Chapter Two: Two Weeks Ago
Two Weeks Ago…
“Let me get this straight Eric,” Mr. Baker raised an eyebrow, looking at the doe eyed, pencil thin teenager with short black hair, thin wire framed glasses and peach fuzz face. “You want the senior class trip to be on a cruise ship?” Eric fixed his Misfit jersey and scoot his seat closer. He then adjusted his eye to the plaques of marksmanship badges hanging over the wall and finally focused onto Mr. Baker’s doubtful face.
“It’s not just a senior trip.” He finally spoke, “It’s going to be a historical event!” Eric opened up a web page on his tablet and handed it to him. “Pierre Mont Petit is going to unveil his latest underwater discovery on the cruise.” Mr. Baker let out a curious smile.
“Pierre Mont Petit?” He questioned, “The host of Underwater Mysteries?”
“YES!” The excitement in Eric’s voice as well as his body language caused Mr. Baker to let out an even wider smile. “Mr. Mont Petit believed that he discovered a fish that would make the entire rethink about human evolution and he going to unveil it next month during this cruise. It’s a historic event and our senior class can be there!” However, Mr. Baker shook his head.
“It’s impossible to make this happen.” He sighed, “I’m pretty sure that the cruise is book and I highly doubt that his network would give us the time of day to even try to make arrangements.” This caused Kevin to smile.
“Just talk to Jonas Martinez’s mother.” He boasted.
“And why would I do that?” Mr. Baker asked, again Eric smiled.
“I heard that she’s currently dating Mr. Mont Petit himself. We could really use this to our advantage, considering what happened last week in the lunchroom, I am sure that she would do anything to smooth things out with the school.” Mr. Baker leaned against his lounge chair; Jonas was facing expulsion due to a skirmish he had with another student and this would be a way to ‘help’ Jonas get back in good favor with the board of Ed and allow him to graduate with his peers. He gave Eric a mutual smile and leaned forward.
“Alright, I’ll give her a call, but don’t get your hopes up too high.”
Thirty Minutes Ago…
The ship creaked dangerously as the wave thrusted forward in great amounts of power. The entire top of the ship was submerged under the treacherous water which housed as a tomb for the dead and a deadly obstacle course for survivors within. No one expected the added danger and currently they were more dangerous than the sinking ship they were in. ‘Click-Clack! Click-Clack!’ Mr. Baker jumped forward, grabbing Eric’s face. He helplessly stared as Mr. Baker’s eyes quickly turned from light brown to pitch black. “You’re h-h-hurting me, Mr. Baker!” Eric stuttered as his skin was turning gray right before his eyes. Many of the people within the room screamed and were able to escape before he blocked the entrance.
“Mr. Baker, please stop!” one student begged and he reached up with his free hand, long black claws grew out of the fingertips and he removed the skin off of Eric’s face before spitting up hundreds of small flat worms into Eric’s mouth. Mr. Baker tossed Eric to the side and lodge his fingers into a female student’s eyes and effortlessly ripped off her lower jaw. He cocked his head to the right and for a brief moment the darkness in his eyes vanished and his skin went back to normal. “R-R-R-nnn.” He struggled to say, ‘Click-Clack!’ “R-unnn!” his skin quickly turned grey while some of the students darted towards the barricade. Mr. Baker jabbed his claws into the back of a young woman’s skull and blood sprayed everywhere.
He effortlessly tossed the body over his shoulder and vomited several flat worms into the faces of two others. “Mr… Mr. Baker!” A young man begged, trembling in a single spot as she urinated on himself. “Please…” Mr. Baker kneeled down and slowly grabbed the butcher knife from the floor. “Please… Whatever this is, try to control i…” Suddenly, the butcher knife was dropped into the top of his skull, splitting the head up to the bridge of the nose. He then raise the knife high above his head, lifting the body along with it and stared as the body underwent multiple spasms, before the weight lodged itself free.
‘Click-Clack!’ A male student made it out of the barricade, but selfishly knocked a table down, trapping the remaining few inside. A young woman with short brown hair began banging on the table. “Please! Don’t leave us behind!” she cried and she felt the warm blood spraying across her back. She slowly looked behind her and saw a headless student fall hapless on the floor. She then noticed Mr. Baker standing a few feet from her. ‘Click-Clack!’ She tried to run, but her tight red evening dress caused her to fall. She looked behind her, eyes wide in a panic. “Mr. Baker… Please… P-please stop it!” tears began to fall “I just want to live.” With one mighty swipe from his claws, he cut her left forearm and she screamed hysterically as blood began to spurt out. Mr. Baker then took her by her right calf, hoisted her up like a small toy and rammed her face against the floor again and again until her upper body popped like a balloon.
