving it empty behind him once again. It was a man, now standing before the Captain, blood dripping from every angle to the floor. Krade found himself in a state of shock as the nude man spoke to him in an all too familiar voice. A voice the Captain had known just once, a voice he prayed he'd never hear again.
"Have you met the sea... Captain?" Krade couldn't make a sound even if he wanted to. The crimson mask of blood upon the man's face broke apart as his mouth spoke and eyes opened.
"Well here I am." He extended his arms to present his full, monstrous wingspan.
"What is this?" Krade clumsily enunciated.
"Oh Captain, why must you be so stubborn? Can't you see I’m trying to help you? To save you?"
"And why do I need saving?"
"The sea is full of spirits much less merciful than the sea itself. They do not offer forgiveness."
"What the hell are you telling me?" Little by little, the Captain's voice would return to its full valor.
"You have bothered the spirits with your mistreatment of their property. You have stolen from them with not a second thought."
"Stolen? I only scavenge. It's mostly rubbish altogether too."
"Captain... Whatever it is that you have taken, is beside the point. You have committed crimes against the ghosts of the sea."
"This is complete nonsense." Krade said defiantly.
"I can protect you... Captain." The bloody man waved his arm again to reveal a familiar scene for the Captain. "Just step through the door." The door creaked open, beyond it lie the violent sea. "I assure you, you will not be killed or harmed. Are you a religious man... Captain? Wouldn't you do anything for your god?"
"I have no god."
"You might not think so, but you do. You are at my mercy, the mercy of the sea. This is god before you, offering repentance. All you must do is give in to my will. Step through the door... Captain."
"And if I don't, these 'ghosts' will haunt me, is that the idea?"
"Crudely, yes." The blood continued to drip from the man's person. "You wouldn't want to know what these spirits do to people like you, I couldn't let that upon any man."
"I will never call any being my god. I don’t care about your threats."
"I thought you loved the sea... Captain. You would think one would abide to something they love. You claimed it to be your true home."
"And it is." Krade replied.
"Well, you have some unruly neighbors... Captain. If you choose not to take my word, perhaps I can only show you the torment that lies ahead. Just a snippet, not even near the full extent of the ghosts' sadism." Yet again the man waved his arm, but this time he'd vanished. A new setting surrounded the Captain. Dark, sparse, empty. He felt a firm hand grab him by the back of his neck and throw him to the floor. The Captain was appalled at what he landed in, an incomplete circle of severed and bleeding arms. Before him towered a colossus of a man, covered head to toe in a purple robe, a hood shadowing his face. The man was silent as he knelt down to subdue the Captain. From inside his robe he drew a wicked blade, and pressed it onto Krade's shoulder. He tried to scream but had gone mute. The man began to saw through the outer layers of flesh, tissue, and muscle as blood started to flow deeply from the incision. With his other hand, the man forced the Captain down while he cut through his shoulder. After a tortuous moment, the blade met with bone and the man dropped it to the floor. He forced his fingers deep into the wound, holding it open with one hand and digging through the tendons and blood with the other. The man grasped the very top of the bone and began to wriggle it abrasively from the socket. After jamming it loose enough, he slipped his fingers into Krade's joint, squeezed tight and completely yanked the arm from its torso. The bone was scooped out clean with a sudden pop. Whatever bit of fleshy material remained intact ripped apart, blood poured from the separated arm as well as the Captain's empty shoulder socket. In very much a non-elegant fashion, the man repeated with the Captain's other arm. With both removed completely, he placed them at the top of the circle to fill the gap. The Captain seized and jerked, seemingly endless rivers of dark blood being expelled from the wounds. The man stood up to observe the Captain within the circle, then spoke with a menacingly deep timbre.
"It is our turn to take... Captain."
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The Last Captain: Part Three

Miller woke early from a solid stretch of uninterrupted sleep. He was spry as he got out of bed. No hangover. Compelled by the sudden freshness, he decided to dress. He snatched the same clothes he'd been wearing and put them on. He didn't really feel the need to dip into his truck right now, or even the whole trip. I'm at sea, he thought. Who is here to kind besides the Captain? They aren't dirty to the point of changing yet. After clipping his golden galleon pin, Miller stepped out into the hallway and onto the deck. The Captain slept still.
