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Beneath

By johnnydarkgarden All Rights Reserved ©

Horror / Thriller

Doomed

April 2nd

We ran out of fruits and vegetables while idling in the doldrums. We have plenty of fish and we can boil water, but without a proper diet I fear scurvy will set in soon. The sun has been relentless and the sea is like glass. There’s no point in doing any heavy work above deck in this wretched heat and humidity. If the wind doesn’t pick up soon and lift the sails, I'm afraid desperation will set in and God only knows what after that. No man has complained openly yet, but patience and reason will soon disappear like the wind did nearly a month ago. Our captain seems to be confident that the weather will change and spirit us towards land so I guess there’s still hope as long as he believes it.

April 13th

Any sign or feeling of hope has completely vanished. There's still no wind and the sun is as relentless as ever. The nights are humid so there’s no relief at all. The crew has grown restless, and accusations have begun to fly. A steady diet of fish and more fish has dampened spirits tremendously. Soon we’ll have to start burning parts of the ship for fuel so we can cook whatever we catch. Last night I had a dream that something made a noise like a whale calling across the depths of the sea, but was something much more menacing. My dreams as of late are mostly tortured nightmares about death and decay. It’s probably just the lack of vitamins and a proper diet. There’s arguing on deck so I’m going above to see what’s happening.

April 14th

The commotion on deck yesterday turned into a fistfight that graduated into a stabbing which in turn left one of the crew dead. The rusty blade had pierced the man’s heart and he died within minutes. His killer will walk the plank tomorrow at dawn.

This afternoon the dead man’s body was heaved overboard in some sort of at sea ritual. The ensuing feeding frenzy was disturbing. Sharks were everywhere and quite ravenous. They tore the body apart in seconds and devoured the entrails like greedy demons. After only a few minutes nothing remained. The killer was forced to watch the entire event. I’m sure he’s thinking about what it must feel like to be torn apart by sharks in the middle of a feeding frenzy. A few men turned away during the spectacle but most watched in horror, some in awe. I swear I saw a few smiles.

April 15th

The killer was dragged kicking and screaming from his holding area. He was so out of control they couldn’t get him to stand up so they just tossed him overboard into the hungry sea. It seemed as though the sharks had been waiting around all night because he was ripped apart within seconds of hitting the water. He screamed on the way down, but the screams were stifled and choked as he went under. He started back up again as soon as his head broke the surface. He screamed like a small child. It wasn’t long before he was silenced by a mammoth white shark which in one bite snapped his head from his shoulders.

Staring at the sharks while they fed, and then seeing the looks on the men's faces as they watched the whole thing was more revolting than the episode itself. I saw greed and happiness. I know I saw one man actually drooling.

I heard the noise again last night. Dream or real?

April 17th

A man was found dead this morning and there’s no proof of who did it. It was quite obviously murder because the man’s throat had been slit from ear to ear. At this point everyone looks guilty and nobody really seems to care much at all. There’s been considerable talk about eating the body because it is, after all, meat. I feel as though I’m losing whatever grip I may have had on reality.

My dreams are haunted by the sound of a great leviathan far below in the bowels of the sea. I can barely think straight when I’m awake, and sleep just brings on the nightmares. Are they dreams? Is this gang of lunatics really considering cannibalism? Am I that hungry... In my current mental state I’d have to say yes. Hungry. Hungry like those sharks.

April 18th

I’ve been awake for what seems like days now. I fear sleep because of the nightmares, and of having my throat cut while I dream. Staying up all night has confirmed my worst fears. The noise I’ve been hearing night after night isn’t in my dreams or subconscious, but real. There is some great evil beast lurking below in these waters. I fear that we’re all in great danger if the winds don’t pick up. WE HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE!!!

April 19th

I spent most of the day below deck because I’m too weak. I hear constant arguing from above. I’ve found a knife which I keep hidden with me for protection. I’ve seen some of the crew walking around with hatchets! Things have become really tense with them. I haven’t slept for a while now and I’m feeling a bit delusional. I hear things. Must eat!

April 20th

I went up on deck in the middle of the night to see if I could spot whatever was making those noises from the depths of the sea. To my horror, I noticed some of the crew were sitting in a circle around a fire they had built from pieces of the mast and sails. At first it looked like hunks of meat, but all at once I realized they were gorging themselves on pieces of human flesh. They were wolfing it down and laughing. I turned away in revulsion but my stomach made a growling noise anyway. The flesh smelled good, but my mind refused to let me partake of their unholy banquet.

April ?

Screams throughout the night. I think it’s bordering on complete chaos above deck.

April ?

Blood is everywhere. I snapped out of my daze to see bodies being dragged away. Someone stole my knife while I was out! I fear that my days are numbered aboard this vessel as the looks I’m getting from the tattered remains of the crew tell me so. I’ll try to find a place to hide. I think they’ve eaten the captain at some point because he’s nowhere to be found.

?

I can hear them plotting against me. This may be my last entry. I hear footsteps...

? (Sunny)

How do I begin to retell the events which unfolded that night?

