Taylor Gallagher

Story Of An Hour

Austin Ferrullo

 

The emergency light flashed with a monotone buzzing sound each second of the hour, hour after hour. The hull of the ship was nearly submerged. The water was frigid and perfectly clean, but he did not notice, he was too busy working the door. The steel walls were giving way to the pressure of the water outside It was only a matter of time before the dam burst and the floodgates were let to run free, perhaps an hour or so. He pulled and slammed and jerked yet the bolt of the cabin door would not give way. It was such a simple obstacle, such an inferior object that was keeping him from his freedom. Just beyond the door the sound of running water echoed through each corridor. The baron ship allowed for almost perfect silence letting  the sound of  flowing water to be carried all throughout the vessel.. The almost soothing sound would be abruptly interrupted by the clashing sound of  pots and pans in the dining hall as the bow of the ship shifted. Then the melody of rhythmic flowing water would rush back into his ears. It was getting louder, the ship must have been  nearly submerged by then.The place that once held so much conversation was now a silent tomb slowly plunging into the vast emptiness of the ocean with one passenger aboard, trapped in his personal quarters. The stippled steel floor was far beneath him now and he kicked and struggled to find a foothold to keep his face above water. As his nostrils bobbed in and out of the frigid waters he was flooded himself with memories. Memories of the ship in its prime, before all of this evil had torn apart its skin and flooded into its chest.

The comforting aroma of roasted potatoes wandered the halls, aiming to find a new home in the unsuspecting grunt fast asleep in his bunk. The seas were quiet and the sky was a vast and empty blue. The crew was restless for a meal, this being there last at sea before they reach port, they were savoring every moment. He dug through his mind trying to recall their destination, but with no progress. All he could recall was that all was going well. Lunch was in session and he had eaten with the crew before retreating back to his cabin to get some rest and then...

From that point on his mind is clouded. He recalls dreams of hysteria as loud noises clattered around in his mind. Sounds of panic and cries filled the corridors outside of his, yet his door never opened. Pots and pans were thrown to the ground and sounds of artillery shells sounded off, it  seemed as though there sonic boom alone could shatter the dreams of the private, yet he dreamed on, and still his cabin door did not open. Maybe they had forgotten him, perhaps they did not see him slip out of the dining hall and enter his cabin. Maybe.. maybe they wanted him to be left behind, maybe he had wronged them in some way and he just could not remember there were many things that were blurry in his mind. His heart was racing now, not from the chilling water that was surrounding his neck, but because he was unsure as to why he was here. The simple timeline of events leading up to his current situation seemed to be just a figment of his imagination. Who was he, why was he here, and where is everyone else? But  none of that mattered now, he was here and they were there, if “they” even existed. His heartbeat slowed as he slipped away from the cabin of the ship. Dan remembered his sixth grade english class, the assignment was to write a story about what he believed a hero to be. Dan had defiantly wrote that there are no stereotypical heroes in the world today, but anything, no matter how ridiculous, could be an inspiration.Some even inspiring enough for you to become a better human being. His words quickly turned sour, as they usually did back then. A youth with a flare for being different for reasons he had not quite figured out, maybe thats why he was where he was now, not trapped in this steel trap, but aboard this ship far away from any contact to the world he grew up in. Dan’s thoughts began to drift again yet he refocused on the image of his hero paper.

“So to you teacher,” he simply could not remember her name, quite honestly he did not want to, “ My hero can be anything I want it to be, and who are you to ever judge me for my beliefs.”

 

His intentions were never to offend his english teacher, yet again Dan found himself overwhelmed with emotions he could not control. Believing his work was that of a young inspiring rebellious figure, sparking a civil uproar with his compelling words, he had handed in the report with a smug smirk upon his face and watched from his desk the teachers smile turn into a sour disgusted frown as she had read the first sentence of his paper.

Dan received a C+ on that report and, looking around at the “great job”s and “strong writing”s, his fire for being different only grew.

The water was breaching his nostrils, it smelt of the familiar stippled steel floor. It must have been nearly forty minutes since the hull had been completely submerged, and still his cabin door did not open. At this point he did not want it to, Dan had found more closure in these minutes locked away than he had his whole misguided life. The world outside had no influence on him, there was no moral obligation to be one of them, no human shackles keeping him up there with them. With no more chains there was nothing keeping him afloat, so he sank. Down to the cold stippled steel floor of his cabin, and that cabin door never opened until some years later.

“They say I died due to some minor malfunction in the locking mechanism within my cabin door, leaving me trapped in here. As to why the crew did not help me, they assume they were not aware of my presence in here for the last log of the ship was during lunch. It was easy for a crew member to slip back to his or her cabin for some rest, and it was just as easy for the others to forget a crew member was in his or her cabin. They say the manner as to which my body was found suggested I put up a violent struggle, but what would they know. They say I fought the water from entering my lungs. I don't remember much everything about the last hour of my life seems to still be blurry, and I don’t mind it, but I remember taking in that full gulp of ice cold water. I remember it tasted just like the cold stippled steel floor of my cabin.”