|**It was odd how things quickly changed on the sea - for the first five days, there had been nothing but an azure expanse of calmness and peace... but now, it seemed to boil up around them, roaring and thrashing like some sort of monster. There was nothing that could be done, of course, their vessel was no more than a plaything in this sort of situation - the waves were bad enough that anyone attempting to steer the ship was likely simply to be swept overboard and be lost forever. Instead, it was by the order of the captain that those that remained - five of them in total - should remain below decks. Who even knew what course they were being pulled along now?**
**It was pointless trying to converse normally over the raging of the storm - instead, they had resorted to bellowing at each other over the howling winds and crashing water. It was equally pointless trying to sit - the ship was rocking violently like a demented pendulum: the most that could be done was to cling onto fixed furniture - like the captain's table or the bookcases that had been secured to the floor when the ship was built. Books, ornaments and other loose bric-a-brac were already sliding from one side of the little room to the other, occasionally colliding into each other; all ruined beyond repair by the sea-water that had found its way in and was an inch deep already.**
"This is the girl's fault! It provokes the gods to bring a woman onboard - they're bad luck! We should throw her overboard to see if that settles them!"
**The girl in question, a slender little thing barely over 20, cowered herself up against the wall. Beside all these big sailors, she was insignificant - and she had never wanted to come onboard anyway! She was a servant, nothing more... her father had been given a few coins for her and she had been brought here... onto this accursed ship. It went without saying that the Captain had wanted a cabin-boy; an able-bodied young man who ideally already had his sea-legs. Instead, he had been forced by finance, well stinginess, to take on this snivelling little whelp. It had taken her a day to get used to how the ship swayed even on calm waters - and for the first two, she had been horribly seasick. Now, at Earl's drawing attention to her, all three men were staring at her. She peered back up at them from her place on the floor, desperately gripping onto the mahogany bookcase for support.**
**Captain Jennings rubbed his bearded chin, studying the girl with harsh grey eyes as he did. Perhaps Earl had a point - they were all drenched and exhausted: it went without saying that they would perish here if they didn't do something. He kept one sturdy arm wrapped around the table's leg and tried to exchange a glance with Alexander, the scientist who had commissioned this voyage.**
"I suppose we could set her down in the remaining lifeboat..."
**Bernadette noticeably paled at the prospect - it was, after all, certain death. Earl, though, veritably preened at the prospect, smirking cruelly as he did. This would teach the little bitch for spurning him the other day! The big brute pulled himself up, steadying himself against the wall for a moment, before wrenching the door leading to the decks open and stepping out with a shout over his shoulder to the remaining men.**
"Good. I'll make sure it's fit for purpose."
**More like stab a couple of holes in it, knowing him. That was if the boat hadn't been wrenched from the side of the ship by the storm. Bernadette whimpered, clamped her eyes shut and braced herself against the new influx of water even as the door was slammed shut after Earl. Captain Jennings, Alexander and herself were left on their own, the water deepening thanks to Earl's reckless charge out onto the deck. Their fate remained uncertain... but something told her it wasn't likely to involve Earl or the lifeboat - none of the burly sailors had lasted long out in the storm - and it was unlikely that Earl would enjoy more favourable luck. A trembling hand lifted to brush long, sodden strands of blonde hair back and she shivered against the cold. Captain Jennings was quiet now too, the atmosphere unspeakably tense. How long could this storm possibly last?**
Go out to see they said, see the world they said. Alexander was clinging with his very life to a bookcase, his gaunt frame that had been so fashionable in London and Paris only holding him desperately to the bookcase as he did what he could to save his notes and a few of the other books. He had originally been holding them in his arms, but a particularly rough wave and wrenched them from his hands. Now he pressed himself against the bookcase as he only recourse for holding them steady, and himself for that matter. His dark brown hair that had always curled so fashionably at the nape was now a tousled mess, frizzy and frayed by sea air and the stresses of the last twelve hours.
