The photo was that of the boat with a cheery crew in front, smiles spreading almost as far as the jets of shimmering champagne which splashed the deck with its cascading brilliance.
That graph was taken on this here ships final voyage! Boy was that a roughun
I gasped and the photograph slipped from my hand, drifting slowly into a small puddle which was pooled in the floorboards. There was a man standing behind me whose face hadnt met a clean shave for several years, and whose skin must be crying to join the photograph in the puddle for a good clean up. His beard and hair was a tangled mess, and his clothes reeked of spoiled fish.
Despite his retched appearance, the man fell into a kind smile as he bent to fish the photograph from the puddle.
I pologize for startlin ya miss, but jus magine my shock ter find ya here? He said, wiping the water from the photo on his disheveled sea clothes.
I looked around quickly and realized that the man must live in this area, as some sort of homeless sea man.
Im sorry sir
I said, lowering my eyes and shying towards the door.
The man stepped forward and took my hand into his own filthy set. He then pressed the photograph into my palm and smiled warmly once more.
Dont ya want ter hear of the las voyage?
All I wanted to do was leave the ship and creepy man behind me and get back home on the soft earth, but I was an adventurous and curious girl, which had gotten me here in the first place, so I was interested to know more. I nodded and the man beamed, jumping on one foot and kicking out the other, alternating legs in a whimsical dance display.
Great! Sorry ta frighten ya again; I jus havent seen anybody in ere fer quite a long time! he went and sat down at a nearby table, leaving me to stare into the photo once more.
Well, there was good nights an bad uns on that trip, an this night was a bad un. We had lost all light, the fires all out. Tha waves rocked at tha ship with a fury Id never seen, an it was safe ter say we were lost at sea. All happiness left his face as he started this story, and his voice took on a solemn tone.
I member this one wave
He was cut off as the boat took to jerking violently, and water rushed through the window with an unexpected intensity. The water extinguished all of the torches which were lighting the room, making it impossible to see any of my surroundings. I let out a loud shriek, which was nearly extinguished by the sound of the rushing water much the way the torches had been.
The man leapt into action, grabbing me around the waist and holding me under one arm while using the other to open a hatch in the floor, tossing me in feet first, then rushing in after me and pushing me lightly till we were running down the short hallway with the water fast on our heels. I could hear horrendously loud creaking, which reminded me of the trees cracking under the wind. Shouts and screams could be heard in the background, as though dozens of men were fighting back the waves. The ship was lurching around so violently that it was almost certain that the ship had been ripped from the shoreline.
Is this thing even sea worthy? I shouted at the old man, as we passed through the door at the end of the hall and he shut it behind us, just latching it shut in time for it to be beaten viciously by the water behind it.
The man ignored me and rushed down the short flight of stairs ahead of me, then started rifling through all the draws and tables searching for something. He finally found what he must have wanted and held one of them out to me. It was a strange looking tube that housed a small chamber with liquid that glowed once a small flame was lit under it. The man grabbed a sheet off of one table and started gathering all sorts of things from around the room, just as the door to the other room and the glass windows all gave in to the unforgiving hurricane, and water began pounding into the room, ripping everything from its place and destroying all else.
Once more we were forced further into the ship and a heavier door was barricaded from our side. We were in a very large room now, with beds and barrels of all sizes rolling to and fro. We spent a large amount of time clinging to two support beams in the room and praying for it to end. Each wave seemed to shake the ship in a new more violent way than the last, making it difficult to hold on to anything. Then, just as suddenly as it began, the shaking stopped, and the ground leveled out. We slowly let go of the posts and tried calming down. The man collapsed to the ground and held his face in his knees, as I walked slowly towards one end of the boat, not believing any of this could be happening.
I turned back towards the man and a huge cracking noise and a jet of water flew from the floor, and I had just enough time to see his half of the ship was torn from mine as my light hit the floor and burst into flames. I was pushed further back when I sat there crying and trembling miserably, thinking of the old mans fate, and what mine was surely to be.
Its okay, shes breathing
Shes opening her eyes.
I blinked several times to see my parents and a few doctors I had never seen looking at me with looks of concern plastered on their faces. I had washed up on the beach! I wondered if they had found the old man as well, and if he was alright. As time passed and the doctors were satisfied I was alright, they filed away and my parents took me home. They all had asked plenty of questions
like where in the world did all the smoke come from? I told them of the ship but none of them believed me
They claimed there never was a ship here, and today was a beautiful sunny day. Nobody could also bring the old man the mind
it was as though none of it ever existed. I ran it all over in my mind and suddenly I realized. What if it didnt?
Adults were constantly chastising me for my vivid imagination and how it always got me into trouble, what if that was the case today? I took my jeans off as I did every night before bed and emptied the pockets. There, though wet and faded with age, was the photograph of the ship and the old man in the center of a line of several others. The man had told me the photo was of the ship on its final voyage
He never said the ship made it back to port.