Wednesday, November 19, 2008



Julia screamed like she had seen a ghost. The clock read 3:23 AM. Misty and I jumped out of the tiny cot we shared to see what had frightened the hysterical girl. She had been having occasional nightmares since she started sleeping on a mat in our doorway but this seemed much worse. She pointed a finger at the door. I checked it and looked around the hallway, and saw nothing.

Julia whimpered, "I saw her. I saw the Monster. She came in here, with a knife. A bloody knife."

"What," asked Misty, "what monster? What are you chattering about?"

"The--The monster from the cage. The wild woman. She came her to kill us!" She threw herself into Misty's arms.

We exchanged a look. "Ellie," I asked, "Ellie's escaped? Shit. This is not good."

"Are you sure it wasn't a dream," wondered Misty.

"No, no, it was real. She was here. She had a big knife and she was going to kill us!"

I felt doubtful, until I noticed the blood. A spot here and there on the floor, and a smear on the door. Still wet. Shit. "Hurry, give me something to clean this with," I called to Misty, who grabbed some rags from the costume pile.

It took a long time to settle Julia down. She wanted to crawl onto the tiny cot with us, but the two of us barely fit as it was.

"You sleep on the floor," insisted Misty at last to me. I could see by the stern look in her eye that arguing was pointless. She didn't put her foot down often, preferring a calmer, reasoning approach, but when she did then that was that.

We didn't really sleep much after that, and then a couple hours later came a pounding on the door. I opened it, and Carrie and Xyllan and a couple pirate crewmen stormed into the room. Xyllan caught me and slammed me up against a wall, nearly crushing my windpipe. Another man dragged Rod in as well and held him up against the wall.

"What the hell's going on," I gasped.

Carrie strode into the room, without her usual thick makeup and her hair tied up in some knot. She wore a simple white nightgown. "I'll ask you one time, Ross. Did you help Ellie escape?" She peered past Xyllan's thick arm.

"What? What are you talking about?"

The pressure on my throat increased. "That bitch has escaped," Carrie screamed. "I want some fucking answers!"

"Leave him alone," cried Misty, sheltering Julia. "We've been in here all night! That stupid bitch broke in here a couple hours ago and scared Julia half to death. Instead of threatening us, you should be out looking for her."

Carrie turned to face Misty. Her snarl transformed into a cold smile. "Say, Nguyen. How much do you really know about Elena Galistina, and your friend Alex here? You do realize they have a bit of a past, don't you?"

Misty nodded, scowling.

"You do know they once lived together, slept together, fucked together?"

Misty stared at me for a moment. "We didn't discuss details."

Carrie's smile broadened. "And you know that he and I have a past, too, don't you dear? That we've been...intimate."

Misty shook her head. "I doubt that. Maybe in your twisted brain..." She shot a look over at me and I couldn't hide my guilt. ""

"So you might not trust him or believe him as much as you would like to. Are you sure you have no idea where this Ellie could be? Are you sure he doesn't still have feelings for her? How well do you really know Alex?"

Misty seemed a bit speechless. I mean, it's not like she's told me all of her past. And frankly, sleeping with Carrie is a memory I'd rather forget. She finally found some words to spit out through her set jaw. "What Alex has done in the past doesn't concern me. But I believe him when he says he hasn't seen her or helped her escape."

Carrie studied our faces for a moment, then held out a finger. "If I find that any of you have been working with her..." Her eyes fell on Julia. "Then this little bitch going back to Xyllan and the rest of his crew to do what they please. That's after you all walk the plank. You're all confined to quarters until further notice."

They departed, but not after Xyllan buried his fist into my ribs, sending me to the floor gasping for air. Julia and Rod helped me back up as Misty sat on the cot, her hands gripping the rail, staring darkly at floor.

"Misty, I--"

"Don't you talk to me," she hissed. "How could you? With her? That woman is pure evil."

" was a huge mistake. Ellie had just left me--"

"You used to date the Monster," said Julia, incredulous.

