Adventure Fiction

   "Please, don't do it!" a man screamed, startling Jessica awake to the flickering lights. She climbed down from the top bunk and opened the door. Before she could exit the room, her roommate pushed her aside and rushed out. Regaining her balance with the help of the door, she stepped out of the room to a chaotic crowd of frightened passengers. She hadn't escaped the horrors of war to drown or get trampled before the first night of the voyage was over. Consequently, she slipped back into the room and locked the door. The only other way out was the ventilation ducts, and she wasn't sure if her thin, petite body would fit.

    When the lights remained off, she saw a ghost with long, white hair and black holes where eyes would have been, standing in front of the door. 

     "No one will escape us. " The ghost said, lifting her arms to embrace the air.

     A cold breeze carrying the howling faces of trapped souls swept across the room and passed through the closed door. 

     "What do you want?" Jessica asked, catching a glimpse of the black rose tattooed on the ghost's upper arm before the dress's sleeve settled back over it. The ghost let out a chilling laugh and appeared inches from her. 

     "Your soul."

     She closed her eyes tight and moved backward until she bumped against the wall, waiting for the memory of the rose tattoo to disappear with her last breath. The tattoo had been accepted from the SS by some nuns for the betrayal of their faith and countrymen. Her sister was one of those nuns and she assumed her sister was dead, also. A sister whose hate almost got her killed in an air raid while she was caring for wounded soldiers in what remained of the hospital. She wished there was something she could do to prevent her sister's soul from harming others and sent up a prayer for the elimination of all evil.

     When she felt heat on her neck, she opened her eyes to the light-blue glow around the blessed necklace she was wearing, and the ghost was gone. Realizing the protection that she was adorned with, she peered out into the quiet, empty hallway that was dimly lit by emergency lights. The cold air sent goose bumps down her arms, and she wrapped her arms about herself.

     Concerned and worried, she started toward the upper decks. She tried several cabin doors on her way but they were all locked. The lack of response to the "hello" she yelled at some of the doors made her feel like a fly trapped in a spider's web. She knew there were passengers in the cabins and was glad the locked doors prevented her from seeing the horror that consumed their lives.

     The fog was thick and lightning flashed overhead as she stepped out into the summer night's warmth. It was a pleasant relief from the ice box she had walked through. The beacon from a lighthouse, in the distance, warned of the rocks that the ship was drifting toward with the turbulent current. When she reached the helm, she began searching for a flare gun. Despite knowing a rescue was unlikely before the ship crashed upon the rocks, she carried the gun out onto the deck, aimed it upward, and pulled the trigger. The flare sped through the fog and exploded into a bright orange and red fire ball. 

     Banging on a nearby door startled her away from watching the sparks falling into the water. When she reached the cabin's window and looked in, a hand flew to her mouth at the deadlike woman spasming at the door. Against her better judgement, she tapped on the window, and the woman rushed over. From the look in the woman's eyes, she doubted there was anything she could do to help yet she pressed the blue-glowing pendant to the window, anyway. A black aura rose out from the woman's head before she collapsed. 

     After prying the door open, she found the woman sitting in a chair with her hands folded in her lap. 

     "Thank you. The pain wouldn't stop." the woman said, fidgeting with a silver ring. 

     "We must leave." Jessica said.

     The woman, Rachel, told her that she was a spy for the allies. She explained that she had been there when the nuns were executed by the SS, after they were no longer of use. The occult ritual performed before the execution had given her everything she needed for the mission to be a success. It confirmed the hunch that the Nazis were using black magic to gain the upper edge.

     Jessica was aware that there was nothing that could be done for the dead in the cabins. However, she recognized the forest where the nuns had been killed from Rachel's story, and knew what she needed to do to prevent more souls from being lost to the evil that was unleashed.

     They sat together wearing life vests on the cabin's floor waiting for the ship to hit the rocks. The ship shuttered and creaked when it crashed against the rocks, and water rushed through a large hole in the hull. They helped each other get up and went to lower a lifeboat. After Jessica and the lifeboat reached the water, Rachel jumped overboard. Once they were both safe in the boat, they rowed away from the doomed ship. They rowed the boat onto the rocky beach and started walking toward the pier. 

     "I have to do this." Jessica said, filling a container with holy water.

     "There's no chance you'll reach the forest. We are unsafe here."

     The small Dutch fishing town, they were at, was an ally of the Nazis, although not occupied by soldiers. When Jessica came to her senses, she realized that the forest, where the nuns were executed, had seen heavy warfare. She had no choice but to rein in her anger and abandon the mission that wouldn't guarantee the nun's souls would find rest. Squeezing the necklace's pendant in her hand, she vowed to return, when the fighting ended, to save the sisters' souls despite their fall from grace. 

June 14, 2022 16:24

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