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words: 100th Post
words: Terra / Plasma
words:Locomotive / Field
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words: 100th Post
By: Cory Fleming
David Tate was a loser, and had always been a loser. It’s not that there was anything particularly loserish about David Tate that one could put a finger on; he wasn’t especially shy or unattractive, he had a decent job, and most people he met tended to like him. But he was a loser just the same, always finding a way to put himself second when it came to getting what he wanted, and completely devoid of that indefinable magnetism found in more confident men, in winners. He was certainly the least remarkable of his friends. But all of that meant very little now. David Tate was alive, and his friends were dead. And the gold was his.
David had never seen a ghost hunting reality show, but when his best friend Tommy Reardon (who was as close as possible to the antithesis of David) suggested that they record their own ghost hunt, he was excited. He hadn’t done anything remotely close to adventurous in quite awhile, and this would certainly be more fun than watching the Amazing Race at home alone as he often did. One week later, David and Tommy, along with Tommy’s buddies Phil and Matt, hopped in Tommy’s 4-Runner and headed up Geiger Grade toward Virginia City. They drove through the small town, once the booming epicenter of mineral wealth in the West, and continued on to Gold Hill. If you blinked you might miss the old mining community, but Gold Hill continued to hang on to existence for two main reasons. First, it was one endpoint of the restored V&T Railroad that sold train rides to cowboy hat wearing tourists and their five-year old children. Second, it was the home of the Gold Hill Hotel, which was in turn home to a larger than average number of hauntings (or just a larger than average number of ghost stories, depending on who you asked).
Rather than receiving a room in the hotel itself, they were checked into to the nearby Miner’s Lodge. The Lodge was located less than one hundred yards from the old remains of the Yellow Jacket silver mine. In 1873, a fire in the mine killed 37 men, their bodies never recovered. According to the local Gold Hill residents the miners still visited the Lodge, and it was certainly the “most haunted” place at the Hotel. It was exactly what the boys were looking for, 37 ghosts clearly meaning 37 times the chances of a spectral encounter. They grabbed their bags and went in for a look.
The room itself was quite clean and seemed to have been updated sometime in the last 15 years, making it look less like a Comstock era shack, and more like a Motel 6. Tommy set down a large duffel bag and pulled out the “ghost hunting” equipment the boys would be using in their investigation, a tape recorder and video camera. He grabbed the camera and started recording.
“It’s October 26th, 2010, 7:45pm. I’m here with Phil, Matt, and Dave, and we’re attempting to make contact with a phantom presence. Hey Matt, why don’t you and Dave get that tape recorder setup in the front bedroom. See if we can pick up some EVP.” Tommy headed away with the camera, Phil on his heel. David and Matt headed toward the bedroom.
As soon as David entered the room, his skin began to crawl. He wasn’t alone. Matt’s arms were covered with goose bumps. David got down on the ground and reached to place the tape recorder under the bed, but stopped short when something caught his eye. There was a large bulge in the rug that had been placed beneath the bed.
“I think there’s something under here,” David called from the floor.
“What is it? A mooonsteerrr?”
“Fuck you! I’m serious. Help me move the bed.” Together they moved the large bed, and David lifted the rug. A metal ring protruded from the hardwood floor. It was attached to a trapdoor adorned with a faded map painted on its lid.
“You guys! I found something!” Matt shouted towards the other room.
“Who’s going first?” That was the question begged by the open door in the floor, but voiced by Tommy. “Dave, why don’t you go?” It wasn’t really a question.
David grabbed a flashlight and started down the wooden steps. They creaked loudly, loud enough that David feared they might break under his weight. They didn’t, but he fell to the dirt floor nonetheless as Phil shoved his way passed David.
The four of them walked down the tunnel of the old abandoned mine for what seemed like hours, the floor steadily dropping, the temperature rising. The light from David’s flashlight dimmed.