The dawn sky was a hazy shade of light purple, as were the clouds, if not slightly more saturated in color as the sun rose. He casually patrolled the deck by foot, and the horizon by sight. Still nothing at all to be seen. It was quiet and brisk, the particular chill of morning air. No doubt being surrounded at all angles by water would cool the air after not being hit by the sun for a night. The sail didn't look to have picked up any more momentum from the wind. The ___ still cruised on leisurely. After Miller circled the deck, he took to the ladder up to the nest again. At the top he drew his telescope for a more thorough scanning of the sea and horizon. Looking around and back again, there was not yet a visible shadow or structure.
There came an unexpected squawk from the sky, brighter now. Miller aimed the telescope upward to find the source of the noise. Towards him flew a Gull, gliding through the air without flapping its wings, ominously swooping down to Miller and the nest. The Gull landed on the guard rail right before him. He found it peculiar that it would land here, right next to a man. The Gull stared straight into Miller's eyes for an immense moment. Both would not blink as eternity seemingly passed by. Their stare was locked and perhaps unbreakable. Then came a new feeling like Miller had never felt before. It was eerie, jarring even through silence. The maddening curiosity increased as Miller's gaze seemed almost to zoom in slowly on the Gull's face. Still they did not blink, for the stare was too powerful to resist. As his view of the Gull slowly grew, his mind was scrambled. The modulation reached its end when Miller and the Gull now shared a gaze like they were an inch away from each other. The Gull's eyes were dark. It had some sort of expression, it might seem ridiculous, but Miller believed so. The Gull appeared to him as a stoic and foreboding creature. The stare reached its climax as a perplexingly soft yet powerful voice slithered directly through Miller's ear and into his own mind. The voice was not something to be heard, it was an inaudible statement that sounded like it came from himself, but he know he did not think this voice. He felt ever more nervous with the strange words of another resonating from within.
"I am your messenger of doom."

Captain Krade jolted from a frantic sleep drenched in cold sweat. He sat up sharply, his breathing hasty and irregular. He felt around his arms and shoulder to happily find them still attached. He got out of bed quickly with no second thought about getting dressed. The Captain circled the perimeter of his quarters a frenetic mess. He looked to the walls and studied them, empty now. No carvings, no blood, no man. Instinctively, he disregarded the dream, last thing he wants is a nightmare getting the best of him. At his desk he poured a shot or two of rum into a wide mouthed glass and downed it without hesitation. He sits back down on his bed trying to calm down.
Another glass of rum.
"Do you know that you travel with a cursed man?" The Gull inquired to Miller's psyche.
"C-cursed? The Captain?"
"The vessel you stand upon now sails the sea, everything we know and live. You are alone on... This ship. But you are not alone here at sea. Unseen by mortal eyes, you are bound to another vessel. The Great Galleon of the sea itself. Though you would never know it, this ship is accompanied by the Great Galleon. You have experienced it though. The carvings on the walls, your drawings of unknown origin. It's already crawled into you. You travel alongside the sea and its specters." Miller didn't know how to respond, but tried his best anyway.
"But what do you mean, cursed?"
"Your captain is an ungrateful one. Atop these waves, we are all simple pawns in the sea. The sea is our lifeline and possible demise all at once. But your captain refuses the sanctuary offered by the sea." The Gull still remained silent while communicating with Miller. It had such lifeless eyes. "He's stirred up quite a bit of trouble, and all those taken by the waves aren't fond of him. You're wrapped up in it too. The captain will surely take you with him to the depths."
"I don't understand, what are you saying?"
"I thought it was simple." The Gull said. "The captain is on a downward spiral to hell, and you're right at his side. You mustn't allow that, would you say? Do you wish to live? Your captain is your enemy, Miller. What action must be taken is for you to decide, but you will die out here as long as the captain inhabits this vessel." Miller arched his brow. "In the simplest terms, it's your lives, or only his. The captain will die, that much is true. But you don't have to. You can still make it back home."