"Ellie is not a monster," I cried. "Queen Carrie is the monster. She tricked both of us, got us to separate from each other, tricked me into sleeping with her, kinda, then threw me away like yesterday's garbage. It was a real confusing time. And it all ended with me getting sent to Kastle Klingon. Carrie is like a cancer, corrupting everything she touches. Look at us! We're like rats on this godforsaken ship, now she has us at each other's throats like the zombies she creates. Misty, I'm sorry I haven't told you everything, but there are some things I'm deeply ashamed of and I just want to bury those things. Please, it was one of the worst nights of my life, and if I had to do it all over again, I would have run screaming from her."

Misty glared at the floor for a moment, then shot a look at me with her deep, dark eyes. "Okay, Alex. I knew something was up between you two. What the bollux is wrong with you? God, sometimes...ugh. One of these days, you need to figure out what your life is about. First a Communist agent, then a megalomaniacal monster. You have some taste in women."

"I'm hoping I'm doing better now," I said quietly. I sat on the cot next to her, clasping her hand gently. "I know I've made my share of mistakes, real doozies. Ellie, well, she wasn't always the monster in the cage. She just came out of nowhere and bowled me over so hard I couldn't think. I'd never been with anyone like her. She hid the monster really well. Now I know it was all a lie. She tried, I think, to change her life but she just couldn't. Misty, I'm with you now, and you're all I think about. When I think about what I went through, I just shiver. Without you I don't think I would have made it through that camp. I might have saved you a couple of times, but really, it's been you who saved me." Okay corny but I really mean it.

Misty sighed. "Someone had to. I guess I never understood how a guy like you could end up at a place like that. Most of the inmates were near-criminals, hackers running from the mob and the lot. You seemed a lot different, like you had some kind of cross to bear."

"Well I hope I've paid my repentance. Although this boat to hell might suggest otherwise. Misty, I'm so sorry you had to find this out from Carrie. Can you forgive a stupid Yankee?"

Misty looked at me for a moment, then a slight smile crossed her lips. "Oh, fine, Ross. You Colonials still have so much to learn. Let's let the past be the past." We hugged for a moment, then the Klaxon sounded.

We scrambled like madmen, tailed by our guards, and rushed into the Palace. Almost as soon as we crossed the threshold, the men closed the heavy leaden bulkhead door behind us. Carrie stood up where the cage had been, now raised back up off the ground. She held a microphone.

"Good, everyone's here," she stated, staring in our direction. "As you know, the bitch Elena Galistina, my pet for the last week, somehow escaped in the middle of the night. We've checked the tapes, and there's no sign of her leaving the ship. She somehow slipped out of her chains, then managed to bend some bars to escape. It doesn't appear at the moment that she had any assistance, and I thank you for that. However, we have to assume that she's loose on the ship. I want every corner of this ship searched, top to bottom, bow to stern. I want a full accounting of every person aboard this boat. There's a million dollars to the first person who spots her, no questions asked. Five million if she's captured, dead or alive. Now go! Get your asses moving! Ross, get over here."

She has changed back into a Napoleonic getup with a heavy wool overcoat.

"Keep him away from us," I warned her as we approached, and she waved Xyllan off. In the rush I had left my weapons behind.

"Come on," she said simply, while consulting some kind of hand-held computer. We trooped behind her back to the living quarters. She led us to a cabin, where a guard greeted us. Carrie pointed to me. "Go in and look. You two probably don't want to go in there," she finished, gesturing to Misty and Julia.

I walked in slowly, wary of a trap. I also puked at the sight. A man had been carved up neatly, a gag in his mouth, and his eye bulging out and staring straight up. It was obvious from first sight he had been filleted while still alive. Parts of him were sticking out of other places where they shouldn't be. I held a hand to my mouth, practically running out of the room, coughing and gagging.

Carrie walked up to my face. "We've already found 3 more like this. Your friend is on a revenge spree. Why do you think she came to your room, with a knife? Seeing the two of you prancing around, holding hands, kissing, while she's tied up like a dog? How do think that makes her feel? Especially a vicious killer like her? The two of you carrying on even makes me feel a little sick sometimes. This has got to stop. We can't have a killer running free. If we don't find her soon, I'm going to have to take drastic measures."

"What do you want from me," I asked. "I have no idea where she could be. Frankly if it were me, I'd jump off the ship, rather than have a bunch of mad Pirates after me. She's probably finished with her kills, and she's gone."

