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  • Writer's picturePray Jani

Harbour 9

I stepped onto the deck and felt a chill that the ghost of Mrs. Brooks, or whatever it was, was watching me. 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 maintain 40 leagues’ distance between the two boats.

The wind hit the sails and soon I was at sea. Bob was seen nowhere and I started to enjoy the afternoon. The deck felt warm 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 of them wanted to watch that horrible night.

The tides helped me catch a good number of fishes. I collected them on the deck, all dead with fear. I hadn’t cared to explore the boat; the only thing that excited me was the “promised death”, which so far had been disappointing. At the stroke of midnight I decided to turn. I went down to the cabin to direct my boat backwards but the wheel wouldn’t move. No amount of strength could turn the wheel, and let me tell you this, these hands have shaken pretty huge pillars. From then on the night got exciting. I went up and attempted to bring down the sails so I could slow things down a little, but they wouldn’t come down. An invisible strength kept them up. Now at that moment I was going deeper into the sea, on a haunted boat, with nothing to live on.

Bob had probably stopped moving forward by now, as instructed and I had no way of communicating with him. I got my knife out and decided to tear off the sails, and then light a fire as a signal. As I tried to climb them, a force tugged on my foot. I look down to see what it was and a bloodied log of wood comes flying and hits my knee, breaking it. I am pinned down by the log on my legs when I hear a sound coming from the deck. With difficulty I manage to look and find that all my dead fishes had been fluttering. “It’s here,” I think to myself. And then it happened. I heard her. Mrs. Brooks, appeared on the deck in her blue and white. I could see death in her eyes. She walked closer, and in that moment I was certain about my death. She stood next to me, took my knife, and stabbed me in my eye, repeatedly, and then left the knife on my chest. I screamed for help, I screamed for Bob. I was left to die there on that god forsaken boat. But man’s desperation for life never ends under any circumstances. My legs were useless, since the log didn’t move. The waves had started to appear and I knew that before the sea swallowed me I must get off the boat. I could hardly see and the pain was as real as it could be. I took the knife, and with a bloodied hand, I cut my legs. The agony was unbearable. With every effort I managed to cut my bone, a little of me died inside. I was compromising my dream of being a sailor. After I was done I saw my legs there, lifeless. I had to act quicker. I had to get back at her, and that’s when it hit me. I was going to burn down the boat with that barrel of rum. The fishes had been fluttering, and the boat carried on going into the sea. Bob for sure had been on his way back. There was no way I would get out of there alive. I stab a hole into the barrel and set it on fire. As the fire slowly burns the wood of the deck, I crawl up the front and wait for my death. In that moment I hear her sing. She was a melody personified, but that witch had stabbed my eye.

The wait was long, I saw my fish burn. They had stopped fluttering now. Mrs. Brooks was still singing, and right then, in the middle of her song the boat threw me off, as it burst into flames. I land in the water with its carcasses surrounding me. That was the sweetest moment of my life. I scream with joy. I had won against the great ghost of Mrs. Brooks. I knew I had to go back soon, so I grab a plank and try to peddle. I hope 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 home. On reaching the harbour, I was relieved for a while, but then my entire body went numb when I saw that on Harbour 9, was stationed the ‘Mrs. Brooks,’ completely unharmed.

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