And there it loomed, a large ship beached in the middle of the marshes...
By Anthony Williams
And there it loomed, a large ship beached in the middle of the marshes. Bill wasn’t completely sure on how exactly it managed to end up here, he didn’t know anything about boats, but he’d heard from the locals that this whole area used to be connected to the sea. Over the space of fifty years, the sea had all but disappeared, leaving this lonely wreck standing in the middle of the marsh. In the midst of his thoughts, Bill realised the dog had run almost halfway to the old ship.
“Tyson, come here!” he yelled.
He and Tyson had moved up to the north east coast, after years of working as a corporate slave. He’d had enough money tidied away and thought it was time he retired from the rat race. And what better place that a quiet seaside town, with nice stretches of fields and beaches on which Tyson could run for miles.
The stupid dog was almost under the old wreck.
Bill knew he’d have to go and get him, as much as he didn’t want to. It was getting dark, and the boat was beginning to give him the creeps. He remembered some of the some of the more superstitious locals and their stories of this place.
They had told him that on a night, when people had crossed the marshes, probably using as a shortcut home from work, they had claimed to see lights moving past the windows. On occasion, usually on a windy day – on this part of the conversation, Bill had to stifle a laugh – howls could be heard coming from the inner-bowls of the ship.
Even though Bill refused to believe the tales he had been told, he couldn’t help but feel nervous around this black hulk. Getting closer, he had a chance to examine it. It wasn’t made of wood, like he had expected, but it was rather made of metal. It had corroded over the years, and if any paint had been on it, it certainly wasn’t there now.
On the side he could see, large holes had been torn in the sides, orange rust tingeing the sharp edges. The rust turned deep red nearer the bottom of the hull, the muddy water that surrounded it looked more like blood. Kind of fitting really, an old carcass in a pool of blood. Bill shivered at the prospect.
It was only now he was underneath the towering ship that he realised how big this thing actually was. It was huge. So big it blotted out any remaining light from the setting sun. Tyson had found his way around to a soggy patch of mud at the rear end of the ship, and something had found his interest – he was sniffing it intently. Just a little further up the side of the boat was a gaping hole leading inside. God forbid if he should go inside, Bill thought.
He walked along the bank of the muddy water, slightly intimidated by the large wreck, trying to put it out of his thoughts and concentrate only on Tyson.
“Tyson!” he shouted.
The dog looked up, wagged his tail, and then bolted for the hole in the ship.
“No! You stupid, stupid dog!” Bill screamed at the top of his voice, placing both hands on his head.
This was the last thing he needed right now. He thought of sitting at home in front of the warm fire, drinking a cup of coffee and reading the newspaper he hadn’t read yet. Then he looked over to the uninviting darkness that greeted him.
He’d had enough; he jumped carelessly into the red water, and waded across to the hole. The cold liquid rushed into the tops of his Wellingtons making him take a quick, sharp breath. Luckily the water wasn’t too deep; he just found his feet stuck in the mud as he waded through it.
Once he was at the hole in the hull, he pulled off his boots and emptied the contents. He couldn’t stand walking around with water sloshing about in them. He stepped inside.
It took a while for his eyes to become accustomed to the dark. Even with his eyes now tuned into the darkness, he still wasn’t really able to make out much, just shapes and silhouettes. He peered down what looked like a long corridor – though he couldn’t be sure – and stayed close to his exit out of this hell. His eyes widened when he thought he saw a flash of white.
“Tyson?” he said, his voice vibrating through the giant tin.
The sound of taps on metal grew fainter as Tyson walked deep into old ship.
“Oh come on!” he groaned.
Bill followed the noise down the corridor; his heart began to pound heavily in his chest.
He had travelled far into the hull now, and there was no sign of Tyson. He imagined it must be pitch black outside; it did nothing to calm his fears. Nor did the creaks and groans, and dripping of water and the clanking of metal inside this giant rotting cadaver. The tales the locals had told him started to flood his mind, and he found he was starting to panic.
“Calm down, relax he said.” Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath.
On opening them, he found he could see as much as when they were closed. A rush of wind howled past one of the holes higher up in the hull. Little hairs pricked up on the back of his neck and he shivered hysterically. He pressed his hand on the cold metal wall of the corridor to steady himself.
He heard a dull bark. He smiled and moved forward. His smile soon turned to a look of horror as he tumbled through a crack in the floor of this nightmare. Sharp metal rods rammed into him, piercing his skin and cracking his ribs. He felt them enter through his chest, and then exit through his back. The pain was unbearable, but in the last few seconds of his life, he smiled through bloodied teeth and laughed. Now the locals really would have a ghost on the wreck.