Kalluunle

Kalluunle

I

By Dwayne MacInnes

Gulf of Aden: 0037 Hours

Cargo Ship Kohl

The German cargo ship plowed through the calm sea off the coast of Somalia. The moonlight cut through the slim cloud cover of the night sky to illuminate the phosphorescent wake the large ship left in its van. Only the heavy rhythmic thrum of the large engines propelling the ship could be heard in the quiet night.

Omar looked back over towards the two other skiffs he had prepared for this raid. With a total of 23 men armed with AK47s and RPG-7s he felt confident that they could overtake the ship before the crew could react. Omar glanced at the ship's name painted on the hull. The white letters told him that his victim was the Kohl. She was a large ship and appeared full of cargo headed for the Suez Canal.

Somali Pirate Skiff

Omar stood up in the souped-up wooden fishing boat and raised his arm holding an AK47. The men in the other skiffs watched anxiously as he then lowered the assault rifle towards the cargo ship. This was the signal. Without much noise all three boats powered up their engines and the frenzied purr of the pirates' skiffs' motors sliced through the still air as the small vessels skimmed over the sea.

With the expert arm of a former soldier named Nadif, a grappling hook was thrown and snagged onto the Kohl's rail. Omar smiled and grabbed the rope now secured to his skiff. He slung the AK47 over his shoulder and began to scramble up the rope. The rest of the men in his boat -- save the man operating the motor -- followed their leader upwards to the ship's deck.

Omar jumped aboard and quickly scanned the ship's large steel deck. There were crates of freight secured to the deck and a variety of equipment but no crew. He readied his assault rifle and began to head towards the helm. Two men followed him.

"Not a bad catch is it fisherman," Nadif smiled.

"The fish is not caught until it is in the boat," Omar replied quietly. "We only have a small amount of time before the crew becomes aware. Let us make haste."

Omar noticed that the pirates from the other boats were now aboard. They were now starting to break off into teams to secure the ship. So far the raid was going perfectly. "May Allah watch over us," Omar thought.

Silently like a jungle cat the three raiders climbed the stairs leading to the ship's bridge. It was strange that no one was about. Not even the occasional smoker enjoying the night. There was always someone on deck whenever Omar made his past raids. But again no two raids were alike.

Once the men were assembled outside the bridge's door, Omar glanced through the large windows. The interior was dark and he could not see much. "Damn," Omar thought. "They must be prepared."

"Nadif," Omar whispered to his lieutenant. "The crew must be on to us. The lights are out."

"Abdi has a grenade," Nadif responded nodding towards the third man. "We can hurl it through the door."

"Maya! No!" exclaimed Omar in a harsh whisper. "Don't be a habilaawe. That will destroy the bridge. No, you and I will cover the door while Abdi throws it open.

Nadif nodded in agreement.

Abdi flattened himself against the wall as he reached for the door's handle. Omar and Nadif kneeled down sighting down their AK47's barrels. Omar looked up at Abdi briefly and gave a slight nod.

As the door flew open, both Omar and Nadif fired their assault rifles in quick bursts spreading bullets through the bridge's interior. However, in the erratic flash from the AK47s' muzzles Omar noticed that the bridge was empty.

"Shee! Stop!" hollered Omar.

Nadif ceased fire and looked over at Omar. The pirate leader then walked onto the ship's bridge. It was empty. There was not even the helmsman. Before Omar could reflect further the ship came to a stop. "Dhurwaa, good," thought Omar. "Korfa and his boys must have reached the engine room."

Omar found the light switch and turned it on. The bridge was completely empty save for the three pirates. The wall opposite of the bridge door was riddled with the bullet holes produced by Omar's and Nadif's AK47s.

"Sayid," Abdi said. "Allah smiles upon us tonight."

"Indeed, yes," Omar smiled to the younger man. "We have captured the ship very easily."

"I believe the fish is now in the boat, kalluunle," added Nadif who pulled out a cigarette and lit it up.

