Twisted Seas | Teen Ink

Twisted Seas

March 16, 2023
By Anonymous

Finn held the ropes in his white-knuckled grip, the harsh weaving digging into the soft flesh of his palms. He stumbled to the side, struggling to stay upright as the churning waves rocked his boat. It was a simple fishing vessel, not at all meant for the choppy waters he had gotten caught in. He was sprayed again with ice cold salt water, watching with despair as the sea reclaimed everything he had caught that day while he could do nothing but plant his feet and pray that he did not befall the same fate. The seas were inky black as they seemed to reach for Finn, cold hands coiling around his ankles from where the water was spilling into his boat. He swore he could feel a thousand eyes on him. The wind seemed to shriek as it whipped around him. It spoke, begging him to let go of the rope. Only that wasn’t right. The wind whistled and whipped across his sails, but it couldn’t be speaking. This was something else.

More voices seemed to join in, whispering in his ears and overlapping in a silent chorus, because there was no way anything was actually speaking to him right now. The howling winds and pounding rain swallowed all sound. Finn could feel these voices inside of him, reverberating through his chest and filling him with a desperate, aching sorrow that was not his own. He cast his gaze around the horizon, either for signs of rescue or some clue as to what was happening, but he found neither. But then something moved in  the corner of his vision, just at the edge of his boat. He squinted his eyes against the rain and darkness, but a flash of lightning quickly revealed what it was.

A hand. There was a hand clinging to the side of his boat and it was disgusting. Flesh rotted in an inhuman green color where it peeled away to reveal bone, dirty and decayed. Overgrown nails dug into wood and left long marks behind them as whatever it was struggled to keep its grip, but with what could have almost been a sob, it fell back into the water, but it didn't matter. 

Finn had let go of the rope. In his shock and fear, his death grip had loosened and the next towering wave sent him stumbling over the edge. He screamed, but it was quickly swallowed by the sea. It was deathly cold and he struggled to get his quickly numbing hands to grip the edge of the boat, but the water pulled him farther down into its depths. Suddenly, it wasn’t only the tides pulling him down. Something rough and colder than the water itself grasped his ankle. He kicked his feet, trying to strike whatever it was, but its grip didn’t falter. He turned to see his unknown attacker and finally saw what had been calling to him.

There had to be hundreds of them. Creatures that may once have been human, but had been ravaged by the sea. Their clothes were in tatters, barely clinging to their bodies that were in no better shape. What hair remained on their heads was tattered and knotted from the salt water. The bodies matched the hand he had seen, with decaying flesh painted green and blue from rot and hypothermia. Their hands reached for him almost desperately as their sobs filled his head, but their gazes were the worst. Red rimmed eyes stared at him, irritated from the salt, cold and unseeing and yet filled with such great desperation. They had been here for years, Finn realized, slowly wasting away, forced to suffocate on icy waters as they remained constantly an inch away from death.

By now, his lungs were starting to burn, begging him to take a breath. The creature finally let go of his ankle, but by now he knew it was hopeless; he was far too exhausted and his boat was long gone. Eventually, he couldn’t resist his body’s need to try and find air where he knew there was none. Icy water stabbed at the back of his throat as it flooded his lungs, a burning pain blooming in his chest. His limbs grew heavy and he struggled to keep his eyes open against the salt water and exhaustion, but he didn’t need to; they never closed. The pain in his chest and throat never faded, but the release of unconsciousness never came. His hands and feet became blue from the freezing ocean, and his hair became knotted from the salty tides. Flesh decayed and peeled away, revealing the bone underneath. His eyes lost all light as he drifted, at the mercy of the sea. Sobs and shrieks echoed around him as he waited, watching for any sign of a ship, anything that could rescue him. He waited and wailed as he choked on the salty water. His attempts to save himself slowly weakened and he sunk…sunk…sunk…

The author's comments:

This is a creative writing piece I wrote to branch out of my writing comfort zone!

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