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The Ghost at Four Bells
15 Nov 2017
Dylan Lobethal woke with his head thumping like a rotted eggplant and his mouth a cesspool of human fluids. The only cogent thought in his head was "Where am I?" He felt a warm body. It wasn't his body. It was a nice body, a hot body, a sexy body.
"Damn you, Anak-Kai. What have we done," he muttered aloud?
"I'm Charlie. Remember?" the body said. It was a young man.
"I can't take much more of this, Anak," Dylan mentally growled at the ghost.
Charlie wasn't the first cabin boy Anak-Kai bought for him. Neither would it be the last. He'd learned how to navigate Anak-Kai's ocean of forgetfulness. The thought of another self-destructive binge so soon disturbed him.
He sat up too fast, and the flowery wallpaper walls of the cheap room spun. His reaction wasn't good. The contents of his stomach rose like the tides, and like the tides, his gorge would wait for no one. He clasped his mouth, and the young man shoved a plastic wastebasket in front of him.
"Use this. Old Man Ling don't like no spew on his wooden floors."
Dylan heaved. The vomit tasted terrible and stunk worse. He wobbled to the toilet and retched again. With his stomach mollified, he climbed from the floor to the sink. Cold water washed the taste from his mouth. He stuck his head under the faucet to clear it from whatever happened the night before. Only after he gained stability did he dare to look into the mirror.
The aftermath of a binge was too familiar. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and degradation. Anak-Kai would reveal the embarrassing memories at the worst times. The ghost was a bastard. The body in the mirror was not as Dylan remembered. New tattoos decorated his tanned muscles; sharks and whales on his thighs, a giant squid covering his private parts, Neptune with his trident on his right shoulder, a tall ship on his chest, and Davy Jones locker spilling gold on his left bicep. He didn't remember getting any of them.
The young man, most likely in his late teens, stepped next to him and pressed a hot and sexy body against him. He was as naked as Dylan, mixed Thai and something else, with had skin like burnished copper, gorgeous muscles, knotted face, coal-black hair, and wonderfully brilliant colored tattoos in the same style as Dylan's tattoos. That was the good. Dylan also saw the bad, scars from physical abuse and cigarette burns.
"I think I need some of my Uncle Willie's weird and wonderful healing waters."
"I don't know your Uncle Willie, and you don't need any more alcohol. Hell, you drank more alcohol and did more drugs than I thought humanly possible."
Dylan grabbed a towel to dry his face. Instead, the young man pushed his body into the shower. As the water heated so did their bodies. The young man was gentle, affectionate, thorough. They stepped from the shower clean, renewed and dried each other without words. The young man reminded Dylan of himself a half a lifetime ago. His chest was compact, arms strong, abdomen and thighs nicely muscled, and hung like a horse. Anak-Kai picked well this time. Usually, he chose diseased hags, or screeching harpies, or whores screwing for money and drugs. It was the eyes that betrayed the liars and cheats. This young man's dark eyes and scars revealed his real past. He'd seen the bad in life and still had a glint of hope for something better. Dylan wanted him, desperately wanted him completely.
However, Dylan was hungover, badly hungover. He remembered signing a contract, an indenture from centuries past, probably illegal, at minimum unenforceable. He sighed. It was time to be truthful about his situation and the ghost. How could he reveal a ghost when His head still ached, and he struggled to concentrate?
"I don't remember much since I left the Nishimi Maru. Your name's Charlie, isn't it?" Dylan asked. The young man turned away, pissed off and angry.
"Don't bullshit me, blue eyes. You want to throw me away like a cheap whore, fine, Scrape me off your shoes like dog shit and leave me, but don't pretend you don't remember what you said or what we did with each other."
Without his memory, Dylan stood, helpless. He didn't know where he was or how long he'd been there. The young man's ultimatum had to wait. He looked at the calendar on his watch. Ten days before, the Nishimi Maru was towed into the port of Jakarta to install a new generator. Most of the crew was dismissed until the repairs were completed. He remembered hiring out on a day trip as a deckhand on some Richie Rich's oversized yacht. Richie Rich and his mistresses wanted to see Krakatoa. The sloop was a floating drugstore and alcoholic's dream. He didn't remember much after that. Anak-Kai must have taken control and stayed in control until this morning. In the past eight years, he'd done too many drunken deeds thanks to Anak-Kai's unpredictable possessions of his body. Nine or ten days lost; Anak-Kai never binged this hard before. At least he was in Jakarta and could return to the Nishimi Maru.