“Alright, pull out the other flashlight,” Dave said as he was about to put his away. No one said anything. “You have to be kidding me! Alright, let’s head back and grab the others.”
“Is someone scared of the daaawk?” Matt teased, “There’s no way I’m turning around. We’ve been walking forever, and there could be a fortune down here. Besides, those LED flashlights last forever.” Forever turned out to be twenty minutes longer.
The lights went out, and they stumbled blindly in the dark, the path continuing to descend steadily. They started to periodically encounter old mining equipment in the path of the tunnel, Phil discovering an old cart with his knee.
“Why didn’t you remember to bring the other flashlight David?!” complained Phil.
David said nothing, continuing to walk with an “I told you so” look on his face.
A short while later Tommy stopped suddenly.
“You guys, I think I see daylight up ahead!” he said with astonishment.
“No, your eyes are just adjusting to the dark,” Matt dismissed.
“No, I see it too. It’s not daylight though. It can't be. It’s the middle of the night. This is almost golden...” David trailed off.
The light grew stronger as they walked on.
“What are you guys gonna do with your shares?” Tommy asked.
David started. “Well, I would...”
“I’m gonna get a Lamborghini!” Phil said as he playfully shot both fists in the air.
“Awesome, I w-”
“A Lamborghini? I’m getting a fucking mansion!” Matt shouted.
“I think I wo-”
“Oh my God! Would you take a look at that!” Two hundred feet farther down the tunnel, a large chest was perched upon a mountain of stone steps, light emanating brilliantly at its seams. “It’s like Indiana fucking Jones!” Tommy ran up from behind, shoving David aside and into a beam against the wall. The wood snapped.
They held their collective breath, waiting for the end. Dirt fell from the ceiling down onto David’s head, as from a large hourglass. A minute’s worth of filth fell and then suddenly ceased. David slowly got to his feet.
“What the fuck did you do that for David?! You gotta watch where you’re going m-”
Tommy’s protest was cut off as the hourglass dropped ten years all at once. Matt and Phil were simultaneously flattened like Daffy Duck under a five-ton Acme Anvil. David’s leg was hit with a soccer ball sized rock just below the knee, where he felt a firework explode. Tommy, being further down the tunnel, avoided the cave in entirely. He ran back as David screamed, struggling to free himself from the rock.
“Oh my God! We need to get them out from under there! Grab one of the shovels and help me!”
David gaped in disbelief as Tommy started shoveling furiously at the massive rock pile. David's screams subsided as he turned his head and stared blankly down the tunnel toward the chest.
“Well Tommy, what are you gonna do with your share?”
Tommy said nothing, instead continuing to bleed from his shovel inflicted head wound.
“Are you serious? Really? You would be willing to give your ENTIRE share to me? You’re a hell of a friend Tommy”.
David limped towards the stone steps that lead to the treasure. His treasure. That had a certain ring, didn't it? HIS treasure. What respect one couldn’t earn with talent or character, one could always buy. His right leg was most assuredly broken, but he felt very little pain, all things considered. At least he wasn't smashed, like those bugs Phil and Matt. David giggled quietly. He started slowly up the stairs, each exertion bringing him closer to the top, to the chest that would change his life forever.
His chest heaving, David dragged his bum leg over the last step. The sandalwood chest was much larger than it had appeared from the ground. He squat down slightly on his good leg and pushed up with both hands on the massive lid. It wouldn't move. David panicked for a moment before realizing that the chest was locked. Of course. He began to pound the lock with the bloody shovel. It soon gave to his rage. He dropped the shovel, grinning from ear to ear. He began to open the chest, slowly at first, but then greedily, slamming it open. Golden light poured out and reflected in the eyes of David Tate, forcing him to squint. After a moment, he was able to see into the chest. His smile dropped faster than the shovel. As the old saying goes, not all that glitters is gold...
words: Terra / Plasma
By Michael Fraley
As our shuttle landed on the dark side of the moon, I couldn’t help the feeling of total isolation. I stared out towards the terra, or the lunar highlands, the only visible landscape on this desolate orb. It reminded me of the Grand Tetons back home in Montana and jarred memories of how I got into this mess in the first place.
