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  • Prologue

    July 16th, 1985. Coral Gables, Florida. Merindino's Bar.

    The music was loud, and the people, erratic. Well, not many people were at the bar, but the four at the counter couldn't contain themselves. Tomorrow, they left Flordida. It was time for deep sea fishing, far from any visible land. Even the day of just driving to the spot had them hyper.

    With only a single group of people besides them at the bar, it was a party. Michael Collins sat quiet, holding his drink with a smile. Only 21, drinking legally was still a fresh taste to him. He had short brown hair, which rose to a point in the front. Five feet and ten inches tall, he was your average man.

    In the chair to his left was Vincent Hinder, whom everyone called Vinny. He was definitely the buffest person in the bar, though he was only about five feet and five inches. At 46 years old, he had a bit of hair to him, which was greying all over. A sort of salt-and-pepper look, with his black hair still showing through.

    He was talking to the barkeeper about the day ahead, and flashing the tattoo on his left bicep. It was actually the name of his boat, the Altenia 5913. Of course, he had a shot of whiskey passed to him.

    In the chair to his right, was Melody Asher. Five feet tall flat, she was laughing at Joshua Fedrick, while playing with her long blonde hair. She looked fantastic, which Michael couldn't stop thinking about. She was 22, hardly ahead of him. They met when Michael had just become an adult, speaking for the first time when Vinny took them both to his camp in Okaloacoochee.

    They've kissed and confessed feelings for each other multiple times over the years, but it never escalated. She took a drink of her bottle of Malhorn's home style beer, causing Michael to feel even more awkward when it met her lips.

    Joshua, himself, was already plastered. All six feet of his scrawny body stood up on his chair, which caused the barkeeper to focus on him. His decently long brown hair met his cliche 25 year old demeanor. On the top of his lungs, he sung along to the music playing above, causing the other group to laugh, and Melody to almost cry from laughter.

    "Like a virgin, touched for the very first time!" he sang, loud enough you'd think the whole town would hear it.

    While dancing, he began to move his hips. Of course, the bartender told him to sit back down or get out, after sharing a bit of a laugh.

    Joshua was the reason Vinny even met Michael and Melody, as Vinny was actually a friend of his father. When his father died on brain cancer, Vinny became a pretty major figure in his life. It was when Josh became an adult, that the pair began to hang out constantly. All four of them loved the sport, and had been thinking about this trip for a very long time.

    "To Vinny ,for letting us bum with him on his boat!" Joshua said, raising his glass.

    Vinny laughed and clicked glasses with him, before turning and doing the same for Michael and Melody.

    "A bunch of partying twenty year olds in the middle of the ocean. Fuckin' fantastic." he said, laughing and raising his glass to his lips.

    The Ocean's Wind

    The sun was setting. They had waited until night so that the majority of the ride to the fishing location could be slept through, with Michael having to remain awake to steer, and so that Joshua wouldn't have his hangover to complain about.

    The waves roared through the air, smashing into the side of the docks. A relatively calm day, disrupted by some water. Some of the water from the crashing waves managed to splash up onto the dock, wetting the shoes of Michael, and the Boots of Vinny. They had spent the day packing the boat with their cloths, equipment, fuel, and enough food for the trip.

    Joshua and Melody behind them, they were carrying the smaller boxes. Snack foods, some more cloths, and personal items. Joshua, this time, was carrying the last bit of fuel. This wouldn't have been a problem if they kept up, and didn't walk yards behind Vinny and Michael.

    The smell of salt water in the air was enough to take Michael's mind off of all of his troubles. An entire month, they would be out here. The amount of planning that went into this trip was massive.

    As Michael stepped on to the boat, Vinny followed. The Altenia 5913 was a large fishing boat, at least large in terms of privately owned boats. The mast hung above the ship, giving a great sight as the sun stood behind it. Painted silver with a blue stripe running down the side, Michael couldn't get enough.

    To the right, the area they would be fishing. On the dock, there were several large deep sea fishing poles attached to the boat itself, with a sort of mount. To the right, you had to walk around to where the driving compartment was. Though it had a mast, this boat was motorized.

    Beside the steering wheel were two pairs of stairs, each leading to a door. Once you pressed through the doors, the bedroom was forward, the bathroom was to the left, and the meat compartment, aka cold storage, was to the right.