"You've been very bad, Anak," he thought. He closed his eyes, attempting to banish the drug-induced clouds that caused the latest black-out. What post-coital, post drug-splurge, post alcohol-binge, or upcoming event would free the memories. How long would Anak-Kai wait before creeping back to enjoy the chaos that he created and to chide Dylan on his mishandling the aftermath? The damn ghost wasn't there to answer. It must have slipped away to haunt another poor schmuck on a toilet, or to amuse itself by making dead fish sing in the marketplaces.
"Go fornicate yourself, Anak," he thought, turning his attention back to the young man.
"I'm sorry that I can't remember your name," Dylan said to the young man.
"You called me Charlie Noble, remember? You were drunk. You took a dozen drugs like candy. You're lucky you aren't dead," Charlie paused to let his scorn sink into Dylan. He continued: "You bought me off of Old Man Ling so I could do your new tattoos and polish your smokestack." He shook his fist over his crotch in an obscene gesture. Dylan blushed and gave him a sad affirmative shake of his head. Charlie retrieved a contract signed in blood from a worn duffel bag. The young man's name was unpronounceable hence the sailor's nickname - - Charlie Noble.
"Nice touch of satire, Anak," Dylan thought.
"So I bought you at the Hungry Ghosts Festival? I've never done that during a binge, and I'm not sure why I did it now. I don't want you to leave. I like you. I want you to stay, but I can't remember anything."
"You don't remember the sweet talk and living together merely yak-yak we made while we did the deed? Is all that stuff you promised gone in some alcoholic fueled dream, never to be remembered? Or is that part of your forgetting act?"
Dylan didn't get a chance to answer. Anak-Kai returned and entered his mind. "You share much in common."
"Like I want to be reminded of my past," Dylan thought, searching for Anak-Kai in the room. He sometimes manifested a sign of his presence. Not today.
"Considering your choice of heathen mates and other fleshy toys, I think I was successful. This lover-boy isn't illegally young, or didn't hold a knife to your throat demanding more money, or didn't act like a god-forsaken round-eyed heathen, or a Sumatran baboon with disease dripping from its arse or rampage like a cursed she-devil Xanthippe," Anak-Kai whispered from his unknown hiding place.
"Damn Anak. I needed that money to at least try to better myself. You pissed it away for me. That was irresponsible. When are you going to give me my life back?" thought Dylan without receiving a hint of regret from the ghost.
"Aw, he does make your mizzenmast rise, doesn't he?" Anak-Kai answered, arousing Dylan to the point of embarrassment.
"Behave, we have a boat to catch, or I starve to death. You want me to die on the streets begging for rice or noodles?" Dylan thought. In the back of his mind, Dylan knew how to stop Anak-Kai. The truth was that he didn't want to lose the ghost. He liked the freedom to act out, to become the fool, to abandon the pretense of responsibility. More than that, Anak-Kai was right on two accounts; Dylan lived in fear of life itself, and Charlie Noble made his heart beat a little faster, his first love. Anak-Kai was the friend who would always tell you the truth and was there to keep you safe.
"You're still half drunk, aren't you?" Charlie asked, noticing Dylan's internal conversation. He took a deep breath, resolving to tell Charlie about Anak-Kai. His mouth never spoke the words. Instead, he lied.
"I have these binges and can't remember what I've done. My memories will return in a few hours, at worst a day." Dylan drank a glass of water for some courage that wasn't there. "The Nishimi Maru sails with the tide. I've known Captain Kimihiro for too many years. He offered me enough money to make a decent life. I intend to be on it with or without you."
He regretted the lie and the implied ultimatum. He blamed his stupid generosity on Anak-Kai. The damned ghost cost him half his savings to Old Man Ling to buy Charlie in a questionable sale. Charlie was nearly twenty and a Rembrandt of tattoos. With talent like that, the young man could support himself if he got a setup in a good tattoo shop. Dylan never spoke about Anak-Kai, afraid to be marked as insane. Worse than mere acting cowardly, he recognized himself in the young man. Anak-Kai was right. Charlie was afraid of striking out alone, and Dylan knew that feeling too well. He knew that he wouldn't hold Charlie to the indenture. However, he needed cash and couldn't miss the Nishimi Maru's next trade runs. Damn the ghost and his web of chaos.
Before Dylan could think of how to explain his way out of the situation, Old Man Ling gave a perfunctory knock, opened the door, and walked into the room. He didn't care that they were naked. His nasty, beady eyes locked on Dylan and Charlie's faces, never swerving.