It was graduation night, as my two best friends and I left MSU to go hit the bars. After hours of laughing and drinking I stumbled in behind the wheel of my ’79 Camaro and attempted to drive us all home. Unfortunately I never saw the oncoming vehicle, the next thing I knew I was waking up in a hospital room, under arrest for the killing of my two best friends and the driver of the other car. I was sentenced to 25 years in prison, however at sentencing the judge offered me an alternative. The government had started a new program for minimum security prisoners where one could be shuttled to the moon for a 5 year work program mining precious minerals, which are used in pda’s, tablets, plasma tv’s and more, in exchange for one’s freedom upon returning to earth. Still being in a fog from everything that had happened, I reluctantly agreed even though it meant 5 years of 12 hour days, 7 days a week, but at least it would take my mind off of the lives that I had destroyed.
Upon docking with the dome like structure, we clambered from our reclined seats to form a single line. The guards, many of whom had made this trip several times, whooped it up laughing at our inability to stand. Suddenly we were jolted to the floor by a large tremor from somewhere below. The ripple effect caused the glass on the landing bridge to shatter creating a large hole. Everything was being sucked outside as I reached out and grabbed onto the leg on my seat. One man, who sounded like he was Russian, ran for the hole and soared out into the abyss. Immediately, the gaping hole was filled by some sort of foam which hardened in seconds. The guards laughed at the Russian knowing that his fate was sealed just like the shattered window. As I was roused to my feet, I immediately regretted being sent to this lunar prison, knowing that I still had 1,824 more days of hard labor before I would ever breathe the fresh air of earth….
by: Cory Fleming
One pull could save the planet. That was the line in the advertisement that caught Margaret's attention and ultimately brought her to the casino. It was the thrill of millions of dollars changing hands, and although she would never admit it later, blood lust that kept her there for the seven hours she played before hitting the jackpot. Of course Margaret wasn't the only player who felt this way. Every person among the thousands who crowded into the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City were excited by the prospect of genocide. For one, the soon to be destroyed were enemies of the state. For another, they were already dead.
Margaret wrote out her ten million dollar deposit check to the Department of Defense and entered the casino. The floor had been rearranged for the event. All of the table games, Blackjack, Texas Hold-Em, Roulette, Craps, moved away to make room for additional slot machines. Many of the machines were already occupied, despite the fact that the tournament wasn't scheduled to begin for nearly an hour. Margaret checked in with the woman at the information desk and was given a card with the location of her assigned terminal. She was helped to a machine at the end of a row where four other players had already been seated, and was tempted to yell "Bingo!", but thought better of it and instead asked a passing cocktail waitress for a virgin Pina Colada. Margaret had chosen to stop drinking when her husband passed away from liver cancer.
The floor continued to fill as wealthy business owners, foreign dignitaries, and a surprising number of seniors with life insurance checks to burn, pushed their way through the door. By seven o'clock, the remaining players had taken their seats and a man dressed in a high-priced tuxedo was handed a microphone. "Good evening ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of President Trump, the Department of Defense, and the state of New Jersey, I'd like to extend my thanks to all of you for coming, and for choosing to participate in our tournament. The rules are simple. There is a single bet amount of $100 dollars per spin, and play will continue until someone has hit the jackpot, or our ten hour time limit has expired, in which case the player with the highest accumulated winnings will be declared our champion. Most importantly, as advertised, in addition to any winnings acquired by our champion, he or she will be given the opportunity to 'push the button'. As you all know, the island of Manhattan has been quarantined for the last five years, and although the greatest efforts have been taken to try and cure the infected population, the results have been unsuccessful. As President Trump indicated last week in his State of the Union Address, the Department of Defense feels it is in the best interest of the American People, and the world, that Manhattan and the zombie menace be removed. A nuclear warhead is scheduled for launch immediately following our tournament, and the winner will be included this process. Good luck to all, and let the tournament begin!"
