We Explore an Extremely Creepy Cruise Ship
I ran back to the camp at top speed, though I needed to take a few breaks here and there.
When I arrived, the sun had just come up, and Mo and Harry were frantic with worry, looking for me in places that were rather ridiculous, such as in the storage compartment under the boat.
I couldn’t resist. I walked up behind Harry, who was crouched down, looking under a berry bush, and shouted at the top of my lungs, “OH MY GOSH! THERE’S A BEE IN YOUR HAIR!” He jumped, started frantically waving his hands over his head, trying to swat the nonexistent bee, and, hearing my laughter, whirled around. When he saw me, his face flooded with relief, then anger as he realised the prank I had pulled. There was no bee. I was just teasing him. And he hates being teased.
Before he could explode on me, I interrupted, saying in a very serious tone, “I found something I think you should all see.”
Several emotions flashed across his face in only a matter of seconds. First excitement, then contemplation, before settling on a mix of befuddlement and worry.
“I went on a walk on the beach last night,” I started to explain. “I found both a source of fresh water, and something else I think you should see for yourselves.” The others, especially Jack and Richard, got rather excited when I mentioned the fresh water, but switched to something akin to fear when I said, “and something else.”
“OK,” Mo said, though a bit hesitantly, and more like a question than an answer.
Taking that as a cue to lead the way, I turned on my heel, and went back the way I came. The others were smart enough to follow, though to where, they had no clue. I gave no hints through my actions, except to walk rather fast, stare straight ahead, and wear a look of determination on my face, hiding the fear that was really inside.
I think it’s time you learn something about me. I’m very, well, guarded, you might say. When I was little, I wanted to fit in, so I taught myself to hide my feelings and just roll with whatever life through at me. After that, it sort of became a habit, and it also helped a lot when my parents died. I was able to pack my pain into a little ball and hide it somewhere deep inside me, where it couldn’t show. I rarely seem to laugh, but I pull jokes all the time. I, unlike Mo, am not a very social type. I’m not very good at talking to others, and I have only a few friends.
We just kept walking and walking and walking, and just as the others were getting restless, we caught sight of the river. In the light of the day, I could now see that a large, thick wall of kelp, seaweed, and algae had formed on the mouth of the river, which must be how it was so clean. Suddenly, Richard let out a loud whoop and bolted for the water.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” I said in a monotone voice.
He ignored me and didn’t even slow down when he reached the water. Instead, he jumped in, running at full force, while still in all of his clothing. There was a resounding splash, and a barely audible yelp coming from Richard when he realised how strong the current was.
Sighing, I started down the river at a steady jog.
“Well? Are you coming or not?” I shouted back to the others, who were just standing there, gawking at me. That seemed to snap them back to reality. They joined me, running after Richard, whose small form was easily swept away by the current.
“Grab the branch, Richard! Grab the branch!” I shouted while running. I’m not sure if he understood, so I shouted instead, “Reach up! Richard, reach up!”
That time, he heard me. His hand shot up, and caught on the thick branch hanging low over the water. I could see his hand tense as he tightened his grip and slowly but surely hauled himself up and inch across it’s slippery surface towards the bank.
When we got there, Richard had just dragged himself onto the riverbank. He was soaked to the bone, and he was shaking with suppressed shivers. Rachel tackled him with a hug, and then helped him up, taking her scarf and attempting to stopper the steady drizzle of water running from his hair into his eyes.
After that bit of excitement, Richard was slightly reluctant to climb across the log I had found last night and used for a bridge to get back. My log had sunk deep into the mud of both sides of the river, and it was thick with several branches to hold onto, making it an ideal bridge, at least under our circumstances. As I walked slowly across it, I stopped in the middle and crouched down. I cupped my hands, just dipping them into the current, then brought the crystal clear liquid up to my mouth. It was clean, and freezing cold. Ok, not quite freezing, thank goodness, or Richard would be dead by now, but it was rather cold. I sighed in contentment. This was much better than back at home, where there was dirty, warm water, thin blankets, a limited food supply, and where it was rather crowded. Yes, I liked it here much more.
When we all had had a long, cool drink and had made it across the river, I continued to lead the group across the beach to the hover boat I had found the night before. We walked for another two hours before we got there, but it was worth the while. Their expressions were priceless!
“Wow,” Rachel said in a long, drawn out voice, looking up at the boat with eye’s the size of oranges.
“Wow is right. This is a BluRbn brand hover cruise, model 209, from the year 2123!” Harry said matter-of-factly, not bothering to hide the awe in his voice.
