THE MERMAID

THE MERMAID

Status: In Progress

Genre: Thrillers

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Thrillers

Houses:

Summary

My first attempt at fiction. It was inspired by a Dream.
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Summary

My first attempt at fiction. It was inspired by a Dream.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Hamnegata.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 15, 2017

Reads: 61

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: March 15, 2017

A A A

A A A

I’ve never sailed anything bigger than a Paper Boat. I wrote this Tale, based on a Dream.

People who Sail, tend to prefer solitude. Some find in the unrelenting Horizon, a tranquility impossible to obtain on Land. Rose was one of those. She and her Sister, grew up Sailing with their Parents. Like a lot of Mariners, Rose, was looking forward to the 'O4' Regatta.

The O4 or ‘Four Oceans’ Competition, happened every five years and was the largest Prize in the Nautical World. The completion time was open. The Record was held by the Crew of “The Spinnaker’. They took five months, two Days and eleven hours. Entry for the Race was strict. Vessels required to be AIS* & GPS, have at least one Main Sail, be a minimum of 80 foot in length, as well as a qualified Engineer amongst the minimum Crew of Five. Fuel is restricted, as Engines are only for use in an emergency. Many Sailors and Boat Owners enter, hoping their latest equipment will assure them a place. However, a well equipped the Vessel, is only as good as it’s crew. Their expertise is the deciding Factor. Rose was in the Crew of The 'White Swan' owned by ‘Cap’n Jon’ Galliend ,an experienced Sailor and Engineer. They had sailed together from youth, meeting when both were crewing on the ‘Mercania’. Rose left to become a Pilot in Lymington, Jon stayed and became the Navigator. They went their separate ways but remained good friends. Then two years ago, John became the owner of a magnificent old 83ft Schooner, with two masts. It had started life as a Herring Boat in the Outer Hebrides. It was in very good shape and well equipped. It was swift and handled well and only needed a small crew.

The 'White Swan' was the perfect Craft for the 'O4'. John and Rose had competed before, on the ‘Mary Lou’, a 130ft Yacht. However, like so many of the competing Vessels, the Boat was knocked out before the second  stop in Madagascar, because of the treacherous Waters, off the ‘Cape of Good Hope’. They tore two Sails and  limped home early. This time they stood a better chance of completing the course, and were amongst the favourites to win. Rose had been worked on the “Swan” for two years as First Officer, so she was part of an experienced, happy Crew. The familiarity, routine, the hum of the rigging in full Sail, the slow ground tackle, the sounds and smells, made Rose feel at Home

The O4 Event, started and Finished in Oslo Norway. It’s position between The Artic and North Atlantic Oceans, it is a large Port, ideal for hosting the Race. The shiny Armada of 100 competing Vessels, left the Harbour at 0620hrs on a choppy Morning Tide. The Wind was strong, as all sailed into the Arctic Ocean, heading for ‘Los Tenerife’, the first of four stops in the race. They estimated it would take the best part of three months to complete. With Just a crew of Five, it was the perfect Sailing adventure. The cold northerly Wind, filled the sails and only a brief mist of Rain. So it was with optimism, that they set sail on that clear, June morning.

The first day they made good time. The New Mainsails and Rigging, proving a good investment. Three hours into the Race, there were only three boats to still be seen, all but one behind them. The smaller Vessel ahead the ‘Saltshaker’, disappeared off the Port side, around Sunset. The cool Wind had been fair and the Sea smooth for most of the day. At the end of Roses shift, she watched the Sun’s slow descent in a cloudless sky, content they were in the running for the Trophy. She guessed it must have been about 2100hrs, when Billy arrived on the bridge to replace her as Navigator. Rose had crewed with Billy many times. Like all of them, he could work anywhere on the Ship. Billy and Ulrich had met on a Cruiser, five years ago. He had also worked on the ‘Mercantia’ and left with John, but gone separate ways. Now they were all on their first non commercial journey together. It was the realisation of the Crew’s ambitions. This was the happiest Rose had been in a Job. She felt settled, appreciated. Those aboard the White Pearl, were now bound together by a desire to win the Cup.

