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Steerage

Steerage

Lucus Anthony Ren

© 2017, Lucus Anthony Ren

Self-publishing

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher. Limit of Liability and Disclaimer of Warranty: The author / publisher has used its best efforts in preparing this book, and the information provided herein is provided “as is,” and makes no representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specifically disclaims any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose and shall in no event be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damage, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

 

Chapter 1

 

Years Later

 

You’ll probably not believe any of this. It is a true story. It did happen. I should warn you though before I begin, your thinking will change because of it, and I am not accountable for any actions brought about. That is to say I do not fear your ability in understanding the tales events, the very contrary. I am certain the skillfulness of your minds attitudes for such are admirable, my concern resting upon facts, one cannot truly trust ones own self, fore one hasn’t affectionately understood the meaning of truth. In its entirety. Whole hearted, as it where, and here, exists the issue.

 

I too could barley compose myself upon hearing the full story as it were told before several of us just as it is now, yet here for you alone. I’ll neither alter a moment nor fabricate exclamation. The actuality will be stated pure as happened, preference given in not causing fear, but that which of course we all knowingly have, yet often neglect, that greatness of insight into, ourselves.

 

So, now, saved by the massive fire you’ve graciously built staving off colds creeping fingers, we shall begin this evening’s tale of honor, death and all between. Stopping not, until the end.

 

The late spring of 1928 was full upon us, our hunger for life and all it held, lay open as we drifted through that water which the ‘Princess Salima’ calmly making headway, was in fact her last voyage. She was a 50 foot flat-top cruiser motor yacht. The wheelhouse and saloon in the raised deckhouse, providing excellent visibility its entire circumference, allowing one in walking freely her entire hardwood deck. The deck its overhead shelter, provided by the “flat top,” which extends from the wheelhouse back over the aft deck and beneath, having a grand Cleopatra sofa, allowing leisure and grace upon the waters. This, the centerpiece of the entire vessel, guests lounged hours gazing at the waters, discussing politics and sport, luncheons and gossip. Her interior layout features two staterooms aft and crew quarters forward of the galley. The galley and crew quarters are separated from the staterooms by the wheelhouse and main salon. Therefore, even at her length, uniquely offers privacy for owners who employ crew, which of course was always the case for the Mr and Mrs. Wilkson, owners of the ‘Princess Salima’. A crew of three to be exact, the usual, with Captain Marshall having over twenty-two years experience along the eastern coast from New York to Florida at the helm, Steward Larson, and the cook Miss McRoo. All having outstanding letters of reference from previous employers, Mr. Wilkson was eager having the ‘Princess Salima’ underway as he had grand plans indeed of her, thus immediately employed the crew, and within four days the five Mrs. Wilkson as well, for she adored the open ocean, left their hail port of Greenport Harbor located on the north fork of Long Island, for a two week voyage along the coast stopping at various ports visiting friends and business associates, with ‘Princess Salima’ hosting events with sounding success.

 

Mr. Wilkson planed retiring the following year, purchased ‘Princess Salima’ for his wife. Having stood by him on countless business adventures over the years without complaining, for what reason would she seeing their wealth steadily increase, allowing the purchase of two town houses in Long Island, another in California. Mr. Wilkson a pilot during World War I returned applying his knowledge from the war, further developing commercial aviation in the order of seven large factories for research and design in aircraft manufacturing. They were a young couple. Handsome, fitting well together, and highly respected. Their future still in front of them, though childless, they wanted to experience the world for what it was, and in part would be produced through the ‘Princess Salima’. She wasn’t the grandest, or the most luxurious, but for the Wilksons she was their dream. Simple. Easy to manage. Comfortable. Sheltered from his demanding work, the vessel established, what they both so desperately hungered.

 

The accident came on one such restful cruise. Employed with the Wilksons for nearly three years, the crew was well established among one another, knowing their responsibilities. While hoping to outrun a pending storm they heading for anchorage at Key Biscayne, both Mrs. and Mr. Wilkson were on the Cleopatra sofa aft talking of their engagements during the stay in the Keys. Wanting to show her husband a photograph brought of an old mansion worth restoring for sale at a good price, she went below to their cabin too collect it. The crew often retired in their quarters during the hot afternoons so their discussions were quiet not wanting to wake the steward and Mrs. McRoo. Captain Marshall was calmly his normal self, steering the motor yacht with little difficulty and she thought how naturally her husband and the Captain both appeared, but a feeling of being part of something much larger came to her mind on her way below, as she again noticed the black clouds on the horizon encroaching ever closer. But the ‘Princess Salima’ was a fine vessel made of stout timbers which, in her mind would last a thousand years, the longer she spent on her the more she grew to love her. A strong fondness developed between the two almost immediately, flourishing steadily since. Both her and Mr. Wilkson lingered hours on deck at night watching the night sky, telling tails, thoughts, desires, yet that won’t be the case tonight though, with such a storm probably spend the night ashore was her thinking as she entered their cabin.