"Haa ... yes, I am a fisherman and the fish is in the boat. However, we still need to clean it and bring to shore." Omar responded lighting up his own cigarette.

The three pirates explored the bridge as they enjoyed their cigarettes. A half-dozen pirates then burst onto the bridge.

"Sayid!" one said. "We heard gunfire is everything all right?"

"Relax Asad," Omar said. "We just thought we had an ambush awaiting us. As you can see the bridge is empty."

"Strange," Asad said.

"Haa it is strange that the bridge was empty," Omar said. "But Allah provides."

"Haa sayid," Asad replied. "However, Allah must have thrown everyone overboard because the ship is empty."

"This is naxis," Abdi said from the back of the bridge.

"How is it bad luck?" Nadif asked. "This is sanac, good luck."

"On a boat as the sayid will tell you, it is naxis when everyone is gone because a curse is aboard."

"Relax Abdi," Omar told his fellow fisherman. It was indeed an ill omen to find every one gone. But, Omar did not want to scare his band of rogues that was composed of fishermen, ex-soldiers, and a few boys. Most of them were superstitious. They could worry about naxis after the cargo was unloaded.

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Kalluunle

II

By Dwayne MacInnes

Gulf of Aden: 0104 Hours

Nadif smiled at Abdi as he took a long drag on his cigarette. "Look, all we have to do now is get this ship back to port and we can sell the goods and even the ship."

"Better than that," Asad added. "We are not doing anything illegal. By maritime law when there is no one left on board we can claim salvage rights. So we don't have to worry about the navies. They cannot touch us. Isn't that so, kalluunle?"

Omar nodded his head. He did not know much about maritime law having spent most of the last ten years ignoring it. However, Asad used to be in the merchant marine and he believed what Asad said was correct.

Abdi relaxed and started to study the bridge equipment. He would need to familiarize himself if he wanted to successfully guide this ship into port.

"Nadif, make sure the skiffs are secured to the ship." Omar commanded. Nadif smiled and saluted before he exited the bridge.

"Asad, assemble the men and start taking an inventory of what we have aboard," Omar ordered the next man.

"Sayid!" Abdi exclaimed. "Look at the instruments. The radio is not working, the compass is going crazy and the GPS doesn't function!"

"Abdi you need to relax," Omar said as he walked up next to the younger fisherman. Before he started looking over the equipment Omar turned towards the remaining five men on the bridge. "You may want to give Asad a hand," He said. The remaining men left the bridge.

"Let us take a look at the equipment," Omar said in a calm voice to Abdi. The young man was probably his most superstitious pirate and saw everything as naxis, or bad luck.

Omar picked up the radio and turned a few knobs to pick up reception, but all that came over was static. This did not bother Omar much. Bad atmospherics could raise havoc on radios. He then looked at the compass. The needle spun around randomly and did not point in any specific direction. This too could be explained if there was something magnetic aboard ship or if the needle became damaged somehow.

The GPS system would only display numbers that did not make sense. Like a digital version of the ship's malfunctioning compass the numbers kept randomly changing. It too must have been damaged. Possibly this is what convinced the crew to abandon ship.

"The ship may have run into some electrical field and it damaged the equipment," Omar said to the nervous helmsman. "We'll bring the engines up to speed and borrow a compass from one of the fishing boats."

Omar did not know much about electrical fields but he figured that Abdi knew even less. The explanation seemed to work for Abdi began the task of preparing to bring the ship home.

"Do you have everything under control?" Omar asked.

"Haa sayid," Abdi replied.

"Dhurwaa, I am going to check with the men. If you need assistance use the intercom." With that Omar left the bridge.

Pirates

A score of pirates scampered across the bridge laughing and joking with each other as they took inventory of the cargo. The Kohl began to move again over the sea. Omar walked over to a rail and lit up another cigarette. The air was warm and still and the cloud cover began to hide the cold moonlight. "It was all dhurwaa, good," Omar thought. "Allah had blessed them with a great prize like this."

