“…so in conclusion: the classic gray aliens do exist. As a fellow critical thinker, I’m sure you see I’ve made an excellent case,” Maury said, grinning.
Things like Maury’s conspiracy theories were one of the reasons I was going on vacation. I needed a break from things like this. I’ve heard way too many rants on lizard people for my liking.
“Thanks,” I replied, eyes rolling. “I really should get going. I still have to pack.” Turning away so he couldn’t see my face as I lied through my teeth. I started heading down the hall, creating some distance between us.
“Just remember if you see the triangle of flashing lights you know they’re coming Pete!” he shouted after me.
“Yeah yeah,” I said, waving back. Finally, I was out of there. Time for some much need R&R.
I don’t normally go on cruise ships. I’m not sure why I’d decided on this one. It had just felt right. For the first few days I was glad I did. I was having an amazing time. Laying out on the deck under the hot sun. Bottomless mimosas. Comedy shows. Beautiful women everywhere I looked. This was exactly what I needed.
On this particular day it was getting late. I said goodbye to the patrons at the bar and made my way back to my room. As I opened the door I noticed a small trail of water on the floor. Was it leading to the door? Or was it coming from the door? It was hard to say. The wet patches looked kind of like footsteps, although not like any I’d seen. They were too wide, and didn’t have any separation for toes. They led to the edge of the boat. That’s weird. Maybe it was a leak? I guess we’ll go with that.
I walked in and flipped on the lights. My room was probably 100-150 square feet. When you walk in there is bed down to the right, a TV to the left, and the door to the bathroom is about or foot or so before you reach said TV. Then there was a mini fridge near the bed. As far as I could tell everything looked normal.
Yet something felt off. Like someone had been here. Goosebumps started to form on my body. I quickly shut my door behind me. I double checked the room but didn’t find anything. I figured I was being paranoid. Thanks Maury. It took some time for my nerves to calm down but eventually I dozed off.
I don’t know how long I was out but it couldn’t have been long. I awoke to the sound of screaming outside. I jolted out of bed. What was going on? I heard the sound of footsteps rush past my door. They were moving fast, and the screaming followed.
I grabbed my phone and turned on the flashlight. I didn’t want to turn the room lights on but I wanted to find the door. I creeped towards it, and peered through the peephole. I didn’t see who was running but I could hear her screaming fade as her distance from my room grew.
Another sound was growing in intensity. It wasn’t nearly as quick as the original sound. I tried to make out what it was. It sounded slippery but also heavy. The darkness was going to make it difficult to find out. But I wasn’t going to run out of my room if someone out there had a weapon or something. Sorry, not my problem. Still I’d like to see what it was.
At the edge of my peepholes periphery there was something. I began to squint. It looked like a foot. A big foot. A big green foot. A big green webbed foot. What the fuck?
I immediately ducked down back behind my door. My palms had began to perspire. My breathing had become rapid. Whatever it was I could hear it getting closer. Oh god. What was it? It drew nearer and nearer. Until it stopped…right outside my door.
I covered my mouth with my hands. I started inhaling and exhaling through my nose. I needed to calm down or this thing would hear me. Something was happening right outside my door. There was a weird new sound. It almost sounded like…was that sniffing? Oh my god. Could it smell me?
There was a loud thud on the door. Followed by another. This kept repeating. My eyes began to water. It knew I was in here, and it was trying to break in. I kept my mouth covered but struggled to control my breathing. Tears streamed down my face.
The creature continued to wail on the door and the hinges began to give. The door gave way more with each thud. It wouldn’t take long for it to get in. I needed to hide. I crawled to the bed and slid under it. The door took another strike and one of the hinges popped off. It wouldn’t hold any further.
Then the pounding ceased. Someone else had let out a high-pitched scream. A few heavy footsteps followed. Had it left? Was it baiting me? I needed to weigh my options. I pulled my phone close. I needed help. I started keying a message and hit send.
No service. You can’t be serious. I racked my brain for solutions. Okay, I might not have service but I’m safe in here. There is no reason to leave. I’ll stay here all fucking week if it keeps me safe.
That’s when I heard it. It sounded like a little girl crying. No no no. Why now? Think about this Pete. You don’t know what this thing is or what it’s capable of. It could be mimicking a child. Yeah, that’s it. It’s just another attempt to draw you out. If not, someone else will save her.