A deafening noise, not unlike the applause of millions of plastic soldiers, rose in the casino as the players madly began to pound on the 'spin' buttons of their slot machines. The players themselves were mostly silent, trapped in intense concentration, although the occasional whooping was heard accompanying larger wins. The same fervor hadn't been seen in years, not since the demand to see Osama Bin Laden's post death photos had been denied. Near the end of the second hour of play, a portly gentleman in a pinstriped suit claimed that he had hit the jackpot, but upon further inspection it was determined that the machine had malfunctioned. The gentleman objected vehemently, but was informed that the machine clearly stated "Malfunctions void and pays and plays." He returned quickly to the game, now angry that he had lost valuable time. Margaret's play was mostly uneventful, making small winning runs before soon losing once again. With her funds dwindling, she stood and pressed the spin for her last game, ready to leave. The zombie symbols clicked down along the center line, one by one. The lights of the machine flashed, and a monstrous alarm rang loudly enough to mute the rest of the casino. The faces of the players closest to Margaret were at that moment quite similar to those of the hungry hoards one state to the North.
When the old woman was prompted to turn the key several hours later, she let out a small giggle, feeling for a short time like the mischievous child see had been in her youth. The red glow of the missile launching into the air hid her blushing cheeks.
words:Locomotive / Field
by: Cory Flemming
Some people say when you die you walk toward a light. Not me. The day I died I rode toward the light at the end of the tunnel aboard a steam-powered locomotive. I didn't know where I was going or how I'd gotten there, but I knew I was dead. Just knew, the same way women always seem to know when you're staring at their ass. I couldn't see the light from inside the passenger car where I sat, but felt its looming presence just the same. It was cold enough in the compartment to give me goosebumps. That surprised me. I wouldn't have thought ghosts could get goosebumps. Then again, up until my train ride, I didn't believe in ghosts at all. The sound of the train's moving gears echoed off the walls of the tunnel, but it wasn't terribly loud. I rode alone with my thoughts for a very long time.
I began to think the cold might be good a good sign. No lake of fire. Unless of course hell had frozen over. That's just a saying though, isn't it? It didn't help the worrying in any case. I wasn't so sure there was anything good for me at the end of that tunnel. Hadn't spoken to my son in three years. Pretended I didn't have any cash when that bum asked me for change. Sure as hell (surer every moment) didn't love my neighbor whose dog kept crapping on my lawn. I hadn't killed anybody though, and I always paid my taxes on time. That had to count for something.
There was more light in the compartment now. I folded my hands figuring I'd slip in a last ditch prayer, but decided against it. I hadn't spoken with the big guy since my wife died, and I didn't really think he'd buy what I was selling. Not at 11th hour anyway. The train emerged from the tunnel and what I saw astounded me. A field of roses stretched to the horizon in every direction, a sea of red interrupted only by the train tracks and a great Tower at their end. It was at once the most beautiful and terrifying thing I had ever seen.
The door to the compartment ahead slid open, and a stout man in a conductor's uniform walked through. As he waddled closer to me, I saw he wore a gold name tag, "Pete". I hadn't been to mass since high school, but I knew the man. "Ticket?" he asked me, and stuck out his hand. I searched my pockets but found nothing. Pete looked stern for a moment before grinning at me. "Don't worry about it kid. Let me show you something," he said before leading me to the rear of the compartment. He opened the door and we stepped outside to the railing surrounding the car. The air was warm and there was little wind despite how fast the train was now moving. "What is it? Heaven?" I asked, motioning toward the Tower. Pete paused for some time before replying, "It's everything." He smiled at me again, and I was content. I turned to ask him another question, but was interrupted by Pete's shout of "Clear!" and an incredible shove, tossing me over the rail of the locomotive and into the field of roses below. "Don't forget your ticket next time!" he shouted as the train sped away. "Next time?" I called back. There was no answer.