What happened to the crew did not seem to bother Omar too much. Before the fall of the Somali government Omar used to fish these waters with his father. But with the chaos of civil war and the competitive fishing from other nations Omar felt compelled to find another vocation. Over the last decade Omar found that he and his men did pretty well with the occasional captured ship.

Most of the time the crew were held hostage until ransom was made from the ship's owners. Sometimes the captain and chief engineer were ransomed bringing in an easy $50,000 American. Sometimes, useful items were found aboard the ship that could be sold on the black market.

Unfortunately with the latter the black market demands could rapidly shift. What was in high demand a month ago could suddenly be worthless the next day. There were other risks involved too. Some ships carried armed security through the Gulf. Some ship crews knew how to repel pirates by bringing the ship up to full speed and zigzagging back and forth to create great wakes that could capsize a skiff. Even if the pirates did approach one of these ships, they could be washed off from the spray of a high-pressure fire hose. The more modern ships had the LRAD or Long range acoustic device which are non-lethal, but the pulse of sound discharge would incapacitate anyone unfortunate enough to encounter one. Omar did once, and he never forgot it.

The greatest risk however was from the multitude of naval forces patrolling the Gulf of Aden. There were ships from the United States, Russia, Great Briton, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to name just a few. The ships were one thing; the patrolling aircraft were another. Often they could see you before you saw them.

However, it only took one successful raid to make a pirate crew wealthy. Of course, if you did it once it was worth the risks to do it again. Omar had a good crew and over the years they were known as one of the best.

Omar could feel a mist rising around the ship. The air must be cooling off Omar figured. However, little things like this did not really concern Omar right now. He wanted to get the ship back to port before a trigger-happy frigate came across them. Even if they claimed the ship was abandoned before they captured it, it was highly unlikely anyone would believe them.

"kalluunle," Nadif said behind Omar breaking the pirate leader's train of thought.

"Haa, yes, Nadif," Omar said as he turned away from looking out to sea to speak to his lieutenant.

"I believe there is something you should see below decks," Nadif said in an uncharacteristic nervous voice.

"What is it, Nadif?" Omar asked flipping the spent cigarette butt over his shoulder and out to sea.

"The mess hall, it's...well, the mess is set but everyone is gone," Nadif said in a wavering voice.

Omar too was starting to feel uneasy. "Damn, these superstitious fools who see a wandering laab, spirit, everywhere. They are now making me shiver like a young girl," Omar cursed mentally.

"Haa, we know the crew left in a hurry," Omar said in a reassuring voice.

"Kalluunle, the food is still warm. The crew could not have left but a few minutes before we boarded."

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Kalluunle

III

By Dwayne MacInnes

Gulf of Aden: 0125 Hours

"Nadif, you are being a habilaawe," Omar lightly scolded. "So, the crew left before we did. Why does that concern us?"

"I fear it may be trap, but my stomach says it is like Abdi claims and is naxis," Nadif replied.

"Abdi is a good man, but he is a habilaawe. He believes everything is a bad omen. Now even his superstition has you seeing a laab everywhere," comforted Omar.

"Maya, maya," Nadif said lowly. "No, no sayid. My gut says this is a cursed ship."

Nadif only called Omar sayid or leader if there was something very grave going on. "Bal, okay," Omar finally said. "I'll take a look at the mess. I am sure there is a good explanation. Or at the very least I should be able to grab a meal."

"Sayid, I would not joke about this. The food may be tainted," Nadif said very seriously.

"Bal, bal," Omar said in a soothing voice. "I will look at the mess."

* * * * *

Five minutes later Omar stood in the mess hall of the Kohl. The tables were set with food on plates and beverages in cups. The food by now was lukewarm, but most of it was untouched. Omar could not understand why, but a shiver went down his spine. Why did having everyone abandoning the mess in a hurry have him feeling like Abdi.

"Did you inspect the galley?" asked Omar.