It had started with a fog, he remembered for he had been on deck preforming his supply check when it happened. A fog that began with the a bit of haze, and turned into something thicker than fresh wool. Then the waves started, then the rain and the storm, now it felt like they had ridden into hell itself. The boat lurching, men being thrown. He himself would have probably been cast into the waters himself if he hadn't run inside at the first sign of rain. Another large swell hit and he pressed himself with desperation against the book, fighting at the same time waves of nausea.
His boots were beginning to feel the strain of the water, his trousers truly beginning to seep water, but the exertion of the ship's motion had thus far kept him from feeling the chill. He couldn't image how cold the poor girl was. Tense moments passed, but finally some one spoke and he felt indignation rise anew. Yet as he expected the good captain to set the scuflaw in place, nothing of the sort came to pass. Instead he sent the man above decks and he felt himself slack jawed as he stared.
“Captain Jennings I must protest. You surely cannot be contemplating setting this poor girl in a lifeboat out there.”
He tried to cut the sheer outrage in his voice, but it was a miracle enough he kept from shouting. His eyes looking to the poor girl, looking quite like a drowning kitten with her slight frame. She was dwarfed even by him, and his frame was considered a bit lacking as far as muscle though it was outstanding in poise. He adjusted the cincher to his waistcoat before turning to the Captain. A hand pressed into the bookcase in a desperate attempt to keep the books from escaping.
“That is not only reckless, it could quite frankly be called murder.”
The books shifted, one popping out from past him and despite his attempt to look firm he desperately grabbed for it, practically slipping in the water as he grabbed onto the bookcase, and felt all of the other books slide for the lack of his presence, several hitting him in the face and chest on their downward plummet as his fingers desperately grabbed up a few , a sigh of relief coming when he noted that one of those was his personal notebook containing his observations on the journey.
The argument was soon to be silenced as a great wave rose the ship and he felt it teeter on it's sides. The bow of a ship was made to naturally point into a wave, but he felt the body breaking in it's rhythm, or was that something else. Then he heard it, a great sound that ripped through the sip, a tumultuous noise, it sounded like a hundred trees being felled at the same time. The ship wobbled sickeningly, and above the din was a sound that made Alexander's dark eyes go wide.
It was an unnatural sound, the cry of some huge beast. It was like metal grating metal in the shipyards, a high screech. And so too he heard a cry, this one human coming from above decks. It barely sounded human as the cry was one of sheer terror and equally of agony. Then it came again, the great sound of tearing, and he felt the ship now not wobbling, but the pushing front of a ship felled, and his eyes widened.
It was all he managed to say, there was something that felt like an explosion, like the flashing white of things in his lab as the ship seemed to be pulled apart by a pair of giant hands. It broke open like a freshly cracked egg and debris flew past him. The waves like towering spires with white flags at the top crashing around as he felt the wooden floor fall away from him. Then he was underwater, his eyes stinging from the salt water, but at the same time wide as he could see pieces of the ship falling past. Supplies, wood, one of the masts falling away. He could swear there was something else too, but he pushed himself upward and felt him crash to the surface as a wave broke overhead, and he dove beneath it.
He could swear he saw something in the fog, a large shape covered in blue and green, it almost seemed to shine with white bits, but the water stole it away. He could see the ship, the debris and he swum to it with desperation finding one of the bookcases he had been clinging to torn from the ship wall but still afloat and he grabbed onto it, spitting and coughing It tipped dangerously with another wave but held steady as he pulled himself fully. He could see the paper of his notebook cast into the wave, and he tried not to think on it. Instead his eyes went to the water, towering wide and tall. Where were the others? Where was the life boat?
The bookcase tipped and he forced himself to sit still.
He called out into the storm, but the wind pushed it back into his face. A wave pushing him, and he hoped it was not further out to sea. Another cough as he grabbed desperately onto what ad become his only piece of salvation in the storm, this strange little bookcase floating out at sea, his eyes trying to keep track of the last of the ship when he topped each wave, but seeing it disappear further and further beneath the waves, and his hopes for the journey with it.