Chapter 3: In the Captain's Chambers

Chapter 3: In the Captain's Chambers

A Chapter by Talia M.
"

Avian thinks everything has been solved, since the monster on the bridge is dead. But he is wrong. Dead wrong.

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The walk from the bridge to the captain’s room seemed longer than usual, the dim, red light making it difficult to see anything clearly. When Avian and Jo did finally reach the door to the captain’s chambers, Avian immediately raised his fist and knocked loudly. “Captain?” he called through the steel door. “I must speak with you. It’s a matter of utmost importance.”


No answer. Complete silence from inside the room. That’s odd, thought Avian. It was typical for the captain to sleep deeply, but a nice loud knock on the door had always seemed to do the trick in waking him up. He caught Jo’s gaze and they exchanged confused glances. Turning back to the door, he decided to knock again, a bit louder than before. “Captain Morley, please open the door. This is an emergency.”


Again, nothing. Now concerned, the first mate decided to just try the door handle. He fully expected it to be locked as usual. But it wasn’t. That was a big red flag that something was wrong. Avian took a deep breath and slowly pushed the door open. “Captain?” he called cautiously as he stepped into the room. He quickly realized that he had never actually been in the captain’s chambers before. Morley was a very private man, and not one to invite people into his personal dwellings. The room Avian found himself in was an antechamber of sorts and clearly not the main part of the cabin. It was dark, lit only by the rotating emergency lights in the hall. Jo peeked in beside him and hesitantly pulled out a flashlight, switching it on to see more clearly around the room. It looked like a high class waiting area. There were a few luxury sofas around the room, and a thick steel door at the other end of the room that was sealed shut. Everything seemed normal except for the scratch marks on the door and a bloody-looking pile laying in front of it. 


Jo let out a small gasp. “Frisk… Is that… Is that the…?”


One look at the familiar uniform and Avian realized that it wasn’t just a bloody pile. It was the mangled corpse of the captain. He stumbled back, catching himself on the doorframe. “Captain…” he mumbled, his mind going blank from shock and grief.


Jo placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, and they stood in silence for a few moments. Avian’s whole body seemed to be shaking. He couldn’t tear his eyes away from the body of his former mentor. “You okay?” asked Jo quietly.


His stormy gray eyes, their usual brightness gone, turned to meet Jo’s kind, brown ones. “I don’t know, Myra. For the first time in years… I don’t know what to do. The captain… he was my friend.” He turned back to the late captain, his eyes staring into nothing. “I… I think I just need a moment to wrap my head around it. That’s all.”


The warm hand of Myra never left Avian’s shoulder as he stood there in the doorway, silently mourning Captain Morley. Finally, she shook him gently to get his attention. “Frisk, we should go.” 


Avian turned to look at her again as he nodded and watched as a sudden surge of panic passed across her face. “The murderer is still on board somewhere,” she said in alarm. “We have to warn the crew!”


Avian scanned the room, his eyes finally landing on the comms system built into the wall. “The captain has his own comm system in his chambers,” he said, pointing to it. “We can use that.” Before he could do anything, a strange sound came from somewhere in the hall. It sounded like some kind of inhuman groan. An uneasy feeling settled over him.


“Did you hear that?” whispered Jo nervously.


Avian nodded. “I heard it.” His ears perked up at the strange noises and his hand gravitated toward his gun. His calm demeanor suddenly returning in the prospect of danger, he composed himself and strode across the room to the comm system, keeping alert for more sounds from the hallway. With one hand still hovering next to his gun, he picked up the receiver and pressed the button for ship-wide comms. “Attention crew, this is former first mate Frisk speaking once again. In an unfortunate turn of events, Captain Morley has died and I have taken his place as captain. I am speaking to you now to warn you to be on your guard at all times. There is a murderer of some kind on board. I will do my best to ensure the safety of everyone on board so please stay calm and stay safe.” 


With that, he switched the comms off again and turned to Jo. “We should probably leave and head back to the bridge. I can oversee repairs and reconfigure the system to recognize me as captain from there, and it will be safer there with the lockdown system.”


