mystery

Flash Fiction: Suitcase

The suitcase lay abandoned on the forsaken track.

The reason why this railroad was deserted and operations were abandoned was because people feared the cursed area. Anyone who ventured out on the track, would never return. Entire trains had disappeared, simply vanishing into thin air. People believed the abandoned suitcase was the only remaining sign of some poor soul who had joined the ranks of the missing people. However, there always remained some foolhardy bravehearts who would go looking for the suitcase.

They did not know that the suitcase had been placed there, by those living in the tunnel.


Word Count: 99

Prompt:  Carrot Ranch July 26: Flash Fiction Challenge

Death in the Classroom

It was a regular day at St. Overpriced High School. At 9am, the students of class 3-A shuffled into their class and settled into their desks. They went about their morning activities, enjoying their few minutes of unsupervised freedom. They knew that once Prof. Holme Rume came in, they would have no chance to do incredible things like running around in the class, making out, tossing paper at each other, and other such highly intellectual activities. The students were pleasantly surprised when those few minutes turned into a good twenty minutes and then into a whole hour. However, at 10 am they had to stop their rambunctious ventures. A middle-aged man wearing a red tweed sweater and brown pants entered the class. He introduced himself as Prof. Jay June and informed the class that he was a substitute for Prof. Rume, who had some sort of an emergency. He asked the class to settle, fetch their history books and pay attention.

Jen had been listening to music on her phone, when the substitute professor had walked in. She dutifully kept her phone and earphones inside her bag, and took out her history book. To her, the subject did not really matter. None of them interested her. However, she did not want to get into any more trouble. She already had two strikes on her record. For the first ten minutes, she tried paying attention. After another five minutes, she was back to wondering whether Zayn quitting One Direction was a good decision. She realized it was going to be an ordeal and let out a yawn. Rubbing her eyes, she rested her head on the desk. Just a short nap, she thought to herself.

The ringing bell at noon signaled lunchtime. Prof. June left the classroom. As soon as he was out, the bustle returned. Buddy rushed up to Jen’s desk. He was hungry and he needed lunch money. She was his only friend in school and he knew he could turn only to her. Buddy tapped her on the shoulder.

“Hey! Wake up sleepy head. Time for lunch.”

Jen did not move an inch.

Buddy shook her by the shoulders.

“Wake up, Jen! Class is over.”

She gave no response and remained in her position.

Buddy was worried now. He called out to his classmates and asked them for help. No one could succeed in waking Jen up. The school nurse was informed and Jen was carried to the infirmary. The nurse checked Jen and quickly dialed a number on her phone. An ambulance arrived within ten minutes and the doctor rushed in to the infirmary. He checked Jen’s wrist and used the stethoscope to confirm. Jen was no more.

The doctors could not determine the cause of death of Miss Jen Eric. In their opinion, she was perfectly healthy. The case was labeled: a once-in-a-blue-moon medical anomaly. This label stuck only until the next day. Another such anomaly had occurred in class 3-A of St. Overpriced High School. And then another the very next day. The doctors had no explanation for the three deaths. The mayor decided that an expert needed to be called in. The mayor called in the very best – Detective Solvet Al. As luck would have it, he was only a few hours away from Overpriced Town, and instantaneously accepted the mayor’s request.

Solvet was famed for his hundred percent success rate and was infamous for his unconventional methods. He requested the classes to continue as they were and assured the parents and children that no more deaths would take place on his watch. The next day, Solvet was in class 3-A at 9 am. He asked Prof. June to carry on teaching while he observed the class. The students were scared, but the detective’s presence gave them some confidence. Solvet moved around in the classroom through the day. He peered at students, ran his fingers over the walls, sniffed here and there. The students’ attention was focused on the detective’s antics, rather than the chapter being taught. The day passed and the final bell rang. Everyone looked at each other. No slumped body. Everyone was alive and kicking. Solvet had stayed true to his word. All eyes turned to him. The detective knew the question on everyone’s mind and he had figured the answer to it.

“I have solved it. I know the cause of death. It is not a what, it is a who. It was murder, alright. And I know who the murderer is.”

A wave of murmuring went around the class. The detective raised an accusing finger and began moving it around casually. The finger finally stopped, pointing at one particular person. Prof. Jay June. The detective walked up to the professor.

“Oh yes, sir. I attended your class for one day. And I concur that you are the murderer.”

Professor June appeared shocked.