The crying intensified. Okay, it couldn’t hurt to go check. I slid back towards the door. It began to sound like someone was unsuccessfully trying to keep quiet while crying. A whimper. Then came a bellowing inhumane wail. Hearing that froze me in place.
I kept silent for about thirty seconds. The whimpering hadn’t ceased. Finally, my eye met the peephole. There was nothing in sight. I could still hear the whimpering. What was I going to do?
You’re not a hero Pete. There is a good chance this is a trap. You can’t risk your life here. You’re safe where you are. Don’t do anything.
Then the heavy steps started coming back. Stay here Pete. The crying picked up. This time it was accompanied by a shriek.
I flung the door open and looked in both directions. There was a little girl tucked away about twenty feet from me. She couldn’t have been older than 7. I bolted in her direction. I hadn’t anticipated the wetness of the floor and immediately slipped. A heavy metallic scent filled my nostrils. My shirt had been soaked red. I turned my head and bumped something. It was the remains of an arm. It had a slightly green tint.
I didn’t have time to worry about that. I steadied myself and charged towards the girl. The bellowing wail came back. This time I didn’t freeze. I slid right in front of her. As I did, I saw something on the railing. It looked like…claws.
“Grab my hand!” I screamed at the girl. Her little form was trembling, and her yellow clothes had been painted crimson. She was terrified stiff. I rolled towards her and grabbed her. Then we starting heading in the other direction.
I heard a heavy thud behind me. That thing with the claws was on board. I did my best to sprint down the hall while avoiding the trails of blood. I was looking for anywhere to turn when I saw a flight of stairs about 50 feet ahead.
The railing that led there had more pairs of claws hanging from it…and that number was increasing. I pushed forward and ran. Creatures began hopping on board. I narrowly avoided them until I was nearly at the stairs.
Then one hopped right in front of us. The green monster was about 7 feet tall. It had a human shaped form but was covered in gills and it’s face looked like it was straight out of a classic horror film. It had shark-like fins on its arms and back. It had cut us off from the stairs. I knew there were others behind us. We were trapped.
At least that’s what I thought. When this one landed in front of us it slipped on a pool of blood and toppled over. I hopped over it as it slashed near my leg, catching my ankle on my way down.
I could hear flesh rip from my body but I kept moving. I carried the girl up the stairs. The next floor was the main deck. It looked like a slaughterhouse. Blood and refuse was everywhere. There were creatures scattered throughout the deck but none in the immediate vicinity.
Surely, we can’t be the only two left. Right?
I needed to make a decision quickly. I saw the door to a restaurant and decided that was my only option. I limped inside and slammed the door behind me. It was empty. Where is everyone? We made our way to the kitchen where I grabbed a broom and stuck it between the handles to the doors.
We made it. I found a sink and set the little girl down. I began to wash my hands, and then took a washcloth and started to wash her face. It had now started to hit me the immense pain I was in. I looked down. My right ankle was a gory mess of muscle and blood. White bone shown through. I almost heaved.
I took off my shirt and began wrapping it around my wound. I noticed the coloration was unusual. It looked a little…green. I could see the wound darkening. Was that a scale? I began to panic.
I flung open some cabinets looking for supplies. I grabbed a bottle of alcohol, gauze, wrap, and the biggest knife I could find.
The girl stared at me wide-eyed.
“I’m going to need you to get back,” I said. She obeyed.
You have no choice. You have to cut it off. Do you really want to become a zombie sea monster? Do it. Do it. Do it.
I didn’t want to do it. My body was shaking. I knew I had to act but that didn’t make it any easier. I prepped for what was coming.
Tears welled up. I fought with everything I had to keep myself from screaming as I swung the blade down, separating my leg at the ankle. I writhed around in agony.
Eventually I was able to wrap everything up. I looked over to the girl. Her eyes were glued to my leg.
“Hey, it’s okay. Come here,” I said. She continued to stand there. Her gaze lifted to meet my eyes. I smiled, and then she lunged at me.
What the…oh. She held me tight and dug her face into my torso. I wrapped my arms around her, and we both cried softly.
“What’s your name?” I asked, still holding her.
“Ava,” she replied quietly.
“What happened to your family Ava?” I said.
She looked down. “The sea monsters got them.”
“Is that where all this blood came from?” I asked. She nodded without making eye contact.