“What… What’s going on Paulie?” Francie stuttered as she tried to look over his shoulder, but he held her closer to his chest, “Don’t look baby, please don’t look.” He whispered, “Mr. Baker became one of them and is killing anything that moves. We just need to stay quiet and hope he doesn’t see or smell us.” Francine trembled as the manic screams of her classmates entered her ears.
“I don’t want to die!” she heard a male voice screamed.
“Please, no! Oh God, NO!!” a female yelled. Paulie looked to the side and saw a young woman lying three feet from them, staring at them as she bleed to death.
“What the hell.” Paulie quickly shoved themselves deeper into the dark corner, looking at the girl’s painful, panicked face. “Why are you looking at us? You’ll give away our position!” He then heard Mr. Baker’s teeth chattering getting closer and closer and his breathing increased. “Please! Die!! Just hurry up and fucking die already!!!”
Francine was on her knees, crying hysterically while Paulie told the others what had happened before they had got there. The stench of death overwhelmed their senses. “We just hid while everyone was being slaughtered… We just hid…” Paulie closed his eyes and Jonas grabbed his shoulder.
“Don’t beat yourself up.” Jonas sighed, “All you were thinking about was protecting Francine… I get it. I really do.” Jonas looked towards Diane; she was trying to get a hold of herself, trying her best to stop trembling and he tried to give her a reassuring smile, but it wasn’t working. He then glanced over towards Tad who was checking every single body on the floor in order to see if any of them were playing dead.
“I counted eight bodies.” Tad sighed, “Paulie, how many people were in here again?”
“A-At least twelve,” Francine stuttered, “Four of them was able to make it out.” Jonas nodded a few times and looked at Tad.
“Let’s take them to the storage room with the others and then I’m going to look for the ones who escaped.”
“Others?” Francine’s voice became hopeful, “H-how many people have you found?”
“Including the people in this room, twenty-eight.” He sighed, stealing a glance at the bracelet around Diane’s wrist and his face saddened when he noticed the water starting to seep from the floor. “The water is starting to reach this level. We need to gather everyone in the storage room and start making our way out of this hell.” Tad grabbed Jonas’s arm.
“What about Carol?” he asked, “You’re going to stop looking for her?” Diane tightened her lip and she could see it on his face. He was losing hope and despite knowing the truth, she felt the need to lie to him again.
“Ma... Maybe Carol might have gathered in the other levels…” Diane sighed, lifting herself up and that seemed to keep the fire in his eyes alive. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”
They all stepped out of the main hall, walking over surveillance cameras, exposed wiring behind the ceiling tiles, trying to keep an ear out for that tall tell sign that one of those things are near. “I wonder if the others in the storage unit are alright.” Tad looked at Jonas, despite the horrific events they had endured; he still looked strong and determined and he envied him for that. If it wasn’t for Jonas he knew that he would’ve lost his mind hours ago.
“We have to get to the others as fast as we can…” Jonas slowly looked around the corner with his axe ready, it was then he noticed his feet are getting wet and the water slowly rising “If we waste any time… We’ll all drown.” That comment nearly made everyone nervous; the notion of drowning quickly became a more frightening reality than dealing with those things.
Tad placed his hand on the wall and looked at everyone. He wanted to sound like Jonas, be strong like him, be an inspiration like him. He took a deep breath and opened his mouth. “This cruise line must’ve had noticed that their ship is missing. Every ship has a tracker and as soon as that tracker stopped working, they should send a rescue team right?” Paulie reached down and grabbed Francine’s hand tighter, while Jonas silently agreed with him. “Right now, our best course of action is to get the rest of our people and get above sea level as soon as possible.” Paulie let out a smile.
“Well look at you?” he chuckled “Thaddeus going all out of his way to boost our moral.” He patted his back and pulled him closer towards him. “Between you and Jonas, you guys are true powerhouses. However, I’m sure if we all work together we can come out of this alive, traumatized, but alive.” Francine let out a smile as well.
“Yes, we can work together and get out.”
Jonas looked at the water that was now over his ankles “Right now, we’re in the main hall on the third level. The storage room where the rest of our group is on the other side of this floor…”
“That means we have to climb up six, maybe seven levels before we could get to the escape hatch on the bottom of the ship.” Francine sighed, “There is an escape hatch on the bottom of the ship right?” Paulie grasped her shoulders and she placed her hands on top of his. Jonas stood quiet and remembered all the conversations his mother and her boyfriend had at the dinner table. The harrowing tales of when the great Mont Petit had to escape a capsized ship. Although he pretended he wasn’t trying to be interested, but in actuality, he absorbed every single word.
