29th September 2005, 04:42 PM #1
Badass office lady
Sailing Away (horror)
I'm taking a Creative Writing class this year, and I ended up writing this story in there today... I like it quite a bit, so I shall share! Yay!
They say everybody waits for that day in their life when they can escape to a simpler place. For Nikki, today was that day. Nikki never knew what was to come when she found a run down old boat sitting in front of her house; all she knew was, today she was finally free. Nikki had lived a hard life. Her mother died a year ago, her father was a police officer who got killed in a drug bust, and her ex boyfriend stalked her until she finally managed to call the authorities. After that, Nikki never had much luck with men. Nikki was working a thankless job at the local Old Navy folding cargo pants, which barely paid minimum wage. The only way to get out of life, she figured, was through death. She had attempted suicide more than a few times, but always turned away at the warnings of a mysterious man in a black trenchcoat, who appeared on the bridge just as she prepared to jump. “Now is not your time, girl,” he would tell her, before seemingly disappearing. “Turn back. There is more… keep following life’s path and never turn back.” Nikki always assumed that he was an evangelist of some type, trying to save a wayward soul, and left, if only to patronize. Otherwise, it seemed no luck could be found in Nikki’s life. But things were different for her today. Every night, Nikki had prayed for a sign- assuming anyone was out there. Today, though, she figured maybe someone was out there. This was Nikki’s sign.
Nikki inspected the boat the morning it arrived. There was no mark of any owner, no identification, just the name scrawled on the side, Banshee, and a note that said, “Today is your lucky day! Destiny awaits! Enjoy!” My lucky day, Nikki thought. There were a few repairs to be made, but that was it. Nikki set immediately to the minor fix-ups. This she enjoyed; she was always the top of her shop class in high school. Nikki was amazed at how smooth the wood was. While repairing the floorboards of the boat, she found a cryptic message carved in one of them. “good god save us all.” Huh? A chill went down Nikki’s spine. It definitely seemed like a message of distress. But nothing bad could have happened to this ship- it’s in near perfect condition. What is this, some sick joke? Nikki laughed. Stuff like this happened all the time in the small New England town where she lived. Greedy salespeople, hoping to make a buck off some bored Goth kids, would concoct gruesome stories about lost sailing crews then rent the “haunted” ships out at exorbitant rates. Nothing unusual there. She returned to her work.
When everything seemed to be ship-shape, Nikki loaded the few possessions she hadn’t sold yet onto the ship, hitched it to her car, a beat up Honda station wagon, then set off for the harbor. She checked the breezes. North- perfect. The sail was a crisp shade of white, and the afternoon sun cast a picturesque glow on it that lit the rest of the boat. With all her effort, Nikki pushed the boat off the dock and set sail. Now, Nikki thought, is my time. The ocean sparkled beautifully in front of her, a blue utopia ahead of her. She had figured she’d make landfall in a few hours. She didn’t know where, but she didn’t have time to worry about that. Her destiny would come soon enough.
Two hours into the journey, Nikki reached into the picnic basket she had brought with all her possessions and enjoyed her lunch. Nothing could go wrong now. As she sipped the champagne, a voice cried out to her, desperately. “ Now is not your time. Turn back now!”
Nikki looked up.
An old man wearing an ancient trenchcoat looked down at her from the hull of a boat. “You don’t want to go any further on that ship, young lady, believe me.” To Nikki, the man resembled an odd cross of Santa Claus and the Grim Reaper. His white beard only accented his bony face and long, skeletal fingers. His mouth wore a grimacing expression.
“That there you’re sailing in is the Banshee. She’s cursed, and brings nothing but death to those who answer her siren’s call.”
Nikki looked up in disbelief. Is this guy high or what?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, old man, but this is my lucky day… my destiny.”
“You’ll have no luck and no destiny worth hearing about if you don’t turn back. You were contemplating suicide, were you not, when that boat landed on your doorstep?”
The man was creeping her out. No…he’s just assuming that… coincidence, pure coincidence.