A couple hours passed. We heard a lot of fucked up things. Inhumane wails, the cracking of bones, raw tearing of flesh, and screams…so many screams. At one point there had been pounding by someone trying to get in. They begged us. We didn’t budge, and shortly after heard them get torn to shreds. Then we heard another inhumane wail shortly after.
Ava and I continued to hold each other close. I meant to comfort her but my vision was becoming a little spotty. I checked my shirt tourniquet. It had soaked through and was leaking. I was losing blood, and fast.
If I was going to protect Ava I needed to call for help. When I ran out to save her I’d made my choice. There could be no more indecision on my part. I had to commit. Saving her became priority number one. We were in the kitchen, and there were a lot of materials in here. We needed to get to the radio on the captain’s deck. We could hide out in there until help arrived. Even if I died, help could get to her.
“Ava, I need you to be a brave girl for me. Can you do that?” She nodded again, this time looking in my eyes. “Good girl.”
What did we know about these things? I had escaped while limping. Therefore they must be slow on land. If you get opened up by one you’ll turn into one. That’s something they can do with ease. They don’t seem highly intelligent.
I gathered everything I needed.
Ava grabbed hold of my back and I tied her tight with a chef’s uniform. I grabbed two more large knives. I held two in my left hand, and tucked the other in my belt. In the other hand I carried a bucket I filled with alcohol. I dipped the knives in it. I gave Ava two items to hold. I was able to use what I found to tie my shoe to the bottom of my right leg. I needed to have as much balance as possible.
It was time.
I removed the broom from the door, and gently opened it. The room was still empty except for some blood stains spread throughout. We made our way to the restaurant exit. I tiptoed out. Nothing was in close proximity.
We quietly maneuvered around walls until I had a good look of the deck. If we could get across the main deck, there were stairs that went up a level. From there reaching the control room would be achievable. We started moving across it, I’d gently pour alcohol on the ground with every step I took.
We were about halfway across the deck when I saw the first creature. The second and third arrived shortly after. They were followed by numbers four through six. In seconds, there were dozens of creatures surrounding us from all sides. We had nowhere to go.
I threw the remaining alcohol from the bucket forward. It splashed ahead of the stairway.
“Ava!” Lighter!” I yelled.
She reached forward to give it to me. She was trembling, and it shot out of her hand as she extended her arm forward. It flew forward a few feet and out of reach. The creatures starting moving in.
Ava began to cry.
“Hey, it’s okay,” I said. “That’s why we brought two. Let’s try again.”
This time her transition was perfect. I instantly created a flame and tossed it at the floor. The alcohol trail set ablaze, and the creatures gave us some distance. This was our chance.
I lit the two blades in my left hand, and switched one over to my right. I waved the fiery blades crazily at any creature that attempted to close in on us. My vision was beginning to go again. It didn’t matter. Failure wasn’t an option now. I was going to save Ava if it was the last thing I ever did.
We moved closer and closer to our destination.
“We’re almost there!” I cried. I was getting light-headed.
A heavy gust of wind hit and created an opening in the trail of fire. Creatures rushed through it.
We’re so close!
Just as I reached the stairs a creature jumped out of my periphery. It lashed out at me with its claws. My balance was thrown off trying to dodge but I managed to keep myself from falling. I felt a twinge of pain in my arm. In retaliation I swung one of the blades at the creature, thus creating some distance. I dropped that blade down behind me. Hopefully the flame would keep it at bay for a moment. I turned quickly and began to climb the stairs with all my might. Dizziness was hitting me now. Please. I have to keep going.
I limped step after step. I. Must. Save. Ava.
Twenty steps to go.
We made it! I dropped the other flaming blade down behind me to create another barrier for the sea creatures. We quickly entered the control room, and slammed the door shut. I used the third blade to jam it.
There was a radio. We could finally call for help. Thank you god. I held Ava tight, and we both cried happy tears.
“You did so good!” I said. She was beaming.
I grabbed the radio, and was about to speak when I saw something up ahead. It was really high up. Someone else must have called already. Help had arrived! Ava helped re-wrap my wound and found a water bottle for me to drink. I think we got through unscathed.
“We’re going to be just fine Ava, see?” I said, pointing up into the sky. Together we smiled, looking up at the triangle of flashing lights ahead.
Credit: Sam Gallenberger
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