Under the sea This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

It was a hot summer day aboard the USS Vella Meay, where Scott, who was lean, in his mid forties, with salt and pepper hair, and a face that is weathered, but handsome from the years spent out at sea. Scott and his ever present right hand man Nathan, a stocky well built Italian slight in stature, by not in bravado were about to make a dive in the miniature submersible nicknamed the nautilus; to go looking for the wreckage of German U-boats that were sunk by the American fleets in WWII.

They were in the process of steaming towards the nest site, when a large cruise ship appeared off the ships starboard flank. Puzzled by this, the ships navigational officer consulted the maps, and quickly surmised that there was not supposed to be any other shipping lanes for close to 100 nautical miles. When he reported this to the ships captain, he captain ordered for a change of source to the uncharted island. Little did he know that he would be sailing him and his crew to their untimely demise.

The closer they got to the island the more apprehensive Scott got. There was something amiss about this piece of land that he just couldn’t accurately place his unjustified fears. This is when things started to go wrong aboard the ship. The first hint that things were not as they should be, was the fog that had suddenly appeared. This far out at sea, and the island being so small, ther wasn’t supposed to be any fog. This made the crew even more uneasy. Than all of a sudden the radios were picking up nothing but static, as were the sonar, and all the electronic equipment was going haywire. That is when the panic set in, and the ship was set on a collision course with the strange island.

The captain ordered the engine room to kill the power to the engines, and got no response. The radios were down. The captain had no way of notifying the coast guard of their current plight, so he resolved to just sit back, and wait for his vessel to run aground. That is when he noticed all of the flotsam on the surface of the water, unmoving. There was no tide! The captain ran to the window, where what he say would haunt him forever, which unbenounced to him wouldn’t be very long.

What the captain saw off the starboard bow, was life jackets, and the shattered wooden remains of the lifeboats. This, the captain knew what a bad sign. A ship that size, and with that many people could not have evacuated on just a few lifeboats. That and that fact that he could not contact the stricken vessel were really starting to break his calm composure. He was on a direct path to the cruise ship. The all of a sudden the ship started to slow, and drifted into the ship that was already dead in the water. He ordered the crew to tie up to the ship, and prepare to board her. This was to be the last order he was ever to issue. For soon after that the cruise ships funnel, corroded as it was from rust, broke free form its supports, then smashed into the pilot house of the research vessel. Scott knew that there was no point in trying to rescue the captain, because the stack had ripped the superstructure to shreds.

With the captain now out of the picture, the next in command was Scott. He wasted no time in creating a party to search the ship, which included himself, Nathan, and three other of the research vessels crew. The others were to stay on board, and find some way to get the radios back into working order. With that the search crew set out with flashlights, and whatever they could find to protect themselves. They were scared and not taking any chances. Their luck had already taken an ugly turn for the worst.
Once they were on the ship, the emergency lights aboard flickered on, revealing a placard in what appeared to be the main deck, of the ship. Scott stopped in his tracks. The placard of the ship read: SS Lusitanian, launched on may seventh, 1907. this is when Nathan noticed that Scott was bent over reading the placard. He walked over, and started, but stopped, and exchanged surprised glances with Scott. “Wasn’t this ship sunk in WWI” Scott, turned, and looking slightly pale, gave a faint nod. Then, with no warning, a record began to play Helen Gahagan, skipping every other beat. As a crew member went over to the dining room to turn it off, the doors shut and locked behind him. All the crew could hear were crude animalistic shrieks, and the screaming of their fellow sailor, then all was quiet. There was no crying. There was no tome to. It had all happened so fast, that no one had time to sort it all out

Then they heard an explosion from outside. Everyone went running to see what it had been, but stopped short when the section of the ship bearing its name suddenly fell from the sky and landed on the deck right in front of the entrance, blocking any hopes of escape.

All hell began to break loose, the music came back on, and they could hear child’s laughter coming from down the hall to their left. it grew louder and louder, until a little girl in a summer dress appeared, beckoned them into the dark hallway, then started to run down it. The tow crewmen left with Nathan and Scott, ran after her. They ran down the hallway, then into a room, and into a bedroom. There they day old dried blood all over the sheets, and the feet of a skeleton, with shoes on, and fully clothed. The girl however had disappeared. As one of the men turned to throw up, he turned right into the face of another skeleton, he stumbled backwards, knocking his companion into a table with a plate and knife on it, thus impaling and killing him. The first sailor was not to meet such a merciful fate. The demon that had killed the crew man in the dining hall, was there to meet him.

Nathan and Scott heard the screaming, and ran to its source. They were too late. They walked in to find both men. One with claw marks all over his body, and his clothes bloodied and torn to shreds. That’s when Nathan realized that they had to get of the ship, and send it to the bottom of the ocean. They made their way back to the dining room, careful, to not disturb the body of their dead comrade. The music was playing in the background still, when the girl appeared , and once again beckoned for them to follow. Sensing that Nathan was about to give chase, Scott, held his arm out to stop his friend. “ No now is not the time, we need to stay focused on the task at hand, which is getting off this ship, and sending it to the bottom”.

After going through the kitchen, and out to the deck through the service hallways, the duo searched the deck until they found what they were looking for. A single life boat had managed to remain unscathed in its cradle. And due to its being sealed with water proof paint and a tarp, the 103 years of weather, had been warded off, the straps holding it down were not so fortunate, they snapped right away under Nathan’s strength. After preparing the life boat for a speedy get away, the pair went back to the kitchen, and turned on all of the burners. Thankfully, there was still a substantial amount of gas left in the old ships storage tanks, on their way out they broke the last bulb in the service hallway, when the gas reached it, it would blow, taking the ship, and the demons on it with it. They had just enough time to make it back to the life boa, and get it to the water, when the explosion rocked the ship on its keel. Then something unplanned happened, a series of sympathetic explosions detonated, from what, neither of the men were sure. The shock wave rolled over the lifeboat like a brick wall, knocking them unconscious.

They woke up in hospital beds, it a white wash room. Scott looked over at Nathan, Who was wide awake, and grinning. Holding two ice cream cones, he offered one to Scott. Who accepted it gratefully, and wolfed it down. Then as if sensing his friend had a question, he answered “we are on board a Navy hospital ship called the USNS Mercy. The crew managed to get a transmission out before the explosion!”





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