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  • Harshita Vohra

The Ship

Aphotic grey smudges of wool ominously engulfed the sky like a predator would encircle its prey. The sky roared as a startling obstreperous rumble rang in the air. Trickles of liquid hit the ground. A wave of exhilaration swept over mother nature as she quenched her thirst and sprang to life appearing luscious and green. Streaks of exasperated lightning lashed across the boundless sky. The robust trees oscillated as the wind roared and whistled past them. The pallid moon played hide-and-seek with the crestfallen clouds that wept like an infant. Frigid icy water pounded on the streets as Detective Iris Hunter and I sprinted down the lanes. The weather was rather gelid and the frigid air pierced my skin like needles.

“That ship! It’s been wrecked completely!” My ears were greeted by the vociferous shrieks of the people on streets. Iris and I had worked together for years, we’d solve this case of the wrecked ship with ease. “Detective James, what do you know about the wrecked ship?” , a media woman holding an umbrella and mic asked me. Ignoring, I darted behind Iris. As we reached the port, the fleecy smudges of wool parted and the incandescent moon shone upon earth.

The streets were slippery as eels and pedestrians commenced walking on the streets as the rain slowed down almost coming to a halt. Iris and I reached the port and saw the wrecked ship ashore, tilted and on the beaches of California. Enthusiasm flowed through my veins instead of blood. It wasn’t everyday one would witness a wrecked ship. We had our gloves and safety equipment ready to explore the ship. The mast was broken and lay on the sand while the rest of the body lay on the ground. It was like most pirate ships, humongous, brown and the mast had a flag with a skull and a cross. Iris and our team climbed on the ship and began looking at it. It looked awry and a nauseating feeling set in the pit of my stomach told me something was adding up. A ship? In California? That was absurd.

I called Iris and whispered in her ear, “Something’s wrong here, how will a ship such as this end up here on the beaches of LA!”

“You’re right, James, we’ll have to be cautious. Don’t touch anything obscure.” I hummed know response as we both continued viewing the ship along with our team of detectives and spies.

There wasn’t a sight of an inhabitant. It was squalid and unkempt. There were a plethora of crates, boxes, barrels and even a rusty cannon. There were empty boxes made of wood scattered everywhere. A pungent stench tickled my nostrils as it floated through the air. Continuous thoughts of what might be on this ship ran through my head. I grabbed this rather large a box, placed on top of a stack and opened it. A cloud of dust engulfed the surroundings. I saw a pirate hat in the box. I chuckled realising this box contained nothing and moved the box aside.

We looked through the other boxes, crates and some prodigious barrels. I coughed relentlessly as I ransacked the dirt ridden ship. Most of them were either empty or with scrolls of paper which had smudged ink. After what seemed like a millennium, we finished looking at all of them. As we were leaving the ship, from the corner of my eye I noticed a puny chest bedecked with crystals lying in the corner. I sauntered towards it and opened it, Iris standing next to me. The old adage is completely true, 'Misfortunes don’t follow a calendar.'

As I opened, I was paralyzed due to consternation. A bomb, a ticking time bomb, with a twelve second timer, was going off. Next to it was a scroll. I gaped at the box incredulously trying to comprehend its contents. Just then it came to me like a slap that this was going to destroy the ship and us if we didn’t evacuate. I looked at Iris and her face wore a mask of apprehension. I was petrified. Perspiration adorned my forehead. My heart beat like a thousand African drums. Tentacles of terror gripped me and my stomachs churned. I took a shaky breath as I shrieked at everyone to evacuate the ship. Iris and I darted to vacate the ship. No sooner did everyone leave than the bomb blasted and the ship burst into flames. I turned around, gasping and panting, flabbergasted with what I had just witnessed. It seemed too much to imbibe. Everyone was huffing and puffing for oxygen and were disconcerted.

Just then it came to me like that the scroll next to the bomb might contain significant information. I hadn’t grabbed it. My hope sank like a ship. but Out of the blue, I felt a tap on my shoulder pulling me out of my thoughts. Iris stood behind me holding the scroll. Exultant I grabbed it and read it aloud.

“I see you have found my scroll. The bomb was a rather surprise, wasn’t it? My ship, it’s doleful really, I loved that ship. However, this is just the beginning. There’s a lot to come.

Yours truly,

Captain Adrian Ezekiel.”

Who is this Adrian Ezekiel? Why was his ship here? What is more to come? Why wasn’t the ink of this scroll smudged and not the others?

Questions ran through my head like a treadmill however I didn’t have an answer for any of them. Adrian Ezekiel’s words rung through my head as I desperately attempted to find answers. I got none, just the fear of what was to come next.

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