"Blue-eyed devil need clean clothes to go out in public. I laundered," Ling said, handing a bundle to Dylan. Then he turned and handed a bundle of worn clothing to Charlie along with his tattoo gear and passport. "I am glad to be rid of your burden. I still laundered because Ling does good laundry. If I had my way, you would be dead with the worthless, abandoned girl babies. Thank me by never returning, ingrate." He turned and left without another word.
Dylan caught the look of deep sadness that flashed across Charlie's face.
"Damn that man's cold," Dylan thought as the blurred memories from the mists of whiskey, sex, and Anak-Kai's mischief, cleared enough to reveal Charlie's history. The young man was mixed race, a thrown away baby, no known father or mother, taken in by Missus Ling and despised by her husband after she died. Old Man Ling hated him, hated spending money on a half-breed. He sold him for sex as a rent boy and kept the money. Charlie taught himself tattooing so that he could work in a nearby shop.
"You and I, we, need time. I will get you away from here. I'm sure that Captain Kimihiro could use another deckhand. I should know how you pronounce your real name," Dylan asked, getting dressed.
"Chaiyanuchit Pookusuwan," he said, smiling. Dylan's eyes opened wide.
"Charlie will do. I promise to stay sober on the ship."
Charlie agreed with a nod.
At the docks, a flurry of crane activity over the freighter signaled the completed installation of the new generator. The repaired generators were running, and the boilers fired, the ship was making ready. As they started up the gangplank of the Nishimi Maru, Dylan put an arm around Charlie's shoulder, better to be seen friendly. Charlie reciprocated.
At the top of the gangplank to the ship, he introduced Charlie as a long-lost cousin, Captain Kimihiro merely rolled his eyes and motioned for him to board the freighter. On the deck, Kimihiro gave the pair a severe once-over.
"Seriously Dylan? He sleeps in your cabin and works shifts with the rest of the crew." Captain Kimihiro turned his attention to Charlie. "You don't look like you're fragile. You better know how to work shifts on my ship. I don't carry passengers. Unnerstan'?" he growled.
"Aye Aye sir," Dylan said, giving a smarmy, fumbled salute. Kimihiro didn't appreciate the sarcasm. He leveled a stare at Dylan and Charlie that burnt like the noonday sun in the Sahara desert.
"Hey, shit-for-brains, you may enjoy living like a crazy man. The Nishimi Maru has seen your crazy once. It better never see it again." Kimihiro almost let them go but thought they required more direction: "Listen and listen well, keep that manic/depressive 'Anak-Kai' asshole side of yours under control. I don't need or want another episode from him or you or whatever it is. One visitation of screaming insults and blasphemy on my decks or an on-board drunken binge and I'll keelhaul your ass and leave your body for the sharks. In four days we dock at Macau. If I can unload and reach Perth in good time, I can fill the hold and make full steam to back here in Jakarta, and we'll get a big payoff. Understand?"
When they reached the cabin assigned to Dylan, Charlie asked the obvious question.
"I thought you were Anak-Kai? That's what you called yourself when I was tattooing the squid over your knob."
"Anak-Kai is a ghost. He's been haunting me as long as I remember." The admission startled Dylan. Charlie who took it in stride. "Does that scare you?"
"So I slept with a haunted lover. I never had sex with a ghost before. If he's the worst of you, I'll stick around for the best." Charlie laughed and kissed Dylan.
The freighter sailed with the tide, its holds filled with canned goods, cheap clothing, machine parts, and tchotchkes. They sailed through the South China Sea to the Karimata Straights. Charlie learned the ship fast and worked hard, impressing Captain Kimihiro. The crew called Dylan and Charlie "man and wife." They stopped teasing when Charlie designed a Nishimi Maru tattoo and only charged the crew for the ink. The act made him unique.
The pair tried arranging alternate shifts; one could sleep alone in the bunk while the other worked. It didn't last more than a day. Anak-Kai disturbed Dylan's dreams. Out of habit, Dylan didn't tell Charlie. Anak-Kai countered by invading Charlie's mind with dreams, not the invasive nightmares or blackouts that the ghost gave Dylan, but disturbing nightmares of dark oceans and rogue waves.
They docked at the Container Ship Port of Macau a day early, permitting Captain Kimihiro to bid and receive a rush contract for machine parts for delivery to Jakarta. Prompt delivery meant double bonuses for all-hands; triple if the shipment arrived an extra day early. Captain Kimihiro canceled shore leave and worked the crew members along with the dock workers to unload the goods for Macau and load the machine parts for Jakarta. Loaded and factory-sealed, the freighter steamed southeast.