I looked to the ground and picked a rose, doing my best to avoid any thorns. There didn't seem to be any. I lifted it to my nose, shut my eyes, and breathed deeply. The rose smelled of disinfectant and piss. I opened my eyes and found myself in a hospital bed surrounded by a crowd of nurses and doctors. A heart monitor beeped loudly. “We almost lost you there buddy,” the nearest doctor said as he set down the defibrillator.
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by: Cory Flemming
When the United States Navy found the crushed remains of a deep-sea vessel west of the southern tip of South America in 1997, the first thought was Russian aggression. It would be nearly fifty years however before they knew the truth, that the destroyed submarine had in fact come from the future and that the crew of the Shaguo, albeit perishing in the process, were the first successful travelers through time. One week before the wreckage was discovered, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) detected an anomalous underwater sound. The ultra-low frequency emission, which was later called "Bloop", seemed to be animal in nature, but was many times more powerful than sounds produced by even the largest marine creatures, traveling over a range of 5,000 kilometers. Any ideas of an undiscovered sea monster were quickly put to rest when instead of an animal, the Navy found the flattened submarine at the origin of the disturbance. The vessel didn't seem to have been attacked, but rather imploded through incredible pressure. Not unusual, considering the depth at which the wreckage now rested. The U.S. never reported their discovery, choosing to remain mum, as is the custom with matters that may or may not pertain to national security, and the Russians of course never came asking about a missing submarine.
In addition to the fact that the sub had come from future, neither the Shaguo, nor its crew of six, were Russian. Roughly translated as “Inquisitor”, the Shaguo was commissioned for construction by the Chinese government in 2029 for the purpose of exploring and studying the rapidly failing oceans of the planet. The coral reefs were already well on their way to nonexistence, as they had been for the previous 20 years, a terrible combination of ocean pollution, over fishing, and unmistakable climate change. The submersible was launched two years later, and collected discouraging data for seven of ten planned years of study. In January of 2038, the crew reported an ultra-low sound emission in the South Pacific, and the Shaguo changed course to investigate. In their last transmitted communication, from the triangulated source of the of the sound, the crew described a cavernous opening, like a black spot, in the sea floor roughly 200 meters in diameter. News of the Chinese crew's disappearance received little airtime in the world news, but immediately caught the attention of the Pentagon, and soon after, the White House. That evening the President of the United States phoned the General Secretary of China to relay his deepest sympathies, as well as important news. The U.S. Navy had already located the missing Chinese sub.
The monstrous sound rang throughout the ship, vibrating the decks strongly enough to knock Ensign Redman off his feet, and a framed picture off the desk of Captain Stephen Reynolds, a picture of the wife that he would never see again. Reynolds himself went completely still as a wave of trepidation washed over and paralyzed him for longer than he was proud to admit. He knew that this would be, at least within the realm of any real possibility, his last chance, and therefore the last real chance for the rest of the human race.
"Thar she blows!" Reynolds bellowed as he climbed into the command center two minutes later. The Ben Kenobi (some geeky pencil pusher's idea of a joke) had already changed course to direct them toward the source of the sound, but Reynolds gave the order again anyway. He hoped to God every one of the 127 souls he commanded had by now recovered enough of their wits to get to their posts. "This is not a fucking drill," the Captain stated as he began to address the crew. "You all heard the bloop, and we've set our course accordingly. Judging by the strength of the sound we can't be more than 9 hours away. We have a real shot at this thing, and by the end of the day, with any luck, we will see just what's at the bottom of that hole." Reynolds could hear muted cheering from the next deck.