 

Having only taken a minute knowing exactly where the photo lay, returning quickly topside, she found it immediately strange. Captain Marshall was not at the helm. Straightaway she looked only to find the sofa where her husband was resting a moment ago, empty. She turned gazing forward thinking perhaps they’d both be there. Only the empty greeted her. Lifting the hatch of the engine compartment, but in searching that too was empty of them. Becoming dizzy without result she went to the crews cabins knocking on their doors. There was not a reply, only that of the water lapping against the wooden hull. Turning the handle of Captain Marshall and the steward’s cabin, the door opened freely into a space dimly light, for the curtains were pulled, warding off the imposing afternoon sun, and that was all. Both bunks empty. At least Larson should be here. Quickly she went to Mrs. McRoo, but discovered the same. She returned swiftly up the stairs frantically screaming their names with both fear and rage, yet in reaching the deck, she froze.

 

Now here I must pause asking do our deepest insights must, and should, appear as lunacy, and under certain circumstances as crimes, when they come unsanctioned to the ears of those who are not inclined and destined for them? Would you agree? Reason of my asking the inquiry proved little. The ‘Princess Salima’ was thoroughly searched. There were no bodies; no motive established in Mrs. Wilkson wanting to kill any of them, least her husband. Their affection towards one another commonly known; she had wealth from her father so money was not an issue. Nevertheless they were gone. In a moment, nothing of the crew remained except their cloths along with personal effects. The final decision of the court, Mrs. Wilkson fainted, as she’d mentioned suffering from spells of dizziness, and in that period the crew accidentally fell over board due to the storm, passed over from which Mrs. Wilkson awoke sometime afterwards.

 

Mrs. Wilkson managed well in steering the vessel for safe harbor, contacted the authorities, which promptly launched a full search and investigation. But these being minuscule facts not worth mentioning in depth as the case in point of this story doesn’t concern the search or even the investigation itself, rather what happened during the ‘Princess Salima’ refit some forty years later.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

Faithless Damned Voyage

 

Now, I must tell you one important point not mentioned prior for the simple reason, it would have meant only a glance held within your focused thoughts. As it does in this particular time, so have a pause and think it through a moment, questioning yourself as in what’s the one important element not mentioned yet in all this? What would have drawn great attention in the disappearance of Mr. Wilkson? You see, it now? Why of course you do. The media. Rightly so, they were immensely attentive with the entire setting as it were. The vanishing of such a person rang bells around half the world, and in what circumstances one might add consumed their audience for months during the inquiry, but not a trial, that would not be heard of in launching such a spectacle upon the dear grieving Mrs. Wilkson, and the families of those departed crew members, who naturally attended the formalities with great interest, an interest not in the normal sense of the word, not by far. But which shakes the very foundation of evil that ever was, for in that ship, for those that didn’t return ashore with Mrs. Wilkson, for those remains of which never recovered, lies only one possibility of which not even the dead speak of. They’ve never left the ‘Princess Salima’.

 

Now rush as you may into that room, best hiding what in your heart must be true, how else could it be with those not returning? For the media did have its time. The gossip and speculations ran a wildness dragging all involved with vengeance through a cyclone of twisted thoughts, slander, and passions lost of abandoned souls, for only those with unpardonable sins able to weigh their judgment upon this case, thereby seeing the true verdict. Yes. Now you see. For look at the facts! THE FACTS!! Clear irreproachable in the name of almighty!! How could she cause the deaths? She hadn’t the strength or the will. She loved her husband with unbounded passion as he with her. And the Captain, strong of a man, stout, filled with bravery, and Steward Larson quick as they come, not able to sneak upon, deliver ill-fate upon the young man and into the water as a weighted ragged doll. Mrs. McRoo, for heavens let us stop this maddening thought, for her size alone Mrs. Wilkson could barely move when willed from both. No, I say the truth is only in the eyes of those not from this place, who passed from it as hands of a clock. This can be of no denial. For what had Mrs. Wilkson done when returning topside after witnessing below decks completely empty? Indeed. Stiffened. Like that of ice or better, for ice does melt, but that of…wood. Immediately upon returning from below decks she did harden as a block of massive timber from which the ‘Princess Salima’ herself born of.

