by J.N. Moore
A lost crew ascertains a recording from a long lost ship and soon falls victim.
|The slight humming from the recovered black box of the ship told a tale of something horrible, aberrant and abhorrent. Fuzz and white noise came over the speakers in a wave of auditory pain as the men aboard the FV Tuscaloosa sat down with puzzled looks. It wasn’t but a slight rocking of their ship as a few muffled voices started to shine through the chaos and hubris that was decades old record keeping.
In the subtle and content tone of a male Midwestern accent and amidst white noise and fuzz: “Recording. 13th of September, foggy in the early morn. Our vessel came upon a rogue wave which swept us off course. We have no recollection of our heading and no signs of landfall in our near future. The compasses have gone mad. Watches have all but stopped functioning. Must’ve been the repairs we had done while in Bimini.
We’ve all but droned on and on for what seems to be weeks. Should’ve been there by now. We were…heading to the eastern coast of Spain. Our speed is 75 knots. The sun seems to be setting on the opposite side. So that must mean that we’re heading back toward the United States.
Our men are tired and hungry and on the verge of cannibalism. Jeff, our engineer, has been slaving away for days to the point of death by exhaustion. George has all but wasted away and is now in quarantine in his crew cabin. He must’ve came in contact with some nasty virus while working on the electrical problems we’ve experienced. Yes, we have rats, but when we came aboard there were none. I don’t know, we’re all hungry and its taking its toll on our mindsets.
It’s almost like we’re going in circles. This ship has seen many storms, but nothing like what we encountered. Lost at sea has many meanings…and we’re hoping for the least worst of what could come about. The ocean air is seemingly refreshing at this point in time.
Have we gone mad? Wait…it couldn’t be…”
Inaudible noise crept up through the recording as the men aboard the FV Tuscaloosa began to rub their heads in confusion. Hubris was seemingly the only thing the recording shone through as the snapping, bending and breaking of what sounded like metal broke through the white noise.
“To anyone listening, we seem to have encountered a…thing. Something…massive. I can only make out four arms which seem to be as big as an oil freight. Wrapping around..” The sound cut out just as the FV Tuscaloosa rocked further in the calm waves offshore.
“…a massive, scaled thing…” The recording dimmed away just as the men began to grow tired, waiting for their afternoon meal of rabbit stew and corn bread. Warm welcomes have their just dues - even if that means a meal aboard a cold ship in the autumn afternoon on the open ocean.
All was calm for the men aboard their crab liner, which warrants a certain kudos. Slowly creeping through the microphone system aboard their ship were the horrors of the rest of the audio recording. Slowly, silently making their way into the ears of the men on the Tuscaloosa.
“I repeat, we are going down. S.O.S has been sent out, flares shot, pings all around. We must’ve encountered it during the rogue wave. To anyone listening: it has four arms, scales, almost the size of the Chrysler building from what we can tell. It’s…the maw lined with…” The audio becomes a high pitched ringing in the men’s ears as their boat began to rock further back and forth.
Captain John made his way to the outside to find they were nowhere near their crab fishing grounds. His look turned from agonizing lament from the visceral audio to confusion as he ran back inside; a wretched sight.
The men seemed to have been shouting at one another, but the sound over the P.A. system was too deafening.
“This is Captain John of the FV Tuscaloosa. We’ve recovered a recording from some ship and something…something is happening to our P.A. system. I repeat, is there anyone out there who can hear me?” It wasn’t unusual for electrical shortages to trigger something so damning over this sort of ship.
Minute upon agonizing minute, a response was heard in lieu of Captain John sending out an S.O.S of sorts. “We have no record of a one FV Tuscaloosa. I repeat, no record of an FV Tuscaloosa.”
The captain chiseled away at what the answer meant. A nameless void? Universal pandemonium ran rampant upon the liner in its own right. The crew billowed out of the cabin to escape the exhausting ringing to behold a fog-bank surrounding them. “Are we…is this…please no.”