Wind off the ocean. The thrum of the engine. All of it goes in an instant, in a shudder, a death rattle. Eerie silence settles on everyone. Suffocating. “It’s a tomb,” I say, but nobody listens. No one understands. “It’s a corpse,” I say, “And we’re inside its belly, waiting to be devoured.”
They ignore me. A machine can be fixed, they say. A machine is not a body. It can be fixed, it can be fixed. A prayer. But I know the truth and I leave them to their church.
Another death rattle. The water turns darker, darker, an inky blackness spreading out as the clouds come in. A biting wind.
The first out of the water is the crab. Or maybe it is a crab made of other crabs, I don’t know. It’s too big to be just one. Click click, it says as it passes by to the tomb. Click click, I say back. There are screams and the sky turns a little bit redder. Didn’t I tell them to leave? We are in a corpse after all and crabs like corpses.
Fish are more vicious. They come after, in all shapes and sizes. Long teeth, sharp teeth, teeth meant to tear. There’s not so much screaming now. The silence must have suffocated them, the people who thought this ship could be fixed. Machines can die too. The Titanic did. And now we are here too, all bones. Well, they are bones, but I am not. I left. Before the crabs, before the fish.
“It’s a tomb,” I say, but there is no one left to listen to me. So I swim away.
The final version of this piece was featured in Chapman University’s Calliope: Art and Literary Magazine alongside several other great pieces. Check out other issues at chapmancalliope.wordpress.com.