Haruyama: The Short Story of the Sempiternity

Hoping to make history, Kai is a member of an archaeology team who sets out to record data from an unknown island. His friend, Amy Morikami, along with the team leader, Caine, experience unexpected changes in events that spiral into a mess that challenges them to survive.

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1. Wrecked

Peering up from his map, Kai inhaled the salty mist as the ship trudged through the last few kilometres of ocean. The scent was much different than all the oceans he's been in, which made his skin tighten with delight. His eyes returned back to the map, blindly examining it for the umpteenth time.

The wind whistled in Kai’s ears, the frosty air forcing him to moisten his lips every so often. The ocean bobbed the ship calmly, spraying mist that made Kai’s skin salty and delicious.

"You're still looking at that?" a voice called out to Kai.

Kai turned around to see his college friend, Amy Morikami.

"Of course," Kai answered with a chime in his voice. "We'll be the first people to discover this island!"

Amy sighed. "We're just finding its coordinates and taking a few pictures,” she explained. “Hopefully, we can find some nice resorts and party for a few days,” she continued with a chuckle, looking past Kai at the foggy island approaching them.

Amy had always known Kai was overenthusiastic, but she still understood that they are future archaeologists.

"Yeah," Kai responded through his giggling, elongating his vowels, "hopefully."

Amy leaned over the railings next to Kai, inhaling the splashing mist of foreign ocean for herself. Kai struggled against the wind to fold the map, stuffing it into the back pocket of his carpenter jeans. He stretched as he joined Amy leaning on the railing.

 

  ***

 

The two friends talked for what felt like hours, laughing occasionally over jokes and hypothetical scenarios. Neither of them noticed the darker clouds that had approached over the ship—until a voice interrupted their chatter.

 

"Hey," the voice announced, "you two."

Kai and Amy rose from the railings to see their group leader and captain of the ship, Caine, walking out onto the deck.

"What's up?" Amy replied.

"Come inside," Caine said sternly. “A storm is reeling in, and fast."

Amy had already started catching up as Caine turned to jog back toward the rooms of the deck. Kai stayed where we was, gazing at the clouds that were easily seen drifting over the ship.

"Kai!" Caine yelled, stopping to look behind. Kai peeled his attention away from the clouds and began jogging to Caine.

 

The three group members went to their cabins. Kai sat on his bed near the cabin window to see the clouds rushing above them, swallowing the sky grey. Little after the last speck of blue had been devoured, roars of rain slapped the glass of the window.

 

Kai could feel the ship rocking as the wind leaked through the cabin's walls and door.

"It'll pass," Kai assured to himself as he wobbled toward the window.

He slid his hands up and gripped the windowsill, spreading his legs apart to withstand the tilts of the ship. He gazed at the aggressive waves swiping past his vision, his mouth agape over the haze of the splashing rain and mist. He noticed the waves rising higher, feeling his stomach tickle anxiously—he'd never experienced this kind of weather during any of his previous voyages before.

A sharp strain to the right caused his tripod stance to give out, crashing him into a guardrail on his bed.

"Ouch. Damn it!" Kai winced out as he rubbed his head to relieve the sting in his temple.

Avoiding any more injury, he scrambled atop his bed and lay flat to regain stability. Lying still, he could notice the howls of wind, the crackling of raindrops hitting the window, and now a wail coming from the ship. It sounded as if mechanical gears were in need of oil.

A sudden bang thundered through Kai's cabin, launching him off his bed and onto the floor. He grunted as surges of pain stung in his elbows.

"Oh, my God," Kai groaned. "What the hell is happening?"

Kai wriggled upright, making his way back onto his bed.

 

Another bang rammed him back.

 

His head knocked the glass window, sending another sting of pain. He cursed as he rubbed the back of his head.

Kai looked behind him, and what he saw made his heart skip a beat.

Triangular rocks poked up from the water, high enough to stay visible over the high waves that rocked the ship.

"Pointy rocks?" Kai questioned. "They're everywhere! How is that poss—"

 

A final shove swept Kai’s feet, launching him forward.

 

He landed into a puddle of icy water. Kai gasped from the cold splash, but he was too dizzy to recover himself. Kai managed to fix himself to his hands and knees, but he froze when the door to his cabin crunched with metallic resonance.

The door flung open suddenly, snapping off its hinges, missing Kai's head by an eyelash. A gush of water trampled over Kai, not giving him enough time to take a breath.

Kai flailed his arms as he crawled against the rushing water that quickly flooded his room. His hands finally met with the sides of the doorway, and with just one effort Kai yanked his body upward, gasping in air as his head surfaced.

His head grazed the top of the doorway as he manoeuvred into the hallway. Hollow whistles of wind pierced through Kai's ears, overtaking his shouts for anyone who was on board.

 

"Hello!" Kai coughed out.

No response.

He tried again, louder. "Hello!"

Nothing.

Kai swam messily toward the back of the ship, kicking away barrels and crates as they floated underneath him.

The cranking of metal turned into snaps, rippling the water and rumbling Kai's chest.

He swam faster.

Kai heard and felt one final snap, and then a tug behind him. He saw the rippling water turn into eddies, and he could see the hallway opening to the back of the ship push away.

Splashing desperately against the growing current, Kai pedalled frantically toward the opening, blindly scraping his shins against crates that swept beneath the dark water.

The current was flowing too fast, but Kai kept trying to fight against it. The opening to the back of the ship narrowed, faster and faster—the tug behind Kai began sucking him under the salty water.

Kai took a couple of slow breaths before filling his lungs completely with air. He finally stopped moving, letting the current dunk him below the surface, stinging his eyes as he submerged into the dark, salty water. His outstretched hands brushed against wooden barrels and metal walls as the current took him, his mind ignoring the agony of splinters and sharp metal edges.

It felt like hours underwater—the cold ocean rushed through Kai's fingertips, pulling up his clothing as he anticipated a railing or a wall colliding with him.

Regaining sense of time, Kai felt a shift in the current. He felt his legs being pulled downward, his back now arched. Kai then was spit out from the current.

There was no floor. There was no water.

 

He was in the air, falling out of a torn ship.

The wind stabbed his wounds and stung his eyes.

 

He was falling.

 

Kai could see the triangular rocks drawing near, quicker than he could regain consciousness. He took one last breath as he shrieked with all his adrenaline, his throat scratched by the strain. Before his body met with the ocean, he squeezed his eyes shut and curled his arms and legs in, forming a ball with his body.

He smacked the surface of the brutal water, engulfed immediately by a wave.

Kai's head slammed into a rock, scraping his scalp across the jagged edges as the waves thrashed him in all directions.

Kai passed out. His mind went silent, his body numb.

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