Tag Archives: drowning


2 Oct

100 words for Friday Fictioneers based on the photo prompt below (courtesy of and copyright by E.A. Wicklund). Thanks as ever to Captain Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for keeping us off the Arguin Bank. Other stories from the prompt can be found here on the off chance you’ve got broadband on your life raft.

I had the good fortune to come face to face with Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa in the Louvre and stood mesmerized in front of it for twenty minutes. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you linger there for a while. You will not be unmoved.


The Raft of the Medusa

“Théodore, you must leave this place. The stench alone is enough to kill a man.”

Eugène Delacroix held a perfumed handkerchief to his nose to ward off the fetid odor of decaying body parts stolen from the Beaujon Hospital across the street. On a stand nearby a decapitated head looked on impassively.

“I can no more leave than they could.” Géricault motioned to the figures on the huge canvas that dominated the cavernous studio. “It consumes me, Eugène.”

“Certainement, dear friend. Cease this madness.”

Géricault pointed with his brush to the empty horizon on his painting. “When the Argus comes.”


Gericault's death mask

Theodore Géricault’s death mask


Death in the Darkness (A Trial of Love) Part Three

26 Oct

Steve Brace loved his wife. The symbol of that love was his wedding ring. Drop the ring? Go and find it. Wasn’t that what he was supposed to do, he thought, as he stared at the red paint that coated the pressure hull two inches from his eyes. Face down in the narrow channel between frames, Steve Brace knew on one level that he was just bullshitting himself. The real reason he’d jumped in after the ring was that his wife would probably kill him if he showed up after the cruise without it. So what had he been trying to do? Save his love, so to speak, or save his ass? He thought for a long while and the answer that came back to him from the depths of his soul was that it was both. He did love his wife and yes, she’d be pissed if he lost his ring and that was reason enough to have gone after it. Never mind that she might be even more pissed if she knew what a foolish thing he’d done to find it. He wondered if he made it out, would he even tell her? The atta-boy points earned for dedication and true love would probably be cancelled out by the aw-shit points tacked on for stupidity. He’d never hear the end of it.

The end of it. Not what he’d need to think at that precise moment.

Steve wondered what the end of it was going to be. If he didn’t make it out he’d still be in the bilge when the startup watch section lit off the reactor and engineroom and they made way for the open ocean. There might be a chance that he could make his screams heard while they were starting up, but once they were underway no one was going to hear him above the din of the equipment in the engine room. He’d either die of thirst or drown as the bilge filled with sea water from the gland seal water of the secondary system pumps. It might take a while but one way or another he’d kick the bucket and eventually his body would begin to rot. Would the crew smell anything every time they pumped the bilge overboard, put two plus two together and finally find his bloated corpse beneath the lube oil tanks? How would they get his body out? Tie a rope around someone’s ankles and lower them down the way he’d come? If they came down from the port side they’d have to remove or smash in the screen that was blocking his exit just as he’d smashed through the one on the starboard side. It would be easy from above….

So how long did he have? Maybe another thirty-six hours until liberty ended and everyone came back on board. A day and a half. What could be accomplished in a day and a half with no tools and no room? He’d been making his way from one side of the boat to the other for almost an hour which was not too bad considering that no one else in the history of submarines had probably ever done it. Hell, one way to look at it was that the hard part was over. He’d found his wedding ring and all he had to do was remove the screen that stood in his path and claw his way up and out. No sweat. But the truth of the matter was that he had no idea how he was going to get past the screen. He only knew that that was what he had to do if he wanted to live to see his wife again.

With that thought to drive him, Steve Brace pulled and pushed and slid his way up to the debris screen, hooked his fingers into the mesh and began to take the measure of his enemy.