"Captain Krade is like a father to me, I couldn't do anything to... Remove him from the equation. I couldn't hurt him, let alone kill him."
"You could, Miller. Very much as he could kill you. You must make a decision."
The door leading below deck swung open like a tempest as Krade rushed to the deck.
"I... I don't know-"
"Miller!" Krade yelled. "What are you saying up there?" The startled first mate jumped at the call of his captain. He looked down, then back to the perch to see the Gull had disappeared, and back to Krade.
"I was just talking to myself sir! Scanning the sea still, no sign of anything yet."
"Well then you can come down here." Krade said. Miller obliged and carefully descended the ladder.
"How long have you been up there?” The Captain asked as Miller planted his feet on the deck.
"I got up early today, before the sun was up. Just trying to find anything out there."
"Nothing huh?" Krade said stiffly.
"Nothing." The Captain's face grew closer to a scowl, slowly abandoning his once true affability.
"Okay, well... It's a new day, go about it, Miller."
"Sure." He said, recalling the mysterious warning of the lone Gull. The bird was a surreal character, and Miller was torn between feelings of dread and contemplation. Without another word, the sailors separated themselves from each other and patrolled the deck on either side. Miller had a new thought in his mind that he didn't want. But as the Gull said, he can still survive. Pacing around, he spoke to himself quietly.
"Am I crazy? No, that Gull, how could that be? It's impossible. But on the other hand, I feel deeply compelled. The message of the Gull was unlike anything I'd ever experienced. Perhaps I'm not crazy now, not yet. It would only be logical, just a hallucination after however many days at sea, empty sea. And yet, I felt such a stern truth regarding our conversation. What might it mean for something to be too real? Passing by the general restraints of all that we can see, hear, and touch. Surely I didn't sketch those drawings on my own doing. My first sight of the wall carvings was our very first day out here. I couldn't have been crazy then, just a day at sea. I cannot fathom how long it has been already, how long since then. How far we've gone with no sight of any of the islands, or anything at all." He looked to the sail, still catching calm winds. "If I didn't know any better, I think we'd have reached a complete standstill." Miller paused at the edge of the hull to gaze at the sea and sky. "What is this curse that the Gull had warned me of? Maybe we aren't moving, maybe the bulging sail is just an illusion. An illusion held up as long as the Captain roams this ship..."
Krade found himself paused as well on the opposite end. "That boy seems, rattled." He said to himself. "I wonder... I wonder what he is thinking. It doesn't appear to me as benign. There's something wrong on the ship."
Later that night, the Captain rested but Miller remained on deck pacing nervously. All he could think about was the Gull and its warning.
"No," He whispered. "I can't hurt the Captain." The sky was that deep fog of purple again, filled with thick and darker clouds. "Man, he says. Man is the greatest evil to be found at sea. What would a man do after receiving such information, that he will die. He is not a superstitious man, and chances are he would continue over and over shoving it away. But what if he believed it? What might a man do in attempt to acquire any sort of salvation, even if it were unattainable?" Miller started thinking about the Captain. "If he knew that I can get away from it, he might not take too kindly. A dying man is a desperate man, or an unleashed animal... What am I saying? Of course the Captain cares for me. If he knew he didn't have a chance while I did, wouldn't he encourage me to go on?" He began growing more nervous. "He would, right?"
With his hands in his pants pockets, Miller still roamed the cool night deck. The same wind at the sail. He looked to the sky, no Gull.
"Well of course I would choose to live. Wouldn't anyone understand and support that in the same situation? It's up to me though, I cannot live while the Captain does as well... But I'm uncertain of that idea. I cannot live sharing a vessel with the Captain. Whether or not he must die is something I don't know. Damn it. Where is any of the islands? Where is anything at all? At the moment, continuing on is the only thing we can do. No, I can't kill the Captain. Can I abandon him?" Miller thought but didn't have an immediate answer as he did with regard to killing Captain Krade. "Is the curse sea bound? Can we press on living back on land? I don't know. Absolutely anything. There's nothing certain in this rigmarole of concepts. As the Gull said, I would live on after... Disposing of the Captain. That is the closest idea to certainty. Everything else is too ambiguous, would I live or die? I don't know, and the Gull had not a message for anything else. Of every option, just one was claimed and supported. The most conflicting choice I might ever have to make. Do we die together, or do I unchain myself from the curse?" Miller thought now of the spirits mentioned by the Gull. "Oh Captain, what will happen to you?"
