Tom woke up rubbing the throbbing bump on his head. The pain was large. He cautiously looked around him. He was in some kind of cabin, gently swaying left and right. Through a small circular window, he catches a glimpse of the surrounding sea. He doesn’t know how he got here. He slowly stands, already feeling woozy from the rocking motion of the vessel he is on. The area where Tom stands is cramped and in front of him is a calendar hanging at an angle on the wall. He traces through the dust that’s settled and reads the year – 1682. He cannot see how this is possible. Delirium must have got to him.
In contrast to the darkness of this place, is a beam of light coming down from above. Blinking as he looks up, reaches and holds the bannister of a set of stairs that lead there. It is old, wooden and unstable. He treads carefully with each step. At the top now he gently pushes open the glass panel and peers around before climbing out onto the deck of a ship. Itself is not that big, also not new either, but a rickety old ship which seems to still be in working order. Why 1682 he thinks, still rubbing his head and pinching the bridge of his nose to try to relieve the tension in his eyes.
There are a few men working on various jobs on the ship, some walking by from end to end. He tries to speak with the nearest sailor man to him but the figure just walks straight past him, doesn’t even acknowledge him. That he didn’t understand so he tries with another crewman who was coming towards him. Again, the sailor walked straight on past him without even looking at him.
Suddenly Tom hears a voice shout to him, “There’s no use laddy, they can’t see you or hear you”. A man was casually sitting on a crate at the front of the ship peeling with a knife an orange, eating segments of it as he did. “Where am I? And what is this?” Without looking up from his cutting, the man went on to tell Tom that they were on a Ghost Ship that sank 4 centuries ago. “Flannigan’s the name, you can thank me in a bit for rescuing you”. I introduced myself and learned we had been on an Airplane heading for Los Angeles from Ireland when the plane ran into trouble and plummeted in to the sea. Apparently Flannigan had seen I survived and hauled me on to a coming vessel – this ship.
“I have to phone my Mom” My cell was not on me. “Didn’t you here me laddy? The plane crashed, you and I were the only ones who made it and now, we are here – on a ship with ghosts – somehow I don’t think you’d get reception, do you?”. Good point. This cannot be happening. “Well how are we to get back home?” Tom watched Flannigan walk towards the Captain’s room and decided to follow, see if he could help. How crazy and bizarre this situation seemed, there must be a way off this ship and call for help.
“Flannigan, is this the Bermuda Triangle or something?” It felt like the only explanation to think of which also meant, according to the myth, that they won’t be found because Planes, Ships, Men, they never are found let alone return from the Triangle. Tom’s panic shot through the roof. “Here, look” Flannigan interrupted and pointed to some charts. Studying them, hope flashed through Tom that if they could get this ship sailing, they could end up close to the Island of the Bahamas. “Can we sail her?” Tom asked excitedly. “Flannigan always knows a way laddy” giving Tom a quick wink, and then began to try to steer the ship. The Crewmen were still wondering around like mindless drones taking no notice of them.
Suddenly, the ship came to an abrupt halt. Tom panicked, “What’s wrong?”. Seems the anchor was holding them down. Anchor retrieved, they carried on attempting to sail the vessel. Flannigan whistled as he steered the ship. They had found the fastest route to the Island and should be there in 3 days. The bump on his head was still throbbing so Tom went and had a lay down in the cabin from where he’d woken up.
Suddenly Tom starts hearing a load of commotion around him. His eyes open to his Mom looking at him stroking his hair. “Hi sweetie”, “Mom. What are you doing here?” “Tom, you’re in Hospital. You gave us a scare. It took a while but the wonderful Coasts Guards eventually found you. That was a nasty bump you took on your head, love”. Bump? Tom touched his head and sure enough there was a lump the size of an orange on it. His Mom sensing her sons confusion finished the story off by telling him that while out on his Jet Ski a huge wave struck and caused him to smash his head on the bars and knock him unconscious.
Tom never felt so relieved in his life. The whole Ghost Ship experience was a dream, it never happened. He double checked his surroundings just to make sure that it was real. He was satisfied. “You need to rest love, get your strength up. Just sleep. I’ll be back in a minute” And with a kiss on the head she left. Tom exhaled loudly and relaxed back into the pillows on his Hospital bed. He almost didn’t see the Janitor in his room emptying the bins. “Thank you” Tom said as the man was finishing. In the doorway, the man turned to Tom and spoke “No worries laddy, you just get well soon” And with a wink, left the room, whistling.
* * * * *
Prompt: Free Write Friday: Time and Place… You find yourself in the lower level of an old ship. A calendar on the wall says 1682. There is a small window, and the view is nothing but open sea and a setting sun. There is a staircase and you can see daylight at the top…