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Harbour 9

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She stayed motionless, as if held by the might of the seven seas, sitting at the edge of the harbour, distanced by the myth. “Mrs. Brooks”, the dilapidated boat that sang a melody, had become a preamble of the many horrors of St. Davidson’s County. And I had decided to sail on it for one night; an outcome of a misfortunate wager. Fortunately, I had a plan. Unfortunately, it was all going to fall apart.

I stepped onto the deck and all of a sudden the air changed. I felt her eyes glaring into me with disgust. “It’s perhaps just the myth, getting to my head,” I told myself. I hadn’t decided the route yet, but I knew this journey would be worth remembering. I untied the knot and whistled for my handyman Bob. He was in my boat, instructed to remain 40 leagues behind me in case something was to happen.

The wind hit the sails and soon I was at sea. No sooner, I lost sight of Bob as well. It was difficult to stay scared. I was stocked up for the day to myself. And for some thrill, I had my fishing rod. But at that moment, the deck had felt warm and comfortable, and the breeze hit my face with a passion even my wife couldn’t show. Ha! Things went fine until about dusk. The wind got crazier after that. The sky was clear but the stars were hardly visible. Probably not many had the stomach to watch that horrible night.

I fished for about two hours. The waves helped me catch a good number of them. I collected the fish on the deck, all lifeless and pale. Later I walked around, exploring the ram shackled eyesore of a boat. The only stable cabin room held a three-legged table that had failed the test of time and whose drawers opened with a screeching sound that could deafen a bat. “A boat that sings melody, my a**.” The 17th century massacre that never should have been built was just becoming a hellova disappointment. A tilted, almost mutilated painting mocked the hallway. Fatally maintained quarters, creaking wooden floors, Mrs. Brooks had been housing an ill-mannered orchestra. It’s only a wonder that the revolting junk still stayed afloat this long. “Perhaps I would do the town a favour and take it down with me tonight,” I thought. At the stroke of midnight I decided to turn. I was sailing seaward for more than half the day and the only horror I witnessed was the lack of hospitality. 

I went up to the cabin to re-direct my boat but the wheel wouldn’t budge. I had put all my body on it but no amount of weight would turn the wheel. That junk of a boat was never fit for sailing. I went out and attempted to tie down the sails so I could slow her, but the wind made it impossible. An invisible strength kept them up and with it, took me deeper into the ocean.

I thought Bob had probably stopped following me, by now waiting near the Valentine Islands for my boat. I had no way of communicating with him. I got my knife out to tear down the sails, and then light a fire for nearby ships to spot me. As I tried to climb the sails, a force tugged down on my foot. I looked down to see what it was and before I could register, the mast came crashing onto my legs. I can still feel the agony of my bones breaking. I was pinned down by the log on my legs when I heard a sound coming from the deck. Struggling, I manage to look and found that all my dead fishes had been fluttering. “It’s here,” I think to myself. And then she happened. I heard her; Mrs. Brooks, on the deck in her blue and white satin. I could see death in her eyes. She walked up to me. In that moment I was certain about my death. She stood next to me, holding my knife, and stabbed me in my eye, repeatedly. I screamed my guts out, “AARRGHH!”  She continued to stab my eye. I couldn’t move, my hands tried to push her away but they couldn’t find her. She stabbed me 27 times and then left the knife on my chest. As if mocking me, to just end it by myself. I screamed for help, I screamed for Bob. I was left to die there on that god forsaken boat. My legs were useless since the mast didn’t move. It felt like she was pressing it down on me. Watching me suffer. Feeding on my fear, and pain. The tides galloped towards the boat like a mad hound rushing towards her food.  I knew that I must get off the boat before the ocean swallowed me. I could barely see with the one eye. Blood continued to pour down my face. Breathing was a challenge. The adrenaline soared through my veins but I had nowhere to go. Just then, one gargantuan wave bounced the mast off of my legs; but with its passing, also reeked mayhem. My legs had fallen numb, paralysed by the trauma. I dragged myself up and heard her sing at the far end of the boat. She was a melody personified. But that witch had stabbed my eye. I had to get back at her. I watched her, hovering over the bowsprit, and yet, compelled to stay on the boat. That is when it struck me. I was going to burn it down with all of my rum. The fishes had been fluttering, and the boat carried on into the ocean. The wind, the sails and the ocean, worked in harmony to guide me to my end. Bob for sure had been on his way back. There was no way I would get out of there alive. I crawled my way to the cabin; fighting through the pain. I gathered the bottles and busted them on the wooden floor. I knew she could hear me, trying to survive. It made no difference to her, as if this was part of her sadistic ritual. I wanted to see how it all played out. As the rum covered the wooden floor, I dragged myself up again; I still couldn’t feel my legs. I lighted my cigar; resting on the parapet, I let the sparks put an end to her. As the fire slowly burnt the wood of the deck, I carried myself up to the front and waited for my death. In that moment I watched her sing. It felt like a prayer you hear when the death proceeds towards you. A prayer for your soul to have mercy on you. A song that could calm a mother weeping over her fallen child. It was a sight to behold. She almost made me undo it.

The wait was long, I saw my fish burn. But it didn’t matter to the graceful singer and right then, in the middle of her song the boat threw me off, as it burst into violent flames. I sank in the water with the boat’s carcasses surrounding me. It was the sweetest moment of my life. I had won against the great ghost of Mrs. Brooks! I managed to grab a plank and tried to stay afloat. I hoped for a boat to find me there but it was surely a long shot. And then I see it, S.S. Amenet. My boat, Bob, had come for my rescue. I had lost track of time now and wondered what he was doing but I didn’t care.

Looking at my state, Bob didn’t say a word. He only got me as comfortable as he could and started the journey for the land. I was never this glad to see Bob. My right eye continued to drain my blood. My head felt light as I tried to stay awake. He dressed me up.

It was a long journey back to the harbour. On reaching, Bob lifted me up and helped me out. For a while I was relieved on touching the land, but then my entire body went numb when I saw that on Harbour 9, was docked ‘The Mrs. Brooks,’ completely unharmed.

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