This wasn't the first time Stephen Reynolds had heard the "bloop". Fourteen years earlier, during his first command, in the first week of that command in fact, the sound had been detected by the long range sensors, and was made just perceptible with a great deal of amplification. For 28 hours the submarine had roared toward the Arctic source in a race they knew they couldn't possibly win, not from that distance, but in which the crewmembers hoped with their whole hearts they could will into victory. They were ten hours late. Only ten hours. The event horizon, or what they called "The Hole", had shut.
As the Ben Kenobi sped through an ocean now nearly devoid of life, Captain Reynolds wondered to himself just what "the rest of the human race" now really meant. The withering oceans had of course killed not only the animals that inhabited the waters, but had started a chain of mass starvation for those people who depended on the sea for their lives as well. The change in climate had made farming inconsistent at best. Coastal cities had been drowned in the climbing tides of the rising oceans. The human population of the planet Earth had decreased from 12 billion in 2050, to 6 billion in 2060, to 2.5 billion in 2065.
The global fleet was formed the following year, consisting of 127 submarines from the remaining world powers, small numbers from the U.S., India, Russia, the majority from China. The mission of the fleet was simple: split the seas among the subs, wait for a bloop, locate, reach, and cross the event horizon, travel through time, survive, and warn our earlier selves to stop fucking around and save the planet. Easy as hunting a raven in the middle of the night with a cap gun. And the damnedest part, Reynolds thought, was the oceans got just a little bit bigger every year since the polar ice caps started melting. In 17 years, 38 bloops had been detected. The hole seemed to stay open on average for 12 hours, sometimes longer, sometimes for only a few minutes, usually just long enough for a sub to get within 200 miles or so. In those 17 years there had been one confirmed sighting. In 2071 the Rising Sun had spotted the hole in the ocean floor near what had once been the Great Barrier Reef. The aging sub had begun to buckle early in the dive, far earlier than expected for the depth, and caved just 50 meters before crossing the shadow.
It had been nearly a year since the Ben Kenobi had contact with home, and five months since they had heard from any other member of the fleet. For all Stephen Reynolds knew, his crew just might be the last group of people on the planet. If their mission succeeded however, none of that would matter. The ship moved on at breakneck speed.
From a distance of one mile, they weren't able to yet see the hole, but they could feel it. Every member of the crew could feel it, the strange sense of electricity in the air, the smell of ozone, and an irritation in the nose making them feel like they constantly needed to sneeze. For the first time since initially hearing the bloop, Reynolds began to worry. It took a little longer to pass this time. "Give me some good news Ensign," the Captain nearly pleaded. "The event horizon seems to be holding steady sir." Ensign Redman shook as he spoke. "Our speed has increased. I think we're being pulled by the hole. We're feeling some extra pressure down here, much more than we should be. Has to be the hole too." As if in reply, there was at that moment an unsettling creak in the hull. "We can still turn around,” he whispered. "Steady as she goes Mr. Redman. We can either die up there or down here. At least down here we may yet see some serious shit." The Captain was correct. The Ben Kenobi would indeed see some serious shit.
1000 meters from the hole, the shaking started, and the unsettling creak in the hull became more like the groan of a man passing a kidney stone. The first leak sprang in the engine room.
At 700 meters, Ensign Redman reported a spike in energy emanating from the hole. For a split second a dazzling white spot lit the viewing window in the command center. One meter of water was reported in the midshipman's quarters.
At 500 meters, it became painfully obvious to Reynolds that the hole was shrinking, and at a rate much faster than he could possibly be comfortable with.
At 400 meters, the spikes became more rapid, and Lieutenant Vaughn had an epileptic seizure. Second Lieutenant Valencia vomited.
At 200 meters, the Ben Kenobi lost primary power but continued to move toward the hole, being pulled ever more swiftly despite the loss of propulsion. At the same time, as if someone had flipped a light switch, the hole once again went dark.
At 10 meters, Petty Officer Second Class Diana Higgins kissed Engineman Peter Loughry hard on the mouth, Ensign Jason Redman shut his eyes, and Captain Stephen Reynolds stood very straight.