The sun was setting. Rose had finished her meal and was writing in her Logbook. The repetitive splash of the Sea, pierced occasionally by the creak of the rigging, was reassuringly familiar. Then far away, an odd cry momentarily distracted her. Rose thought it was probably a whale and continued writing. There might be the occasional shoal of flying fish, or a pool of luminous Sea Life or maybe a Whale spout, but overall life at Sea is reliably predictable, save for the Weather. So when the strange sound happened again louder and close to the ship, Rose went to find the others.

She arrived on Deck, to find the other four crew members near the Bow, staring down at the water. There was enough Moon light to see the crew and the Large Deck Lamp, focused on the water beneath Gunwale. The crew was all peering so intensely below, not one of them noticed her join them. Ulrich was the first to speak. Still staring intently down he said, "Do you think she’s gone?" The others nodded and said nothing, continuing to peer together at the water below the Bow. Jon finally spoke; " Best return to your duties." he said before heading back to the Bridge. Rose followed him in. He turned and looked a little startled by Roses presence as if he had not noticed her there. “What’s going on?" she asked He hesitated and shrugged his shoulders. “ what was Ulrich calling she?" she said. He turned to look at the GPS, before answering, “I dunno, I didn’t see it.” closing the enquiry. A puzzled Rose, returned to the Deck and saw Billy at the Navigators post and Ulrich still peering over the Bow. She walked up to Ulrich hoping for more details. “You said she’s gone. Ulrich?” Rose said still smiling. Several uncomfortable seconds passed before he turned his face to look her. Rose alarmed by the odd intensity of his stare, stopped smiling. Without a trace of hesitation Ulrich whispered "A Mermaid." She stared at him in disbelief, her smile now awkward returned, expecting a punchline. Ulrich looked back at the Water.“I know it’s hard to believe” he said, “but I saw her with my own eyes. She was incredible Rose. I only caught a glimpse of her face, when she turned to sing. Then she was gone. Then others came and they all dived like Dolphins under the boat." His face briefly lit up at the recollection, but returned to the worn expression, on seeing Rose’s incredulous face. Heturned back at the waves. “ Did the others see it? “ Rose asked. “Billy did, but Jon and Jan came too late.” He replied. You must be overtired or the Moonlight is playing tricks on you or something. Mermaids are a Myth.” Rose said. Ulrich snorted and continued staring at the sea below. They stood for a while, silently watching the water, until Rose said “Get some sleep!” in her best First Officers tone as she left him, staring hopelessly into the darkening sea.

Rose was awoken at 0530hrs by the sound of Billy knocking loudly on her Cabin Door. "The Cap'n wants to see you on deck" He said. It was too early for her shift and her concern was not lifted by the bright red of the morning sky and the Sails hanging limp in the windless air. On reaching the Deck, she was aware of a distant droning of Helicopters. Billy and John were both on the Bridge, staring at the Sonar. She could see the edge of Spain barely showing, off the Port side.

Have we made good time?" she asked cheerily. " Ulrich’s gone!" Jon said bluntly. He turned to her saying “Billy noticed over an hour ago”. He’d Looked everywhere for him, before waking the Captain. They had searched the entire boat again and he was not onboard. “None of the dinghies are missing” said Billy. “I've alerted the authorities, John said. “They told us to make a statement at our next port of call. We’ll have to abandon the race, at Los Cristianos. Billy spoke next. "We've all waited five years for this opportunity! Ulrich wouldn't have want us to abandon the race because of an accident. . I know I wouldn't.” his voice trailed off and he sighed deeply and then shouted “ULRICH” hopelessly into the air” Jan Joined in. They all shouted his name together a few times, before the effort petered out into a heavy silence. Ulrich had a Sister and a Niece who would miss him as much as the Crew. Rose thought of the agony of telling them. She blinked back the pain and blew her Nose. Jon, tired and more remote than ever, remained awake all day, until the Search teams gave up around Sunset. It had been a fair day weather wise, small compensation for the loss of a beloved Crew member. When Rose got to her cabin at midnight, she was exhausted and sank quickly into a deep, dreamless sleep.

