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Knight of the Heart (knightsheart)

Poetry, Short stories, Blog, Titan

Loch Ness Monster

I was scared of water but as I got older I felt drawn back to it.  My brother still avoids the ocean and he never goes to the beach.  Our fears begin in 1965.  I am nine and my brother is seven.  We are on the Troop ship USS Mann.  We hear the sailors call our trip a “Diaper Run”.   We are going from New York to Dover to Bremerhaven, Germany.  My Dad is in the Army and we are all including my Mom going to Germany for two years while he is a soldier.

The sea is rough after we leave the Statue of Liberty behind.  Most of the adults are seasick even some of the sailors are throwing up.  My brother and I have the run of the ship.  We go everywhere because there is no one around to tell us what to do.  

We are told to stay in our cabins. The purser kept coming around in the morning and at night to count the people in his section.  He looked scared when he said “It routine.  just making sure we are not missing anyone…”  After the third day at sea day he did not come any more.  

We are in one of the side gun mounts pretending to fire at diving kamikazes.  It feels like there is hardly anyone on board any more. We can’t find the nice cook who gave us pancakes in the morning.  My brother and I see less people every time we sneak out past our sick parents.    A  woman stunbles by us and falls to the deck.  My brother and I rush to help.

“Are you OK?”

“Yes, heft me up,  I am fresh water girl.  This salt water is killing me.  I did not know the showers on this ship were salt water too!  Makes me sick!”

I helped her up staring into her eyes.  I can not remember their color even to this day.  I remember the way they seemed to crawl inside me.  The more I stared the more beautiful she became. I want to be close by her always. I remember flaming red hair, red lips, and those eyes.

“I know where there is lots of fresh water. My brother and I found tons.”

“Tell me more, my weans.”

I felt the eyes let me go.  I looked at my brother.  He was pale, breathing fast with wide eyes.  I put my arms around him.  He held me like he did after nightmares.

“All those big ocean lifeboats on the upper decks have fresh water by gallons under the seats.  My brother and I have drank some too !  it was good.”

“You ‘ve done me a great favor.  Thank you.  You have saved my life and yours. When you are old enough to see death and love come find me at Urquhart Castle at twilight during a full moon.”

She smiles at me ignoring my brother.  ‘Safe Journey, seize life” she says going out of our sight.

My brother will not let go of me.  “Did you not see that she was scary?  She was all eyes and big teeth.  All eyes and big teeth…”  He did not leave the cabin until we docked.  

The ship stops in Glasgow instead of Dover.  I hear my parents talk about a bunch of the crew that deserted during the voyage taking one of the big lifeboats. Some Marines search the boat to make sure they are gone.

We get to Germany and go inland. The further we are from water the happier my brother is.  He will not talk about the boat ride at all.  I hear him in our shared room at night dreaming.  

“all eyes and big teeth…” he mutters during the worst of his nightmares. He is always sick after that.

He mutters those same words as his last words when he passes away after a long bout with cancer when he is an old man.  

After my 2nd and last wife dies, I journey to Scotland.  I admire the beauty of Loch Ness during the day.  On the full moon at twilight I am there at Urquhart Castle.  I slip through the gate to the boat landing.  

There she is. Still beautiful with red hair, red lips and those eyes.  “I am Scylla the Ouroboros of this land.  I remember you and what you did for me”

“I remember you” I said “so did my brother — all eyes and big teeth — is what he said”

“I am sorry I was too weak to shield your brother on the boat. You did save me so I offer a chance to be me.’

I kissed her in love’s joy and became her.  She left up the steps happy to be human again.

I am the Loch Ness Monster now — hungry —

all eyes and big teeth —

until I find someone to take my place…

Maybe you…

Written by Sean Vessey copyright 2011.

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