 

Now, good soul, here we have the final to all of this. A question as obvious as the sun, though whose answer lays below the deepest sea, of why? What be the cause, whereby a women of comparable standings from educated nurturing assume such a device? One with great worldly outlook and premonitions? What had she seen! Dear, for many of those in that life’s period as hers, will never know as she took that knowledge alone, unto herself. Till death. She never spoke of that day, nor any that follow. Succumbed to silence forever, the blackness in each too our own in passing, Mrs. Wilkson never an utterance passed her lips, never a simple syllable, not even a cry in pain or fear. For my friend in this lateness of evening, we are about to conclude, our business of real happenings in that faithless damned voyage.

 

Chapter 3

 

Become

 

That quietest, making always the loudest rumble is but of one thing: love. And in what shape it assumes, only holds the imagination, a very distant and almost lost comparison by far. For the true dignity of the very breath our being endures is that of once ourselves totally, without inquisition whether true or not, understanding loves beguiled. Regardless of the where’s or how’s these but trivial signposts relate nothing. Fore in their weightless definition one can only pray, of being lost. Forever. I was so fortunate, and not, in having traveled such territories once in my life. Blessed in being touched by something more important than myself, further cursed as the drug took hold, its addiction sever. In telling you this now, I truly understand the Wilksons, concluding, it is possible she killed her husband. And that is where many false redemptions lay of those having heard what media produced, a mythical resurrection of hope as it where, in love conquering all. Our understanding from its significance is far from that. As to comprehend this, true you must understand love, but of another source. But, you will ask from what can there but one birthplace be for love, that only in the heart. True! Very true! But from our story there is no heart to tell of. What happened to the crew that sunny afternoon has no heart…of which we’d recognize…of which froze the very one in Mrs. Wilkson.

 

In reaching those final steps upon the ladder she’d known of no danger the likes of what produced itself in front of her. Had she, then certain rules would have applied. Ones which bolted a person, chained away, keeping society safe from them, preferably in a pit. Bottomless. An abyss of eternity. The sight seen that sunny midday would take sanity for an expedition into territory not wanting any navigational plan, in the occurrence it escaped while retreating. After all a map could lead it anywhere. And frankly, wasn’t a possibility pondered. So the mind closed itself. Refused to witness any other action but that of survival meaning, to not recall upon, at any future time. Ever. Though always would it lay dormant within her thoughts and, worst still, her dreams, wherefrom out they strolled. A lover’s promenade.

 

And right she would be keeping her silence, mentioning not a word, fore itself would taken then, recognition of that faithful day while consider thereafter what she’d endured setting the vessel on its course toward anchorage, when contact with those authorities whom now could only assume a simple series of facts contrived allowing their sleepless nights a fitful end. Who would challenge judgments made? Would dare? Had truth be known their thoughts never again touched sanities shore. And those less fortunate, those wandering deranged beaches, those who during the reconstruction of the ‘Princess Salima,’ found bleeding human bones and teeth imbedded among the timbers of her hull, had but one thought ringing their mindless eternity, ringing a warnings bell of ever those who so disturb the resting of these, they too shall join this cursed endless voyage.

And dare say I cannot go further in this evenings tale, dear friend, it brings that dampen chill upon my own bony structure reliving the ‘Princesses’ meal of Mr. Wilkson and invited others. It is that keeping Mrs. Wilkson silent. That holding tongues of workers restoring the ‘Princess Salima’ their silence ever broken consequent to eternity’s deathless sailing. So then you might ask how can it be, that I am here before you, this chilling evening if all since swore their mute-hood? Because, I too were there you see, on board the ‘Princess Salima’ when Mrs. Wilkson returned topside after searching below. I saw what she saw. What workers saw during the vessels refit years later. Rather in-part. Seeing the puzzled look crossing your face allows me the opportunity only a very few have had, in hearing, that of the ‘other’ story, fitting we become prisoners of words what better entombment. But I shall be quick for I know you wear easily, wanting the end told so as to retire, no doubt the seclusion and peaceful night of soft dreams await. Furthermore from your hospitality inviting me for this discussion, you were so avid wanting all the details of such a forgotten account, I feel inclined, desperately so, in clearly stating, that wont be possible. You see, any hearing the story of the ‘Princess Salima’ their soul itself is consumed of it. Willingly as it were. Reason the story was scarcely mentioned. Till now, for your deserving heart.