My last entry mentioned footsteps which was later confirmed when a group of insane savages grabbed me by force from my bunk, and proceeded to shove me towards the stairs which led above deck. Upon reaching the deck of the ship I witnessed a horror unlike any other to date. Blood ran like water over the entire deck of the ship, sloshing thickly against the sides before splashing out over into the sea from the drains. There was a group of men towards the bow of the ship holding another man down who was screaming like all hell had been unleashed until they slit his throat violently and quickly, nearly severing his head. Blood surged and gushed from the grotesque wound as men cupped their hands under the arterial fountain, splashing it about like the insane lunatics they had become. Their eyes were wild and frenzied as they rubbed their naked bodies in their victim’s life force. I slumped a bit as I lost all hope because I knew I was next.

They shoved me forward towards the front of the ship where a crude sort of altar had been built out of crates for their bloody sacrificial ritual. The bow and it’s altar reeked of death and suffering as the gore streamed down all sides and slid onto the deck.

Someone dragged the carcass of the previous soul off and tossed it overboard. I could hear the telltale splashing and thrashing of yet another feeding frenzy.

As I approached the altar, I noticed something peculiar which I hadn’t for what seemed like an eternity now. A breeze had begun to tickle the beads of sweat on my flesh!

I could see the flashes of an approaching storm not far off in the distance that would later mutate into a full blown hurricane which I would be lucky to survive. The winds had begun to blow, but the sails had been taken down and burned to fuel the fires for the cannibalistic orgies.

Raindrops. How long had it been since I had felt their grace upon my shattered body? Everything above deck had fallen silent. The men gazed up into the roiling heavens in awe. Lightning whickered and arced all around as thunder slammed the skies which had opened to spawn blinding rains. The raging tempest was upon us within minutes. Rain filled the deck and mixed with the blood and gore which washed out the drains and into the sea. It was as if the horrific deeds which had taken place earlier were being cleansed and forgiven yet this was not to be.

As the men stared in wonder, some beginning to smile and awaken, a deep bellow emerged from the sea that sounded like a mammoth horn high atop a mountain warning a village or race of their impending doom. The low roar carried itself around the ship deafening everyone so that they had to place their hands over their ears. The roar turned into a scream which made ears bleed, noses run and faces contort in obvious agony and pain. What happened next nearly stopped my heart.

The beast had emerged from the sea near the bow of the ship.

It was a creature so terrifying that the mere thought of it’s existence makes men question whether or not they should go to sea. It was a great serpentine creature of biblical proportions which could have only been birthed by the devils of the ocean. It’s body was that of a massive scaled snake, deep green with slime and age. The body gave way to a head which looked as though it belonged to that of a mythical dragon in some child’s book of fairytales. The top of the head was fanned out with enormous fin-like appendages that ended in sharp points. The mouth, a gaping maw straight from hell, overflowed with razor-sharp teeth. The eyes of the great beast glowed a noxious green as it gazed down upon our tiny wooden vessel.

It opened it’s maw wider as if to swallow the earth, and let out a scream which I thought would make my head explode.

Everyone aboard had accepted their fate. No man moved as the great beast lowered it’s head and slinked closer to the deck. Finally one man made a break for it screaming in total panic. He barely made it a few feet before the massive serpent quickly snatched him up and in one bone shattering chomp, ended his life.

The deck was instantly in chaos. Men darted to and fro trying to escape the beast, but always with the same result. Screams and then death.

I knew I had but one chance in all this madness to make an escape while the creature was busy feeding. I took off running for the stairs which would lead below deck. I had to avoid half eaten bodies and screaming lunatics to make my way below where I could search for something to cut the ropes which secured the lifeboats. I slipped and fell in the gore and tumbled headlong down the stairs and slammed into a wall which nearly rendered me unconscious. As I came to I noticed a small hatchet which had been buried in a man’s spine and yanking it free, grabbed my leather bag and headed back up the stairs towards the deck.

The beast was tearing the ship apart. It’s head would plunge down after a running body and slam into the deck sending wood splinters flying everywhere. Souls disappeared into it’s maw time and time again. A few men had taken some of the wooden planks in an attempt to fend off the thing which had distracted it just enough to allow me time to slip around the side of the deck towards the lifeboats. With hatchet in hand I hacked away at the first of two ropes which secured one of the boats. The first rope split and sent the boat plunging forward, dangling precariously by the second. I proceeded to hack away at the second through the driving rain and screaming madness until it finally gave way sending the boat tumbling down to the waterline. By some twisted luck it had landed properly in the churning sea as I tucked my leather bag tightly under one arm and launched myself overboard. Thankfully the finned eating machines had vanished in the wake of the great serpent. I plunged deep into the water and broke the surface to find myself near the vessel I had freed, my leather bag safely secured around my neck as I climbed aboard my last chance at salvation. Grabbing both oars I made for the opposite direction of the terror. Lightning flashed and thunder rolled as I set off into the unknown towards wherever.

A few times during the storm I thought the waves would dump me back into the sea, but by some odd fate have survived to continue writing this tale.

Time has become irrelevant.

I sit alone on the white sandy beach of some distant tropical island in the middle of nowhere. I’ve found plenty of food and there's fresh water that collects in pools after the daily rains. My health has improved dramatically on a steady diet of bananas, coconuts and fish. I think I’ll survive for a while or at least until I feel the need to move on.

The sun is setting now and bathing the distant horizon in deep oranges and reds. It’s a fantastic portrait I enjoy witnessing day after day, but last night I had a dream.

Last night I dreamt I heard the beast.

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