    Michael and Vinny stopped at the steering wheel, where a the driver's seat was, along with another to its left. Melody and Joshua had just gotten on the boat. To the back right corner of the boat was an on-deck fuel bladder was located.

    It was made of a thick rubber, inflated with fuel for quick use. It held a large sum of fuel, with a house on top, so that it could be added straight to the boat. The rest was all kept in internal fuel tanks, which were located through a door in the bedroom. Fuel went from there, to the fuel bladder, to the ship's engine. All a simple process.

    Heading down to the bedroom to place the fuel into storage, Joshua began whistling. Following him down, Melody was already good to sleep.

    As the two dissapeared into the stairwell, and through the door, Micheal and Vinny were left alone.

    "I suppose it's just you and I, sugarlips." Michael said, sarcastically.

    "Honestly, I'll be surprised if Josh doesn't fuck up putting that fuel away, and blow us into orbit." Vincent responded.

    "You've got that right. The guy's a party freak. He hardly knows responsibility. Remember when he tried to save that baby bird, and tried feeding it fish food?"

    "Yeah, I remember," Vincent said with a laugh. "But the guy's got nothing going for him except us. Got to watch after him, you know?"

    "Just night talk, man. None of us really have hard feelings against the guy. He's a wild card, but he's our wild card. We have enough of everything?"

    "Enough fuel for thirty days. Enough food for two months, but we all know that someone's going to eat half of it. I can't say much about how much cloths we all brought, but I hope we all brought enough. I've got this. Slept most of the day for this. Go ahead and go down to sleep, kiddo. I'll put 'er on course, and make sure everything goes well."

    Michael let out an exaggerated yawn, stretching his arms into the air, before standing up and walking down the stairs to the left.

    "Night, Vinny."

    "Night." he responded, drowned out slightly by being on a different level of the boat, now.

    After a few steps, the door was in front of him. It was a nice painted white metal, simplistic, without a window. Closed by a lever-locking mechanism to make sure no water got into the boat from the outside, it was rough to turn, and let a bit of a screech out as it did.

    Pushing through, he immediately saw a door a few feet in front of him and to the right, and a small hallway going left and right, between the two doors from the stairwells coming down from the surface. Lit by lights on the ceiling, the fact no light got in from outside wasn't an issue. Knowing the bedroom was directly ahead, he walked through the bedroom door as well.

    Right away, he saw that it was a room that stretched forward far more than to the sides. To the right and left, were bunk beds which were connected to the walls. Beyond them, fuel storage to the right, and emergency communications to the left. Lights hanging from above, it was a pretty nice set up.

    Josh on the bottom right bunk, he was drawing with a notepad and pencil, randomly sketching animals he hoped to see out at sea. Above him, Melody was already attempting to sleep, facing the wall. Both had already changed into more comfortable clothing.

    As Michael went to lay down on the bottom left bunk, he heard Josh talk.

    "You're going to sleep in your cloths? Savage."

    Simply rolling his eyes, he flicked the light off before he laid down.

    "Goodnight, Joshie." he said, mocking him.

    He heard the notepad hit the floor, before a moment of silence, which was broken by Melody.

    "Night." he heard, muffled into a pillow.

    "...Night, dickhole." responded Joshua.

    He pulled his blanket over him, and the three drifted off into sleep.

    The Lord; within Panthalassa

    Opening his eyes, he awoke, sitting up as fast as he could, looking around. He was still in his bed, but things were very wrong. The light was on, but instead of the usual color, the room was illuminated into a deep purple color.

    The air around him was so humid he found himself sweating as he laid still, forcing him to remove his blanket. Rubbing his hand on his forehead, he forced himself to stand and look around. Melody and Joshua were not in their beds. In fact, it appeared as if the beds hadn't been touched at all.

    Though he could hardly make it out, the walls in front of him appeared rusted and filthy, instead of clean and silver. Without a second thought, he attempted to push through the door. It was stuck, though a second attempt caused it to swing open, with a cracking sound.

    The hallway appeared normal, excluding the same purple lights. Straight ahead, the doors leading to the stairs, and by extension, the deck. He opened the door directly across from him, the one he had come down earlier. This door opened rather easily, and closed just as well as it should have.

