Dark Waters

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
I little tribute to Failbetter Games, creators of the Fallen London series. A short story about an unlucky Captain, who's journey comes to a most terrifying end. Might induce some terror in those who don't particularly like deep water.

Submitted: November 05, 2016

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Submitted: November 05, 2016

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Dark Waters

Screams on the deck. The chill of the wind crawls along my back. I stare into the water, and it stares back at me. The overpowering eye of an unknown Zeebeast resting off of the starboard side is the only thing anybody on the ship cares about. It just stares at us, waiting for us to move. As I bring the engines to a full stop, I reason with myself. Even if we could make it past this horror alive, we wouldn't have enough fuel to make it home. We've been out for months now, and we're on our last leg. I can see the funnel sputtering with smoke, as the ship comes to a stop. The eye stays stagnant, unblinking. I can hear mumbling from the main deck, as crewman begin to prepare for "battle". They find anything they can to use as a weapon, and pull up the very few cannons we have onboard. The first thing that comes to my mind, though, is the end of my journey. My beloved Dreadnought, being torn to shreds, and my officers and comrades, lost to the depths. All that adventuring for not.

The situation requires some reconnaissance. I find my way to the gunwale, and look for able bodied crew. The gunnery officer turns to me, a dazed look on her face. A childhood friend, who would never back down from a challenge. I've never left her side, nor has she left mine. However, fate is a cruel mistress, and a captain and his crew must know these things. She just shakes her head and looks back out at the eye; one small part of our impending doom that's already bigger than any creature we had yet seen. She knows just as well as I do that the gods have already chosen the manner of which our lives come to an end. The ship starts to shake and the hull starts to crack, as I head back up to the bridge, trying to find a place of rest. Panic rises, as all eyes are now on the tendrils, crawling up from all sides of the ship. I can hear the shoveling of coal begin again, and the engine begins to sputter to life once more. The men below had chosen that they were going to live, despite my orders to stop. They don't realize that they don't have any say in that.

The beast wastes no time showing the men their chances of survival, promptly pulling multiple crew members off of the deck, and into the inescapable depths. The panic starts to turn into insanity. All of the Zailors, not having any choice, start to run. To where? Nobody knows, but what else can one do when faced with death? There is no use in fighting. We all understand that. There is not one person manning the cannons, and with good reason. There's only so much that Unterzee residents and sailors can control, and fate is not one of them. Neither is the Zee. The ship begins to tear apart even more, throwing countless crew members off of the handrails and into their demise. I have come to terms with it, as I watch the chaos from above. All I think of now is the sun. What would it have been like, living on the surface? How would the warmth of the sun feel? What could I have accomplished, had I not been condemned to this hellish reality? It matters not, I suppose.

As I sit alone in the bridge, waiting for the end, my vision starts to blur. In the distance, I see a light. Home. Trickery of the mind, I can tell. It quickly fades, along with any remaining sanity onboard the ship. The only thing anyone left feels is the lingering despair. Supplies, crew, gunpowder, all lost. For the sake of trying, I gather everyone onto main deck, as the tendrils calm, slipping slowly off of the ship. I'm not an idiot. I can tell that it's going to come back up. You don't get this far out into the Zee without knowing that calm is always followed by death. I make a head count. 6. From 40 men, to 6, in the blink of an eye. As an added bonus, I can't recognize anybody that's still alive. All of my officers had been taken. Only nameless, faceless crew remain. Men and women who signed on in the hopes of a better, more exciting life. The one person they put their trust into, to give them a good life, has led them to their deaths. Irony, one could say. If only anybody had a sense of humor anymore.

The time has come. The deformed Zee-creature begins to rise from the water, as its form engulfs the horizon. It takes its time, as everyone stands to watch it rise. Nobody moves. We all understand. There is nothing more for us. Nobody will remember us, and nobody will find us. Our souls, lost to the Zee. The creature finally emerges. Seemingly infinite numbers of tendrils and tentacles hang from its body, surrounding the one true horror. Its one eye. It body shambles in the water, a titan of sorts. No Zee Captain had ever encountered this creature before. At least, not long enough to tell the tale. We were next. Looking towards the ship, the monstrosity swiftly tears all of the crew from main deck and into its grasp, including myself. It strangles us midair as it proceeds to turn the ship into nothing more than a few planks of wood. Destroying all we worked for, right in front of our eyes. There is no hope for us.

As it slowly brings me down into nautical hell, I can only feel terror, as the air escapes from my lungs. I see nothing. Darkness. Images circulate through my mind. Images of life. Everything I accomplished, all of my notable achievements, brought along with the Dreadnought, into whatever lies beneath us. Fallen London will never remember us. The world will go on without us. Our legacies, unknown to anyone in existence. Mysteries that we will take to our abyssal graves. Pointlessness overcomes the fleeting feeling of terror. I feel nothing. Not even the light of the ship, nor the glow of the Dawn Machine. Just the depths of the Zee. Just death.

 

 


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