“Me? I did nothing. I am innocent.”

“Don’t lie to me professor. You killed three kids.”

“I did not kill anyone.”

The detective looked sternly at the professor and announced to everyone present.

 

“You are the murderer Professor Jay June…

You bored them to death!”

 

 

This is my attempt at writing a comedic story that does not really take itself seriously.

If you like the comedy genre, you may want to check out: Brouhaha and Dinner

Do share your thoughts and opinions on my stories, I do love reading them! 🙂

 

(Image courtesy: https://daily.jstor.org/how-blackboards-transformed-american-education/)

Whodunit? Part-2

Bruce sat along with his guests in the living room. There was a deathly silence in the room. No one was uttering a word from their mouth. The guests’ eyes moved back and forth, trying to catch each other but trying to avoid Bruce’s piercing gaze. After Alfred had been declared dead, Bruce had activated the lockdown again. He had made it clear to his guests that no one was leaving until the murderer was caught. His guests had been wise not to protest. Bruce had led them to the living room and asked everyone to take a seat. He sat in his armchair and tried to decipher if his guests were involved in the death of Alfred just by looking at their faces. He soon realized this would not work and he decided to break the silence.

“Now, if any of you had any hand or even a finger in the murder of my butler, I want you to confess right now. I promise I will simply hand you over to the police. But, if I decipher it later, there will be no police and no justice. It will be just you and me, and nothing will stop me.”

L gave Bruce a smirk.

“Mr. Wayne, I understand how you must be feeling right now. But, you cannot hold us here as prisoners, you know.  I can make one call from my cellphone and have the cops come here.”

Bruce looked L straight in the eye.

“I knew that was a possibility, so I have already jammed your phones. You cannot have any contact with the outside world until the killer is caught.”

L held Bruce’s gaze evenly. Sherlock cleared his throat.

“Bruce, there was a lockdown that was initiated here previously this evening. Only you or Alfred could have initiated it, since there is no one else here. Definitely not one of us. Now, Alfred is dead and you would not have initiated a lockdown for no reason. So, we could continue being suspicious of each other or accept the possibility that there is another person in this house. The person because of whom the lockdown was initiated and the person who killed Alfred is still somewhere in this house, trapped with us.”

Shaggy laughed nervously and whispered to Scooby.

“More like, we are trapped here with him.”

Sherlock ignored the comment and addressed the detectives in the room.

“We are all under suspicion here, even you Mr. Wayne. Anyone could be an accomplice to the killer here, or maybe even the killer himself. So, if we work together, we can keep an eye on each other and solve the murder case as well. What say?”

Everyone nodded in agreement. Bruce got up from his place.

“Very well, we shall work together. But, since you know my secret I think we should all be on level ground here. I have been keeping a tab on all of you. Let me start with you Sherlock. Wasn’t Irene Adler just a red herring for Watson? You never wanted him to suspect that you had the hots for him and have been jealous of his wife.”

Sherlock turned a deep shade of red. Without waiting for a response, Bruce continued the expose.

“L, you have been known to aid various police departments in apprehending criminals by solving unsolvable cases. But, you also have cut a lot of deals with the criminals, keeping the truly dangerous ones hidden away, until a case carrying renown turns up, and only then you miraculously solve it and apprehend the ones you shielded yourself.”

L sank back into his chair, pinching hard on his lower lip and gazing into distance. Bruce turned towards Inspector Clousseau.

“Now, my French Inspector. You managed to prevent the robbery of the Pink Panther on multiple occasions, even managed to recover it several times. This made you a hero in the eyes of the French population. But, what they do not know is that it was not you who managed to pull off these feats. There were others who did the hard work, but you managed to steal their glory and take all the credit, taking harsh steps to silence the ones who did their duty.”

The French Inspector began fidgeting with his fingers and turned his eyes away from Bruce. Without stopping, Bruce turned to Shaggy and Scooby.

“You are both renowned paranormal investigators. You claim to see ghosts and communicate with them, this the general populace knows. But, do they know that these ghosts and apparitions you have claimed to see are actually hallucinations? Hallucinations caused by those Scooby Snacks you keep munching on.”

Shaggy and Scooby hugged each other as their shivering resumed. Satisfied with the effects his words had on his guests, Bruce got up from his seat.

“Now, I think we are all in a position to work together. Everyone knows each other’s secrets, so we now have leverage over everyone, and hopefully some trust as well. Let us study the crime scene, there are bound to be clues there.”

