As promised, here is part 2 of the Columbus Voyage experiment. This one was my favorite, and I found it much easier to write. I felt a little darkness inside of me oozing out while typing this up. I hope you enjoy it, and as always, I welcome feedback. Have a great week!
One man believes he saw a monster. His name is Roberto Guzman. Guzman has since been detained due to our belief that he is a threat to the ship and crew. His account follows:
I was at the helm. Captain was giving orders, trying to save us from the storm and ourselves. I held the wheel, and used all my strength to keep it from losing control. The rain poured down on us; it burned my eyes. But I saw it. Through the waves, the rain, and the men running for their lives. I heard the scream, not from a man, but from the beast. I saw its claws. I felt its breath.
No one saw it coming. I couldn’t scream or warn anyone. I saw it circling our ship over and over again as we were tossed, trying to avoid overturning or losing any men. The clouds enveloped the ship, and lightning struck all around us, but in the shadows … Yes, in the shadows you could see the blackest of black of creatures looking for its next prey.
Its wings spread wide, but it was faster than the light from the sky. It knew I could see it. Its eyes, as big as the sun, glared at me as I struggled to speak, to tell them to take cover. The claws, easily as wide as our biggest man, stretched out wide. A tail, sleek and deadly hit the sails, ripping gaping holes in it, but everyone thinks it was the storm. Everyone but me.
I could hear its scream when the lightning came, but there was no color in the sky. It was a shadow monster. A monster you fear, one you cannot see. The smell of rotten fish and flesh emitted from it; it came up behind me, changing shape … getting smaller to get inside of me. I knew it was coming. The hair on my neck froze, and it was gone. It taunted me, telling and showing me I could not warn the others. There was no saving them. I begged, “Please spare me. I beg of you, do not take me.”
The storm ended. Whether it came with the beast or our prayers were answered, I do not know. It was over though, and we were safe, but I knew different. I knew it was looking for a victim; a beast like that doesn’t need food; it wants blood and only blood.
The men began celebrating and checking for their crew-mates. I pulled myself upright at the helm; captain came by and patted me on the back. “Good work, Guzman,” he said.
Good work, indeed. I heard someone tell Juan, Little Juan as we called him, to go up to the crow’s nest to check for rocks or land. We lost our bearings, but I knew we weren’t far from the mainlands. Our lady held up, and we would be able to repair any damage.
I peered up and saw Little Juan climbing up. I knew it was too late … I thought to scream out, to yell that it would come back, but no one would believe me. Many men have gone crazy in these waters and on these ships because our journeys are so long and sometimes treacherous. Little Juan was only supposed to be up there for a moment, just enough to make sure we weren’t damaged up top and to check our path was clear.
The night became even darker. Death was coming. The air became thick and heavy; it was like I steered us into a fog that we did not see coming. I couldn’t see my hands, the crew, the nest, nothing. The monster brought the fog; it wanted no one else to see it. No one could shoot it; it swooped in and took Little Juan before anyone could even hear his scream. I heard it though; I heard it in my mind. The beast was inside me; it knew I couldn’t fight it and was weak. It would spare me to use me again, to give away our location, and I would show it who was the weakest.
The air was cold as snow. It was its breath, and I could smell the dead souls in the air. I smelled the pain, the suffering, the loneliness … I smelled the rotting flesh. I saw a hump of a man lying on his side trying to protect himself from the monster, and I knew he saw it, too. His knees were up to his chin, and in the fog he could be confused with a pile of scraps. He would scream, but no one could hear him; he couldn’t warn Little Juan. In only a second, Little Juan was gone.
I relaxed my grip; it was over. I saw the fear in Little Juan’s eyes; he saw the giant claws and evil eyes. I saw the beast through his young eyes. He now knew death. The beast swooped in unseen and took what it wanted. It was hungry, hungry for fresh blood and rejuvenation. My weary arms felt strong again, and as the fog lifted Captain shouted for me to head north. I stood there in a daze and Captain grabbed my arm.
“Guzman! What happened to Little Juan? The men say he’s gone,” Captain said.
I replied, “The beast was hungry.”
“What are you going on about?” Captain asked.
“I saw the fear in his eyes. I felt the death on his breath. The monster took him.”
“What monster? No one has seen a monster,” Captain said.
“I am the monster.”