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Goes the Sea

By Nicole FennPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 7 min read
Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

Hundreds and hundreds of miles on the sea. Hundreds and hundreds of hours. The sun that sets and the moon that rises, all familiar scenes. The stars will shine and twinkle. The waves will shift and rock. But keep your guard, and both eyes peeled for the shadows swimming below.

He's been sailing this sea since a boy, this ship his playground, his school. Each creak and board the back of his hand, every sail and stitch a friend. He wakes to a hazy fog blanketing the lull of the waves, this routine almost daily, familiar. Every morning there was a thermos filled to the brim with hot coffee, accompanied with some dry bread. For hours and hours with a sip here and there, the nets were brought in weighted well. Next would come lunch as the sun hung high, a sandwich made the day prior. With some poultry, and cheese, and sourdough bread, this too a consistent routine.

Hours later, the sun would set, each net holding pounds of fish. All flopping and wiggling, splashing and trashing; his bounty always plentiful and well. The darkness would bring sleep, a night full of rest and calm. With the stars twinkling above in splendor and the sea rocking the fisherman in his dreams.

For the years and years he's sailed this sea, not a thing would scare or spook him. But, for the first night among many nights, no one would be there to save him.

No moon hung in the sky that night, the stars all shadowed by clouds. The waves that lapped now pushed and pulled in the darkness of the night. His hull had been rather light that day, an eerie fog to blind. Since the weary sun had risen and fallen, leaving nothing much behind, did he find himself in the clutches of darkness, a tremble creeping up his spine.

Nothing scared this old fisherman, nothing to spook or quake. But the stories and tales passed down before him haunted him in his wake. No sleep graced him on this night, his nerves too jittery to rest. Remembering tales whispered between sips of golden bubbling ale, of sirens and beasts ten times his boat's size swimming in the deep.

He stayed himself in the cabin, hands gripping the wooden wheel tight, hoping to see that light of grace circling along the shore.

Maybe it was the night, his hope too good to appease, or the lack of a moon hanging bright in the sky, reflecting the ink of the sea. But that light never showed, the relief a foreign feeling to lift from his heavy shoulders. His gaze never faltered much beyond the bow, attention sharp and focused, never mind the sweat gathering on his brow.

Just keep sailing straight. He'd tell himself, a chant that echoed in his thoughts. Eyes straight, grip strong, focus ahead, do not listen to the sea.

Water sprayed as his ship bobbed, soaking the boards of the deck. A steady rain had started again, remains from the hazy day. Never had he felt his nerves so on edge, at least not in the last several years. However, he's always had company on his ship, this week an exception as of late.

He was alone this time.

The rain had started to pick up, a wind pelting his cabin. He could hardly see beyond the bow, couldn't make out the shapes in the shadows. It couldn't be avoided, whatever was beyond, as the front hull coiled with something. He lurched forward as his chest hit the wheel, a breath knocked from his lungs. Hands still gripped the wood with knuckles turning white. Dare he see what lie ahead?

The ship was stopped, boards creaking and groaning with the rocking of waves. He dropped the anchor with the deepest of breaths, could it have been a reef?

Water came at all angles, above and below, as he left the warmth of his space. Steps slippery and awkward in the flickering light that hung above his cabin. Looking left, looking right up and down the deck, he was utterly alone on the sea. Although he could swear on his grave that there was a shadowy haze just in the corner of his vision.

Might as well see what he could have hit.

Taking calculated steps, this ol' sailor knew his sea, even in the dark of the night. But the shadows did dance and sway, entice, the closer he reached the hull's edge.

He wasn't sure what to expect, wasn't sure what he would see. With a night as pitch black as it was, what could it possibly be? The haze from the rain and spray from the sea, with a hand shielding the left side of his face, he peered over the edge of the bow.

Nothing, as he feared.

No sign of a reef, no marine life below, no debris or sign of another smaller boat floating in pieces in tow. The wind had started to howl now, threatening to steal him of his hat, as he braced a surge with hand on his head, eyes straining to see anything beyond.


Just as he was about to retreat to the safety of his warm cabin, did he hear an odd sound above the wind and the waves, footsteps as clear as day. Footsteps? He was alone on this ship, that he could swear his life by. But the sound was loud, and rhythmic, and there. The sound so obvious and clear. Impossible, he thought, however, he recalled such stories from sailors on the sea. Ghosts, beasts, sirens, and monsters; all very common to hear. And yet has he never experienced such things, not believing in something that just couldn't be.

He shouldn't be scared, should he?

And yet, his curiosity had triumphed as he paced with careful steps towards the sound. The rain was falling sideways now, the wind a force to be reckoned with. Still, he kept his determination to find what was around.

Just then he heard the sound again, a thump thump thump against the deck. His own feet stilled to not get confused.

It had come from behind him this time.

Who is it? He called aloud, and yet hoping for no answer. To his horror and sudden h0llow in his chest when he heard a distant voice.

Hush. It said, himself confused, was it the voice or the sea? The rains and winds proving it hard to even hear the thoughts in his own head.

Hush. It called again, still behind but closer as he paced back to the warm glow of his cabin. Each step careful, slow, and steady against each sickening rock and wave.

He reached a hand forward to grab the chilled metal railing, a sudden thump Thump THUMP come barreling towards him. The ol' sailor turning with eyes big and wide, again seeing nothing.

The rain had then settled, the wind calming too. So sudden he could swear he was dreaming. The event so odd, his heart now heard hammering, pulsing in his own ears. His grip on the railing was tight, head spinning out towards the sea. Every common sense screaming at him to return to safety and let the strange occurrence be.

But he had to know.

Hush. Went the voice again, now in front of him just beyond the hull.

The hull? No, it's now in the sea, nothing else beyond the solid ship's ground. And still, he kept his gaze trained ahead, curious to what he'd see.

Hush. Went the sea, the rain stopped and air still. Even the rocking of the waves subsided. The ol' sailor fought every sense he could, anything to let go of the railing. His hand slid from the wet metal, fingertips pleading for their return. He had to see, had to know what had spoken just beyond in the darkness.

Trembling hands had found themselves on the hull's edge, gripping till his knuckles were white. He peered over into the water below, watching the waves gently lap at the ship's side. It was peaceful, the sight, the sound of the water, the waves creating foam against the wood. There was a weak smile to lift his features, oh what had he'd been frightened of?

Hush. Went the sea, a calming voice, reassuring that there was no harm.

Then a thump Thump THUMP and the ol' sailor couldn't even yell, as the footsteps came running up next to him.


Hush goes the sea, enveloping, cradling, dragging the ol' sailor down; his cries muffled by the waves.

Emptiness, quiet, no more creaking against the wood. Annoying as it is unnecessary. Hush, goes the sea when calling home another, each ghost a child of her own.



About the Creator

Nicole Fenn

Young, living - thriving? Writing every emotion, idea, or dream that intrigues me enough to put into a long string of words for others to absorb - in the hopes that someone relates, understands, and appreciates.

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