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The cold didn't bother him anymore. At time's he forgot what the concept of warmth was down there, stuck to the very anchor that was his lifeline at one point. He wanted to curse the men who abandoned him to this misery even though he knew they were long dead.
He started to dream, the same one he's had for as long as he could remember. The sun was hot that day. They were sailing towards the east, the edge of the world as some called it as nobody had ever come back.
Slightly waking from the dream he looked around at the others who succumbed to the same fate, for the sake of adventure and treasure.
It was smooth sailing, far too smooth as the captain put it. There was no wind, barely a ripple in the water besides the ones the ship made, yet the ship plowed through it like caught in a current. No birds, no fish, nothing at all but the ocean. After two days of this eerie sailing they abruptly stopped during the night.
It wasn't until that morning we found out what had stopped us. What looked like tar was bubbling around our ship, with tendrils inching its way up the stern. One of the sailors lowered down a cup on a rope to get some. The moment the cup touched the tar it pulled it in with such force it almost took the sailor as well.
Nobody knew what to do, the scholar we had with us was useless. So we did the only thing we could. Wait. Days went by, the tar creeping ever closer. It slipped in between a plank to get into our hold, we couldn't get to our food. The first day with no food and water we were fine.
Every day after though it degraded, we finished what little morsels we had topside a day before. We didn't want to touch the drink we had up there, that would only make it worse. That night two men killed themselves.
The night after, he awoke to a noise, looking around nobody else seemed to hear it. Walking towards the edge of the ship, where the tar was now arcing over the prow, he heard it more clearly.
A voice?A whisper?A song? It sounded almost like his daughter, he knew it was impossible though as she was just a child at home.
It sounded like none but all of those things, indescribable. He had heard stories of a siren before, seducing sailors into jumping overboard to their death. It wasn't suggesting suicide though, it was suggesting a bargain.
He could barely understand it but he was able to get a few core things from it. If it could have one of them, the rest would be free.
"Let me have one day." He felt crazy for asking that to what could be a hallucination.
The next day the remaining crew got together to discuss it, they decided that it was the only thing worth a try. To decide however was the bigger problem. Until one of them suggested they draw lots. Put all their daggers into a barrel, the one who pulled the captains would be the sacrifice.
The tar hadn't increased.
They argued, fought, mutiny. He tried to calm them down but instead they lashed out on him, beating him to near death. The captain was dead, the man who took charge decided that they would send him into the tar as the sacrifice in the diving suit. His thoughts turned to home as he knew he was facing death.
He wanted to be able to go home after this madness, hold his wife and daughter close and just cry. Seeing men starve and go crazy on their own ship is nothing a sailor should see.
They forced him into it, bleeding and barely conscious he hated it.It was heavy and cumbersome. That night they began to lower him into it. He struggled with what strength he had, knowing that he couldn't get out of it. Wishing that he could.
His heart was pounding, his fear overwhelming. He wanted to just die before he touched that tar. Though right before he did he heard the sound of his daughter laughing. Whether it was real or not he didn't care, it was enough to make him be ready.
It didn't pull him in forcefully, rather tendrils slowly made their way up around his body. Gently dragging him and the suit. As he looked up at his last glimpse of the stars, everything went black.
Feelings something else beside him h felt for it, almost laughing at seeing they tied and anchor to the rope they had lowered him in.
He felt like he fell forever, it could have been years, decades, eons. All he knew is that he reached the bottom eventually, the tar melding together he and his armor like it was protecting him.
He slid the gloved hand over the anchor, realizing it had the ships name carved onto it.
"Nautilus...a name fit for no man."
The etching has long since eroded, his hate and memories as well. Only knowing the last few days of his life, along with his daughter's laugh.
He heard a faint song one day, not knowing where it came from. It sounded similar to that night the tar spoke to him, though now it was a distant echo.Not even thinking about it he somehow stood up, shaking off the seaweed and sand that had gathered on top of him. The laugh gave him the will to live once more, whether it was what was left of his memories, the tar or something else didn't matter to him.
He began walking towards the song. Never stopping.
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