His mother met Pierre by complete accident. Literally, he rear ended her and tried to use his status as a celebrity to make her forget about the incident. However, his mother wasn’t hearing it. She yelled at him, belittled him and chastised him and he fell in love with the woman at that very moment. Pierre did everything he could in order to court Jonas’s mother. First he sent her hundreds of roses into her law office; only for her to send them back in pieces. His next move was crashing her yoga class, but that blew up in his face when all the women in her class flocked to him and she just left. His third and final move was simple. He just walked up to her and calmly and respectfully asked her out and she said yes. They’ve been dating for over a year and he had tried everything to win Jonas over. Even took him to see the construction of the ship that would debut his discovery and given their situation, Jonas silently thanked Pierre for constantly dragging him along and at the same time he was feeling guilty that all this time. He hasn’t once tried to find him and now he was wondering if he was alive or was now one of them.
“This is the maiden voyage of the Merriman; it was part of the big gala that my mother’s boyfriend was doing.” Jonas sighed “This ship holds over eight hundred passengers and I do know the ship was at full capacity. That’s including all eighty students of the senior class and eight teachers. This does not include of the crew of two hundred. We have to assume that there might be pockets of a large number of survivors somewhere in one of these levels.”
“S… Still we have to climb six floors…” Francine’s voice was filled with disbelief, “B… But that’s... Impossible…”
“Look.” Jonas pointed to an upside down ship map in the middle of the wall “This ship has seven levels and three sublevels, and since it’s fully capsized, we have to climb up. I’m sure that there are a large number of survivors spread out on each floor, but I’m also pretty sure that those things are around as well. We’ve been lucky so far, encountering one here two there, but I have a feeling that in one of these levels…”
“There might be a floor full of them.” Diane gasped and he nodded.
“However, we also have to face the facts that the increasing impending doom of drowning is going to shorten those numbers rather quickly. Not only that, I’m certain that our numbers will draw attention, both good and bad…” Diane watched as Jonas took some of the rising sea water and washed his bloody hands. He then slicked back his hair and look at all of them. “I know that it may seem impossible… But we have no other option… And I’m sure if we don’t hurry, we all will most certainly die.” Francine tried real hard to hold back her tears.
“So far, we’ve been lucky.” Paulie stated while comforting Francine “But how long you think our luck will last Jonas? We’re tired, hurting and those things are so strong.” Without saying another word Jonas continue to walk ahead and the rest quickly followed towards the vast unknown.
It was supposed to be a fun two day trip spending time with his father. Since the divorce Davy Johansen hasn’t been able to see his father. Not that he was too busy; it was because his mother kept him away out of spite. Yet his father called him every morning, when he came home from school and right before he went to bed. Davy knew how much his loved him. So when his mother allowed him to spend the weekend with his father for his eleventh birthday he was completely ecstatic. Especially when his father was able to get tickets on a cruise to see his idol Pierre Monte Pierre, star of his favorite television show Underwater Mysteries.
From the very moment they boarded his father never left his side. They played in the pool, made fun of the people around them and even watched old Kung-Fu movies where they reenacted some of the fight scenes. It would’ve been the greatest weekend ever. But now all Davy could focus on was the rising freezing water, the distant screams of terror echoing and that infernal clicking sound by those monsters. Then his head dipped into the water, before his father took him and placed a life jacket on him. “You have to live Davy!” he screamed, “Promise me that you’ll live!” Davy always thought his father was the bravest man he had ever known, especially when he saw him take out over a dozen of those monsters before one of them bit into his father’s right side.
Davy’s father began to slowly push him out of the room and up the long hallway. “Davy, I need you to tell your mother that I never stopped loving her.” His voice was weak and filled with terror. “I need you to tell her that I never cheated on her, despite what she thought.”
“I will dad.” He choked.
“That’s my son.” His voice was filled with pride as the water began to get deeper. “You have to climb up towards the engine room. There… should be a mechanic hatch that you could use to get outside. You have to be the man n-now… and be there for your mother for me. Promis…” Davy looked behind him and saw his father’s face turning gray. His nose began to flatten out and his eyes slowly became glassy. Davy began to cry at the sight of his father turning into one of those monsters. “D-D-Daaavvy.” His voice became rough and gargled. He raised his hand and the long black claws ripped through his fingertips. Davy shrieked in terror and almost instantly, the black eyes were replaced by his father’s soft, caring brown eyes. His father forced out a smile and reached around the back of his head where he began to tear out his own flesh until the high pitch screeched echoed around him and his body fell limp into the water.
“I promise dad.” He cried, “I will live. I promise.