Everyone murmured in agreement. All the guests were shocked after listening to their hidden truths. With their masks torn off, they felt naked in the gaze of everyone. But, they found their courage in the fact that everyone was in the same boat, and the only way they could get out of this situation, was by working together. They made their way to the scene of the crime. Bruce was not wearing his bat-suit and knew he could not access it without leading the others to the bat cave. He realized he only had his raw-detective skills and smarts to depend on. His huge array of gadgets, save his scanner, were of no help here. Sherlock took the lead while entering the room. He hated other people defiling the crime scene. As he entered, he noticed the body was lying as it was, but there was something new at the crime scene. A page was lying next to Alfred. Sherlock gingerly picked it up, not to touch the dead body. He saw that the page had a note scribbled on it.

Greetings great Detectives,

I hope you are enjoying your evening in Wayne Manor. I wanted to join in on the fun. So, consider this dead old butler my invitation card to your party. Well, it is also a challenge. I am here in this very manor. Prove to me that you are indeed the greatest detectives alive (for now). You have the entire night to solve this challenge. Figure out who I am, and I shall concede defeat.

Yours Sincerely,

Chuckles

PS- Don’t let your guard down, that would be a fatal error.

PPS- Let me give you a hint – We have met.

 

Sherlock read out the message to the others and passed it around for everyone to read. While people took their turns reading and observing the note, others tried to find clues on and around the body. After looking around for a good fifteen minutes, the detectives decided to take a break. Inspector Clousseau wiped his brow with his handkerchief.

“Eet eez not pozzible. Zere waz no cloo we could find.”

Sherlock shook his head sideways.

“Gentlemen, I think we have been directing our efforts in the wrong direction. Clearly, the murderer is smart. He wants us to play the game his way and purposely left the note next to Alfred. That would mean there is a clue in that note.”

L held the note in one hand and pointed at it with the other.

“This name, Chuckles. Does it ring any bells?”

Whodunit? Part-1

My interest in whodunits was developed after reading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. This interest developed into admiration after watching films on the genre. But, it was the parody movie Murder by Death that got me into wanting to write something of that sorts. The Whodunit Short Story Series is what my mind churned out. Readers, I hope you like it. Please let me know your thoughts about it. Happy Reading! 

Note: It may be possible that characters here might be unfamiliar to you. In that case it is recommended you read about the characters( I have provided the links to their wikis) in order to get a better understanding of this series. Thanks!

 

The Wayne Manor was well lit for a change this night. Instead of the dead silence of the night, jazz music reverberated through the dining room. The air was filled with the aromas of the various treats Alfred had prepared for the guests. Guests were another rare occurrence in the manor and Alfred was pleased at their presence. He was of the opinion that his Master Bruce needed to spend some time in the company of normal folk. Well, these people were almost normal. All of them were detectives, but not the kind Master Bruce was used to. These were the kind of criminal-catchers who investigated crimes. Not the kind of people who beat up criminals and risked their lives every day (or night in Master Bruce’s case). No super human kind either, just simple humans. Alfred thought this was a shade better than hosting The Justice League, in fact, many shades better.

“Alfred, could you serve the Hors d’oeuvres?”

Alfred picked up the plate of baked mushrooms and walked towards the dining room.

“Coming, master Bruce.”

Bruce Wayne, billionaire-playboy by day and vicious crime-fighter by night, had donned a tuxedo instead of a bat-suit this night. He was seated at the head of the dining table. Also seated at the table were his guests for the night – Sherlock Holmes, L Lawliet, Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and Scooby and Shaggy. All of them were detectives of great repute. Sherlock Holmes was the indisputable best ‘consulting detective’ in the world. L Lawliet or L as he was known around the world had cracked many-a-case that had befuddled police departments all over. Inspector Clouseau, The Hero of France, was credited with solving the robbery cases of the exquisite Pink Panther. Scooby and Shaggy were the foremost authorities around cases revolving around the paranormal. The guests were uncomfortably eyeing each other. Bruce decided to bring the dinner to order.

“My guests, you are the top detectives in the world, today. I decided to invite you all to dinner in order to have a discussion among detectives – Insights into crimes and certain interesting cases. Please enjoy the delicious dinner my butler Alfred has prepared, and I hope it compliments our conversation.”

Alfred walked into the room and served everyone a portion of the baked mushrooms.

“Baked mushrooms, sirs.”