    It was very obvious here that something was even more off than he had assumed. The hue of the sky, and all of the night's light, was the same dark purple with a tint of bright blue as the inside lights of the boat.

    Walking up the stairs, the wind was no longer hot. In fact, it was frigid. Pushing his arms together for warmth, he watched as his breath made fog before him.

    As he crept up the stairs, the alarming noise of metal striking metal haunted him. It was light, but it filled the air. Reaching the top of the stairs, he saw a man in black, sitting in the seat behind the steering wheel, tapping his mask with his right index finger.

    Wearing a black trench coat that reached his boots, which were just as morbidly dark, the man bore a shining silver mask, which made seeing his face impossible. The mask was a laughing face, straight out of a drama play.

    He stopped tapping his mask, and signaled Michael to sit in the chair closest to him, just as he did when he was with Vincent. Michael complied and sat down, looking at the man.

    As he sat, the man stood, and the sky darkened as if a cloud had just covered the sun.

    "You've been here before. Your master's version of what you call home." the man said with a soft, yet disturbing voice.

    "Panthalassa. Who are you?" Michael responded curiously.

    The man circled around, until he was behind Michael, out of his sight.

    "I don't have an exact name, unlike you. I trust you'll find out soon enough."

    When he finished speaking, he put his hands on Michael's shoulders from behind. Instantly, he felt as if he was covered in hands from behind. Holding his head still, his arms, and wrapping around his stomach to make sure he didn't stand up. He couldn't see it, but it was a nightmare.

    "You'll find everything out eventually, if you just play along."

    Before he could respond at all, Michael heard the sound of thousands of whispers coming from around the boat, drowned out by water. Gradually getting louder, it was impossible to make out what they were saying.

    Before it could escalate, he heard an odd noise, interrupting all else. There was no wind around him, but it sounded as if he was inside of a thunderstorm. When the wind-like noise came to an end, the sensation of arms stopped. The whispering halted. The sky immediately went back to the dark shade of purple it originally was.

    "Halt your tricks. This is about higher business." a deep, dronelike voice said.

    Michael instantly stood and turned to see if his suspicions were true. Behind him was Mendes, towering over the masked man. His skeletal cervine head looking down on the figure. His body covered in black robs which reached the floor, only his head and hands showed, both constructed of bone.

    Michael instantly fell to his knees, in a show of respect.

    "Mendes, I thank you for coming into my presence once more. Whatever you command, it shall be done!" he said, ecstatic to see his master.

    Mendes broke eye contact with the masked man, and walked around the seats, until he was right beside Michael.

    "It is not what I want. You may break the formality."

    Michael rose to his feet instantly, back full erect, yet still dwarfed by over three feet by Mendes.

    "It is about what Ereshkigal wants." he continued.

    Ereshkigal had been a part of his life for as long as he could remember, Mendes as well. Though he always saw Mendes as his lord, he could never forget that Ereshkigal was above even him.

    The masked man shook his head as if to mock the name of Ereshkigal, walking down to the side of the boat, letting out a snarky laughter.

    "Anything at all, my lord." Michael said.

    "It is Ereshkigal's prophecy, his choice, that you, the most trustworthy and obedient servant to both of us, be his architect."

    He was honored, and could not contain his excitement.

    "What will I build?" he questioned.

    "The facility in which he will bring forward a new test. You will also build an icon, which will be used to summon either Enki or myself to a given location immediatly. The final piece, a mask, which his exicutioner will wear, once selected."

    "When will this start, once I return?"

    "You have a test to assure this plan will be set in motion, yourself, Michael." Mendes added, almost like he expected Michael to know of the test.

    "Of course, anything!"

    "Sacrifices. Bloodshed."

    Micheal thought about it for a while, before the idea clicked in his head.

    "Anyone on this planet but them, Mendes. Anyone at all, and I'm on it!"

    "This will prove your devotion. Severing all loose ends, before moving on."

    "I.. I just don't know if I can do this to them. Sh- they have been there for every mome-" he tried to force out, not wanting to deny his lord's wishes, especially not any wishes of Ereshkigal.

    "She, will be fine. She will be allowed to live, Michael Collins. The other two must go. That's your trade. Otherwise, the man in the mask, for lack of a better term, will kill all three. Those lines must be sliced."