Captain Krade awoke to a cold fluid dripping onto his face from the ceiling above him. He opened his eyes and squinted straight. There was a deeply red puddle staining the wood. Suddenly, the puddle dispersed from all angles and rushed to the floor. The Captain, barely awake as he was, thought he dreamed into a false awakening. But as the puddle reformed, the Man of the sea rose from the fluid, now plain to see that it was blood.
"I wonder, Captain, just how much can be taken from you before you throw it in." Krade grabbed his right arm with his left hand.
"Would you look at this! It's still here! You haven't done anything to me, you can't. It's just these damned dreams!"
"Perhaps you are all back together on your vessel, Captain. This one we are in now." The Man turned his back to the Captain. "But you're sticking with your choice aren't you? You choose not to be my disciple?"
"I don't think you can hurt me." Krade said, still holding his arm. "You're not in control anymore, you can't even touch me." The Man scoffed quietly.
"More persuasion, then? I would have hoped you had a change of heart. Well, we should pay a visit to my ship." The Man made the usual motion, and Krade returned with the sea to the Great Galleon, but it was nothing but gruesome terror that he felt. He found himself back in the circle of arms, complete with his own. The Man towered before him and studied the Captain's person. "Hurts, does it not?" Krade still could not speak here. From the darkness behind the Man appeared another robed figure, this one of red. The Man melted into the floorboards, leaving the Captain and the spirit alone. This one was not as hasty as the last. He sluggishly circled the Captain's prone and injured body before lifting him from the circle by the throat, and slamming him into the wall. Krade's skull crashed directly beside a single candle holder on the wall. The spirit pinched the burning candle in between his fingers and held the flame to the Captain's face. Try as he might, Krade cannot cry out from the excruciating pain. The spirit held it there for who knows how long, but the Captain could feel it. The spirit held the candle with an uncompromisable grasp. The hair on the Captain's face has all but burnt away, and his flesh began to bubble and char. The spirit had a hand around Krade's neck like a monstrous constrictor snake, holding him to the wall with his feet off the ground. The spirit then threw him to the ground like a worthless animal, he was crying, but silently. By the ankles the spirit dragged the Captain back the arm circle, and familiarly drew a blade from within his robe, but this was much more sadistic than the last. It was slightly rusty, definitely an old tool, but clearly sharp enough to glide through tendons with no extra force at all. The spirit was at Krade's feet. He flipped him face down in the circle and promptly drove the blade directly into the Captain's calf. The blade was long enough to slice through the skin and muscle to jut out of his shin to the floor. The Captain's blood did externally flow once again. The spirit recklessly removed the blade from it's flesh cocoon and retrieved a new candle from the wall. He knelt down and held it on it's side directly above the wound, dripping freshly melted candle wax onto the anatomy of the Captain's torn leg. The wax dripped onto the exposed and bloody bone, it hardened quickly to join all the tissues. The Captain's tears and blood continued to soak into the wood that his face rested on. The spirit paused and stood up for a moment before flipping Krade face up. With both massive hands, he gripped the knee area of the leg and began to force the lower portion of the leg to meet the upper half. The leg shattered finally, and created an absurd angle. The flesh tore at the knee while the spirit simply continued to treat Krade's leg like a stuck lever until completely detaching from the bones and ligaments that held the leg together. The Captain lie in the circle, mutilated even further, blood spewing from the knee, crying.
"Let's take it slower, eh, Captain?" Said the Sea.