No sooner had Alfred served Shaggy and Scooby than they had gobbled up the contents of their plates. Alfred looked at the duo in distaste.

“I shall get more. Enjoy!”

Alfred left the room to set the next course in order.

Sherlock Holmes had been eyeing the room the entire team.

“I must say this room is quite not what it used to be. It has been hurriedly cleaned, most probably to prepare for this party. However, that haste has left much dust and grit in certain locations it takes ages for such dust and grit to build up. I suspect this room does not see much use, Mr. Wayne. “

Bruce smiled.

“Perfectly deduced, Mr. Holmes. I see the legends are quite true.”

Homes acknowledged with a nod and proceeded to smell the glass of wine held in his hand.

L, who was sitting on his chair in the most peculiar manner – in the ‘Indian Style’, left his glass untouched. He cocked his head towards Bruce.

“Mr. Wayne, I don’t see why you would want to play host to us detectives. We cannot share the details of criminals with an aristocrat such as you. I cannot see what you seek to gain. Unless you want to buy information of some kind from us, you would not have hosted us. Am I correct?”

Bruce narrowed his eyes.

“Come now Mr. L, you don’t really think everyone is quite as nefarious as your Kira now, do you? Besides, I’m sure you jested when you said you cannot share information with a fellow detective. ”

L smiled.

“I never said I would not share it with fellow detectives. I said I cannot share it with you, as you are no detective.”

Bruce laughed hard.

“Do you mean to say you can only speak if my alter-ego is present?”

All guests looked quizzically at their host. Bruce stopped laughing.

“Do you really want me to get into my batman costume and then join dinner?”

Inspector Clouseau’s eyes widened.

“Meezter Wayne, does eet mean you are ze Batman. “

Bruce stood up from his chair.

“Of course, I’m batman. I’m sure all of you knew that.”

Bruce’s guests looked at each other and then at Bruce and nodded their heads to their sides. Bruce dropped in his chair.

“So, none of you had figured this out. I can’t believe you do not keep tabs on the World’s Greatest Detective. I had expected you all to have uncovered my secret and kept it that way because of detective’s code of honor and of course, because you all are afraid of me.”

Scooby Doo howled.

“Scooby roooo!”

Shaggy petted him on his head.

“There there Scoobs. I like..agree with you. Scooby and I are afraid of the Batman. Bats are so scary.”

L put his right thumb on his lower lip. He tended to do that when he began thinking. Sherlock kept his wine glass down.

“First, Mr. Wayne, I did not know about your secret because I do not think you are as important a person to keep tabs on. Second, I believe you wrongly used the title of the Greatest Detective for yourself. It belongs to me.”

He sat down and began picking on his mushrooms, smelling them before putting them in his mouth. Inspector Clouseau drained his glass of wine and stood up.

“Eet eez an hhonour to meet ze Batman. I waz too beezee with ze Pink Panzther caze, so did not inveztigate you.”

Bruce poured himself another drink and drained it instantaneously.

“I think we need something stronger than wine to get through this night. Alfred, get me a bottle of scotch from the cellar.”

At that moment the lights went out. The entirety of Wayne Manor was swept over by darkness. The silence was abruptly ended by a siren going off and the windows and doors being shut.

The guests at the table were taken aback. Shaggy and Scooby grabbed on to each other. Sherlock shouted over the siren’s sound.

“Mr. Wayne! What is going on?”

At that moment, the siren stopped blaring.

“Mr. Holmes, my house seems to be on lockdown. I’m sure the lockdown will be lifted as soon as the power kicks in. It won’t be long.”

Alfred dashed into the room, candlestick in hand.

“Master Bruce, I’m afraid there is some bad news. Our power grid is out and the backup power is not kicking in. We have no electricity as of now. All our systems are offline and the lockdown will stay put.”

“Don’t worry, Alfred. I’ll check it out and fix it. Till then I would want you to show our guests to their rooms. I request all of you to retire to your rooms for a while. I will have the power up and running in no time. Dinner will be delayed though, I do apologize.”

All of Bruce’s guests grumbled about the situation and that they understood the delay, but followed Alfred to their rooms. Bruce made his way to the generator room through the secret passage activated by his grandfather clock. He began fixing the problem. Alfred arrived there after a while.

“Ah! Alfred, were all the guests shown to their rooms?”

“Of course, sir. I trust the power will be up in no time?”

“Yes, Alfred. It won’t be long.”