    He instantly agreed to the idea, with Melody's safety being assured.

    "It will be done, my lord. Tell Enki that I agree to his terms. I request time, though. Please, let me do this at my own pace. It will be done, but Melody will not be harmed." he said.

    Mendes waited a while, before responding.

    "Agreed." he said, as he began to fade away in a small breeze, forming into pitch-black smoke.

    Turning around, he could see the masked man standing at the edge of the boat, arms stretched each way. After a second of jogging, he reached the man, putting his hand on his shoulder, and spinning him to look him in the eyes.

    "Who are you? Why are you here?" he demanded.

    The mask appeared to show nothing but darkness on the other side. The man only raised his hand and pointed to Michael, letting out one word.

    "Eventually."

    He then turned Michael's attention to the water. The sound of bending metal echoed over the water, as massive waves began to form and push in different directions.

    A large, dark shadow which seemed to resemble a monstrously sized squid was heading towards the boat, only a few dozen yards away. The boat began to shake, as Michael fell on his ass.

    The man simply looked down at him, before the world went black.

      Loading editor
    • A good start, but it needs more, and less. Let me explain:

      The first chapter went by too fast. You told us so much about the characters in such a short time it was hard to absorb it all. It would better if the characters told us some things through dialogue or you added stuff in that isn't just information. The characters' actions don't really carry any weight if we only know their names, physical appearances, and how they know each other.

      The second chapter, again, had too much information. You told us so much about the boat that doesn't matter. We don't need to know how it works or the exact floorplan of the inside. We need to know about the characters, not the boat. How do the characters feel about being on this boat for a month? Do they all feel the same way? Do they all like fish? How will the relationships between the characters affect their time on the boat? This would be a great time to delve into those things. The dialogue was also very unnatural. Try to imagine how someone you know would say things and maybe rewrite the lines. I find it's an effective method.

      I loved how the third chapter was a sudden change of pace, and that the main character is already part of this dark world. This chapter was much more convincing than the first two. Some of the descriptions of the characters' movements could be slightly clearer. And I kind of felt like the main character should know that Melody will not really be spared. Still, I felt it went by a little too quickly. Give us more to chew on, not as far as the plot, but just in the emotional and descriptive areas.

      Now some grammar stuff:

      I'm sure some of the mistakes you will catch if you read through it again slowly. A few reoccurring errors are that you spelled "clothes" as "cloths", and put a period at the end of dialogue instead of comma.

      There's a part where you say "let out a snarky laughter" where you probably meant "laugh".

      This sentence needs help: To the back right corner of the boat was an on-deck fuel bladder was located. Either remove the first "was" or the "was located".

      There's others, but like I said, you just have to read it slowly and you'll find them. Overall, I think if you focus more on the characters and reduce the superfluous details you will see a big improvement.

        Loading editor
    • Umbrello wrote: A good start, but it needs more, and less. Let me explain:

      The first chapter went by too fast. You told us so much about the characters in such a short time it was hard to absorb it all. It would better if the characters told us some things through dialogue or you added stuff in that isn't just information. The characters' actions don't really carry any weight if we only know their names, physical appearances, and how they know each other.

      The second chapter, again, had too much information. You told us so much about the boat that doesn't matter. We don't need to know how it works or the exact floorplan of the inside. We need to know about the characters, not the boat. How do the characters feel about being on this boat for a month? Do they all feel the same way? Do they all like fish? How will the relationships between the characters affect their time on the boat? This would be a great time to delve into those things. The dialogue was also very unnatural. Try to imagine how someone you know would say things and maybe rewrite the lines. I find it's an effective method.

      I loved how the third chapter was a sudden change of pace, and that the main character is already part of this dark world. This chapter was much more convincing than the first two. Some of the descriptions of the characters' movements could be slightly clearer. And I kind of felt like the main character should know that Melody will not really be spared. Still, I felt it went by a little too quickly. Give us more to chew on, not as far as the plot, but just in the emotional and descriptive areas.

      Now some grammar stuff:

      I'm sure some of the mistakes you will catch if you read through it again slowly. A few reoccurring errors are that you spelled "clothes" as "cloths", and put a period at the end of dialogue instead of comma.

