No Escape


Craig, my writing buddy is here with an awesome wicked werewolf story.
Happy Lupercalia!!!

Thanks, Craig for coming by and telling us a story.

No Escape
My cabin door opened in a burst of wind and rain. Mr. Trout slammed the door behind him. “A

mast has been spotted off the port side, Captain. They aren’t rigging any sail, and she’s bobbing

like she’s unmanned.”

“Did you try signaling her? This storm isn’t anything to pull sail over.”

“Yes, Sir. She doesn’t respond, and she isn’t a steamer.”

“Move us closer, but stay back. I’ll be out in a minute.” I pulled on my greatcoat and tucked my

revolver inside my belt. I stepped into the rain and climbed to the wheelhouse. The other ship

flew the tattered remains of the Union Jack.

We used a megaphone to hail her, but no one answered. When we moved closer, the decks

were empty. The rest of the morning was spent tying alongside the empty ship in high seas.

Whispers of “Ghost Ship” spread among my crew as I prepared my boarding party.

Mr. Trout and his trusty rifle stepped aboard the merchant ship first. I followed three more of my

men onto the British deck. The decks were clean, but that was just the rain. I headed for the

Captain’s cabin while most of my men hustled below decks.

The captain’s quarters were empty. I grabbed the ship’s journal and stepped back into the rain.

The rigging on the sails creaked over our own idle engines as a wave pushed us sideways.

One of my men ran up. “She’s full of cargo, Sir. By rights of salvage, it’s all ours.”

“I’m aware of maritime law, mister. We’re half full now, and picking up more in Boston. What

would you do about that?”

Mr. Trout moved alongside. “We could take as much as we can hold, then sell it in Boston.

Maybe even take the best of both ships.”

I have to admit, it was appealing. I’d have to buy any of our cargo that we jettisoned, but would

earn it back after we sold our salvage.

“Sir! Sir?” One of my men ran up from the lower cabins. “It’s awful, sir. They’re all dead.”

Mr. Trout reached for a kerchief and placed it over his mouth.

“It ain’t the pox. They’re all torn to bits; blood and bones all over the place.”

I placed a hand on the sailor’s shoulder and drew my revolver. “Show me.” It took some

convincing, but the presence of Mr. Trout’s rifle made the poor fellow braver.

If anything, my sailor downplayed the mess below. The ship’s crew was literally torn to bits;

whole chunks of them were missing. We couldn’t tell which parts went with each other.

“Sir, over here,” Mr. Trout said. When I turned his rifle was aimed at someone.

The man was wearing the uniform of a British officer. His uniform was tight and looked two sizes

too small. He was blond, muscular, and blue eyed.

“And you are?” I asked.

“Leftenant, Simpkins, Sir. First mate. We barricaded ourselves down here when the mutineers

came. It was all boarding axes and cutlasses at the end. I’m the only one left.”

“Stand down, Mr. Trout, and show Lieutenant Simpkins to our ship. Provide him with some hot

water and quarters befitting an officer.”

“Should I send over a salvage crew, Sir?”

I paused. The metallic smell of blood and offal, mingled with rain and salt air. It made me

nauseous. “No. I’ll take none of it aboard our ship. It’s a tomb now.” I turned directly toward

Trout. “Get Mr. Foster on deck to lead a prayer. Then have a crew man one of the guns. She’s a

shipping hazard, and we’re sending her to the bottom.”

I tended to releasing the sailing vessel and made sure we were away. While Foster led his

prayer, we put three quick rounds into her hull at water level. I made my way to my quarters as

the engines lurched forward with a cloud of coal smoke. The midmast of the merchant ship slid

beneath the waves out my window.

Documenting the events myself gave me pause. I opened the unfortunate Captain’s journal and

began reading.

“… Took on crew and cargo at Wexford. Mr. Simpkins is joining us this trip. He’s a short

muscular fellow and looks more like a common sailor than an officer. Still, I sailed with him in ’89

and he is a decent officer…”

I flipped forward to the last few entries, but that didn’t sound like the same Mr. Simpkins we just

rescued. If he’s an impostor, his own Admiralty can sort it out.