Jo nodded and opened her mouth to speak, but a loud shriek from the hallway cut her off. It sounded closer this time. And it was accompanied by heavy, meaty footsteps approaching the room.


“Hide!” hissed Avian. He quickly dove behind a couch, whipping out his gun and watching the doorway from around the corner of the couch.


In the complete silence of the place, every sound, every echo was emphasized. The stressed breathing of Jo was audible to Avian from across the room. His own heartbeat pounded in his ears, so loud he wondered if whatever was out there could hear it. The monstrous footsteps drew closer and closer. Then, strangely enough, another more normal sound appeared to be coming from the opposite direction of the creature. Human footsteps. Avian figured that whoever was coming must have heard the creature’s approach, as the rhythm of the human footsteps seemed to slow and become more stealthy as they got closer.


Now nearly at the door, the thing screamed again, an utterly horrifying sound, just outside the door. Avian raised his gun. He drew in a slow, deep breath, preparing himself for whatever happened next. He had no clue if the human out there was armed or not. So he decided at that moment that he was going to jump out and kill the beast. He wouldn’t let anyone else die that day. Not if he had anything to say about it. 


He leaped out of his hiding place, pausing briefly at the doorway. Jo’s face peered anxiously at him from behind the couch she had hidden behind. “Whatever happens, stay here and stay hidden,” he whispered. Then he stepped into the hallway, his gun pointed in the direction he’d heard the monster coming from.


The beast didn’t notice him right away, giving Avian a brief chance to look at it. It was similar to the other beast, skin flayed off and limbs elongated into claws. Its face, although belonging to a different person, was stuck in the same expression of terror. Perched like a bird of prey, the beast stalked down the hall, its hollow eyes rolling around as its head swiveled from side to side.


Avian leveled the gun with the beast’s face. “Hey ugly,” he called. The monster’s head snapped forward, its eyes locking on the young captain. “Eat lead.” The crack of a gunshot rang out as Avian pulled the trigger, the bullet ripping through the monster’s arm.


Suddenly, more gunfire erupted behind him, more bullets tearing into the beast’s flesh. Avian turned in surprise and spotted the familiar face of Frank Janigler. The pilot made brief eye contact and Avian flashed him a small smile, silently thanking him for the backup. Then he realized his mistake. The interaction between pilot and captain had taken at most five seconds. But that was plenty of time for the monster to recover from the hail of bullets.


Too late, Avian turned back around just as the beast lunged, pouncing like a cat. He ducked down, throwing one arm up to protect his face. Having aimed higher, the beast flew over Frisk’s head. But it twisted in midair and dragged its talons so deep into the flesh of his arm that they scraped against the bone, which elicited a shout of agony from the young man. In the same moment, he raised his pistol and shot upward. He meant to shoot at the beast’s underbelly but ended up missing and hit one of its back legs instead.


The monster shrieked and skidded to a stop once it’s clawed feet touched the ground again. Scrambling to stand, Avian backed away from the beast, his gun kept level with its head. “Just keep shooting!” he shouted to Frank through clenched teeth, his face contorted in pain. “It’s bound to die eventually!”


Frank nodded, continuing to shower the monster with bullets. Few actually hit, but they seemed to be doing the trick of keeping the beast from making attacks of its own. Avian fired another bullet and the shock of the gun firing sent tremors of pain down his injured arm, blood pouring out of the deep wounds and soaking his coat. He grimaced but smirked when he heard the shriek of pain as the bullet made contact with the monster’s shoulder.


With only five bullets remaining in his pistol, Frisk knew he had to finish the fight quickly. He leaped forward with a burst of energy brought on by pure adrenaline and punched the monster across the face sending it reeling backward. It was obviously surprised at the sudden melee combat, but Avian didn’t give it much time to think. While it was still recovering from the punch, he fired all five of his remaining bullets into its skull. A screech started in the throat of the beast, but stopped part way and faded to a low gurgle as the monster toppled to the floor and shuddered out its last breath.