The following morning Rose was woken earlier than expected. This time at the change of shift 0430hrs and to the sound of John’s urgent voice telling her to “Wake up!" She opened her eye to see John, looming over her, wild eyed, his clothes wet and disheveled. “It’s happened again.” He said. “This time, Billy’s gone!” Rose was awake in a heartbeat, frantically pulling on her clothes, barely aware of the pitching of the ship or the gloominess of the sky.

"That thing returned again last night!" John said. Rose looked confused "What thing?" she asked. “The thing Ulrich saw.. I got a better look at it this time. It took Billy, or rather Billy went with it. We’re heading for a storm and I need you on Deck now!” He left her to dress and absorb what he had said. She could not believe he was talking about a Mermaid. It seemed ridiculous. John was too practical a person to be persuaded by such fantasy. She thought she must have misunderstood him. It was several hours before they had a chance to talk again. The storm passed with the daylight. The Police had boarded the Boat then and taken the remaining crew statements. No one mentioned the Mermaid. There had been long searches by Helicopters and Rescue teams. No trace was found of Bill. The Captain had been instructed to continue on their heading. The storm passed with the daylight and The sun was setting earlier, and the evening winds warmer as they drew closer to the Equator. At 1900hrs, the remaining Crew sat quietly together on deck eating the only meal that day and watching the stars and the slippery sea.

Jon and Rose’s communications had up to this point, been limited to the running of the Ship. They had spoken only to give instructions all day, so the details of the loss of Billy had waited at the back of her mind, until now. “What exactly did you see take Billy?" She asked John. He had avoided bringing up the subject all day. “I know how it’s going to sound Rose, but it was…actually a Mermaid”. He was staring her. His eyes held the same intensity she’d seen in Ulrich. They had heard the wailing noise again, hours after after she had gone to bed. “It got closer so Billy went over and turned on the searchlight.” Said Jon. He pointed it towards the starboard beam where the sound seemed to come from. It was a bit choppy last night so we didn’t see her at first, but I’ll never forget that moment she swam into the light. At first, I thought she was some wretched person lost at sea, who had the astonishing luck to be found. I told Billy to throw a rope to her. She grasped it then started singing. Rose wondered if he meant the Wailing noise she’d heard, as she’d heard no singing. “ I was surprised it didn’t wake you. Billy pulled at the rope but couldn’t’ get her aboard. In fact, she barely budged. She looked odd, like she was laughing and smiling. Billy asked if he should cast the net, it seemed the easiest solution; we could use the winch to haul her up and get her aboard. She didn’t like it and nearly got away, but she was caught alright. Jan hoisted her aboard and it was then that we realise she wasn’t a woman. It was writhing in the net, like fish out of water, flicking her tail and arching her back, all without making any sound. I went down for a closer look. She had stopped thrashing about but still caught in the net..” He stopped speaking. He turned to look the spot where she had lain and he shook his head.“She was.. "He paused "..A Mermaid!" She had a mass of long ,dark Red Hair, hanging the full length of her. She was longer than any Dolphin, probably six or seven feet from head to tail. Her face looked almost human, except her eyes. they looked more Fisheye than Human, but beautiful and utterly mesmerising. In the light, The skin on her Face and body skin looked white but her Tail was Green and it's Scales bristled like Cat Fur, making them sparkle.That when I remembered your Camera.” He paused, covering his face with his hands. He sighed and continued. “I told Billy, I was getting your Camera and not to let her go of her. I ran there and back in less than a minute." he paused briefly. "It was the oddest thing! Billy and she, appeared to be leaning against the Gunwale, kissing. They turned to look at me, when they just, well, fell over the side.” Johns face froze at the recollection. “I ran to where they went in. All I could see was a trail of bubbles rising from the deep. I got Jan, dropped anchor and shone the searchlight down where the sea was still fizzing. Jan tied a storm lamp on a rope, and threw it overboard, while I tied another to the mast and myself. I grabbed a torch and jumped in.” John shuddered and sank into his chair disturbed by the recollection.“I must have been in the sea an hour looking for them before I gave up. I stared overboard hoping to see him until dawn and the helicopters came and confirmed the worst.

http://www.rya.org.uk/knowledge-advice/regulations/pleasure-craft/Pages/solas-v-regulations.aspxhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_identification_system


© Copyright 2017 Xanthe Demiurge. All rights reserved.

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