“Did we really need to know that?” I asked in a sarcastic voice that hid the laughter that was fighting to make an appearance. I looked sidelong to my right at Harry, who turned bright red and shook his head vigorously.
“How about we take a look inside?” asked Jack, who was to my left, just past Mo, who was staring open mouthed at the ship.
“Ok, as long as we don’t go too far in. We don’t know how dark it is in there, and it might have something living in it. We’ll just go in far enough to move throughout the rooms. Who knows? Maybe that will be too far in itself.” I said in a monotone voice.
“This is a bad idea.” I heard Harry mumble under his breath.
Ignoring him, I ran up to the boat and took a big leap upwards, and my fingers just caught in a barely visible, yet deep groove in the side of the boat, making me jerk to a sudden and slightly painful stop.
I let out a small grunt of effort as I slowly pulled myself hier up to the next crack in the shell of the boat. As my long, calloused fingers latched onto the next groove, my feet kicked furiously against the rusty metal, trying in vain to get a purchase of the rusty yet slick side. I inched upward, silently cursing the boat for being so darn big, but also thanking my past three years climbing trees in the orange plantation for making my hands and arms so strong and experienced. When I finally gripped the window sill, almost forty feet in the air, I had the luck to find the window closed. I slid my feet into a small gap I had held onto about a minute ago, and, with one hand gripping the window sill, pressed as hard as I could on the glass. Being as old as it was, the wood gave way almost immediately. The glass hit the floor of the inside with a satisfying crash, and I pulled myself through the window, collapsing on the floor.
I lept to my feet as soon as I stopped panting, and looked around for a rope, or something that was long and strong enough to pull the others up into the boat. I saw it in the hallway. A long cord that seemed to stretch from one end of the endless hall to the other. The plastic outer layer had been torn off of most spots, probably by mice, exposing the copper core that glinted in the little light that came through the window behind me.
“Perfect,” I muttered, mostly to myself. Little did I know that someone else heard me.
It took a while, but I finally had the entire cord wadded up in a pile of the floor. I tied one end in a large loop for them to put their feet through, then wrapped a piece of cloth on the cord a little above the knot to protect their hands from the sharp copper strands poking out.
I dropped the loop through the window, and slowly lowered it down, careful not to drop it.
I felt it give a strong jerk when it reached the bottom and someone climbed aboard. I felt the muscles in my long arms tensin as I gave a strong tug on the cord. I heard a muffled cheer from my fellow explorers as I heaved of the cord and whoever was on the other end slowly inched upward to the window.
Just when sweat was beginning to pour down my face, My passenger appeared in the window. It was Mo. The smallest of the five others. This is going to be hard. I thought. And I was right. Unfortunately. By the time everyone was up, all of us were pulling of the rope at the same time and my hands were raw and red with blood.
Finally, Harry appeared in the window, and we all cheered. The problem with that is that everyone else was so enthusiastic, they let go of the rope, suddenly putting the full burden of Harry’s wait of my sore hands, sending me flying towards the window. I just barely managed to hold onto the cord, and nearly toppled head first through the window. The cord began to slip through my fingers, tearing at my already blistered and bloody hands.
My face screwed up against the searing pain in my hands, I tightened my grip of the rough surface of the cord and Harry’s rapid descent jerked to a sudden stop. The others, realising what was going on, ran to my aid, helping my hoist Harry up once more. This time, they waited till Harry was in the room before they cheered.
Instead of joining in, Harry rushed over to me and took my ruined hands in his. He looked like he was about to be sick as he examined the deep, blistering gashes that stretched across my fingers and into the palms of my hands. He then steered my over to the bed in the corner, sat me down, and silently ripped a piece of cloth from the blanket and began mopping up the blood on my hands.
I bit my tongue to stop myself from screaming as tears sprang to eyes, and looked straight ahead instead of down at the blood soaked rag.
“Well that went well, didn’t it?” Harry said sarcastically, copying my words from in the orange grove only three weeks ago, earning a loud snort from me. Maybe it was the stress from the past few weeks, or I simply couldn’t hold it in any more. I snorted again, then the snort turned into a stifled laugh, then kept going until I was giggling uncontrollably, as if I would never stop. Taken by surprise, the others just stared at me, never seeing me really smile before, then joined in. Harry grinned with pride, knowing that this was the first time I had truly laughed for years. Little did I know how much easer that smile will come in the future.
When Harry had finished wrapping my hands in cloth too stopper the bleeding, I stood up, and the others instantaneously turned their attention to me.