“Very good, sir. I’ll head back to the kitchen and fix up what I can for dinner. I don’t think our guests would be too happy if dinner isn’t ready by the time the lights are back on.”

“Right you are, Alfred. I am confident your cooking will not be affected much by the lack of electricity.”

Alfred headed back.

“Don’t count on that, sir.”

A good half an hour had passed before Bruce had finally got the power up and running. He decided to check up on Alfred first. Bruce headed up the stairs and made his way to the kitchen. By this time, all the guests had also made their way to the kitchen, probably led by their stomachs. As they reached the dining room a foul sight met their eyes. Alfred was lying on the kitchen floor. Bruce rushed up to Alfred and removed his Bat-scanner from the pocket. He detected no vitals on Alfred.

All the detectives shouted together in shock.

“HE’S DEAD!”

 

 

To be continued……

Sea of Blood 4

Edwards untied Alain from the bed. He went towards the door and opened it. He looked at his first-mate, Gracht, who had been waiting outside after knocking on the cabin door. On seeing Alain standing behind Edwards, he looked at Edwards quizzically.

“Mr. Gracht, I fear this is no reef that we have hit. Send word to the crew, to get ready for battle. “, said Edwards, giving no explanation about Alain’s presence.

Gracht showed a hint of surprise on his face. But being the loyal first-mate that he was, he did not question his Captain further. He turned and made his way to the deck.

“Alain, let’s go check up on our friend Jach shall we?”- said Edwards, turning towards Alain.

Alain nodded in agreement. They made their way towards Jach’s room. Edwards drew his flintlock as they approached the door. Edwards knocked on the door.

“Jach, are you in there?”

Edwards got no response. He knocked again.

A crew member ran up to Edwards and Alain.

“Sir, Mr. Gracht needs you on the deck.” He said with a sense of urgency.

“We will be there shortly. “, responded Edwards.

He quickly added –

“Have you seen Mr. Jach by any chance?”

“Yes, he is on deck with the rest of the crew.”

Edwards and Alain looked at each other and followed the crewman hastily to the deck. Sure enough, they spotted Jach. He was looking towards the sea. To Edwards, it looked as if Jach almost knew this was coming. His face showed no surprise or fear, unlike the other members of the crew. Jach noticed the captain and Alain walking towards him.

“Ah, captain, I was looking for you. Where were you? “

Removing his flintlock, Edwards aimed it Jach’s face.

“Stow it Jach. I am onto your game.”

Jach seemed surprised.

“Game, what game? Captain, I don’t understand what you are talking about.”

The crewmen grew alert to the situation. Gracht came up behind his captain.

“Captain, what are your orders?”

“Get two men to guard him, right now.”

Gracht motioned to two crewmen standing behind Jach. The moved up next to him, one on each side and held him by his arms.

The ship began quaking again. Edwards addressed his crew.

“Men, we have braved many perils together. It is another peril that we must face right now. In a few moments there are things that are going to attack us. People that dwell in the sea. They are going to be here for blood. I say let’s give it to them. Let us make these waters a sea of their blood. Draw weapons. “

Roused by the words of their captain, the crewmen drew their weapons. Rusted cutlasses, fish pikes, and flintlocks were their weapons of choice. They were all fishermen by profession, but every last one of them, had been tested in battle before. They were no strangers to battles.

Edwards aimed his flintlock at Jach again.

“Mr. Jach, Alain has told me everything about your kind.”

Jach’s face showed genuine surprise.

Edwards continued-

“Now tell me. What have your people got to do with me? Why am I a part of this equation?”

Jach continued looking surprised.

“I really do not understand this question Captain Edwards. What are you talking about?”

Edwards’ face developed a stern look.

“Do not play dumb with me. All your friends from underwater have plans. What are they? Alain told me there is a plan.”

Jach’s face turned pale.

“Alain told you.”

He looked at Alain.

“I get it now. You are with them. You were spying on me. Weren’t you?”

Alain smiled coldly.

“Yes, I was. Captain Edwards, let me kill him now. Before the others arrive.”

Edwards steadied his aim.

“Now Mr Jach, tell me the truth.”

Jach gulped.

“Captain, believe me. I do not know what he is talking about. I only wanted to get to Veluise Islands, which is why I decided to come along with you. In fact, I did not even know the directions. Alain gave them to me.”