The Nishimi Maru's course would take it through the Sunda Strait past the tiny island of Krakatoa. Tired and worn-out from a nearly 24-hour shift, Dylan and Charlie threw their clothes aside and fit their bodies together on the narrow bunk. Anak-Kai invaded both men's dreams with his nightmare with the events of over a century before.
The nightmare woke Dylan and Charlie with a suddenness that tossed them from the small bunk to the deck with a thud. They startled awake over each other's knees and elbows.
"What was that?" Charlie mumbled.
"Engines are running. Ship's still under steam," Dylan said. Charlie stood, looked out the porthole. The moon was setting in calm waters. Two bells rang. A half an hour to sunrise and two hours to the next shift.
"All's calm out there," he climbed back onto the bunk, Dylan lay against him. Anak-Kai's nightmares left him wanting physical contact.
"Probably me. I must have jumped and knocked us off the bunk."
"Your dream?" Puzzled, Charlie hugged Dylan and kissed his neck. He leaned back and returned the affection.
"Yeah, Anak's nightmare," Dylan said.
"No matter. I had a bad dream too. Probably the long work shift," Charlie blushed and said in a matter-of-fact tone. Dylan turned him roughly. His face ashen. He put his hands on Charlie's shoulders, anxious and earnest.
"Anak's dreams are as real to me as memories. I fear his mischief in this."
" How could we both have the same bad dream?"
"What if we did?"
"My dream was from the Nuns at the orphanage. I grew out of them, learned to forget them." Charlie said, wanting to push it out of his mind. Dylan wouldn't it go.
"Tell me your dream. It's important to me."
"Why? It's only a silly tale meant to frighten, that's all."
Dylan demanded. "Tell me your dream!" he screamed so loud that he scared Charlie.
"The Nuns at the orphanage, they used to scare kids who were abandoned or orphaned like me with a silly tale about a volcano sinking ships," Charlie shrugged the importance away. Dylan was nearly frantic.
"Was it Krakatoa destroyed the Anthony?" Dylan asked. Charlie's eyes opened wide with surprise.
"The Santo Antonio? You know the story. Lots of people must have read it in the history books."
Dylan closed his eyes and raised his head as if looking to the sky. He recited the words of his dream. "I call upon the lightning and thunder to beat back the wind."
Charlie answered, repeating the next line of his dream. "I call on the rain to wash this sulfurous rot from the skies."
They stared at each other for several heartbeats, the identical question burning in their minds. Charlie broke the silence.
"How do you know my dream?" he demanded. Fear filled Dylan's face and darkened his eyes. It was his turn to reveal everything to his lover.
"As a child, I had ADHD, and my parents drugged me into behaving. I never dreamed. When I was twelve, I ran away from home determined to be free. I wandered for a year before I made it to Jakarta. The Captain of a Russian Trawler hired me. He said I that he would make me into a man, strong like bull and healthy like ox, called me his cannon-cocker with my broadsides and muscles. I was always a big, strong kid and he wanted my body, so I let him. He became my father figure to me. Four years later in a cheap whorehouse in the ass-end of Jakarta, a thief knifed him. I beat the thief with my bare fists until his skull cracked wide open and his brains smeared on my hands. I fled. I worked the rent-boy trade for a few months until I could buy papers to become Dylan Lobethal. Shortly after that, I signed on to the Nishimi Maru."
Charlie put his hand on Dylan's mouth and stopped his rambling recitative.
"What's that got to do with the dream?"
"Anak-Kai is a ghost. Eight years ago, he found me. He somehow possesses me when I have those blackouts and the binges. I thought that he was searching for some release in the chaos." He hugged Charlie tight in the desperate hope that Charlie wouldn't leave him upon learning the truth. "The night that Anak-Kai first came to me, I had that nightmare in the middle of a whorehouse. It was like I was on the Santo Antonio. I broke down, helpless in fear. Police told me that I fought off three men trying to rob and kill me that night. So Anak-Kai became my friend. The downside is that whenever I close my eyes, fragments of the dream come. When it gets too bad, I drink. Drink enough and Anak-Kai takes control. I lose a few days and wake in some God-forsaken hell-hole. Until now, I thought Anak-Kai did it because he enjoyed the chaos." Dylan turned his head away in shame and worst of all, a fear that Anak-Kai would get his hooks into Charlie and ruin his life.
Four bells rang the watch.
