Red Sky At Nichtbygyumri_boy©
"Tanisha tae Sidonie."
Waiting for a response Tanisha studied the neon-green radar display once more. Finally Sidonie's sleepy voice could be dimly heard with a pronounced, "yar?"
"Sorry tae wake ye, Ma'am, but there's a large vessel abit twintie miles tae th' soothwest ay us. She seems tae be driftin'."
There was another crackle of static as the captain of the ship thought this over. Then: "Right, I'm on my way up."
In a few minutes the whole crew was assembled in the little pilothouse. Sidonie sat at her desk over the ship's log, working the radio. Nearby Aizanne, crouched over the radar, gazed at the display as the digital sweeping arm lit up at a bright green blip out in the middle of nowhere.
"Ah hae bin watchin' it fur close tae an hoor an' it hasnae moved," Tanisha explained. "Ah cannae raise it oan th' radio either. Makes me hink it micht be in trooble."
Sidonie shrugged, as if to say, we'll soon see. Then she spoke evenly into the microphone, " Merchant vessel, this is the tugboat MAMI WATA, whiskey tango foxtrot zero niner. Over."
Only the quiet hiss of white noise came back from the speaker as the mysterious bright point flashed on the radar.
"Merchant vessel, this is the tugboat MAMI WATA, whiskey tango foxtrot zero niner. Over."
"Too deep to be anchored out here," Sidonie muttered.
"Looks loch it's adrift," Tanisha pointed out.
Guillaume spoke up, "Er, could she be a fishing boat?"
Tanisha shook her head, "Tay big. She's mair freighter size."
"No, it's way out of the shipping lanes. What in the hell would a freighter be doing way up here, anyway? There's not a port for a thousand miles."
Aizanne, doubtfully, offered: "Whaler, perhaps?"
Sidonie raised the mic once more to her lips.
"Merchant vessel, this is MAMI WATA. Please respond. Over."
Again, only the quiet hiss of static could be heard.
"Maybe we should call the Canadian Coastguard?" Aizanne asked.
"Does Canada even have a Coast Guard?"
"Of course, but let's not do it just yet. Steer to one eight five, Missus Tanisha. Let's check her out."
The crew fell silent as the MAMI WATA cut a foamy break in the inky night water.
Sidonie looked on as Tanisha piloted, Aizanne and Guillaume watching the phantom point flash closer on the radar.
Finally Sidonie murmured, "Alright. Back it off."
Tanisha throttled back. As the tug moved along, the halogen floods flared to life, sweeping a broad swath across the water. The four peered into the black void as they slowly inched forward and then, suddenly, alien and hideously out of place, a shadow loomed before them.
Sidonie drew in her breath and ordered, "Slow, slow."
Tanisha throttled down and let the boat drift as the shadow towered before them, filling the sky. It was a giant rusting bow, arching and disappearing into the darkness. Sidonie moved the searchlight about to reveal more ancient, rusting metal of a mammoth and dark superstructure. As they swung around, the name AEGIR could be seen painted in faded blue above the anchor alleys.
Sidonie shrugged, the name could mean anything. She then fumbled for the mic, hit the exterior PA system, listened as it crackled to life.
"Ahoy there, AEGIR."
The crew gaped up at the wall of metal. There was a pause. They could hear to the slap-slap of water against metal but nothing else. The dead hulk remained impassive.
Sidonie tried again, "Ahoy, AEGIR. This is civilian tugboat MAMI WATA. Is there anyone aboard?"
Finally Sidonie turned around. She glanced at the other three faces illuminated by the halogen glare, as if to say "eh, at least we tried." She smiled.
"Guillaume, come with me. You two girls, sit tight."
It took a while but while Tanisha held the tug steady while Guillaume and Sidonie, dressed in heavy parkas, climbed a hydraulic deck crane up to the AEGIR, two pin-points of light suspended over the ever-moving ink of the nighttime water. Finally the captain of the MAMI WATA pulled herself up and jumped down onto the deck. Guillaume followed, close behind.
The two tiny figures aimed their spotlights this way and that across the superstructure. All traces of paint had been rusted over, lending a still darker ominousness to the new world they were exploring. Moving across the forward deck Sidonie and Guillaume saw that, despite the ubiquitous corrosion, everything appeared to be in order. The decks were clear. There was no apparent fire damage. No indication of struggle or mutiny. A ghost ship lost in the middle of the night. Finally they happened upon at a hatchway leading into the belly of the beast. Guillaume glanced at his lover and shown his light down the darkened corridor. The two began to slowly descend, taking in the rusting floor after rusting floor, dumbfounded by the endless weather-warped teak wood that covered the walls and ceiling.
As they approached a second flight of stairs Sidonie's walkie-talkie sparkled to life in a hiss of white noise and static. Tanisha's disembodied brogue came wobbling up to their ears: "Gab tae me, Ma'am."
After a moment, Sidonie responded: "We're in a stairwell just under the main superstructure."
As they climbed Sidonie whispered to the younger man: "This is definitely an old ship, maybe seventy? Maybe a hundred years old? Hard to tell."
Ahead of them a wider passageway brought them into an open area, the galley. Their fingers of electric light probed this way and that, revealing sinks and counters and racks of old kitchen equipment, a few pots still hanging on the wall. Sidonie finally hailed her crew back on board the tug.
"Whit was funay?"
"Besides a little rust," Sidonie began, everything's--" and her voice suddenly cut off.
Tanisha and Aizanne looked at each other in alarm. Only static from the other end.
Tanisha, now urgently, "Whit jist happened, Sidonie?"
But their captain did not reply. The two women listened to the meaningless noise, trying to fight down panic.
"Sidonie?" Tanisha repeated.
