Monsters at Sea

The breaking of the waves against the hull created the beat of life on the ship. The faster the waves crashed, the faster activity became on the boat. Today was a perfect day. These waves were quick enough with the wind to refresh any ship bored passenger. My crew is working at a steady pace that doesn’t give a chance for laziness. They are waxing the deck making the grain in the preserved wood shine through. Droplets land on my cheek as I look across the big blue. Turning back to the deck, I make eye contact with my first mate. We share a nod as I make it over to the wheel. My first mate hands over the ship.
“We have about two more days if this wind doesn’t change captain.”
“Excellent, we should tell our passengers and the rest of the crew.” I turn my attention back to the gently keeping our, my, ship on course. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my first mate turn to fill my recent commands. I let the calm of having control of the fastest ship on the ocean sweep through the wheel into my bones.
“There seems to be a group of rocks of the port deck, captain.”
“So there is. Thank you first mate,” I say to the sailor standing next to me but my eyes have locked on the rocks. “I will guide us passed safely.”
“I have no doubt that you will captain,” my first mate states confidently but seems to be holding something back.
“But…”
“The crew is rumbling about them being cursed.” I raised an eyebrow. My first mate is not one to fall for wives’ tales.
“Do you agree?”
“No but there is something fishy about the stories.” We both turn our eyes to the dark gray rocks that draw closer with each swell of the boat. One seems to be as tall as the main deck level and three times as wide as the main mast. Fog clings to the tallest one not giving away how far the other rocks radiate out from it. From our distance, there doesn’t seem to be any life around it, which is strange. There should at least be some gulls we can see, trying to land or get the shellfish that lives on the rocks.
“The crew says that there is a creature, maybe more than one, that lives there. The stories vary but either this creature takes the whole boat down with its men or leaves just enough to reach its destination.” We edge closer and I can see the very top of the rock when I squint, there are white shapes scattered across it.
“What is the creature?”
“They say it is a monster like no other. Each sailor has heard a different description. One said that it is Calypso, appearing as a beautiful lady who then grows big enough to eat the crew and crush the ship.” My first mate rubs a clenched fist against a weathered pant leg. This is the only sign that this story unsettles the first mate more than is being shown. “Another says that a giant squid lives beneath the rocks waiting to wrap its many slimy legs around something.”
“If there are many stories than they are probably just stories to scare a captain’s first mate.” I laugh but it does nothing to chase the unsettling feeling weighing down on us as we inch closer to the rocks.
“There is another tale, captain, that most sailors believe it is the kingdom of mermaids.” The terror that run through me shakes me to the core. These are not the mermaids that sailors dream about and girls want to be. These are monsters with tails. They have shape teeth behind kind smile. Their hair floats behind them like a cape. Their tails are silver and green with venom tipped fins. They eat sailors, leaving nothing but bleached bones.
“That is what I saw on the rocks!”
“What captain?” Real fear shows in my first mate’s eyes this time.
“I believe I saw bleached bones on the biggest rock.”
“Oh the wind has betrayed us!” The wind kept taking us right towards the wicked rocks. At this rate, we would be just meters from the sickening rocks. I shout orders that get blown away with the wind that really has turned against us. I push all my weight against the wheel to turn away from the rocks back to open sea. Not that that matters. If we are spotted by the mermaids, they will reach us before we can get away. The wheel turns but the wind continues to push us forward, the boat doesn’t react to my orders.
“There is nothing I can do against this wind. I can not save us.”
“Girls come in, it’s time for dinner!”
My sister, Megan, and I climb down from our swing set. We race towards the back door.The wind brushes against my neck. There will be no need to fear mermaids when we are not on the swing set. Sea monsters only live in our imaginations.

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