March 18, 2009

Kalluunle

IV

By Dwayne MacInnes

Gulf of Aden: 0247 Hours

"Kalluunle?" Nadif asked as he poked his head onto the bridge. Omar was sitting in the captain’s chair staring out into the night fog. The pirate leader looked over to his lieutenant.

"Haa," Omar said, "yes."

"Kalluunle, we have searched the ship from bow to stern. There is no one aboard," the ex-soldier stated. "The crew seems to have just left before we arrived. Do you think it is a trap?"

"Haa, I do," Omar replied flatly. "But not one set by the world’s navies."

Nadif chuckled nervously, "Now, who is starting to sound like Abdi seeing a laab hiding in every corner."

Abdi gave Nadif a wounded look, "I told you that a ship with no crew was naxis."

"And I said it was not bad luck, but instead good luck, sanac," Nadif shot back. He too knew what one rotten apple of fear could do to an entire crew.

"If it is such sanac, then why are we stuck here on this ship," Abdi yelled back more in fear than in anger. "The equipment is broken and we are blind in the night!"

"Abdi, you are a good man," Omar finally said raising himself out of the chair. "When the sun comes out we will know which way is east. Then we can navigate at least that much."

"What good is that?" Abdi countered. "We do not know where we are. We can run aground or wind up in unfriendly waters."

"Abdi, we can send a skiff out ahead of us," Omar said calmly. "Just far enough off the bow so we can hear each other over the bullhorns. We will move only at two knots."

Abdi quieted down. What Omar said made sense, but his heart told him that this was beyond the realm of men. A ghost ship, in a ghost fog, lost in a ghost sea. If there was not a spirit or laab involved then what was?

Omar replaced himself into his chair. He looked over to Nadif and asked, "How is the rest of the crew doing?"

‘They are all scared, most are putting on a brave face," Nadif replied. "I have been keeping them busy so that they cannot think about it."

"That is good, Nadif," Omar said. "I want you and some of the men to get some sleep. We will have a lot of work to do when the sun rises."

"Haa kalluunle," Nadif said with a salute before leaving the bridge.

"Abdi, you should get some sleep too," Omar suggested.

Abdi shook his head, "Maya, no, sayid. I will stay here."

Omar figured that the man was too scared to leave the sanctuary of the bridge. Regardless, Omar positioned himself into the captain’s chair and fell asleep.

0757 Hours

"Kalluunie? Kalluunie?" the soft voice of Nadif slowly penetrated Omar’s subconscious. The pirate leader forced himself awake.

"Haa Nadif," Omar said groggily. "What is it?"

"The sun is up," the ex-soldier stated.

Omar stretched and lifted himself from the captain’s chair. He then walked over to the large windows of the bridge and looked outside. The sky was very dark. Only a small amount of light was filtering through the thick enveloping fog. The light appeared a little brighter on the starboard side.

"This is very peculiar, maya?" Nadif said walking up next to Omar.

"Haa, very peculiar," Omar nodded his head somberly. He was hoping with the sunrise the fog would lift. That obviously did not happen.

Abdi approached the two men. The young fisherman looked about with blatant fear painted on his face. "Naxis! Naxis!" he said frantically.

Omar grabbed the young man and shook him.

"Abdi, you need to calm down!" Omar shouted. Abdi froze and stared at Omar. The pirate leader never raised his voice to one of his crew. So when he finally did it snapped Abdi back to a more normal state of mind.

"I am sorry sayid," Abdi said in a small voice. The pirate then returned to his station at the helm.

Omar stroked his chin for a second and then turned toward Nadif. "Get two men together to guide us with one of the skiffs."

"Haa Kalluunie," Nadif saluted. "I shall ride in it personally. I will take Korfa."

"Dhurwaa, good," replied Omar.

* * * * *

Omar stood on the bow of the Kohl with a bullhorn in his hand. The oppressive fog wrapped the cargo ship in a thick blanket that allowed little light to filter through. It was so close that Omar could reach out his hand and touch it. Yet he did not. The mere fact that the mist did not cover the deck of the ship was strange in itself. But the feeling of dread kept Omar’s hand clasping tightly to the rail.

The telltale noise of one of the fishing boat’s engine could be heard approaching form the portside. Omar looked over the railing to see if he could glimpse the pirate’s skiff. Sadly, no matter how hard he strained his eyes they could not penetrate the fog.

"Nadif, are you nearly in position?" Omar said over the bullhorn.

"Haa kalluunie," Nadif’s voice boomed back over his bullhorn.

"Bal, head forward at two knots we will follow," Omar said over the horn.

"Haa kalluunie," Nadif said as the engine’s pitch increased on the fishing boat. The Kohl followed slowly behind.

"Kalluunie?" Nadif’s voice boomed back towards the ship. "We cannot see anything in this fog. Maybe we should increase our distance…What is that?"

Before Omar could inquire into what was going on a blood-curdling scream cut through the fog from the where the skiff was. A short burst of AK47 followed this briefly before falling ominously quiet.

Posted by deg at March 18, 2009 9:30 PM

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