Short fiction in response to a writing prompt.
|The ship lurched, and I synchronized the movement with a projectile of half-digested food. My whitened knuckles gripped the handle of the wheel.
A darkened sky belied the late evening hour. All around, blackness. Death!
Creaks and groans of metal and wood fused with thunder, wind, and the rains' frenetic drumbeat.
Blood washed off the glistening wetness of the deck. In my bid to survive the storm, I got distracted from my deeds.
Bodies lay at grotesque angles inside the cabin. A strange euphoria ran through my body, and I felt detached from the events that had transpired. Memory began to fade. I was a spectator as the knife in my hand moved with considerable expertise, making short work of the five unsuspecting fellow passengers.
For an instant, I wondered at my actions. I did not even know these people before we all got onto this luxury yacht. It did not occur to me that not one of them put up a fight.
The howling and a sharp bolt of lightning pulled me out of my reverie.
In the brief pang of light, a glimpse of land. Life!
Again, without hesitation, I maneuvered the craft, fighting the heaving ocean and opaqueness. I marveled at my skills of a seasoned sailor. Another helpful collision of clouds guided me to the shallows.
Night began to gather, despite which I recognized the silhouette of giant trees close to the waters. With a stout rope, I jumped into the freezing waters. The thick coils were long enough, and I tied my transport to one of the trees.
On some unspoken command, the rains ceased. A stillness overtook the orchestra of sounds that had punctuated the weirdest of days. A lone bird announced the news in its shrill voice.
There was a sense of familiarity in the surroundings. Why did it feel like I had been here before? I couldn't be near any familiar place.
I shook my head as if that would make the feeling disappear—no such luck.
A sliver of light peeked out from separating clouds. Moon illuminated a path. Waves of nausea played havoc with my insides. There was nothing left in my body as I retched, clutching my stomach.
A sudden realization of what I had done jerked me. Whatever had possessed me to go after strangers and slice them open? I sat down, my back against a tree, the trunk only offering physical support.
Recollection of how long I sat there fails me. Eventually, unsteady of feet, I got up. The moon was fully out, and sparse clouds populated the hitherto overburdened heavens. Stars winked in merry conspiracy contrasting the turmoil within.
In a daze, I took to the path. I was a remote, controlled toy with no will of my own. I needed to talk to someone, and soon before I went completely crazy.
And then it hit me. I was back home. It made no sense as I was thousands of miles away.
My fears crystallized as I came upon a clearing—a building.
I shivered as I noticed a lighted candle in the old, abandoned house in the woods.
That was my house. Wet attire clinging to my body, and the light breeze served to make the night colder than it was.
As much as I attempted to fight it, my childhood home drew me in.
The wooden front door rested precariously on a single hinge offering no protection to the interiors.
In I went, barely pausing at the errant entryway.
All doubts laid to rest.
The candle flickered in response to my entry. It stood on my father’s study table, next to the large window, besides the plush office chair still intact—my father’s favorite place in the house.
It remained so, decades after his passing. There he sat, his long, grey, night coat enveloping the thin, tall frame. The same sea-worn man of legends and tales. A captain’s hat perched atop his bald skull.
“Papa…” I mumbled in disbelief.
He glared at me, the candlelight supplying added eeriness to his form and his eyes.
“Finally!”. My dead father spat out the word.
“What is this?” was all I could muster.
“Five people. Five people who wronged me and played a part in my death. I have been waiting for many years to get them together to avenge my death.”
Curiosity, for the first time, overcame abject fear.
He smiled, and I wished he hadn’t. There were no teeth, only a cavernous opening. In his hands, the same knife I had used to execute five strangers.
His voice receded to a bare whisper.
“Yes, and it is so apt that I did it through my son.”