It was late by the time Miller retired to his quarters. But in his room he continued the manic thought process with the fear of the Captain's own increasing in himself. "I can't sleep." He said, sitting outstretched on his bed against his pillows. "What if the Captain comes in here while I'm asleep? What if he's only waiting?" He sighed. "Waiting for what?" He looked to his desk and approached it. He sprawled his drawings about before him, leaving a new blank sheet as his focus. "What else is there?" He thought to himself while picking up his pencil to sketch. It began again, he was out of control of his hand, but it sailed all over the paper, not even leaving it once. It appeared to him that a man was being drawn, all the while the lines replicated themselves on the wall behind Miller, unbeknownst to himself. "Who is this?" The illustration came to a halt and he heard a moist squish behind him. He jumped in fear and turned around to see the Captain's likeness step forward from the wall. Miller hopped to his feet and anxiously recoiled in terror, gripping the wall behind him and inching away from the bloody Captain.
"You still haven't an idea how long it's been, do you?" Spoke the distorted figure of Captain Krade, which now slowly crept forward to Miller. "Of course not. Doesn't that frustrate you?" Miller was shaking and silent. "You do remember your route, don't you? It was simple, head due north. After so many miles you will reach your first port. But you haven't, you haven't even seen anything. I can tell you that the ship hasn't strayed off course even by a single degree. But where is the island?"
"You're not Captain Krade, I know it."
"Maybe I'm not, but I am your captain all the same. I am everyone's captain. The man you travel with is not fit to be a captain."
"Why do you say that? He is a legend!"
"No, he is not fit." The line of sight of them both met and locked. "You however are young and promising. I would hate to see you swept away just because you are affiliated with that man. All the time you know would slip away, forever binding you to the sea, fading into eternal obscurity. " Miller likened this to what the Gull had said before.
"And I'm supposed to erase him, aren't I?"
"That's up to you." Miller thought about his motives and now had a strict plea from two sources. Without a parting word, the bloody pseudo Captain melted into the floor.
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Old 07-04-2017, 06:09 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The Last Captain: Part Four

Another dreadful and hellish sleep for the Captain, but this time he didn’t jerk awake. His eyes simply opened ghoulishly, revealing the glossy white. The cold sweat remained, as well as the rapid pulse. He was fatigued, physically and mentally. Once again he decided against getting dressed after rising from bed, instead he just stood solemnly in his bed wear, eyes to the ground.
"Captain!" Miller cried from the deck. Krade had been woefully trudging around his room when he heard the call and followed it upstairs and outside. The sun was bright and struck him straight on. As he approached his mate, he squinted and spoke in a dull tone.
"Yes, Miller, what is it?"
"Come here." Miller motioned for the Captain to come closer. "Here, can you see it?" Miller handed the telescope to his Captain, who peered through. "Straight ahead."
"Oh yes... I do see it." Krade said, noticeably intrigued. In the distance a blurry shadow of a structure had come into view.
"I don't know what it is, but we are coming up on something. It's still pretty much just a dark blotch on the horizon so I imagine it's still a good ways ahead."
"Yes." The word slithered out of Krade's mouth slyly like a hunting snake.
"What do you think?" Miller asked. "One of the islands?"
"I don't know." His Captain replied. He stepped to face Miller and handed back his telescope. "But we can't afford to lose sight of it. Hopefully it is, though. I'd like to port for a bit. I know it can't have been too long thus far, but I haven't any idea or way to find out. And not seeing anything this whole time... I think I just need a rest." He hesitated. "A rest from the sea."
"I feel the same." Miller said. Krade turned around and walked away from his mate.
"I need you to stay here, Miller. Right here, the very front of the ship. Whatever you do, do not let that shadow out of your sight. Keep it in the very center of that telescope, and your own sight, and don't even dream of looking away!" The Captain's voice grew firm. "Hell, I'd forbid you to blink if it were possible. You are not to look away from that structure, and not to leave this spot!"
"But Sir," Miller took a compass from his pocket. "It's only due North. If we just stay on course-" Krade snapped back.
"Miller... You are my first mate. I am your captain. Think of this as a job. I am your superior and you are to follow my orders." The Captain found himself very close to Miller's face. His breathing and entire thought process erratic, various nerves on his face twitching. "I don't give a damn if we've been at sea for three months or just three days! I feel like an entire lifetime has passed since walking upon any surface besides these floorboards. Now we have our chance. You don't even have the slightest idea how I'd feel if you ruined this for me. This is your discovery, and keeping it in view is your new task. Is that not simple? If somehow we lose it, it's on your hyde."