The battle over, Avian slid his pistol back into its holster. A wave of dizziness hit him as the adrenaline drained from his system, making the dimly lit hallway look like nothing more than a blur of red and black. He staggered back a step. The spinning of his head made it difficult to tell up from down, but he managed to stay upright until the feeling passed. As his vision cleared, he spotted Frank giving him a confused look, one eyebrow raised.


“You alright there, Frisk?”


“Yeah, I’m fine.” Avian shook himself a bit and stood up straight, shooting a smile at the pilot. Frank shrugged and walked over to the monster, poking it with his gun as he examined it. 


The wound in the young captain’s arm was still bleeding profusely, drops of blood rolling down the back of his hand and landing with a plunk on the steel floor. After looking down and seeing the blood gathering in tiny puddles on the ground, Avian tore off a strip of his coat and wrapped it around his forearm. He gritted his teeth, his eyes narrowing in pain as the rough cloth rubbed against the open claw marks. Finishing off the makeshift bandage with a knot, Avian let out a long breath. He hadn’t even realized he had been holding his breath until that moment.


With that taken care of, he stepped back into the captain’s chamber. “Jo, it’s safe now. You can come out.” He looked around the corner of the couch behind which Jo had been hiding and saw her tucked up in a ball, her arms wrapped tightly around her knees. At the sound of his voice, she lifted her head, revealing her pale, tear-stained face. Avian’s face softened and he kneeled down beside her, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “The monster is dead. Everything is okay now.”


She sniffled and wiped her eyes with her sleeve. “I-I thought you were going to stay hidden and safe.”

Avian shook his head. “Sorry, Jo, I didn’t mean to scare you. I just couldn’t allow that horrid creature to stay on my ship.” He jerked his head towards the door and offered a kind smile to the frightened woman. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”


She stood up stiffly and followed Avian out of the captain’s chambers. When they came out into the hallway, Frank was standing beside the beast, his arms crossed and his brow furrowed. “So, Frisk. You want to explain exactly what is going on here? I know the captain’s dead, but you said there was a killer on board, not a monster.”


“Well, for starters, I didn’t know for sure it was one of these monsters that killed the captain,” said Avian. “Although now I’m pretty well convinced. This thing we just killed is just like the one I killed on the bridge earlier this morning.”


Frank raised an eyebrow. “There were more than one?”


“So it would seem.” Avian shrugged. “The one this morning had been a man, at first. But he changed into one of those beasts right in front of my eyes and killed a member of the crew.”


“Who was he?” asked Myra, piping up. “The man on the bridge?”


“I’m not sure. I’ve never seen him before,” said Avian, shaking away a sudden feeling of fatigue. “He could have been a stowaway, for all I know.”


Frank shrugged. “Who he was doesn’t matter now. He’s dead. And speaking of which, with the old captain dead, you’re the captain now, yeah?”


Avian nodded. “Yeah, what of it?”


The pilot unfolded his arms and walked up to Avian. He was surprisingly tall and loomed over Avian, who was just over six feet tall himself. “I just want to make one thing clear right here and now. I'm the head pilot. Not an engineer, not a random crew member. Head. Pilot. I'm accountable to the company's direction, not to the subordinates. Though I can not give orders, I don't have to obey yours if I don't like them, captain or not. Got it, kiddo?”


Avian glared up into Frank’s stern, brown eyes. “Fine. But you call me ‘kiddo’ again and I’ll make sure you never set foot on another ship as long as you live. Got it?”


A distant, sporadic banging sound from somewhere down the hall caught their attention, causing both men to break eye contact and look in the direction the sound came from. Avian squinted in confusion. “What was that?”



© 2019 Talia M.


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Added on August 14, 2019
Last Updated on August 14, 2019
Tags: sci-fi, space, cargo ship, spaceship, monsters, adventure, future, space monster, shadows, shadow of hell, hell


Author

Talia M.
Talia M.

PA



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Hello! I'm Talia and I am 16 years old. I write almost every day. It's one of my main hobbies, aside from drawing. I'll get a spark of inspiration from one of my vivid dreams or something I see on Pin.. more..

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