by J.L. O'Dell
A married couple take a cruise.
|“Silence is golden, my love…” Those were the last words I said before it all began to change. Clair and I were standing on the balcony of our shipboard suite looking out at a placid Pacific Ocean. We were on the luxury liner “CLEO II” celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. This trip was something we planned for over a year. Saving every penny that we could from both of our paychecks made the trip a reality. We tightened our belts for that year, but we knew it would be worth every bit of sacrifice.
The sun set below the blue/black line of the horizon. Darkness fell, and the full moon began its nocturnal climb into the sky. As we watched the pale white orb ascend into the night sky, a sound resonated from the ocean. At first, I thought it was just the sound of our ship’s engines. The usual sound of two giant mechanical propellers pushing a multi-hundred-ton ship through the sea. But I couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, wrong doesn’t even describe what Clair and I saw next.
Off the port side of the ship, perhaps four hundred yards directly out from us, the sea began to froth. As the water started to churn and bubbles formed, we could see a soft luminousness begin to shine from the depths of the black water.
Clair looked at me. She was frightened and looped her arm through mine for reassurance. Her hazel eyes pleaded to me for protection from whatever this was. Whatever it was, as we stood there dumbfounded, slowly rose to the surface of the water and stopped. The very top just floated there like some huge disc. Under the water we could see lights flashing. First blue, then red, followed by white and orange in a continuous flashing ring around the base of the disc.
Over the ship’s intercom came the Captain’s voice directing all aboard to return to their cabins. He sounded authoritative but unsure of what was happening off the port side of his ship. Clair and I decided to step inside our suite and closed the sliding glass door behind us. I didn’t think the glass door would protect us from this sea apparition but anything that would put Clair at ease was worth a try.
We continued to watch as the apparition slowly began to emerge from the bubbling water of the Pacific. The rotating lights around what was now its base began to flash faster from color to color. Watching the display was almost hypnotic and Clair and I stood there, on our side of a thin sheet of glass for safety, as the lights flashed so quickly that their individual colors merged into a blur.
Slowly the ship I guess, (no other word for it), broke the surface of the water and hovered perhaps several yards above the flatness of what was now a calm sea. There began a hum that travelled from the ghostly disc to us. At first it was soft and soothing, and I thought I began to hear music. Then the intensity of it increased so that Clair and I had to cover our ears. We moved back into our room as if hiding from the source of this noise that went from soothing to painful. The last thing I remembered was the glass shattering before I and Clair lost consciousness.
How long we laid there in our room I did not know. All I remember was that Clair and I were on our bed and we were being tended to by several people dressed in white suits. Not the type of business suits, but what you might see in movies. Suddenly it become clear to me. They were wearing the same type of outfits that the CDC would wear when responding to some type of emergency.
I reached over and touched Clair. She was beside me and awake now. I slowly sat up and felt as if I had rested for days. I stretched my back muscles. Clair too was beginning to be clear headed enough to sit up.
“Mr. and Mrs. Blevins, I’m Dr. Thompson. How are you feeling?” Dr. Thompson stood off to the side of Clair.
“What happened to us? The last thing I remember was this sound, then nothing until now.” I looked around the room as several people in suits were pushing keys on several keyboards. “What are they doing?”
Doctor Thompson smiled at my wife. “How are you feeling, Clair, isn’t it?” He sat on the edge of the bed next to her and reached out his hand to touch her forehead as if he was checking her temperature.
He turned his attention to me and addressed me by my first name. “Todd, we don’t really know what happened to you and the others aboard. Everyone tells the same or very similar story. When we’re sure you have recovered enough you can go upstairs. The kitchens are open, so we want you to eat. Afterwards someone will take your statement.”
“You’re avoiding the question, doctor. What happened?” Clair and I both wanted some sort of explanation.
“To be honest, we don’t know yet. The ship lost contact with shore, so a Coast Guard helicopter was sent out to find the Cleo II. What they found was a ship whose entire crew and passengers were unconscious. Medical teams were displaced from local hospitals and the CDC to care for the people on board. Everyone so far is awake and very healthy. Even those with an illness or condition seem to be fine. More than fine.”
“But that doesn’t make any sense.” Clair was able enough to swing her legs over the bed.
“Be careful, Clair.” Dr. Thompson said. “There is one side effect of what happened I haven’t explained yet. It seems every woman on this ship is six months pregnant.”
Clair stood up and looked down on her round stomach. She beamed as she felt a kick.