"Captain! You can't expect me to stand still here until we reach it." Krade stepped back.
"Why not? Do you have other plans?" Krade paused like the question wasn't hypothetical. Miller however hadn't a response. "Look at your Captain, Miller. Your Captain is a tense man. And if we miss this, your Captain will not be a very... Happy man." Krade's face trembled and his breathing strained.
"Captain! I'm telling you, we won't lose it!" Krade now fingered the gun that had been at his side during the whole trip but ultimately neglected. He drew it and shoved aside Miller's statement. His eyes bulged open and he spoke in an unsettling voice, as if feigning a cheerful demeanor.
"Miller... You have been given orders. You are to stay there watching the shadow." He took a few brooding steps forward to Miller, carelessly swinging his gun. "And that isn't a suggestion." Miller held onto an appalled expression, and the Captain turned around. "Now if you don't mind, your Captain would like to rest longer." Down the stairs. Miller looked to the shadow on the horizon. From the sky above flew the Gull to meet with him again.
"The curse has begun."
"What is happening?" Miller asked.
"I don't want to alarm you, or make you lose focus of your task."
"Am I being affected?"
"Yes." The Gull growled. "And it is in action all around you, operating unseen. The water rises and the sun burns. Here at sea it is unnoticeable, we are wrapped in a cloud of ignorance, but months pass in what you'd believe to be a mere hour. You surely remember last night, yes?"
"Of course." Miller answered. "Clear as day."
"Five years have passed since you'd fallen asleep." Miller would have froze if he hadn't already upon the Gull's arrival.
"Five... Years? We've traveled for five years... Overnight?"
"Yes, five years since the conception of the curse."
"But, how?"
"Believe me when I say, this is the sea's power."
"What about you?"
"At sea, I as well am engulfed in the veil of time. You and I experience time the same while the rest of the world speeds on. The sea is strange, like a blind spot of Father Time."
"How far have we gone then? All the while seeing nothing until now."
"You might never know." The Gull said. "You might be constantly passing over different landmarks of the world you know, the land where you dwell. And so is the curse, the endless flood."
"You can't be telling me," Miller started. "Flood? Five years of flooding?"
"And more to come, for eternity, as long as the cursed one sails the sea. " Miller looked back to the horizon anxiously.
"If it's all flooded, what are we approaching now?"
"Not all just yet. Though I can't say what it is that beckons your vessel."
"That's just fantastic." Miller said.
"But I can say that it is not too late for you. As long as there is solid ground on which to stand left anywhere in the world, then it is not too late. Perhaps he put it in a very uncivilized dialogue, but maybe you'd do right to heed your Captain's orders." The Gull spread its wings and shot into the sky. Miller watched until the bird was no longer visible, then looked straight back to the shadow.
Rest eluded Captain Krade. The simple thoughts he always had became incoherent tangles of paranoia and anxiety. Nothing being said in his mind made any sense. Instead, his train of thought weaved back and forth through long tangents of nonsense. He sat on his bed, still not dressed, with his fingers shaking and twisting like a fish out of water. He spoke out loud.
"Well where are ya, my man?" Calling to the bloody embodiment of the sea. "Got anymore? I would just love to see you and your little friends again. Ha! I said ha! A joke isn't it? You must be living it up over there on your imaginary ship, sharing laugh after laugh at my expense. It is funny, isn't it? I say ha ha! Again! Oh it is so funny. I'll get you good some day, we can share laughs of our own! How about a drink? I still love it, the sea. I love you, I guess. That's the bottom line. Yes, this, here, the uh, sea! Like a true home. But no furniture, just water! Ha! That's my idea of a party! Bring on more I say!" The Captain rose from the bed and started to pace. He continued his rapid fire rambling, barely sounding at all like the Captain we once knew, barely like a man entirely. This was not a man now. "How many color coordinated spirits you got? Mr. Purple and Mr. Red were fun but I just can't wait to meet, say, Mr. Blue! Or Green!" He walked to the wall and pressed his forehead upon. "Where are ya?!" He shouted. "Come on! Take my other leg! Drain the blood from my body! Butcher my entire ****ing person! I need it!"
