Ship

by Reynard Laverna

The wave crests, a great sunbeam descends and cuts the water in two and the waves drift separately, before thudding against the breakers and launching a light mist over me. The sun finishes its descent and its final rays hold the mist upwards and spread a glittering across the horizon, then drop the chilled water across my body. The dark starts with this film of cold, settling onto my bare arms and seeping through my shirt.

The ship emerges from the sun’s former place, rising as the residual light fades. It follows the same path, treading the crevasse opened previously. It lurches, stuttering progress towards me, some animal dragging itself forwards, one arm then the other. The light fades, outer darkness pulled towards the ship and overwhelming all else. Still the stuttering progress, bounds which appear small in the distance but the impression of their size grows as it closes. Hundred feet jumps, or two hundred. The horizon hides behind the ship, the rumbling ocean crushed by mechanical jabbering.

It’s a rhythm. A song. Aged technology resisting time. Steam engines enlivening rusted cogs and pistons. The consistent tone of the deep engine. That power pushing against rotors which shouldn’t be able to turn, releasing a high-pitched melody until the rotors relent and move, and a thud accompanies another hundred feet of progress. It’s probably not a song, more a sentence, a phrase that I cannot comprehend.

The sentence was whispered, then spoken, shouted.

There is nothing but this boat, as it shunts in to dock. This resurfaced Titanic, some almost ancient and lost ship now found, slides across the horizon like a screen across Eden. Rusted metal with the customary plants, descending the sides, blood escaping the decks. Another pattern which means something. Another I can’t interpret. A final jolt, and it crashes into the concrete and settles in the newly created wedge. A gigantic bang its last word.

First, the impact quivers down the side, shivering rust and dew and forming a new mist, a thick layer slowly descending and holding itself at my feet, never touching the ground. After the shiver, the rear attacks the front and the centre swells, leaning over me before the momentum stops and the metal retreats. It forces the air inside out, bursts a nearby door as though punched by a wall of steam and the desiccated air pushes a corridor through the new mist. A pathway for something to emerge, or to hide itself within the ship’s confines.

My body won’t resist, nor move. I cannot recall how long I’ve sat here, shivering and observing this arrival. There is no distinction between outside and in, all is cold, without light. From the iced metal to the blood in my heart’s centre. Though I can’t confirm, my mind knows I have waited a long time. I’ve lived for decades, far away from this seat and this horizon yet I’ve always been present.

I have never been able to look away from this incoming thing.

 

 

Reynard Laverna writes literary fiction and occasionally horror or sci-fi. Further information on his writing schedule can be found at lavernasmusings.com. When not writing, he spends his time studying for his computing degree or reading seventies and eighties horror novels.

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