As the nose of the Ben Kenobi penetrated the darkness of the hole, there was complete silence.
Ensign Redman screamed. It took the Captain a moment to realize why, and when he finally did, he almost let out a scream of his own. An eye, maybe the size of a soccer ball, was peering in through the viewing window, illuminated by the red glow of the emergency lights in the command center. The owner of the eye soon lost interest and began to swim into the black ocean. The primary power kicked back in and the exploratory lights shone on a giant tail fin just before it faded from view completely. Reynolds began to openly weep. He was the only person in the command center old enough to recognize the blue whale. He didn't know when they were, but for the first time in his, or any of the crew's lifetimes, there was real reason for hope.
by: Cory Flemming===========================
April 11th, 1804
No wind. For the 34th consecutive day, no wind. The sails lie limp and useless, like an old man in a brothel. The ship crawls at no more than a snail's pace, and the men are stripped to the waist, sunburnt and blistered. Our food-stores are adequate, but there remains precious little in the way of water. A wondrous adventure, the dream of a lifetime for your esteemed naturalist, has become more horrible than any nightmare.
Mr. Howell again cleans the deck, paying particular attention to the area of the mizzen mast, starting to move away before quickly returning, battling a stain in the planks that is no longer visible. I feel his eyes on me as I pass. I feel all of their eyes. Terrible. Accusing. And for what purpose? A dead bird? I have known sailors to be a superstitious, but this rubbish about the bird borders on madness!
Yes, it is true that I shot the creature, the albatross. But in the name of scientific study! Never again will I have the chance to return to the Southern Hemisphere. And as anyone in my profession understands, specimens must be taken. How else can we begin to unravel the mysteries laid before us by our Creator? How?
April 12th, 1804
This morning I awoke to find a rope on the floor next to my bed. It had been tied into the shape of a hanging noose. I fear that this rubbish about the bird has gone too far. I went to speak to the captain after my morning rounds, and he assured me that he would address the crew in the matter.
The evening's supper found the men in a much more respectful spirit. The meal was almost pleasant! Lt. Barker even commented on his belief that tomorrow would surely bring rain. Capital!
April 13th, 1804
Lt. Barker is a damned fool! No change in our predicament I am afraid. Only warmer if anything. The men become obstinate once again. I decided to speak to Mr. Howell, who I believe to be the culprit in the incident with the rope. He appeared to be mumbling something under his breath as I approached, but I could not tell what. Nonsense I suspect, for the man was surely insane! No sooner did I reach him, then he turned on me, wild-eyed, like a feral beast, before proceeding to attack me, thrashing and clawing! Amid the cacophony of his shouting and growling, I could understand but one word, "Jonah".
April 14th, 1804
I slept not at all last night. Whether it be my paranoid imagination or a sinister scheme concocted by the men, as I lay in bed I kept hearing the whispered word of "Jonah". It was no dream, however, when I left my quarters this morning, came above deck and found a large portion of the crew assembled outside by the mizzen mast. The remains of the albatross were once again lying on the deck in the place I had laid the bird for examination. A noose was strung above the dead animal. When I asked the meaning of the charade, no man would answer, but again whispered the word of Jonah.
Although they would not say it, the men have made their point quite clear. They in truth believe me to be the cause of our misfortune, for the heat, for the calm. Worse still, they mean for me to take my own life as atonement. Of this point I am sure.
April 15th, 1804
There will be no escape then. My door was barred during the night. The gentlemen were kind enough to leave me with their weapons of destruction however, the rope and a small knife, as well as pages torn from a Bible. Jonah. Is there a sin greater than taking one's own life? They must know that I will not do such a thing, and in any case I told them as much. Starvation then. But wait. The Captain? Yes, his voice is unmistakable! He shall set this madness to rights! But the men are cheering now...
They are coming. Oh God help me, they are coming.