Cursed – Mega Short Story

The oft bedraggled Aratere. Photo by: Matthew Wright

Cursed

Henry sat in his cabin, a game of backgammon rested on a fold-down table before him. First Mate, Giaco slouched in the chair on the other side. Normally, the crew of the ferry Costa Concordia kept busy while underway between Moon Base Gagarin and the shipbuilding yards in lunar orbit.

Unfortunately, a failed Equalizer Valve left them powerless except for emergency batteries, and unable to make way. Most ships carried spares, but no one kept spare Equalizer Valves because they never failed…except on the oft bedraggled Costa Concordia. It would take four hours before the tug, Evangeline, arrived to tow them home.

Henry pointed to a spot among the pictures fastened to the bulkhead. “This time spent goofing off aboard ship reminds me of when I was a boy in New Zealand.”

“Yeah?”

“There was this old ferry, the Aratere, left abandoned. My mates and I had the greatest imaginary adventures playing aboard her. I loved her so much, I kept her name plaque and put it up there when I got this ship.”

Giaco looked up Aratere on his tablet. “Ohmigosh. That ship constantly had trouble. Like it was cursed. And you brought its name plaque aboard here?”

“So?”

“It explains our constant troubles!”

“Balderdash!”

“It does!” Giaco sighed. “Anyway, I notice the plaque is gone.”

“Yeah, an old mate of mine, Garret, saw it and begged me to loan it to him. He’s got it now.”

***

Aboard the brand new supply ship Edmund Fitzgerald, on a run to resupply Mars’ Shepard Colony, she sat adrift and powerless. It would take days before another ship arrived with a spare Equalizer Valve. Edmund Fitzgerald didn’t carry a replacement, because the valves never failed. Captain Garret Young looked up at the wall of his cabin and shuddered. It would be months before he could return the Aratere name plaque back to Captain Henry Ward.
__________________________________
Author’s Notes:

Yuri Gagarin: First man in space. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Gagarin
Alan B. Shepard: First American in space. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Shepard

It’s not only a bad idea to steal cursed name plaques, but one should take great care not to give a ship a cursed name as well.

Costa Concordia: capsized and sank after striking an underwater rock obstruction off Isola del Giglio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Costa_Concordia_disaster
SS Edmund Fitzgerald: An American Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Edmund_Fitzgerald

This is written for Matthew Wright’s Mega Short-Story flash fiction writing challenge. More writers are invited to join in on the fun. Look for the original challenge right here: https://mjwrightnz.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/this-weeks-mega-short-story-challenge-6/

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About EagleAye

I like looking at the serious subjects in the news and seeking the lighter side of the issue. I love satire and spoofs. I see the ridiculous side of things all the time, and my goal is to share that light-hearted view.
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4 Responses to Cursed – Mega Short Story

  1. Lyn says:

    Fact and fiction all woven into one story. Mega short it may be, but it has everything 🙂
    Eric, I hope this story isn’t indicative of what my day is about to be like — I haven’t even had breakfast yet :/

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Haha! I think you’ll be safe so long as you you don’t eat at a restaurant named, “Hindenburg” or “Titanic.” It’s good to know you enjoyed the facts as well as the fiction. Thanks kindly, Lyn! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great story! And the Aratere deserves it…rusting heap of junk that it is! I must say I’ve always been intrigued by some of the nautical superstitions, and how they’ve survived – to this day, for instance, whistling is forbidden on any RNZN vessels. One of my favourite stories of that kind dates back to WWI, where two battlecruisers were being readied at Portsmouth dockyard to depart for the Falklands. The work was due to be finished on Friday 13th, so the dockyard controller suggested delaying departure until the 14th. This provoked a snap from Lord Fisher, the First Sea Lord – the ships were needed for war service and wouldn’t be delayed. But he wasn’t going to have anything leaving on the 13th either… they were going to go on Wednesday 11th, even if dockyard hands had to sail with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • EagleAye says:

      Thank you! Seamen have always been deeply superstitious. Sailing always has been, and still is, a very dangerous job. Even the smallest of errors can lead to death. So I think it’s only natural that superstition follows. I wanted to capture that for this story.

      I love that story about the battlecruisers. I know you wrote a book about this, so of course you know many stories. I wouldn’t let them leave on the 13th either. Such ships are too valuable to endanger by an inauspicious departure date.

      Thanks much, Matthew! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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