Tramp Steamer

Imagine booking passage on an old, mysterious ship back in exotic, far Asia.  However, your eagerly awaited, idyllic trip turned into a nightmare as it becomes apparent the crew will never head to a port until every last passengers is dead. 

 

Derek and Jessica were looking for a fun adventure when each booked passage on the old tramp steamer, but what they found was more important.  In one another they found their soul mate.  Instant attraction, deep love.

 

The trip starts out splendidly.  They meet the eclectic mix of passengers and feast on a sumptuous lunch, followed by a dinner buffet fit for a king and cocktails on deck with music and dancing.

 

When they head to breakfast the next morning, there is no food awaiting them.  Nothing.

 

They explain it away as the crew sleeping off a night of private drinking.  Slowly it occurs to the passengers that no one has actually seen any of the crew up close.  They've always been in the distance, on another deck, and always dressed with their rain slicker hoods concealing their faces.

 

When no lunch is served, they band together in anger and head off to see the captain.  To their horror,  they find that every door on the ship is locked.  Besides not having any food, they cannot even communicate with the mysterious crew, who so far they have only seen at a distance, in rain slickers during the boarding.

 

Soon after the voyage begins, one of the passengers disappears under suspicious circumstances.  Everyone has their own idea about what happened, and distrust takes over.  Each person is, in their own way, an object of suspicion.  Did the crew isolate the passengers because one of them is a murderer?  Or, as others believe, did they do it because the crew fell ill with a contagious virus?

 

Fear and mistrust take their toll until a pattern emerges:  each time a passenger disappears, the crew rewards the passengers with food.  Will the passengers now turn on one another, sacrificing the weakest or least desirable to stave off starvation, or will they work together and violently confront the crew?

 

Throughout the story, we ask ourselves, who or what is the crew, really?  Mutants? Aliens from a distant world?  A race of beings never before revealed?  Without knowing their true identity we cannot be sure what their special abilities, or conversely their weaknesses, are.

 

Even if the passengers do prevail over the crew, the passengers do not know how to navigate a ship that is already in the middle of the ocean, with no land in sight.  They are trapped with a violent, perhaps insane, crew, in an environment with which they have no experience.

 

How will they survive, or will any of them survive, this ordeal? 

© 2012 by JOHN PACHL   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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