Dylan's eyes flashed with understanding. It wasn't chaos Anak-Kai wanted. It was the release of death. This was his time, in six minutes the world would explode.
"It's the ship. That's what Anak-Kai wants, the ship, its crew, a sacrifice." Dylan kept repeating as he ran to the main deck, dressing as he went, Charlie following. They burst onto the main deck and looked to the southwestern sky.
Captain Kimihiro was in the window of the Bridge Tower. He didn't permit the crew on the main deck while on the high seas. Other areas were designated for R&R. The PA system squealed and crackled.
"Gentlemen, get off the main deck. If you are drunk or high, own up and walk away."
"Storm, make ready for storm," Dylan and Charlie yelled, waving their arms. Kimihiro consulted the radar. There were no pings, no echoes, no clouds, no nothing.
"Nothing on the radar, what do I look like, a red-assed baboon? Leave now and I'll forget the entire incident," the Captain said over the PA.
"It won't be on the radar. It's Anak-Kai. He wants to sink the ship," Dylan yelled once again. Captain Kimihiro thought him insane. Still, he took out his binoculars and scanned the horizon. To the west-south-west, a thunderhead formed, pushing upward, lightning flashing. Kimihiro sounded general quarters and announced the coming storm to the crew.
"General quarters. Make storm ready. Make lightning ready. Isolate the vital electronics," Captain Kimihiro ordered over the Intercom. He turned the Nishimi Maru toward deeper waters. The freighter could ride-out the storm but a bad wave might cause it to heave to and sink. The wind blew rain sideways. Crewmen ran between hatches and portals, sealing the ship, doubling the lashing, raising safety lines. Above them, the skies opened and rain crashed into the ocean. The sea turned to whitecaps, choppy, violent and waves washed over the decks.
Dylan grabbed his head and struggled. Anak-Kai entered his mind.
"Leave me Anak-Kai. It's not right what you want to do." Dylan reached a bulkhead and banged his head off it. "I'm not your instrument of vengeance, neither is Charlie." Again, he bashed his head against the bulkhead and his eyes turned coal black. Anak-Kai was in control.
Charlie stood helpless, knowing and not-knowing, believing and not believing.
Dylan/Anak-Kai reached the middle of the cargo deck, his right fist raised, threatening the elements, his left hand holding a harpoon. Charlie suddenly understood the nightmare. He grabbed Dylan/Anak-Kai and struggled to wrestle the harpoon from his hands. Dylan/Anak-Kai threw him aside like a rag doll.
Captain Kimihiro freaked. "Get that damn harpoon out of his hands. The lightning will fry him and the electronics. Once that happens, we founder."
Three crewmen made for the cargo deck. Lightning struck the ocean surrounding the ship. Balls of electric death bounced onto the deck of the Nishimi Maru. The antennas and vent stacks glowed. Crane booms sparked and crackled. Sprites danced the hornpipe to the wailing of the gale. Fountains of ghostly white fire spouted from the railings. Fearing for their lives, the crewmen retreated inside the superstructure, leaving Dylan/Anak-Kai and Charlie alone.
Anak-Kai wanted to avenge his death. He sought vengeance against the gods of the sea and in return, the gods of the sea demanded blood sacrifice in payment.
Dylan/Anak-Kai waved the harpoon in a circle and drew the Sainted Fire and sprites to him. Blue-white plasma swirled around the possessed man as he used the harpoon to collect more of the electric charges and form it into a ball three times his height. It sparked and crackled.
Charlie alone stood close enough to save the Nishimi Maru. He'd grown up scared, scared of Nuns, scared of being abandoned, scared of finding parents who didn't want him, scared of Old Man Ling, scared of living. Fear had ruled his life for as long as he remembered. Today, he would not die. He had something to live for: a flawed man, a man he loved. This would be the end or the beginning, Heaven or Hell, life or death.
He walked into the ball of blue fire surrounding the possessed Dylan.
"Father of my father, Do not make this sacrifice. It will benefit no one and only end in sorrow," Charlie yelled into the gale. The skies roared their defiance; the sea battered the freighter. Anak-Kai turned on him and roared in a voice that rivaled the wind and waves.