It was now Edwards turn to look surprised. He turned around to see a shocked expression on Gracht’s face and long-knife coming out of his stomach. The knife belonged to Alain, whose face had a devilish grin on it, baring his sharp teeth.

Edwards aimed his flintlock at Alain.

“You were the traitor, not Jach. I will kill you now. “

Alain sniggered from behind the cover that Gracht’s lifeless body provided.

“That is an astute observation, Captain. But I fear it is a bit too late now. Kill them all. ”

At that moment, a dozen dark forms sprung onto the deck from the ocean. They had moved so fast, the crewmen had hardly noticed. The deck instantly broke into a battle. The Merfolk and crewmen went at each other with all they had got. Even though the crew outnumbered the sea-men by a huge margin, their larger numbers were easily kept at bay by the amazing speed and skill of the sea-men. It was an even battle.

Amidst the frenzy, Jach broke free of his captors and made his way to the edge of the deck. Alain followed in close pursuit. Alain managed to corner Jach.

“You can stop now Jach. We have you right where we want you. There is no escape”

Alain drew his knife and started walking slowly towards an unarmed Jach. Just after a couple of steps, Alain heard a loud bang, followed by an immense pain in his stomach. He looked down to see blood pouring out of a hole in his stomach. Clutching it, he turned around to see Edwards holding his flintlock, gunpowder smoke rising out of it.

“It would seem you have nowhere to escape, fish-man. “ – Edwards said with a grim look on his face.

Alain rested his knee on the floor, the wound sapping his strength by the second. Satisfied that Alain was of no more threat, Edwards jumped back into the fray.

The battle went on for a good twenty minutes. Bodies lay everywhere on the deck. The dead lay in a pool of blood, human blood as well as Merfolk blood. The Merfolk had been excellent fighters, managing to handle such a large number of people. But in the end, the sheer numbers had overwhelmed the Merfolk. Edwards himself had slain three out of the twelve assailants. Half of the crew of The Titania lay dead. Most of the ones alive had some or the other injury. Edwards ordered his crew to make a hasty turn around.

After the ship had turned, Edwards made his way back to the semi-conscious Alain. He had fallen down, with his back to the floor and had lost a lot of blood.  Edwards reckoned he did not have much time to live. But he couldn’t let him die without getting answers to his questions. He threw some water on Alain’s face and brought him back to full consciousness.

“Fish-man, I have a few questions for you and I am in no mood for long stories now. Make it quick.  I want to know everything. What have your people got to do with me? Speak fast. “

Alain coughed, spitting out blood. He spoke in a breathless voice.

“All you humans are so self-obsessed. You think everything in this world is related to you. It isn’t. The truth is that you were just being used to get us to this location. Jach is one of those human-loving scum. I was indeed spying on him. He had gained information that my people were up to something in the Veluise Islands. He holds vital information about his comrades too. We needed that. So, me and my twelve soldiers, my sworn brothers, decided to capture him and extract the information from him, once he made it here. I gave him the directions to this place. That night, I was truly making sure nothing goes wrong for my men. But you intervened and took away our element of surprise. You, human were only a vessel to accomplish our goals, and we will accomplish them. What you did today, will only delay the inevitable. Your race will perish.”

Alain coughed again, and spit more blood out and lay motionless on the floor. Edwards gave Alain’s body a disgusted look.

“Men, dump the bodies into the sea. We cannot have rotting corpses on our ship. May the souls of our brothers find peace. ”

The crewmen followed their captain’s orders. They said their last words for their friends while dumping their bodies into the sea and following that, they tossed the bodies of the Merfolk. Edwards watched as the bodies sunk into the sea. With Alain’s words still fresh in his mind, he knew he had a lot to talk about with Jach.

The bodies made their way slowly towards the bottom, lending more of their scarlet hue to the blue sea, with each passing moment. The sea soon turned red, sea of blood indeed. The bodies did not sink unnoticed. Hundreds of pairs of red, glowing eyes, peering from the dark marine depths, observed the bodies and the trail of blood left by the Titania.

(The End, for now)

Image courtesy : Rudhika

Sea of Blood 3

Alain’s story had been interesting till now. But, he had failed to explain anything about his motives, which gave Edwards no reason to trust Alain. He decided to leave Alain as he was, tied to the bed. Edwards removed his flintlock pistol from its position in his belt and placed it on the table, pointing in the direction of Alain. He placed is hand on the flintlock and looked at Alain –

“The story is nice. But, you had better get to the point now, fast.”