“11, August, 1897. Three men went missing last night. Organized a party to search the ship. No

sign of the missing men. Engineer Bevins is a superstitious get. Swears he heard a wild howling

just before dawn. He insisted on entering it into the watch records.”

“12, August, 1897. Placed the Purser in charge of spreading the hours among the remaining

men. The quartermaster is one of the missing men. Purser will disburse extra rum to those who

put in extra hours…

“Mr. Ward discovered a blood smear going overboard. I hesitate to think one of my men is a

murderer. Will put Mr. Simpkins to an investigation tomorrow…

“Howling sounded below decks just after sunset. Visibility excellent, due to the full moon. Found

Mr. Simpkins below decks with his throat torn out. Personally leading a squad to search the ship

room by room. Someone is covered with blood and I’ll know who. The madman shouldn’t be

hard to find, he won’t stop howling. There’s no escape at sea.”

That was the last entry. I looked up at the full August moon rising outside my window, grabbed

my revolver and decided to take the mysterious Lieutenant Simpkins into custody. Maybe he

can tell me what happened to those cutlasses that should have littered the cargo hold.

Someone was baying like a hound from hell, and by God, he was going to tell me about that too.

Mr. Trout with his trusty rifle were on the run toward my cabin. The howling came from the

officer’s quarters. My knuckles clenched around my revolver as I strode toward the source.

Trout caught up. “It’s the man we rescued. One of the men heard him smashing furniture and

entered his cabin. Lieutenant Simpkins growled at him, Sir.”

“Growled?”

“That’s what I was told. When the howling started, I fetched my rifle and came running.”

We proceeded down to the main deck and around the cargo bay toward the officer’s quarters.

Trout advised caution, but I was hell bent on sorting this out immediately. Lieutenant Simpkins

could finish the trip in shackles for all I cared.

I marched up to his cabin door, just as it shattered and pulled inside. I raised my revolver and

aimed at the door, which was now a shield. Shooting the man was the last thing I wanted. I

hesitated.

He flung the door away, and it pierced the wall to my left and stuck there. What stood before me

was no man. The monster was nearly seven feet tall, covered with hair, and had the head of a

large wolf. The uniform of Lieutenant Simpkins hung torn and tattered around its shoulders. We

stared at each other across a distance of nine feet or so.

Mr. Trout didn’t hesitate. He fired a round into the beast’s chest. Blood painted the wall behind it.

The monster pounced and knocked me back into Trout, who went sprawling. It’s jaws clamped

around my throat and it lifted me as it turned to face Trout.

Trout slowly moved his rifle toward his shoulder.

The beast growled. It’s spittle and breath stink of rotten meat. I moved helplessly back and forth

as the monster shook it’s head back and forth to warn Mr. Trout.

Trout lowered his rifle.

The creature lowered me to the deck.

The voice was barely understandable, sounding like growls and grunts, but we both understood.

“Canada.”

“C, Canada?” Trout said.

“Same offer I made Captain Douglas. Canada, or watch everyone die.”

We’re merchantmen, not Navy. My duty is to our cargo and my men. I’d seen what this creature

was capable of with my own eyes. I also noticed that Trout’s bullet appeared ineffective. “M, Mr.

Trout, find us a safe bay somewhere along the Canadian coast. Take us there, full steam

ahead.” Captain Douglas was right about one thing; there’s no escape at sea.

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21 thoughts on “No Escape

  1. I must have messed up my formatting somehow. Sorry. Hope people still enjoy it.

  2. Reblogged this on Entertaining Stories and commented:
    Mari Wells is celebrating werewolf month again this year. She asked me for a story, and it’s live at her site today. Please check it out, and let me know what you think. Mari has a very interesting blog, so please consider following her while you’re there.

  3. Ali Isaac says:

    Oooooh… creepy! Love that you set this story at sea, where the characters really are helpless. Excellent story, Craig!

  4. A really great story, really very unique. I may never had contemplated a werewolf at sea story. I can’t wait to see more work from you.

  5. janeydoe57 says:

    Wonderful Craig! I love this kind of thing and you really got the suspenseful feeling in there. Plus your descriptions were so well done, I could almost smell the salty sea!

  6. Joseph Pinto says:

    Fresh take on the werewolf, well done!! 🙂

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