We had been at sea for months. Tensions were running high as we were caught between the great emptiness of the ocean and the confines of being so close to the same few souls all day every day.
We were all praying for our voyage to be done with.
On a quiet night, the moon was high, and the sea was still. Silence hung thick in the air. Calm settled across the ship.
All the crew came to the top deck to take in the night air and a rare moment of peace.
A fog rolled in, disturbing the calm as it rattled the nerves of the superstitious sailors. In the midst of the fog a light appeared. We floated inexorably towards the light.
Suspicion sizzled in the air.
We heard the screaming before we realised what the light was. Everyone on board stared out at the light. It was a fire. A ship on fire.
We were still too far away to make out any details, but we could see the flames dancing across the deck and hear the terrible sounds of dying men. Activity spread through the crew automatically.
We had to save them.
As we came closer, I could see one of the burning crew standing astride the side of the ship, a terrible cursed sight it was. The man was burning... and laughing. We slowed and listened.
They were not screaming, they were laughing. Instantly we reversed our efforts to get as far away from that devil's ship. The fire and the laughter faded into the fog.
In the clear of the morning there was no sign of that hell ship. But I can still smell the burning, still hear the laughter, and still see the flames dancing in the man's eyes.