Alain glanced at the flintlock. Showing no sign of fear, he continued the story.

‘The teenage prince sunk rapidly, the chains bound to his body speeding up his descent. Mer held his breath. His vision started being invaded by darkness. His shock at being condemned to this fate was soon replaced by fear. His vision went completely black as his lungs finally gave in to the pressure. But instead of suffocating and drowning completely, Mer found it to be more pleasant under water than over it. He had no trouble breathing. His vision fully returned to him. He looked at his body. His elbows had developed prominent scales on them. The same could be said about his feet. He felt his neck. His fingers met with thin slits. Gills, he thought to himself. His body was still loosely bound with chains. His fear had now left him. It had been replaced with anger, a burning wrath against his father. He pushed out with his hands and to his surprise, the chains broke apart. This was a feat he could have never dreamed of performing before whatever it was that had happened to him. Free from his shackles, he scouted the area around him with his eyes. To his surprise, multiple pairs of peering red eyes looked back at him through the thick ocean flora. Slowly, hundreds of people began coming out of their hiding spots surrounding him. He looked around. All of them had red eyes and scales on their elbows and feet, just like him. He spotted features that seemingly matched his stable boy’s features, before he was drowned in the sea. He kept looking around and found several faces that were known to him. Then it dawned upon him. None of the condemned people had died. They were alive, just like him. The people had surrounded him now.

“It is Prince Mer. Let’s rip him apart. His father did this to us. “

A random voice said from the crowd.

Mer had always thought that talking underwater was impossible. But apparently, it wasn’t so.

“Yes. Kill him!”

More voices joined in.

Soon, the crowd began moving slowly towards Mer, their discontent clearly visible. Mer knew he had to put a stop this, or else his new lease on life would be a very short one.

“Stop! Listen to me. I know how you feel. I know you are all angry, angry with the King. Angry, that he abandoned you and condemned you, no us, to this fate.”

Mer paused. He looked around to check whether his words had been registered by the people. They had stopped moving towards him. Mer let his anger swell within him.

“I share this fate with you. My own father did this to me. And he will pay. I swear this to you. You, you are all my people. And I, Prince Mer shall lead you. Together, you and I shall crush the Kingdom of Veluise. I promise you, we will have our revenge. Will you share this revenge with me?”

A long pause followed. Mer had spoken with true feelings, and his speech was soon met with cries of approval. And from that day, Mer became the king of these people, and they came to call themselves – Merfolk.

Mer’s first order of business was to understand the extents of their new abilities, their strengths and weaknesses. Mer discovered that his people though much stronger inside water, could survive on the surface as well. As long as they were near the sea air, they would not die due to suffocation. However, they were not very physically strong without the presence of water. He also understood that their diseased bodies could only digest meat, even human meat. One of the amazing things Mer discovered was that a few of his kind could alter their physical features to look like normal humans for a short amount of time. They would manage to get rid of their gills and the red hue of their eyes. Mer felt this was most interesting and useful to his plan. He began training his people to fight as soldiers. He would need them for the war that was coming. He continued planning his revenge for many months, biding his time and waiting for the right moment to make his move.

The time finally came after thirteen months. The disease had been eradicated from the Kingdom of Veluise, and the king reigned over a peaceful time. Mer had carefully selected his time. At the night of the King’s birthday, the whole kingdom was in a celebratory mood. Taking advantage of the thin vigilance, Mer and his group of thirty best soldiers snuck into the royal palace. The hooded Mer made his way into the gala and approached the king. Mer taking his hood off, revealed his presence. Mer’s face was the last thing the old King ever saw, as Mer plunged a sword into his chest. His soldiers made quick work of the astonished royal guards. He went to the ramparts and lit a torch. His Generals recognizing this as the pre-planned signal launched their attacks. Merfolk began rising from the sea and attacking the island cities from all directions. The Veluise soldiers were caught unawares. It was a massacre. The unsuspecting people of Veluise stood no chance. A once great Kingdom had been turned into a mass grave.

Mer returned to the sea. Even though Veluise was destroyed, his own losses had been heavy. More than half of his people were among the bodies littering the islands. Mer’s hatred had extended towards the rest of humanity now.  A few of his subjects did not agree with his actions. Realizing his cruel ambitions, they decided to not be a part of his actions. They decided to stand beside humanity and act against Mer.