"Captain." A voice spoke from behind. Krade whipped around quicker than a heartbeat.
"Miller?" He said. In the corner of his room, Krade saw the likeness of his mate. They did not make eye contact. "Oh... Miller..." The Captain sounded deranged. "What the hell are you doing in here? And have you in fact left your post? Can't follow orders, boy?" He began walking to the corner.
"It would seem, Captain." The spectral Miller stared forward, his hands clasped together at his groin.
"Have you no respect for your Captain? You have abandoned the horizon. Damn it, boy! An unhappy man, Miller, an unhappy man. What might an unhappy man do in a time like this?" He walked until they were about three feet from each other.
"That is an interesting question, Captain. How might we find the answer?"
"I'm not going to leave you here long enough, you cretin! You don't deserve to be first mate to a legendary captain such as myself."
"I'm quite sorry, Captain."
"Save it for the eels." Krade reached for his gun, but just as he grasped the handle came a hard and sharp blow to his sternum, knocking him to his knees, struck by a dull blade.
"What kind of man would put someone's life in danger, just because they're too proud? Your first mate, the closest soul to your own." The blow knocked the Captain's wind out and he could not properly speak, on his knees quivering in pain and fury. Unbeknownst to him, Miller remained on the deck, in the same spot he was ordered. Undoubtedly another spirit. The two finally looked in each other's eyes, and the spirit flipped around the knife in his hand. With immaculate precision and agility, the spirit stabbed Krade through his left cheek. He cried out and visible within his open mouth the blade dripped with blood. Rather than sliding it back through the entry wound, the spirit forced the sharp end of the blade to slice a gap on his face. The skin of his cheek now dangled as his blood flowed like a river. Tears began to form in the Captain's eyes. He spoke, but distorted from the surgery, and with a pain greater than he'd ever known.
"Are you going to kill me?" The words were slurred and desperate. A pocket of blood sloshed in his mouth.
"I don't know, Captain." The spirit walked past the groveling Captain and he was alone in his quarters. He crawled on his knees to fetch his bottle of rum. He tried to drink but the booze simply spilled out from the gaping cheek. Frustrated, the Captain threw the bottle against the wall, shattering it. He held the flap of skin back in place in an effort to stop the bleeding.
"A dead man. He is a dead man!" He roared. Then came a call once again from the deck, as if by premonition.
"Captain! Come quick!" Krade struggled to his feet and retrieved his gun, still holding his flesh.
"A dead man. A dead man. A dead man. A dead man." He repeated the words while he limped to the stairs. "A dead man." At that point, adrenaline had taken over the Captain, and he climbed the stairs swiftly. "A dead man!" "Just before the top step, the door to the deck swung open and Miller was seen calling to Krade.
"Captain! We- oh my god! What's happened to you Are you okay?" Krade lifted the gun directly to Miller's forehead.
"You ungrateful bastard!"
"Captain, please!" A terrified Miller whined. "It's a lighthouse, Captain. A lighthouse!" Krade glanced past the man in front of him to the sea. The very top of a lighthouse was before the ship. It appeared to be old and quite weathered, once vibrant paint now chipped away. Krade relinquished his gun and approached the front of the ship, noticeably injured. Miller, shaken, watched,
"What is this, Miller?" His words still sloppy. He let go of his cheek and it dropped from his face. "What the **** is this?!" He shouted. "What's happened here?"
"Sir I don't know, I-I..." Miller trailed off after remembering the Gull's latest warning. An endless flood, he thought. But he kept this to himself. "Captain! You're severely hurt! What's happened?" The Captain was demented as he approached his mate.
"Oh I'm fine, Miller. Really, I am. You can do your worst but I am still fine."
"What?" Miller was puzzled, unaware of his violent doppelganger from below deck.
"Does this bother you, Miller? Do I disgust you? Did you botch your stab job?"