      There's a part where you say "let out a snarky laughter" where you probably meant "laugh".

      This sentence needs help: To the back right corner of the boat was an on-deck fuel bladder was located. Either remove the first "was" or the "was located".

      There's others, but like I said, you just have to read it slowly and you'll find them. Overall, I think if you focus more on the characters and reduce the superfluous details you will see a big improvement.

      I'd just like to touch on some things, that may help a bit, but I'll be taking all of this to heart.

      "The Masked Man" was a character I've already used once, in The Night Man. Mendes has appeared in several stories, and Michael was portrayed as his follower, but eventually the two go separate ways and fight in In Torment III.

      This is an origin story for Michael, which exists to fill in the gaps. Also, this is the first 3 chapters, to a story which will have about 9. the inside of the boat will be the setting for the majority of the coming chapters, and the "fishing" part will also be touched on in detail. The characters will have a plethora of time to speak about themselves, and there will be a scene, at night, where all 4 characters will be talking about themselves, and their memories.

      Also, the killing is expected to be done by Michael. I do not believe you read the In Torment series, but I'll point something out. In this story, he is called Michael Collins, and in the In Torment stories, he is called Michael Asher. That is about as much detail as I will go into that for now.

      I will attempt to fix the pacing issues in the first two chapters, but I do feel the details were needed.

        Loading editor
    • Ah, I see. I didn't realize this was based on your other pastas. That would definitely affect my understanding.

        Loading editor
    • Excellent addition to the story here. It sets a great tone and really works as a great bridge to your other works. The grammar needs some polishing in quite a few places, nothing major, just some spacing issues that I noticed, especially in some of the dialogue. Just run it through your MS Word and it should highlight those errors for you.

      The plot was nice here, as it flowed well and brought everything into motion. The conversations felt real enough, and the characters felt organic. This one just needs a bit of ironing out around the edges and it should be great. I look forwarding to seeing the remainder of this entry.

        Loading editor
    • Banningk1979 wrote: Excellent addition to the story here. It sets a great tone and really works as a great bridge to your other works. The grammar needs some polishing in quite a few places, nothing major, just some spacing issues that I noticed, especially in some of the dialogue. Just run it through your MS Word and it should highlight those errors for you.

      The plot was nice here, as it flowed well and brought everything into motion. The conversations felt real enough, and the characters felt organic. This one just needs a bit of ironing out around the edges and it should be great. I look forwarding to seeing the remainder of this entry.

      I'm very glad you enjoyed. I intend for Oceanic to be explaining -all- of Michael's backstory and loose ends, including his last name. I'll be trying to wrap up his hardened feeling towards Mendes, and why he is a lot less "humbled" around him in In Torment III, before they fight and such.

      Very happy you enjoyed.

        Loading editor
    • Okay, so I didn't read any of the responses before posting, so if anything is repeated, sorry.

      We should start with the easiest part first, grammar. It really clean and easy to read. There was one thing that had jumped out at me in the first chapter. I said I was going to remember it so when I got down here I wouldn't have to look it up, but I forgot. So let me find it again really quick and I'll tell you more about it. You said "on brain cancer" which should be "of brain cancer." Besides that there was nothing that had jumped out at me.

      Now onto something that will take a little longer, the story. It seemed to be a good start, but there are a few things that I would suggest get changed, namely in the first paragraph. You spend so much time describing each and everyone that it bogs the story down. You could do this in a different way, which would make the first chapter longer and a little more entertaining.

      Perhaps, instead of listing what these people look like, you can have them interact and point out their appearances while they are near each other. Like you had given exact high for each of them. You could lose the exact height and add it to tallest, medium and smallest. Like, sorry I won't use the correct names (I don't remember my own names I come up), "The girl who was the shortest of them all, at least a foot shorter than Micheal, was sipping her drink as Andy made a fool of himself."

      That would handled the only thing that I found bogged the story. The boat was good with description, as well as character development. But there seemed to be something missing, maybe a little more dialogue would do it better.

      And the last thing that I would suggest, although it is most likely answered later in the story, is the relationship between Micheal and this demon. When the demon appeared it seemed like we should have known who he was from the start of the story. I would give a little more data about him when he shows up to throw off any confusion.