I am one of their descendants. ‘

Edwards took a moment to register everything. He went up to Alain and cut the cloth near his elbow. The gills on his elbow glittered in the lamp’s light.

“You still haven’t told me what you were doing yesterday night”, Edwards said as he lifted his pistol.

“I was making sure things do not go wrong. We are in Merfolk territory now. Every night, I keep a lookout for those who dwell inside these seas. I know they are planning something big and it is related to you somehow. “

Edwards was bemused now.

“Me? And how do you even know about all of this? “

Alain smiled dryly.

“Captain Edwards, how did you find someone to navigate these treacherous waters so easily? A bit too convenient, I would say. I did mention that some Merfolk could change their appearance, to appear human like. “

Edwards understood now.

“Jach! “, he exclaimed.

“Yes, captain. Jach. I have been keeping an eye on him, working undercover to get wind of their plan for humanity. They – “

Alain was cut short by the impact of motion as the ship suddenly stopped. Almost instantly a knock sounded on the door.

“Captain Edwards, we seem to have hit a reef.”

Edwards looked at Alain with alarm on his face.

“They are here”, Alain responded with equal alarm.

Sea of Blood 2

It was early morning now. The rising sun was floating above The Titania, bathing it in much needed warm rays of light. Edwards glanced towards the sun. The red ball of light reminded him of the red eyes he had seen in the water yesterday night. They had appeared right next to Mr. Toobak’s body, peering from inside the water. They had appeared only for a brief instant, before they disappeared into the watery depths along with Mr. Toobak’s body, sending chills down Edwards’ spine.

Word of Mr. Toobak’s sudden disappearance had spread fast among the crew, causing panic. The entire night had been spent in calming everyone down, and getting everyone back to their jobs. Edwards was tired already, but he knew the day was going to be a long one. He still needed to have a chat with Alain. After, the disappearance of Mr. Toobak’s body, Edwards had quickly dragged Alain to the Captain’s Cabin. He bound his hands and feet and tied a rag of cloth to his mouth. Leaving the man tied to the bed in that condition, Edwards had gone forth to inform the senior crew about the events. However, he had left Alain’s part out of the story, fearing that it would contribute to the panic. However, now that the morale of the crew had been stabilized, Edwards decided he needed to have a talk with Alain, a long talk. Edwards made his way to his cabin. He entered and locked the door behind him. He turned towards Alain who was still tied to the bed. Alain looked back at him with his red eyes, which in Edwards’ opinion, looked a lot more red now. He removed the rag of cloth. Alain coughed. The rag had dried his mouth, very visibly. Edwards poured some water into Alain’s mouth and sat in front of him, fixing his stern gaze upon the pale man.

“I need answers; now. Tell me what were you doing there at night? And more importantly, what happened to Mr. Toobak? “

Alain held Captain Edwards’ gaze.

“Well, Captain Edwards. Looks like I have got to tell a whole tale to you. Let me start at the beginning “

Edwards nodded.

‘Many thousands of years ago, there existed a prosperous Island kingdom- the kingdom of Veluise. King Veluise II ruled his lands with an iron-fist. Without an heir for almost thirty years, the king was overjoyed when his wife, Queen Melvina gave birth to a child. The king was happy that he was blessed with a boy, the heir to the great kingdom. They named him Mer.  However, the king’s joy was to be short-lived.  When the prince was fourteen, an unknown disease started spreading in the kingdom. The people affected would show certain symptoms- red eyes and pale skin. They would soon find it difficult to breathe and succumb to the disease. People noted that this disease spread through contact or any exchange of fluid, making it highly dangerous. Soon, an epidemic broke out and as the death toll went on the rise, the hands of fear gripped the kingdom all the more tighter. Fearing for his people, the King decided to take extreme measures. He decreed that any person found to be affected by this disease would be tossed into the sea, fated to drown. Almost a year later, Prince Mer while on a hunting trip, came into contact with an affected person. And inevitably, he too started showing symptoms of the disease. His eyes reddened and he began growing paler by the day. The prince was bound in chains and was kept confined to his room. Being a man of his word, and fearing for the royal family, the king decided that the prince should be thrown into the sea, just like all the other diseased people. The King’s orders were swiftly followed.  On a full moon night, the Royal Guard took the prince to the edge of kingdom that overlooked the great sea. The teenage prince was then thrown into the sea. The king himself saw the prince drown under the pale glow of the moon. He had sent his heir to a watery grave.

Or so he thought. ‘