"Sir I don't know-"
"Don't play with me, boy." Krade reached and grabbed a small knife from Miller's belt and snatched it fluidly. He pinched the severed section of his cheek with one hand and held it firmly. With the knife he started cutting through the opposite end. By now blood had stained the ship all around, a deep red, but more gushed from the Captain's face. He cut all the way through, hacking off the entire cheek, and dropped it to the floor. Miller watched in terror as the slab of skin splashed onto the bloody wood at his feet. "Is that better? What do you want from me?"
"Sir, please-" Krade interrupted once again, grabbing Miller by the throat.
"Sir, please, oh dear lord please." He mocked with a shaky voiced interweaved with fractured laughing. "Please what, Miller? What is it?" Miller tried to speak but couldn't summon the syllables past his throat as it collapsed in the Captain's vice like grasp. "What's the matter? Trouble breathing? You'd love so much to finish the job you started, wouldn't you? All the recognition for you. Oh but Miller, where would you be without me? What would you have had I not given it all? You're a worthless dog, you would be nothing without me. Kill me and it would be known, the great Windsor Krade, ultimate Captain of this ship! You, on the other hand, would not be missed or mourned. You are nobody, Miller. Not without me." The first mate was reminded of the warnings he'd received, the knowledge of the curse. It was time.
"You need me all the same, Captain. You always have. But alas, it doesn't matter anymore." Miller lifted a mighty knee into Krade's gut, freeing himself from the chokehold. With the knife on the floor, Miller slashed the Captain's back vertically and tore off a length of material from his shirt. Krade was on all fours clutching his gut as his first mate unleashed a horrid stomp to his Captain's temple. Withe the fabric, Miller tightly tied the Captain's hands behind his back. On the floor, the helpless Captain looked to Miller with his eyes glazed over. Behind him was the Sea, seemingly laughing at the Captain's pain. He spoke to Krade only.
"So the Sea is your home... Captain? Then the Sea is where you shall remain, alone until you are swallowed by the waves." Miller deployed the bridge and connected it to the railing of the lighthouse with dexterity. The Captain became limp while his mate carried him down the ramp. Miller threw him to the floor.
"Am I nothing without you, Captain? That's something I'll have to learn on my own. But whatever action I may take, the fact remains, that you are a dead man." Miller quickly ran up the ramp and brought it back in.
"No!" Krade screamed. "Damn it Miller!" He let up the sail again to catch a breeze before cruising away from the lighthouse.
"I'll send you a postcard! I'll tell you all about the land, because there isn't any left for you!" Miller called back to the whimpering Captain.
"No! No!" Krade shouted with increasing sustain, his energy slipping away. "Miller you son of a bitch! You can't leave me here!" He was now at the point where heavy sobbing overcame rage, and his words cracked as they dripped out of his mouth like the blood from his cheek. "You can't leave me here... Alone... Miller, please... I'm sorry." He'd been trying to rip his hands free and finally did, and stood up. The ship was long gone. "Please, won't you please return? This isn't what I wanted. Please Miller... Your Captain... He is a sorry man now. I'm sorry, Miller." His voice decreased in volume as he knew that his first mate wasn't going to return. Sullenly, Krade opened the hatch on the floor to a spiral staircase and followed it down. The further beneath the water, the more murky and wet the walls became. There was water dripping from splits and cracks all over the damp room. At the bottom of the stairs was another door. Water had been gathering up to here, now at the Captain's ankles. He opened the door to find a room, a home. Waterlogged furniture and damaged odds and ends were strewn about the floor. Krade made his way to a desk where he found a calendar. "You did it, Miller." The great Windsor Krade said aloud as a single tear fell from his eye onto a note that had been jotted on the calendar.
Around the world!
"You're going to make a great captain."
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Can you advise us who wrote what? Won't influence my vote (I'm voting now) but I'd still be interested to know.
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Old 07-04-2017, 10:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
Can you advise us who wrote what? Won't influence my vote (I'm voting now) but I'd still be interested to know.
After one of the stories gets five votes, the writers can reveal themselves.

P.S. In the thread for the first round, I put the stories for the previous round in the first post, along with the names of the authors and how many votes each story got.
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