(Picture found on google. No name to attribute)
Passed down from one seafaring family to the next, the old stories slept fitfully beneath the stormy waves.
Sean whistled tunelessly as he scrubbed the deck, suds blew about him as the ship tossed and turned across the waves. Even the storm would not stop him. His chores were his payment to the promised land. America and streets that were paved with gold.
Harry Riley, the baker’s son had made the crossing over eight months ago. No one had heard from him since. Not even his Ma who sometimes stood by the harbour wailing and waiting for some sign from her first born.
Sean had stowed aboard the ship as soon as he knew where its passage was. Found just three days into the voyage the captain had agreed he could stay. If he worked hard and slept in the storage hold. Sean had agreed to both demands immediately. He would find Harry, then he would find his fortune, send some back to his own Ma.
A sudden knock beneath the deck and the scrubbing brush flew from his hand, skidding across the wood it came to a stop at the port side. Scrabbling to retrieve it before it fell into the churning sea, Sean didnt feel the lurching of the boat. Below him Sean heard the screams of grown men, terror rang up through the corridors and mingled with the roaring of the ocean and the wind as it screamed through the rigging high above the boat.
Screaming and screeching as the ship again lurched from starboard to port.
Old Jasper spilled from the door, clutching his throat he collapsed on the floor before Sean, blood pumped from a wound the gaped across his neck, seeping down the cracks in the boards, washed minutes ago by Sean. Jasper’s glassy eyes reflected the grey sky before with one last groan he fell silent.
Sean crept between two storage crates and peered through the gap.The screaming continued for what seemed like hours. Until at last with the night falling came silence, but for the relentless waves slamming into the hull.
The sea crashed over Sean and he shivered, fear and cold seeping into his bones. As the last of the light faded Sean saw the glow, an impossible glow from beneath the decks.
And Old Jasper dead for over four hours, fingers twitched and moved. His eyes, filled with the darkness of night sought out Sean.
He would never find Harry Sean thought as the thing that was once human scrambled to stand.
He would never send Ma the fortune she deserved.
And he would never see the streets of gold.
As the thing reached him, Sean screamed but the sound was lost on the waves, dashed against the side of the boat. Until everything grew still.
And the ship sailed on.