“We should split up. We’ll be able to cover more of the boat that way. Rachel and Richard can go through that door,” I say pointing to a wood doorway across the room from me, of the right side of the window. “Jack and Mo, you can go through that one, as you have the best night vision, Jack.” I point behind me to the metal door that hung ajar, exposing the dark hallway where I found the cord. “Harry and I will take the same hall, going the other way. And if you find anything that will be of use in the future, figure out how to carry it with you.”
They set to work immediately, each grabbing a blanket from the bed, which, through small, was stacked sky high with blankets. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, but still. There were at least 14 blankets on there!
When we all had a blanket, we got with our buddy and, with a bid of good luck from all the others, we set off of our separate ways.
The hallway was really dark, and even with my well developed night vision, which was almost as good as Jack’s, I could barely see.
We managed to find the next doorway, or, what we think was the next doorway. It lead to what seemed to be a cell room. The small window was just big enough to let a limited amount of light and fresh air in. The window was barred. Harry and I walked in, and a rancid smell reached our noses.
Gagging, I looked in the corner, were, to Harry’s and my utter disgust and horror, lied a skeleton, curled up in a ball, with rotten meat hanging off it’s bones, grinning up at us. It was truly the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen.
“Well that’s pleasant.” I say, lathering the sarcasm on rather thick.
Harry managed to give off a small chuckle. “Yup.” He replied, also with extra sarcasm.
We left that room as fast as we could, only to find the same results in the next room, only with three people intertwined than one all alone. They were all cuddled up, two grown up, presumably a man and woman, and one very small, possibly even an infant. I felt tears spring to my eyes.
Just the thought of this happening sickened me. How can anyone be this cruel? I wonder. I just want to leave this sight and move on, but some invisible force kept my feet glued to the cell’s floor, unable to tear my eyes away from the horrible sight.
After what felt like an hour, my attention was jerked away from the skeletons by a loud BOOM rickashaying through the halls. Whirling around, I flew past Harry and through the door, running at top speed back the way we came, running straight into Richard with Rachel in tow.
“We heard the explosion.” he said. Only years later did I realise that he was talking at supersonic speed and I still heard him as though he were talking at the pace of a slug.
Well now we knew who was in trouble. Jack. And Mo. Great.
I took off down the hall, tripping slightly on the rug. Before I knew it, the air had filled with the stench of chemicals and smoke.
A figure lumed up in the gloom, just in time for me to run into it.
“Jennie?” Said a distinctly feminine voice.
“Mo! Where’s Jack?” I exclaimed, my voice changing from relief-filled to frantic so fast, is sounded more like two people talking.
“I’m not sure. We found a room that seemed to be a lab, and I stayed by the door while he went in to investigate. He knocked something over, and it exploded. I think he’s still in that room.” She told me matter-of-factly.
“Ok, thanks Mo.” I said, speeding off again.
I ran down the hall, every fiber of my being hoping, praying, please let him be alive, please let him be alive. Through the long, dark hallways I ran, peaking in every door I could locate in the smog to no prevail.
As the smoke got thicker, my fear multiplied. Finally, when I was about to give up and assume the worst, I got to the room that the smoke seemed to be bellowing out of.
I walked in and saw through the smoke Jack, splayed face-first on the floor.
“Oh my gosh! Jack, are you ok?” I shouted, my voice rising in hysteria.
Jack groaned, which I took as a good thing, as it meant he was alive. I ran over and crouched down next to his head.
Suddenly, totally catching me by surprise, he flipped over, so he was looking up at me.
For a moment, he just layed there, gasping for breath in the thick air, but then he let out a long and drawn-out “Oww.”
I began to grin in relief. Then I began to “laugh it out” as Mo would say. In other words, I was laughing so hard, I could hardly breath. Jack first just stared at me with a quizzical look, then joined in.
We heard running footsteps in the hall, and I turned around, still in crouching position. Richard, Rachel, Harry, and Mo appeared in the door, and all of their faces flooded with relief.
“I guess that blows up!” Jack said, his voice bent into a flamboyant tone.
The others burst out laughing. It might not sound that funny, but it was. You had to be there to get the humor of the situation.
Suddenly, I got a rather urgent and serious look on my face, and made a motion at them to stop laughing. They fell silent at once, but with slightly confused expressions. Those looks of confusion turned into looks of fear when they heard a faint ticking noise, as if someone was tapping on the wall just outside of the room.
I slowly stood up, careful not to make a sound, and cautiously walked past the others, who were standing perfectly still, over to the door.
I looked out the door into the dark hall, and screamed.