      Now besides those three things everything else seemed great. This caught my attention and I will love to read the rest of it when you are done. Keep on this story, because I want to read it all the way through, and if you only post the teaser that is not fair.

      Once it is finished or you have the rest in the WW let me know and I will try to be one of the firsts to read it.

        Loading editor
    • JohnathanNash wrote: Okay, so I didn't read any of the responses before posting, so if anything is repeated, sorry.

      We should start with the easiest part first, grammar. It really clean and easy to read. There was one thing that had jumped out at me in the first chapter. I said I was going to remember it so when I got down here I wouldn't have to look it up, but I forgot. So let me find it again really quick and I'll tell you more about it. You said "on brain cancer" which should be "of brain cancer." Besides that there was nothing that had jumped out at me.

      Now onto something that will take a little longer, the story. It seemed to be a good start, but there are a few things that I would suggest get changed, namely in the first paragraph. You spend so much time describing each and everyone that it bogs the story down. You could do this in a different way, which would make the first chapter longer and a little more entertaining.

      Perhaps, instead of listing what these people look like, you can have them interact and point out their appearances while they are near each other. Like you had given exact high for each of them. You could lose the exact height and add it to tallest, medium and smallest. Like, sorry I won't use the correct names (I don't remember my own names I come up), "The girl who was the shortest of them all, at least a foot shorter than Micheal, was sipping her drink as Andy made a fool of himself."

      That would handled the only thing that I found bogged the story. The boat was good with description, as well as character development. But there seemed to be something missing, maybe a little more dialogue would do it better.

      And the last thing that I would suggest, although it is most likely answered later in the story, is the relationship between Micheal and this demon. When the demon appeared it seemed like we should have known who he was from the start of the story. I would give a little more data about him when he shows up to throw off any confusion.

      Now besides those three things everything else seemed great. This caught my attention and I will love to read the rest of it when you are done. Keep on this story, because I want to read it all the way through, and if you only post the teaser that is not fair.

      Once it is finished or you have the rest in the WW let me know and I will try to be one of the firsts to read it.

      When you say "the demon", you're either referring to The Masked Man, or Mendes.

      Mendes and Michael's relationship was shown in In Torment III, and the much shorter In Torment: Excubia. This is attempting to show why there was much collected hostility. The Masked Man was a character in The Night Man, and this story is Michael's first, and so far only, time meeting him.

      I'm going to re-word the intro a bit, but the main reason I stopped interaction between Michael and the others (except Vincent), was to show that he is more of an introvert, and that Joshua was his polar opposite, along with admiring Melody from afar. I will be taking all of this to heart, though, and run through the prologue and alter it a bit.

      Thank you. I am very happy you enjoyed the teaser for this story. Your criticism means a lot to me.

        Loading editor
    • I changed some of the wording (revealing heights is no longer as formal and exact, and added some more fluent thoughts in his head).

      Also, this has been added to the end of the prologue. I believe it shows more of all of their characters and personalities, solving that issue.

      "Finally working up the guts to stop being a simple observer, Michael stood up, and walked over to Joshua, gripping his drink with both hands. When he got to him, Joshua didn't wait to try and get Michael hyper. Josh knew how he was, and he knew how to get him to let go and relax.

      Throwing an arm over Michael's shoulder, he tilted Michael's beer into his mouth, pouring it in. Only when Michael went into a coughing fit did he stop and let it down.

      Before Michael could say anything in anger, Josh began rocking back and forth, singing along with the song above.

      "You're so fine, and you're mine, make me strong-"

      He stopped and pointed towards Michael with his other hand, expecting him to continue.

      "Don't act like you don't know the words, everyone does, no matter how embarassed you are!" Josh said.

      "...yeah, you make me bold!" Michael threw out, in a small burst of courage.

      "There you go!" Melody said, following it up with heavy laughter, as her face turned red.

      Michael let go completely. He didn't think about his image, his looks, or any other issue. He was with his friends this night. No matter how much he preferred to keep to himself, and how uncomfortable gatherings like this made him, he was happy now.

      The two continued the song, and laughed through the rest of the night. Vincent even had fun, picking song after song until it was time for them to leave and rest."

        Loading editor
    • That is a great addition to the story. Also, I didn't know that this was linear to other stories. But that will be a great way to learn about all of the characters.