“Let me give you a warning, miss. That there ship is cursed. Every day, the Angel of Death, seeking to claim another victim, sends that boat to some poor person who thinks she’s missing something in life. Like you. Your mother… she disappeared mysteriously last year, am I right?”
“How my mother died is of no concern to you.”
The old man gave Nikki a knowing look
“Your mother… was she not depressed?”
“I told you, old man, it’s none of your business.”
The man shuddered, knowing that he had no hope of saving the girl.
“Very well, go on your way. But when Death himself gives you a warning, you ought to heed it.”
Old freak, Nikki thought. Calling himself Death. She sailed on her way, not noticing the dark clouds on the horizon. Nothing would go wrong. Nothing could ever go wrong. Everything will take care of itself.
As Nikki sailed on, she had a dreadful realization. Mom… come to think of it, she said she was going out on the sea for a while, just to take in the breezes. But no, that’s all a bunch of superstitious crap, an urban legend if nothing else. There’s no such thing as angels, much less an Angel of Death. Anyone reading the paper could have read about her.
Turn back… turn back… The warning resounded in her head, but she kept sailing on, as rain began to fall. Just a little spring shower, Nikki thought, as she sketched in her notebook, calmly. Nothing would go wrong. It’s destiny. Destiny takes care of itself.
An hour later, the winds began to pick up, and the rain began to fall harder. No, Nikki thought, panicked. It’s all coincidence. All of it. The ship began to rock wildly.
Turn back… turn back…now is not your time.
She realized she had heard that warning before. The old man on the bridge, who’d mysteriously appear… he was the same old man who had yelled out to her from the ship. Oh my God, Nikki thought. He really was Death.
Nikki took out her cell phone. If she called the Coast Guard, they’d arrest her for sailing without a permit, but a trip to the county jail was better than a trip to Davy Jones’ locker. “Hello? Coast Guard?”
“Hello,” responded a bored voice from the other side of the line.
“Look, I need your help. I went out sailing this morning, and now I’m stuck out here in the middle of a storm.”
“Ma’am, you got a permit on that thing?”
The man sounded as though he’d been around the block a few things, an old veteran, perhaps.
“No, I don’t… but look, I’m out here in the middle of the sea, and I’m stuck, and I see one of your boats… yes, right across from me. It’s the Eagle, or something like that.”
“Ah, good, I’ll call them and see if they can’t fish you out. What’s the boat’s name?”
She waited for what seemed like forever before finally getting a response.
“You sure you ain’t drunk, lady? Because I’ve contacted the Eagle’s Captain, and he can’t find any boats for miles.”
Nikki began to panic.
“Look, I swear to God I’m out here. Why wouldn’t I be? I’m soaking wet right now, and scared half to death. If I make it out of here alive, I’m going to call the Coast Guard now and give them a piece of my mind.”
“You just do that lady. But if there’s no ship, there’s no-“
The line went dead.
Nikki’s cell phone had died.
Oh. My. God.
Nikki suddenly came to a startling realization. The boat really was cursed. She thought about the name. The Banshee. Where had she heard it before? Then she remembered what she’d learned in her mythology class in college. The banshee was an Irish spirit whose cry was a harbinger of death. And sure enough, the Banshee was just that. A harbinger of Nikki’s death.
“No!” she protested desperately. “Nothing will happen! Nothing could ever happen!”
A sickening crack tore the ship apart. As Nikki sunk down into the waters beneath the ship, the words of Death echoed in her mind.
Now is not your time…now is not your time… turn back.
There was no turning back now.
The next day, the TV news crews were all gathered at the docks where Nikki had mysteriously disappeared. The headlines that day sounded something from the poster of a badly translate Japanese horror movie.
“GIRL LEAVES FOR CRUISE, NEVER RETURNS”
And on the doorstep of a man who was planning to die that day, a ship turned up, slightly beat up but otherwise, in perfect condition.
“Today is your lucky day! Destiny awaits! Enjoy!”