Monday, June 2, 2014

The Fishing Trip, Part Three

“Huh… that looked like a dolphin’s tail. Are dolphins out here?” David asked himself. Another slam rocked the boat, this time from the aft of the ship. Cursing, he ran towards the back, next to the dangling Hammerhead and looked overboard. The engine’s propellers were back here, and if some playful dolphin knocked those out, they wouldn’t be going anywhere! The water around the propellers churned with activity, fish hopping out of the water into the air as fast as they could, before falling back into the cold water to hop out once more. A whole school of Bluefin were doing this near the aft of the ship, which suffered another slam, followed by a wrenching of metal that made David want to scream out in frustration.

Bobbing up partially amidst the Bluefin was the propeller, slowly drifting away from the boat as if something was pulling it. The school followed the propeller, sinking with it into the briny deep slowly but surely until neither the school nor the propeller were visible.
“Damn it!” David cursed, punching the dangling shark once in the gills, before wiping off his scraped up hand. “What else can go wrong?”
“David! David, come down here fast!” Kate called up from below deck, her tone panicked.
“Great, now what…?” David turned and moved into the control room, headed downstairs into the section of the ship designed for comfort. Turning the corner on the stairs, he was greeted with a sight he had not been prepared to see.
Wobbling slightly and pale as a sheet, with half-finished stitching poking out from gauze packed teeth marks, Eric was standing, his arms braced against the top bunks, partially holding himself up, partially keeping balance. He had a faraway look in his eyes, and a line of drool going down one cheek. Behind him both Kate and Elsa were cowering, staring at his back in open disgust.
“Erik… are you okay?” David asked warily, holding out a hand in case the man lashed out.
“Need to get out of here… need to get outta open waters…” He murmured drunkenly.
“Bud, you’re in no condition to sail this ship here anywhere, and we need you to get some rest now, do you understand?”
“No… need to… get the ship out of… open water,” Eric stumbled forward, falling to the ground, revealing his back.
Apparently Kate had been busy sewing up the wounds on his back when he’d woken up and started fighting to get free. According to Kate (as they heaved Eric back into the towel lined cot) Erik had panicked and elbowed her aside, saying they needed to get away, get out of open water. The man had ripped open most of his stitching on his back and undone what she’d performed there as well. Now that he was unconscious again, Kate was busy, rapidly sewing up the many teeth marks while Elsa pinned him down by straddling the back of his waist, resting on his butt.
David, after giving Kate a quick kiss and a once over to make sure she was okay, decided to go up and tend the cooking fish, half of which was partially burned now. Using Eric’s survival knife, he cut the Red Snapper into strips of fatty meat, placing them on a paper plate to bring downstairs. The boat jostled once more, causing him to stumble and almost drop lunch. Looking to the side, he could see the formation of dark clouds in the distance.
“Oh damn,” David muttered as he looked at the looming horizon of black clouds, roiling with untold darkness.
Moving towards the control room, he did what he could to prepare for the storm, which added up to nothing. Cursing under his breath, he decided he’d bring it up after they ate, and just brought the food downstairs. Kate was just extracting herself from the bunk, her fingers sticky with blood, as David rounded the stairs.
“That lunch? I’m starved!” Kate exclaimed, clapping her hands together with a slippery slap. She looked at her hands, giving a sheepish smile. “Let me wash my hands first.”
“The rest of us would appreciate it hon,” David joked, holding the paper plate out to Elsa, who daintily picked up a slice of fish. “No seasoning, so try and enjoy it for what it is.”
Elsa bit into it, rivulets of juice running down her chin. “It’s tender! And so juicy, almost like steak.”
“It can be when cooked right,” David said with a smile. “I just so happen to be getting my culinary arts degree on the side of my Business Administration degree. I hope to open a restaurant one day.”
“If you’re the cook, I’ll go every week!” Elsa gushed, chewing on her fish thoroughly as she talked.
“You’ll go where every week now?” Kate asked, stepping out of the small bathroom, her hands moist but clean. She snagged a piece of fish off the plate and walked over to sit across from Eric, staring at him as he dozed.
“David says he wants to open a restaurant! I was just telling him how good his cooking is, and how I would visit it often to eat like this every once in a while.”
“Yeah, he is a good cook,” Kate smirked, popping a piece of fish into her mouth. “That’s why I keep him around, I guess.”
“I can feel the love from here Kate,” David smiled, tearing into a piece of fish himself. “But seriously now, how’s our patient?”
“Not good,” Kate groused, chewing slowly on her fish. “He’s running a fever, and I ran out of alcohol earlier. We’re going to have to use some of the drinks we brought aboard to keep him from getting an infection.”
“I figured as much, it’s all over in the common area,” David pointed past them, towards a circular room with a couch, television and refrigerator.
 “That TV get any reception?” Kate asked, looking at it askance.
“No clue, I think it’d just for movies and stuff.”
“That would be too convenient,” Elsa groused, snatching up a second piece of Snapper. David set down the tray on the cot next to Kate’s thigh.
“You two enjoy that, I have a whole other fillet that I cooked up.” David said, leaning against the wall as he stared down to look at Eric’s legs. “I hope he’s going to be okay.”
“What was that he was mumbling about when he was awake? About how we can’t stay out here after dark?” Elsa asked, looking a tad worried.
“Oh that, yeah I think he knew about a storm rolling in,” David said, motioning with his thumb up towards the control room. “You can see it building on the horizon, headed right for us.”
“Oh my god, are we going to be okay?” Kate asked, looking at David in worry.
David shrugged. “Who can say? I know Eric once told me that storms take a while to build up, and that once you see one you usually have a day or so before it catches you, if you don’t try and avoid it.”