Carrie shook her head. "She's not done. After all, I'm still alive. Therefore she's still on this boat. Okay, lets get back to the Palace."

For a few hours we sat up in the control room, watching security footage and live feeds of all parts of the ship. We had nothing. All told six men had died, all with connections to Ellie in the past, all some of most abusive men on the ship. No one felt sorry to see them go. They only felt scared for their own lives. I finally found the tape of Ellie's escape, and noticed it had been edited slightly. With a little digging, I uncovered the edited-out part.

Apparently around two in the morning, some highly drunken pirates approached the cage. The taunted the mostly naked women, and for a while she sat still, but then stood up and removed the rest of her clothes, standing completely naked. I will say with all due respect to Misty, that Ellie has one of the most spectacular bodies known to man. She began her hooker routine, beckoning them and blowing them kisses, exposing her body in erotic ways. Now as I've mentioned, Pirates are perhaps the least disciplined of all men, so these had no compunction about disobeying orders and raising the cage. They raised it about three feet, enough to slip under.

I slipped in an earpiece so I could hear the audio.

"Ohh," she said seductively as the men advanced, "I'm so hot. I want to do so much with you two, but these chains, they just get in the way. I can't really bend like you'd like."

"We can't take off them chains, we'd get a whippin," said the first, a tall skinny man.

"Yeah," said the other, a short, squat guy. "And you could escape."

"Me? I just want some fun! God, you're like the sexiest pirates. Mmm. Hey, you could just lower the cage, then take off the chains! Think of what it would be like, both of you inside me."

", get the damn key." He leaned over to grab Ellie but she pushed him away gently.

"Nah ah ahh...not until you get the key. Please? I'll let you do whatever you want to me." Ellie licked her lips and fondled her breasts.

"Hurry the fuck up," the tall man called to his companion.

"Found it," he called, running back and clambering into the cell.

"Ohh, let me see, I'm going to fuck you so hard..." She held our her hand and rubbed the short man's chest, swinging her hips seductively while nibbling on a finger.

The tall guy shouted as the short one handed Ellie the key, "you fuckhead! You didn't lower the--"

He never finished the sentence as Ellie's hand crushed his windpipe in a devastating karate chop. She kicked the other man in the teeth with her bare foot, sending him falling heavily into the cage. She worked the key in the lock, and in a moment the chains crashed to the floor. The tall man lay writhing on the floor, gasping for air. She came up behind him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and shouted up into the air, "this one's for you, Alex! You're next!" She whipped her arms around, snapping the man's neck like a chicken's. She hastily removed the corpse's clothes as the body lay twitching on the ground and dressed herself. The other man started to stir. Ellie scooted under the stairs and hit the button to lower the cage. The edge lowered directly across the man's throat. Ellie ran off camera. I sat, watching the man struggle for a couple minutes then lay still. I switched off the video.

"Nice, isn't it," said a voice behind me, causing me to nearly jump out of my seat.

"Have you seen it," I asked Carrie. "Do you believe me when I say I wasn't involved?"

"No. Not really. But it won't matter in a few minutes, because after that you'll have no one left but me to help you with your miserable life. If we can't find her, well, we'll eliminate that bitch the hard way. Hit the warning!"

The Klaxon sounded, this time for the Singularity Pulse Warning. All the searchers streamed back into the Palace, and Carrie made sure they had a good count, with no more missing people. All the bulkheads were secure, and they made a cursory search of the Palace, but Ellie escaped detection. I prayed she hid behind some drapes or something, but I don't think she was in here.

Carrie gave the signal, and a tiny speck of gaseous matter puffed into the Matrix containment field, sending off a mind-blowing electro-magnetic pulse. If Ellie hadn't escaped the ship, she'd be converted into a screeching zombie, beating herself into a bloody pulp.

"Good," said Carrie once the Matrix returned to normal. "Go do another search, and bring me back her broken body."

The crew searched and searched, but turned up nothing. Ellie had escaped. Carrie set a course for the Horn of Africa, deep in the heart of Pirate Central, and we turned the matrix up to maximum capacity.

Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 @ 10:38 PM

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