Phantom Ship Story, by M-chan
It was a night of the blackest nature, storm clouds hovering above the world. I was standing on the dock, gazing across the darkened sea. I have never seen something more beautiful than the sea before a storm. Its glassy surface tells it all. I forced out a puff of air through my nose, wondering how bad the seas would be that night. I considered it for a moment before deciding this was the night.
My daughter appeared beside me, a ghost in her dismal beauty. It took no more than a moment or two for my daughter to materialize at my side.
Arty Carpenter was her name. She was tall and built like a pinup model. She had long legs, longer than any I’ve seen anywhere else. That was not all, though. She has curves that not even the layers of clothing could hide. Yes, she is most like her mother. More so, her face was even lovelier, so devoid of makeup. Her cheekbones pressed out harshly against her skin, the angles adding to her unique beauty. Her hair, long and coiled, was dyed peroxide white. The ends were a chaos purple so dark as to be nearly indistinguishable from black.
“Hi, Papa,” she murmured, her voice like the wind through a grove of aspen trees.
“Hello, dearest,” I replied softly.
Her blue eyes, sunken and surrounded by shadows, glittered unusually bright. The seas before us remained gentle, calm, sweeping. The clouds rumbled their anger, swirling in thick masses.
“Is today the day?” Arty asked calmly.
I nodded. The response was quick. Arty faded away, off to prepare the boat. Despite the weather, this was the night we would find the woman of our memories. It was quick work, preparing the boat and setting sail. I won’t bore you with the details. Instead, allow me to continue onward with this tale.
I watched Arty row our boat. Her motions were graceful, smooth. The strokes were quick and strong, sending us across the glassy water. Above us, the dark clouds continued to bellow.
Then came the wind. Arty remained calm, the oars of our boat continuing to cut through the water. Arty’s blue eyes flashed in excitement. Her thick layers of clothing swirled around her. Her long skirts were wild pools of fabric around her feet and her many sweaters and shirts flapped around her as if they were flags. Her long curls gathered around her face, making a halo of white. It was a glorious halo, illuminating my vision.
A small wave swelled under the boat, lifting us. I held on to the edges of the boat as the wave fell. It sent us rocking back and forth, and Arty ended her rowing. The waves would carry us along.
Another wave swelled under our boat. Arty scooted off her seat, careful and nervous. She made jerky motions, crawling across the boat to my side. The wave reached its magnificent peak before collapsing to the sea. Arty didn’t attempt climbing onto the seat, next to me. Instead, she remained at my feet, hugging my legs.
By then, rain was pouring from the angry clouds above us. It slashed at us, stinging our faces. Arty closed her bright eyes against the world. I couldn’t close my eyes. I was too fascinated by the roaring sea around us.
I saw her then. It was the woman of our memory, the mistress of the ocean. She was much like Arty. Her legs were long, maybe longer than my daughter’s legs. Her curves were fuller, more satisfying to a man if that was possible. Her stormy grey dress clung to those curves, accenting her every movement. Hair, long and straight and the color of midnight, fell to the woman’s waist. It covered her eyes, which I was certain were beautiful. Long, willowy arms reached out around her, controlling the furious storm around us.
Then the wind whipped her hair back, and it was a banner to announce this woman’s presence. Bright eyes were set in her pale face. Her hair was then blow across her eyes again. I remembered them, though. They were fierce, the color of a rampant sea, much like the one around us. Fury had flashed in that angry gaze.
The woman raised one supple hand to the sky, eyes turned upon our boat. The wave rose then, pulling at our boat. It happened quickly, crashing down upon us.
I don’t know how, but I survived. I came to the surface of the water, gasping for sweet air. Arty was gone.
I saw the woman one last time. My daughter rested in her hands, a look of peace on her slumbering face. It had happened far too quickly. How was she already gone, and now slumbering? What had this woman done?
The woman flashed me a quick smile. At last, the rain seemed to touch her, plaster her clothes and hair to her body. My daughters soaking curls clung to her face, but she only smiled at whatever was in her dream.
The woman began walking into the sea, letting the rolling waves engulf her. My daughter in her hands, the woman left. As the waves fell upon the two, the woman allowed herself a last flick of the hand.
A wave of the biggest nature rose. It loomed over me, casting an eternal darkness across my sight.
All of it had been fast, far too fast. Was it already the end? No goodbyes, not time to reflect upon the day. The wave crashed down upon me, unforgiving. In its fury, my mouth was forced open. I let out all of the air left in me.
Another rolling wave above the surface gave the power it took to send me spiraling downward. Above, thunder roared out one last laugh.