        Loading editor
    • Due to the timespan this story is taking to produce (October is generally a busy month, and add testing on top of that), I'm adding the next chapter of the story to this thread, in this comment, hoping to receive from criticism on it as well. I have never really done a timeskip like you see in the last paragraph in a story like this, so I'd like a bit of opinions on that


      International Waters

      When he awoke, he didn't open his eyes. He laid still is disbelief, questioning what he had just been told. It was certainly not the first thing Mendes or Ereshkigal asked on him, but these were his friends.

      Stretching his arms out, he opened his eyes, and sat on the edge of the bed. Everything was normal. The lights were on, though he did notice neither Josh, nor Melody were in their beds. Instead, he heard Vinny's loud snorring from the bunk above him.

      Slugishly standing up, he turned around to look. Vincent was covered from the waist down with his blanket, asleep shirtless. Looking at Vincent sleeping, dread began to arrise from within Michael, which he could only react to by looking away.

      Walking away from the door, he walked to the corner, where their luggage was found. Opening one of his cases, he changed into blue jeans, a white undershirt, and a blue and black flannel over it.

      Sliding on his shoes, he hardly had the energy to walk straight. He turned off the light on the way out, he tried to open and close the door as softly as he could. His eyelids felt as if they were ten pounds, forcing him to fight to keep his eyes open.

      When he entered the hallway, he took a right turn, to the bathroom. It was not a very long walk, but the inside of the boat was rather cold. Goosebumps rose from his skin, as he reached the bathroom door.

      Opening the door, he immediatly turned right and flicked the light switch, facing the sink and circular mirror which was slightly higher than eye level with him. To his right, the shower and the tiolet. The room smelled like soap and water, indicating it was recently used.

      Picking up his toothbrush, which was in a holder with all the others, he pushed the toothpaste onto the toothbrush, and began brushing his teeth. The taste of mint filling his mouth, he relaxed.

      The light above began to flicker on and off, as if there was an electrical issue. Clicks and zapscoming from above, he turned his head to look towards the light. Part way up, his heart stopped. He jumped, casuing him to dig into his top gums with the toothbrush.

      In the mirror, he could swear he saw the man in the drama mask standing behind him. Turning around with a strike, he found himself preparing to hit nothing. It wasn't until he slowly turned back around, that he realized the man was still in the mirror.

      Michael didn't know what to do. Still holding the toothbrush, he tilting his head to the right, watching the man in the mask tilt it exactly the same way. Next, the left. The man in the mirror copied his moves exactly.

      He began to look around nervously. It wasn't until his eyes drifted away from the mirror, that his peripheral vision allowed him to see that the man continued to look directly at him. Snapping back, he saw that he had a hand on the mirror, as if reaching out for something.

      A sudden creak from the door caused Michael to spin around quickly. There, Vincent stood, cloths and towel in hand. Face blank and tired, he stared back at Michael.

      "You going to get a shower?"

      "I'll get mine tonight," Michael said with a mouth full of toothpaste.

      Turning towards the sink, he spit, and rinsed off his toothbrush before putting it back. Looking back into the mirror, he noticed- it was too fogged up to even see himself in it.

      Practically racing out of the room, he looked back to see Vincent close the door behind him. When he reached the door to the staircase, he slammed through it.

      The bright sunlight caught him off guard. It shinned right in his eyes, and it was much hotter outside than inside of the boat. Covering his eyes with his forearm, he gave himself some time to adjust. Lowering his arm after a a brief moment, he continued on his way.

      Upon reaching the top of the stairs, he noticed no one was sitting behind the steering wheel. Spinning around, he saw Melody on the mounted fishing pole near the front of the boat to the left, and Josh on the opposing side from her, with an empty seat and pole beside each.

      Walking up behind Melody, he placed his hands on her shoulders, jerking forward, pretending he was going to push her off the boat.

      "Josh!" she shouted out during the shock, but turned around to see Michael standing behind her, laughing.

      Josh was turned around, looking at her, laughing. She shook her head, and lightly smacked Michael on the side of the leg.

      "Fishing already?" he said.

      "Yep. Took Vincent's place when he went to sleep. 25 miles an hour, within 9 hours we were 220 miles off coast. Though this would be a good place to start."

