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Raymond Mayotte

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By Raymond Mayotte
Thursday, February 28, 2008

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Out of the murky depths of the thick fog sailed an aberration that struck fear into the heart of every seaman watching.

A Tale of the Sea
Raymond Mayotte

Two-foot white caps of the Atlantic Ocean slapped with a vengeance against the hull of the schooner Maria Shea, until she disappeared into thick soup like fog. Once enshrouded by the mist, the waters suddenly becoming calm and the bow of the ship cut through the rug blue green surface like a knife.
Suddenly, like a switch had been turned off, the wind fell from the sails and the ship stopped dead in the water, not a ripple showing behind the ship where only moments ago a frothing wake followed.
“What do you make of this?” The first mate said softly to the captain, as an eerie silence encompassed the deck of the ship and the world around them.
“I really don’t know. I’ve been in fogs before, but never like this” he replied, glancing around nervously. “However, just to be on the safe side, take in the sails and send a man up to the crows nest and one to the prow, tell them to keep a sharp eye because there could be other ships nearby floundering like us.”
“Aye captain,” the first mate said, removing a canvass cover from a bell and ringing it, the canvas cover to keep the bell from tarnishing.

Many hours later, the ship in complete darkness so that they would be able to see the light from any ship that may come near, every man of the crew still stood around the deck peering into the blackness of the fog. The men’s clothes now soaked from the heavy dampness of the mist, and hanging from their bodies as the grayness of dawn worked its way through the thick fog. The air about them not enough to disturb a dried leaf on a tree.
Suddenly a shout came down from the crow’s nest, breaking the silence, that a ship was approaching, the call awaking the crew from its lethargic daze. However there was no orders from the captain except that all should prepare themselves for a collision because he had no means to avoid it.
All hands could only stand in the gray morning staring out over the rail at the shadowy outline of a ship that headed straight for them at a good clip, the collision inevitable and all sure they were going to die.
“How can this be?” One of the crew shouted, pointing out toward the gray shadow that now was so terrifyingly close. “Look there is no wind, and even if there was she has no sails. What can be driving her?” He finished, then wished he had not asked the question when he glanced at the faces of his crew mates.

In horror they continued to stare at what was surely oncoming death, many of them praying to what ever God they believed in, as the strange ship, its sails hanging in tatters, bore down on them.
Suddenly a shout of joy sounded when at the last instant the ship veered away and sailed past the stranded vessel less than ten feet away, however the joy was short lived as the ship passed and they could see the name “Mary Celeste.” over the aft quarters.

       Web Site: Shadows of the Macabre

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