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Sinking the Ship


The pounding went on and on.  Consistent hammering on the door.  Dane came to in a groggy film of waking, and shook his head to clear the cobwebs.  He had a major knot on the back of his head, and it felt sticky to the touch.  He sat up, and had to fight waves of dizziness, and swallow back the bile rising in his throat.

Hands pushed deep into his eye sockets, Dane tried hard to find the memories of the last day or night in his mind.  He found it hard to concentrate with the pounding, and he shouted in the direction of the door, “Give it a break Asshole.  I’ll get there when I fuckin get there, Christ.”  His words only brought about a few seconds of silence, and then the pounding doubled, no tripled in intensity.

Dane would worry about the idiot outside when he could stand and not be assaulted by the vertigo and nausea that threatened to send him back into the land of the unconscious.  He found a glass of warm water on a desk in the room, and he drank it down in one big gulp.  The following burp brought forth chunks of something vile he did not want to think about, and he spat them on the floor and avoided looking at them.

Bit by bit, he was catching snatches of the night before.  He had gotten drunk at the ships bar, and then gotten loud.  He’d had an argument with some moron, and tried to feel up one of the waitresses.  They’d kicked him out of the bar, and he was walking the deck when some jack-off bumped into him, almost throwing him overboard.  Dane had grabbed the guys shoulder and yanked him around to find out why he was such an idiot.

The man turned around fluidly, and lunged at Dane with a gore soaked mouth snapping open and shut.  Eyes wide, Dane had ducked and the man had flown overboard himself, splashing into the ocean without even a single scream for help.  Dane was looking over the rail for the man when he saw the life preserver drop into the water, and a crewmember dove into the water.  Two more crewmembers grabbed Dane and started badgering him with questions on why he’d thrown the man overboard.

Dane had gotten mad because they wouldn’t listen to him about the man attacking him with blood all over his face, and they’d tried to drag him away.  He’d fought them, screaming that the crewman that’d dove in should come up without the other man or they’d all be in danger.  He had a feeling that the man was more than sick or drunk, and this was going to be a bad place to be if they rescued him.

Then he’d felt a hard something connect with the back of his head and all had gone black until a few minutes earlier when he’d woken up to the pounding.  He was starting to wonder about that pounding.  It was constant, and there had been no voices, no noises of any kind except for the non-stop hammering at the door.  He stood up slowly, and swayed for a few seconds to see if his head would allow him to walk.

After getting his balance squared away, he crept to the heavy metal door and put his ear to it.  In between the near constant bangs, he thought he could hear groaning, or moans of some kind.  It may only be his imagination, but he was almost sure it wasn’t.  ‘Those dumbass crewmen’ he was scanning the room as he thought, ‘They must have dragged that bastard out of the water, and then he made everyone else sick.  Now this whole boat is fucked, including me if I can’t get outta this room.’

He saw only two ways out of his room that didn’t involve heading out in to the hallway with whatever wanted in.  He had a port window, and a vent or duct of some sort.  He figured he could fit through either one, although they both had their downfalls.  If he went through the window, he’d be in the ocean with no idea how far he’d have to swim to get to safety.  If he went through the vent, there was a strong possibility he’d get stuck or fall through the ductwork.

There was nothing in the room he could fashion into a weapon other than bed legs or the wood from the table and desk.  Not even a fire extinguisher that he could use.  He was rightly and truly screwed in this little room, but at least he was alive and thinking.

He went to the window, and looked out, and saw that ten feet above there was a railing.  Maybe it was to a stateroom or something and he could figure out a way to safety up there.  All he needed to do was get there.  Dane started making a rope out of his bed sheets and the decorative curtains.  He’d make an anchor of some sort and then toss the thing up to the railing hoping it would stick on something and he could climb up.

His construction of a grappling hook done, Dane slither half through the window and tossed his hook 4 times before it caught and held.  He double-checked the room for anything of use, and finding nothing, started to slide out the window.  His hands almost slipped off the rope and he barely stopped from falling into the ocean.  He was now dangling 30 feet over the water hanging off the side of the giant cruise boat.

Dane managed to get his feet on the side of the boat, and began climbing up the side of the boat.  Foot by foot, he edged his way closer to the higher railing.  He had gotten to where he could stretch and almost touch the balcony and his feet slipped.  His hands were too wet to stop his slippage, and he fell off the end of the makeshift rope.  His leg collided with a lower open window and he began cartwheeling towards the water.  He hit his head and the blackness took him as he dropped into the foam that led under the boat.  A few minutes later, the wake of the boat turned red and then cleared again.

Four days later, a coast guard cutter approached a cruise ship meandering through the Gulf of Mexico.  There had been no contact with the ship for days, and they had been ordered to board and bring it in.  The rowboat reached the big ship, and the guardsmen climbed the ladder to the deck.

The last transmission the cutter heard from its men was that they had reach the deck and saw people walking around.  They would check back in after they’d found the captain.  Screams had followed, carrying across the water, and the cutter captain had decided to go over himself.

Ten days after the cutter had stopped communications; a large cruise ship ran aground on the beach of Sarasota, Florida.  A few lifeguards started to climb the ladders to see if they could help anyone.


From → Shorts

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