“So let’s avoid it!” Kate exclaimed, motioning up towards the control room. “Go fiddle around with stuff until you can figure out how to get this boat going!”
“Not so simple dear, though I wish it was. Something tore off our propellers and swam away with them,” David replied, closing his eyes.
“What? What do you mean?” I mean that our lovely little boat can only go by sails at this moment, and I have no idea how to even begin setting up the rigging or sails for that. Looking at Eric, David nodded towards him. “We need him conscious to tell us what to do. So Doc, patch him up good enough to where he can give orders and we can sail on out of here hopefully.”
“Hopefully?” Kate and Elsa echoed.
“Eh, just me being paranoid.” David said, leaning to where he could feel the spear head in his deep pockets. “I’m going topside to try and keep the place in order, either of you want a drink?”
“God yes,” Kate moaned. “Just bring down the bottle of Vodka, I’ll use some of it to clean out his wounds before I finish wrapping him up. Elsa, go up with him and grab the other two medical kits I brought up, would you? And bring the bottle down, I need a drink!”
“Yes ma’am!” Elsa giggled, moving past her sister to follow David as he marched up the stairs.
As they walked into the control room, Elsa turned to regard the looming storm in the distance. “Yikes! That doesn’t look good.”
“Don’t I know it,” David agreed. “The chances of us walking away from this without Eric helping us out are next to nil, so we need him up and on his feet as soon as possible.”
“I don’t know… Katie said it would take a while for him to break that fever, seeing as we can’t use any aspirin on him.”
“Do me a favor, and slip him just one aspirin tablet, just to help with the fever. We might all die out here if we can’t get him awake and rational, you know?”
“I don’t know… Kate would be really mad if I did that.”
“And we might be really dead if you don’t,” David cajoled, fishing the bottle of clear liquor out of the ice chest, passing it over to her. “The medical supply kits are sitting on the table next to the rest of the Snapper. If you get a chance, check out the Polaroid, it was taken just as the shark was biting him. You can even see blood flying out, it’s gnarly!”
“Ewww… are you serious?” Elsa said, making a face that was both disgusted and intrigued.
“Take it down below, have it on hand for when Eric gets up. He’ll get a kick out of it.”
“Sure thing,” she said, slipping it between the medical kits, looping an arm around them while holding the bottle of Vodka by the neck. “What are you going to do up here?”
“Just a few maintenance things in the control room, see if I can get the radio working so I can maybe call in for some help. Not much else I can do really…”
“Alright, well don’t just sit up here staring at the storm, okay? That’ll get you all moody.”
“I don’t get moody.”
“Katie says you do, and she hates it when you’re moody. So stay as positive as you can be, alright?”
“Jesus, fine. I’ll be Mr. Cheer over here.”
“That’s what I like to hear,” Elsa said, moving through the opened door of the control room, her eyes going over the countless levers and knobs I would be fiddling with for the foreseeable future. “Hey, while you’re messing with all that, don’t get us killed, okay?”
“Sure thing,” David laughed as Elsa descended the stairs. He smiled even wider when he heard Kate let out a whoop of excitement at the bottle of Vodka. It was her favorite brand, the blue label variety that she loved to get whenever they went clubbing. While a tad bit expensive to just use as an antiseptic, David was reasonably certain that his girlfriend would drink a good portion of the bottle, with a little help from her sister.
“Good kid,” he muttered, dropping down into the bucket seat, staring at the controls in front of him. “You know, the least Eric could have done was let me drive us out this far, but no! He had to show off for Elsa. Pfft… dork.”
On the outside everyone was acting as calm as could be (save for Elsa, who may in fact be just that calm) but David could tell that on the inside, he and Kate were nervous wrecks. They were lost adrift at sea several miles off of the Texas coastline, with their captain injured and out of commission and the easiest ways to control the ship destroyed, all while a storm loomed on the horizon. David beat his hands against the steering wheel of the boat, cursing softly as he struggled to think of a way out of this dangerous situation.
That is until he felt the boat shift, moving slightly against the current of the ocean. Standing up, he moved over to the railing, watching the waves splash up against the plastic hull of the boat.
Something was dragging them towards the storm!
Running back to the control room he revved on the engine and pushed the boat to full speed ahead, in hopes of scaring whatever creature they were caught on away. The engine roared to life like a slumbering dragon, screeching as it worked without a propeller in the water to turn. The tugging on the boat seemed to double in effort, a large wave crashing onto the deck of the ship as the boat was pulled into it.
“Damn! We’re caught on something big!” David growled, grabbing the harpoon from its spot in the corner. Running to the front of the ship, he looked over the edge, looking forwahtever was pulling them along. What he saw dropped his jaw.
Fastened into the side of the boat, like miniature spears piercing the blubber of a great white whale, were three foot long harpoons much like his own, sunk into the hull and drawn taut on links of rusted chain. Five in total were present, with five large shapes, each perhaps twelve to fifteen feet in length, holding onto the chains beneath the crashing waves as they swam out towards the storm. Leaning over the railing, David whacked at one of the rusted harpoons, breaking it free after the fourth strike, the chain lancing down into the water as the creature sped ahead.
“Get outta here!” David yelled, waving his harpoon towards the figures beneath the waves. “Don’t make me get the flare gun!”

The one freed creature, having sped off, was now swimming back toward the boat, a bristly fin breaking the surface to show that it was no shark David was dealing with. As the thunder cracked in the distance, David blinked, just as the figure broke the surface, a spray of sea foam making it impossible to tell what was messing with the boat. The solid thunk in the hull some several feet down, well out of David’s reach, made him wonder if perhaps he was in over his head here.

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