Chains of the Seven Seas

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 29, 2017

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Submitted: July 29, 2017



Chains of the Seven Seas


Ahmad El Hefny













 At the city docks, Sixty two year old Bernard Hanks sat on his favorite chair as he lit a match and edged it closer to the tobacco, burning it for his personal satisfaction as he would huff and puff while whipping the match in the air with his left hand to put out the fire. He thought of how smoking and operating a train were indeed incredibly similar; all you had to do is feed the fire, and you’ll be on your marry way as the operation will be complete. Just sit back and enjoy the moment.

 Goes double for old Hanks, for he was sitting in the lighthouse, watching his small town of Donner, named after its first resident, and the soothing ocean from the other side.

 Being an insomniac, and not really having anything else to do with his life with the occasional pokers with his pal Ray and visits to his niece Holly, Bernard had no problems with his life, and was satisfied with what he had. A day’s work for a day’s pay, a good meal and affordable clothes, coupled with him living in his birthplace and his favorite spot in the world, along with the occasional surprises Mother Nature drops on them.  He harkens back to that time when a storm caused the coarse waves to push an army of fish, tuna in particular, up on the mainland in the 50s, right before his own eyes; yet, when people ask what happened, he snickers at the children’s disappointed faces and the townspeople’s grunt expression when he refuses to tell what happened. “Suicide,” he said once. Let that sleep do them good. “It was quite a shock,” he once jokingly told Alicia in a pun intended manner, before making her promise not to spoil the story for him. She relented, but agreed, giving the man a soft kiss on a bald spot in his grey head.

 Now, in his professional trunks, along with his favorite cap and pipe, he took a gulp of Molly’s blueberry juice and a slice of her apple pie. Bless the old lady, he thought. He believed he was young in spirit, and always seemed to remind everyone of that in special occasions, especially on his birthday, apparently giving him a pass to call even the men of his age by that term.

 It was 2:30 O’clock, and the weather assured that, carrying that quiet air that brought along a cold and isolated air that did not have a rough effect, but a subtle tension that prepared and warned you of the coming of a more destructive force at hand.

 As the light bulb above him spun, he paid immediate attention to the sea as he the first glow seemed to highlight something. He couldn’t make out what he might have seen, whether it was just a trick of the moon, or perhaps just a wave. The second spin came by, and he was assured that there was something, but he had no idea what it was. By the third row, he didn’t pay attention, for he was distracted by the sound of crackling chains in the distance. Oddly enough, the sound wasn’t rusty or heavy. Quite the opposite: smooth, seductive, and flawless.

 He was very distracted by the sound that he did lost count of the times the bulb spun around to aid his view. Blinking his eyes in frustration and regaining focus, he looked on again.

 What he saw widened his eyes and frozen his position. The quick glimpse became an image that engraved its way to his brain as even in the shadows, he saw multiple arms rise above the surface, causing the rattling of the chains to ring louder, like tiny bells on Christmas, with a more dignified air. The beautiful instruments were mastered by what was an impossible monstrosity. It wasn’t a trick of the moon, a simple wave striding, or a trick of the mind; it was an octopus and it was striding towards him, possibly attracted the signal, the same way ships are often guided in the night.

 Hanks didn’t know how to react. He thought of hurrying back inside and turn off the light bulb, but at the same time, wild curiosity invaded his taste, even when he knew it was at the risk of others. This octopus was the largest he has ever seen, and that was exactly why he had to make everyone prepared. Following his instincts, he readied himself to rush inside, when once again, the world made a fool out of him. This time, with one more glint of light, he realized that his imagination, the moon, and the shadows all decided to play one simple trick on him that would contain a horrifying payoff.

 The shape eventually revealed itself to be a composition of corpses, bound or damned together, he will never know, by beautiful chains made of actual golden material. The entire body, nothing but a cemetery of these figures, became a mixture of sadistic ecstasy and pleading agony as the chains and jewels composed their music while the decomposed men, women and children delivered their pitched screams, ringing into the sky and into the depths of the innocent onlooker.

 Then, as he stood in position, his heart beating small and deaf against their sounds, Hanks found one for the arms raise itself to his position, and in what seemed like forever, the light fell upon it as he found himself face to face with a million skulls facing him eyes to eye. The faces, almost smiling at him with humorous mocking, bore an air of sinister intentions that were personified through the scratches, marks, cracks, and even some of their stitches combined by the bounds of chains.

 Though the moment seemed like an eternity, Hanks blacked out before he knew what was to happen next.

 He woke up to find himself in a comfy bed, covered by white blankets. He opened his eyes, and everything slid into focus. He recognized the room as his own whenever he visited Alicia. Taking several breaths, with the memory ringing in his head, he struggled to get up, but then the picture of the faces jumped at him, like skeletons in the closet.

 He slumped back into bed, frantically screaming for his dear life, shaking his head in a pitiful struggle against the phantom shapes. Suddenly, he fell in contact with a tender hand. It was his niece, comforting him with kind words kisses on the forehead. She promised him that the doctor will come soon. She tucked the blankest in him even further before she left and locked the door. He stayed in the darkness, and instinctively shut his eyes, like a feeble child entrapped by his imagination, weeping as the shadows become grotesque companions that keep their purposes behind their charming grins. What are they to do? Why are they to do it? Even when all is committed, you eventually don’t care anymore.

 As the days went by, so did Hanks. His body ached further, his humor died too soon, his conversations with his niece became distant, his invitations from friends and townsfolk were refused, and his fear of the dark turned to indifference. Eventually, as time went on, he saw less of his niece. In some days, she wouldn’t even pass by the door, and when she would, she looked haggard and wrinkled, almost as if she was catching up with him in terms of age. After frequent visit every two days, the doctor never visited, only apologizing on the phone that he was sick. Neither of the townsfolk sent messages, offered gifts, or paid visits; silence was his only companion at this period, as are the roaches hiding behind cracks of walls, the spider constructing its web like watching someone stitching together a net, or flies hovering above and beside him, their buzzing being the only noise he can hear with the occasional tapping on the window from the win.

 Then finally, one quiet night, he passed away quietly, and the light bulb never operated again. Back in his rooms, a swarm of flies increased, and some even successfully landed on his skin without flinching away. Some of them presumably got bored and left unnoticed to the upstairs room, where its presence went noticed by several new arrivals, who proceeded to group around the young Alicia as she didn’t fight back, even when some settled on the separated lips, few even diving further.

 While they were busy playing in their new field, a swarm of others surrounded the remainder of this small, unassuming location that civilization might have forgotten about, with the exception of a former resident who was lucky to not exist. For, if they were to stick around, a decent funeral was not granted. Only these flies were aware of what happened to this collection of bakers, workers, nurses, mothers, doctors, and children. The only other attendants came from the ship that started it all in the first place.

 The pirates were not much as mass murderers as much as they were stealthy predators. They watched from a distance as this town sank to a slow and painful death, not heeding to time itself, for they were invincible to it; same with judgment day itself. Finally, when they are all gone, they would sail back in sight, land on shore, steal whatever they would find, and eventually leave, never to be seen by a living soul. These pirates these damned true legends of the seven seas, would find another location to thrive on for purpose in their lives, as the few who saw them, like Mr. Hanks, would forever remember their hysterical laughter combined with their cruel smiles and solemn mourning. Whether they prefer to be legends, or envy the decay of all who they meet, no one would know. In the end of it all, much like the legend they have become part of, they are, to this day, one of life’s many surprises.

The End

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