      "International waters. Fun." he said, walking down the boat a few feet, and sitting in the chair beside her.

      Looking down, he noticed a red cooler right next to her bait bucket, already filled with fish. Their scales were shining all sorts of reds and blues.

      "How much did you catch?" he asked.

      "6 so far?" she said, as if unsure herself.

      He reached down into the bucket, submerging his hand in the water. He felt the small fish dodge his grasp, but he took a firm hold of one. Rasing it out of the water, he took the fishing pole off of the mount, and pulled to close.

      Leaning it between his legs, detatched the hook, now dangling in front of his face. Raising the small fish to the hook, he pushed it down. Giving slight resistance, and then none, he watched as the hook exited the other side of the bait, leaving it squirming around.

      Pulling back, he cast his bait into the sea, before putting the pole back on the mount. The smell of salt water around him, his chest felt full and heavy.

      Leaning back into his chair, he attempted to kick up conversation with Melody.

      "You excited for thirty days of this?"

      "Of course I am. Thirty days away from bad coffee and loud music. What about you?"

      Joshua added a little bit of soft singing from behind them as a joke, when he heard her.

      "You're face, to face, with the man who sold the world..."

      "Stop that." she said, without even turning to see him.

      Michael simply ignored it, and went on with the conversation.

      "I am, too. A whole month on the water, relaxing, among friends... with you." he said, adding the last bit in a cheesy tone, almost like a joke.

      She looked at him, smile half streched across her face, cheeks getting awkwardly red. Her eyes got large, and the tension was shattered by her screaming.

      "Fish!" she yelled.

      Looking back down, confused, it didn't click in his head at first. Then, he felt the motion in his hands. The slight rumbled, accompanied by the sound of fishing wire being pulled from the rod.

      Immediatly springing into action, he snapped the pole upwards, hooking the fish. Keeping it on the mount, he reeled it in, giving small breaks for the fish to tire itself out.

      Tilting the rod towards the sky, he was carful not to tilt too high, as not to damage the rod. Whatever was on the other side was giving some major resistance.

      Melody was watching, but was interupted by a bite on her own rod as well, followed by Joshua exclaiming he also had a bite.

      The fish was getting closer. The resistance was getting weaker, and Michael was more determined that ever before. This fish was his, and he was sure it was coming up within the minute.

      Vincent came from underneath the boat, fresh from the shower. Scratching his still slightly damp head, looking around at the trio, before noticing they were all reeling in fish at once. He ran right over to the pole beside Josh.

      Michael wasn't concerned with anything- excluding his own little battle. The fish was up against the boat now, and he started to feel it slugishly raise out of the water. As it got closer, he dismounted the pole, pulling the fish up and over the rail.

      At nine inches long, he didn't know what he expected. It was a fish that he couldn't identify, with blue scales dotting the otherwise gray fish. Taking it off of the hook, he tossed it into the fish box beside Melody.

      The four fished all day, hardly taking any breaks between them. All of which were so focused in their activity, that talking alone was scarce. They had all lost track of time, only sharing casual conversation, with the eventual laugh of astonishment, as they filled multiple containers with their catches.

      It was only as the sun began to set that Joshua stood up, to prepare their dinner.


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    • Good addition to the story. This chapter does a nice job of setting up a tone of normal and sort of builds the characters up a bit. It melds well with the other chapters and can make for a great transitition.

      Nicely done!

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    • Like Banning said, this was great to build the Characters. It give the reader a feel of who is who and also has a little bit of creepiness to it, which keeps the reader involved in the horror aspect of it. There were some small grammar errors, such as double words and using is when in was meant, but besides that it was fine grammatically.

      The only thing I would suggest to change, and this may not be that big of a deal, it to cut down on the filler a little bit. For example, you walked us through the entire process you Michael brushing his teeth. It maybe easier for the reader to get behind, not to mention move the story along smoother, if you mentioned that he brushed his teeth, as apposed to, he put the toothpaste on the brush then started to scrub his teeth clean. That is not a direct quote, but it is close to that one section.

      Overall, this story is starting to get interesting and I look forward to seeing how things unfold. I'm sure this will be a great story when it is finished.

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    • A FANDOM user
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