"I sailed these waters on the rotten carcass of a ship not worthy of stormy seas, not properly rigged, not properly supplied, and poorly manned for we were few and not well trained. I told the captain to turn back and stay safe but he was a bastard son of a sea whore, a fool out to make his fortune on our sweat and blood. On the day I should have died, the day fate decreed, he was the one who cursed all that is Holy and Sacred and bragged that he could survive the storm, sail any wave and for his arrogance, the ocean and Heaven punished us, his crew. The captain's curse fell on my mates, our children, and our grandchildren down to the seventh generation. My shipmates begged for justice, cried out to Neptune, god of the seven seas and vast oceans for aid, called to Mary, Mother of God for mercy and salvation, but none came. The sea rose in anger and threw us, like filthy and diseased sinners into the abyss as so much flotsam and jetsam. We were the damned. I remain on Earth to avenge their deaths."
The crew who heard Anak-Kai's confession gibbered in fear.
Charlie, who just found his life, did not want to know despair again, did not want to be alone, did not want to die this day. Dylan was his reason to live. He dodged the harpoon as Anak-Kai swung it past his head. The storm surrounding the Nishimi Maru raged harder. Klaxons sounded from the bridge.
"This man has done no wrong to you. No wrong to your crew. No wrong to your children. Leave these seas and pass on," Charlie yelled. Anak-Kai brought the harpoon to Charlie's chest right above his heart. One good thrust would do the job. Charlie didn't move. The ghost and the orphan face-to-face, both men of will, both cast off and rejected, would determine the destiny of the Nishimi Maru.
"By the mermaids and serpents that dwell in the depths, by the whales and sharks, by the porpoises and dolphins, eels and lobsters, by the demon Leviathan and his master Lucifer the Fallen, I have found myself a worthy son, a man of the seas to avenge me." Anak-Kai persisted.
A wall of water tall enough to roll the ship rose in the distance. This was the instrument of doom. Charlie stood his ground and challenged the ghost again.
"A volcano caused your death, not a God, not the Seas, not a man, not even the stars or the sun or the moon. I compel you to join the thousands who died with the volcano. I compel you to end this perpetual torment of the living." The rogue wave rose higher than Everest. It pulled the ocean from the depths and stopped a mere hundred yards away, awaiting the dread signal to fall upon the freighter. Charlie spoke the mystic words from the worst of his childhood. Words to drive the demon away. "I, blood of your blood, son of your son, compel you. I, like you, was born an orphan, abandoned by unloving parents, raised by strangers who resented me. By the Blood of the Christ, I compel you. By everything good and Holy, I compel you. By the children of sailors yet unborn, I compel you. By the Mother of God, I beg the compassion and mercy you never received. Leave this god-forsaken realm between life and death. Grant us life and take your soul to rest."
His words distracted Anak-Kai enough to give Dylan a chance to think his thoughts. He too, begged for Charlie's life and the lives of the crew, without guile, without deceit, with love and understanding of an old friend who shared a body without regret. Anak-Kai, the forsaken of the sea, the abandoned and forgotten, relented. He released Dylan and spoke to his mind for one last time.
"Child of my loins, son of my flesh, you are fatherless no more. Mourn for me your father lost in the sea. Pray for me." The threatening wave dissipated.
Dylan turned three times and launched the harpoon into the heart of the storm. The wind swirled around the boat times and dissipated, the skies cleared, the seas calmed. The storm and rain dissipated.
Dylan's eyes were blue again.
"He's gone." He fell into Charlie's arms and the world abided with them. They were together and that was what mattered now.
Captain Kimihiro and the crew cautiously appeared from the bridge and the passageways of the ship. Neither Captain or crew would question what they had seen or rag-out Dylan again.
"Captain, best speed to Jakarta. The sea will give us passage like never before," Dylan called to the Bridge while holding Charlie tight to his chest.
Kimihiro set the compass for Jakarta and the EOT to Full Ahead. The engines room responded and the seas obliged. The Nishimi Maru made port a day and a half early with fair winds and a following current that impossibly flowed where the ship pointed. The good fortune lasted a year and made the Captain and crew of the Nishimi Maru rich.
Months later, Dylan and Charlie purchased a new harpoon for the Captain. They had it engraved with the dates of Krakatoa and the ghostly encounter. He much appreciated the gift. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren never believed the story he told about the day he encountered a ghost at four bells and lost a harpoon.
6400 words more or less
FUTURES YET UNKNOWN
Ten Stories by Dave Fragments
*An Alien serial murderer and a furry detective with fleas.
*Murder on a world with altered humans.
*Disturbing apocalyptic visions *Monstrous dystopian societies.
*A man on trial for betraying the human race to robots.
*Devils, demons and ghosts.
*Survivors of a plague war.
*Cyborgs trying to be human.
*Six friends in a strange sinkhole.
*The truth about a world drowning in rain, without sun, without hope.
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