 

Now, not wanting anymore waste of the precious time remaining for us, indeed it is late, let us finish. It all began with the timber for the construction of the ‘Princess Salima’ herself. Not oaken as believed in publications, but that from the ebony forests which no longer stands in another far away land. Logged years ago, this being one of the last removed from the grounds of a once prominent duke, who cheated and lied his wealth from many till the many sought a curse on him and all his kind. Starved, worked to near death they traded their last wealth, for the words chanted one special cold winter afternoon, the sun being higher then it should, but few took notice as the duke passed along the villagers squalid livings. In speaking the curse not a thing did change. Not, what the eye could see. In time as will all, not what one has, but what one holds dear takes root, and with the evil heart of the duke spawned evil times for those closest to him, and his holdings. Including the ebony forest. And it was that timber shipped over the ocean, with its scourge, now the heart of ‘Princess Salima’. Did you think Mr. Wilkson gained his wealth honestly? Or the father of Mrs. Wilkson? Does anyone for that matter? For what do we gain with an honest heart in mind? Yes. The color your face shows no secrets.

 

Now as you have by now surmised the curse took those whose dealings stood long side that of the dukes. And most none the ware of it. As with those whom sailed upon ‘Princess Salima’, so too had their end if the cursed tale be heard upon their very ears, or hearts following the dukes. Such as yourself. The moisture upon your forehead, is not your own. That trembling in the pit of your belly either. For the sweat of your stinking thievery smells that of the bilges from ‘Princess Salimas’ own. True it is. And soon your stomach will be ripped from you as she had done with those that faithful afternoon which Mrs. Wilkson saw, those shredded and devoured alive drained into the very timbers of its blackest forest! Ingesting their souls forever, held captive with others the ‘Princess Salima’ sailed on, in the hands of the most capable new owner, Mrs. Wilkson, understanding all well how stakes in this game of malignancy rose. Knowing silence her new relative, she lived it till her end, a bargain birthed both from sorrow and it’s opposing twin. But why, you might ask with your putrefying lungs in life’s failing last breath, could she, Mrs. Wilkson survive? Why yes of course a very good question as every good man desires so strongly, so whole heartedly their bequest unto this world, since often not entirely truthful, nor required. And at most, pointless and unwanted. Nonetheless I will honor it in confirming, she was the ‘Princess Salimas’ own spirit come alive …

 

In a moment you’ll perish, join those too in the swelling of the ‘Princess Salima’ and the many questions withal, dance in your eyes. Fear not they will be answered, it is no real tragedy at hand here, purely the long tangible proof this sarcastic play we live out each day in our lives is a forest, dark full of fear, and mystery, not our own tempo with its style, which has its basis in the character of what, we can become.

 

- End -

###

 

Note From Author

 

Thank you for taking the time reading this short story, written in such a manner as most my works, allowing room for the reader to interpret, expand, imagine in their way.

 

Discover other titles by Lucus Anthony Ren

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Hard Monkey

Pinned

Naked Letter

Honestly Speaking

Who Stole Know

Marker

Bind

Shut Eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Steerage

You’ll probably not believe any of this. It is a true story. It did happen. I should warn you though before I begin, your thinking will change because of it, and I am not accountable for any actions brought about. That is to say I do not fear your ability in understanding the tales events, the very contrary. I am certain the ability of your minds attitudes for such are admirable, my concern resting upon facts, one cannot truly trust ones own self, fore one hasn’t affectionately understood the meaning of truth. In its entirety. Whole hearted as it where, and here, exists the issue. I too could barley compose myself upon hearing the full story as it were told before several of us just as it is now, yet here for you alone. I wont alter a moment nor fabricate exclamation. The actuality will be stated pure as they happened, preference given in not causing fear, but that which of course we all knowingly have, yet often neglect, that greatness of insight into, ourselves. Now..let's begin.

  • ISBN: 9781370451876
  • Author: Lucus Anthony Ren
  • Published: 2017-06-15 08:05:08
  • Words: 3543
Steerage Steerage