The novel is based on a riddle, that takes hours to solve, and minutes to understand once you have the answer. I have taken it and turned it into a story, so I hope you will enjoy it.

This story is inspired and written for the Picture Prompt Competition.


5. Chapter Four


Panic. It rose up in my chest as I heavily breathed the once so pure air into my lungs. I did not know what was going on, and I didn’t know what to do. But of course Mark and Daniel looked at me for reassurance.  I tried to look confident and sure in my actions, but an uneasy feeling had crept up inside me. It didn’t seem like they felt the same way, just scared. So was I but there was something else that I couldn’t quite place. When we had gotten to our feet, I did not want to wait inside the venomous room. It felt like a prison that we couldn’t break free from, because of the stream of people filling the hallway. A clerk rushed by, almost running faster than the passengers. This angered me. In situations like this the crew was supposed to remain calm, professional and make sure that the passengers moved in a steady and controlled formation. But no, this idiot just ran away from it all, valuing his life above all of ours. All these emotions and thoughts flashed through my mind in a millisecond, so before he moved past our room I slammed my hand into his shirt and grabbed hold. With all the force I had within me I pulled him inside our room, falling in the attempt. He landed roughly beside me, and moaned in pain. He looked at us with shock and confusion. Mark and Daniel were standing beside the door and hadn’t grasped what I had just done. Quickly they realized my intentions and shut the door before the clerk got up. They took one arm each, pulled him up and pushed him backwards, into the door. There was nothing he could do, with both his arms locked by two reasonably big men.

All the air had surged out of me in the fall. But with all the adrenaline pumping through my veins I got to my feet as quick as I could manage. Threatening like a cat I slowly walked toward him. He was breathing hastily and I could see the fear in his eyes. I didn’t want to hurt him, just explain the simple rules of responsibility.

“You. What’s your name?” I pointed my index finger into his chest.

“Patrick.” He answered weakly. An involuntary smile spread across my lips. I could imagine what I looked like in his eyes. Cruel. Unforgiving. Dangerous. I did want to scare him so he would understand.

“Why were you running?” I said calmly, but with edge to my voice.

“Um – I – Uh.. Everyone was running, and I got scared so I ran for help an-“ Patrick stuttered.

“Yeah right. Help? You were running for yourself. And let me teach you a little thing or two about life. But first: you work on this cruise don’t you?”

“Ye-yes sir.” This was unbelievable. This twenty year old was so pathetic it blew my mind. When I was that age I was in the army, serving our nation.

“Listen up kid. When you have a job, you fulfill it. In your case you serve this ship, which means you serve the passengers. And when you do that you have to be professional. You do not run in emergencies, you make sure that everybody gets out safe, even if it means your own life being taken!” I was yelling now. Anger coursed through me, and I wasn’t finished with this kid yet.

“Yes sir. I understand.” Patrick answered, just wanting to please me. Good luck.

“Do you? Do you really? I was in the army. When bombs fall, and guns shoot you do not run! You make sure that your partners are fucking safe before you even move. Do you understand now?” My voice was steady and deep, which was not what I felt inside. Another rumble shook the ship as we were standing in our peach colored room. A look of fear spread across the youngsters face as regret slowly made its way through his thick skull.

“Yes sir. I do. Thank you.” Patrick’s head bobbed up and down as he was nodding at his own words.

“Good. Now get out there and do your job!” Mark and Daniel let him go, and he shakily opened the door. Mark eyes suddenly widened and he grabbed Patrick’s shoulder before he stepped outside, into the blur of people.

“What is going on?” Mark’s voice was not rough and intimidating like mine, but he sounded like a child who was alone home. Patrick’s face contorted from being scared of us, to be scared of something way bigger. His eyes got a distant look, and he stood up straight as he told us the answer.

“The ship is sinking.”

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