"Damnú air, Sidonie!"
CHAPTER V: RED SKY AT NIGHT
It was dark and the radio gargled. Lights flashed on what was once an elegant interior promenade at the heart of the ship. Sidonie and Guillaume marveled at the ornate opulence, tables and chairs in place near a large dance floor and orchestra pit, as well as a magnificent crystal chandelier slowly swaying with the moving waves.
Moving on the two came upon the top a staircase out onto a long, darkened corridor. They moved on. Some of the doors were open and faint light from port holes illuminated small cabins with beds, desks, a few chairs.
Guillaume, stooping, picked up a scrap of paper, "Check this out."
Sidonie glanced over his shoulder and saw that the young man held a crumpled brochure, water-stained and dirty.
"'AEGIR, Flag ship of the Böse Brothers Line. Cuxhaven.' Is that German writing?"
"Looks it, or maybe Dutch, I have a hard time keeping the two separate."
"Was this a Nazi boat?"
"Not likely, the German Navy, Das Kriegsmarine, spent their time making U-Boats and pocket battleships, not posh, floating hotels."
Guillaume slowly nodded and the two began moving forward once more. They finally came upon a hatchway marked KOMMANDANT. Stepping inside they were rewarded with a bank of windows showing them an expanse of rusting foredeck and the ocean below.
"I'm going to look for the Captain's Log," Sidonie explained. "Check the door over there and see where it goes."
Nodding, Guillaume stepped from the bridge into a large public room. Its tables and chairs were scattered haphazardly across molave floors. He stopped in front of an art-deco full length mirror. Nearby there was a weather-beaten shrine with its antique saints and light fell in from windows along the wall where tattered curtains hung. Something cold touched his forearm. He shivered and walked over to a deserted table. He stared down at a pair of empty glasses, an empty bourbon carafe nearby. An overflowing ashtray sat beside that. Guillaume stopped, reached down and pulled back a half-smoked cigarette, lipstick smudged at the end, yellow and fragile like the rest of the ship. Scrawled on the mirror, in dust, Guillaume could read: "It's time to put away childish things."
His lungs tried to suck in the rusty air but he noticed it was oppressive and heavy. He suddenly felt the hairs on his nape stand up as cold sweat dripped down his back and chest. His heart galloped fiercely. He knew something was definitely wrong. As he stood there a mirky silhouette drifted past the open doorway. Guillaume called out, but in an instant it was gone. Dropping the cigarette, he ran out into the hallway. Nothing. He returned to the room but there was nothing to be seen.
"Something is here -- please, please let it not be a ...," Guillaume began but the words died in his throat and his palms were suddenly wet with fright. He could feel unseen eyes boring into him and, unasked for, images of dozens of charred corpses came floating to his eye, effeminate young men just like himself, their faces burnt reddish-black, lips retracted into hideous grins.
"What happened here?" Guillaume asked aloud.
"Oh, you know, a little of this and a little of that."
The young man spun around at the sound of the voice. It reminded him a lot like his own: masculine, but not deep and always with the hint of a lisp. He turned all about but saw nothing.
But still, still ...
Guillaume felt a chill pass over his scruff. His throat constricted and he began trembling uncontrollably as he shut his eyes tight. It was coming. It was coming.
"By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."
The dark room became deathly cold. Guillaume's eyes stayed shut and his heart raced. It was then he felt the touch, the end of his belt being slowly unhooked, the heavy fabric of his trousers slowly being pulled to the floor. Guillaume grabbed hold of the cloth, his knuckles white from dread as the unseen hands began stripping him naked with increasing force. With a sudden jerk his trousers were yanked around his ankles, leaving Guillaume helpless and exposed, his glistening skin covered with sweat.
"O Isis, protect me," he mumbled. Isis? That's what Sidonie would have said, wouldn't it? Where was she?
Guillaume's cock had retreated into the subterranean lair of his groin, his skin cold and sweaty, his eyes beginning to water. Now there was a noise like a body dragging itself this was and that over a metal grate. The young man wanted to scream, but his throat was dry and no sound escaped from his frozen cords.
Without warning, he felt coarse invisible hands grab his legs and spread them apart. They were incredibly strong, like vices, pinning him spread-eagle where he stood. And the smell -- the smell. There was a stench all about him, an acrid smell of burnt flesh.
Then a rough sensation like cold clammy fish-flesh brushed against one of Guillaume's naked thighs, then his other. Chills ran wild up his spine as the ghostly touch, slithering ever upwards, reached his curling pubes.
The young man felt a heavy weight settle upon his cock: dead and slimy like seaweed. With a terrible schloomp a wet fleshy mass encircled his knees, dragging itself to his cock, the foul odor increasing. To his terror and amazement Guillaume felt his cock begin to stir. The shade shifted its weight upwards, pushing air out of Guillaume's lungs. Now the young man's cock was rigid, as hard as it ever had been in his life. Unseen lips licked their way up his shaft, feeling every vein and crease.
"Ohh – Ahh." Guillaume whimpered.
He felt the ghost's mouth rolling up and down his cock, sucking and tightening its grip at every stroke. It was then that he began to feel the mounting orgasm. This was the pleasure that lies in the same bed as death. He knew he couldn't keep it back. It was coming. It was here. He was about to cum.
Guillaume threw his head back and howled, a noise of pleasure and fear that filled the whole ship, made the waves tremble and the sky to burn black as sackcloth.
Sidonie heard the scream, dropped what she was doing and sprinted out into the public room. It was empty, save for the yellowed cigarette laying crushed on the floor.
Sidonie called out his name over and over but could hear no response. Something cold touched her forearm. Her walkie-talkie was dead and the air crackled with Saint Elmo's fire.