Nadif nodded his head, "Haa, yes. The galley was clean. Just some of the food on the stove, but the stove was shut off. "

"Bal, this is what I want you to do, Nadif." Omar said to the ex-soldier. "Get some men together and scour the ship. Be careful, maybe there are some crew members still left. Report back to me as soon as finished or if you find something."

Nadif saluted and exited the mess hall like one leaving a diseased village. As the thought reached Omar's mind, he too rapidly left the mess hall. "I pray this is no plague ship," Omar thought.

Omar was outside the mess hall's doors and heading down a long corridor of the ship's interior when he saw the young boy Taban run towards him. Taban was completely out of breath by the time he reached Omar.

"Sayid..., sayid...," the boy panted.

"Calm down, Taban," Omar said comforting the gasping boy, "Catch your breath and then tell me what is so important."

After a few attempts to begin again in which Taban fell back to panting the boy finally leaned against a door and sucked in deep breaths of air. After a couple of minutes, Taban finally was composed enough to relay the message.

"Sayid," Taban said still breathing heavy. "The compass does not work. Neither does the GPS."

"Relax Taban," Omar said with a smile. "I all ready know this. That is why I told Abdi to use the compass off the fishing boats."

"Sayid, you do not understand," the boy said with fear escaping from his voice. "It is the compasses and the GPS from our boats I am talking about."

Omar was really beginning to get uneasy about being on this ship. He calmed himself so that the frightened boy would not panic further. "Taban, I will look into this. It is nothing. There maybe some electrical interference that is messing with the equipment. We will use the stars to navigate."

Taban smiled at Omar. The boy believed everything the pirate leader said. It was well known that Omar never betrayed his men and the men were fiercely loyal to Omar.

* * * * *

Omar returned to the bridge to consult with Abdi. The helmsman stared fixedly ahead. Beads of sweat ran down from his brow. Occasionally, Abdi reached up with one hand to wipe the sweat from his eyes.

Omar could hear Abdi say under his breath over and over again, "this is naxis. We are doomed."

"Abdi," Omar said to the fisherman. Abdi startled turned and looked at Omar. For a moment Abdi did not recognize his leader and stared at him with wide eyes.

"Abdi, relax. I am no laab here to take your soul," Omar said.

Abdi gave Omar a weak smile, "Maya, no sayid. You startled me, that is all."

Omar walked over next to the helmsman and studied the hand compasses that came from the skiffs. Like the Kohl's compass they too spun erratically. The handheld GPS system also flashed random numbers.

"Abdi, you are a good kalluunle like me. You will have to use the stars to guide us," Omar reassured the fisherman.

"Haa sayid," Abdi replied. "But the sky is overcast and I cannot see the stars."

Omar looked out the windows towards the sky. The cloud cover was so thick that even the moonlight could not break through. This was not good. In fact, this was very dangerous for they had no idea where they were going.

Omar reached for the microphone for the ship's intercom. He toggled it on and said to those below over the ship's speakers, "Men turn on the search lights and see if you can locate any land."

Within minutes at various points on the ship the searchlights lit up. As the high intensity beams played out from the ship all that reached their eyes was a very thick bank of fog. The fog acted like no fog Omar ever experienced. It surrounded the big cargo ship, but it did not cover it. Omar could easily see the ship's bow from the bridge on the aft but he could not see beyond it.

Omar quickly grabbed the ship's telemeter and pulled it to the ‘all stop' indicator. The large engines with in the ship brought the propellers to an abrupt halt. The large boat moved forward only by its inertia through the fluffy white mist.

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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.

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Kalluunle

V

By Dwayne MacInnes

Gulf of Aden: 0816 Hours

The entire pirate crew ran to join Omar at the ship’s bow to look down towards where the death scream came from. However, the thick blanket of fog obstructed any view from what happened down below.

Some men were calling out to Nadif and Korfa, but neither one returned their calls. Others looked at each other with wild eyes. Fear was now running rampant aboard the German cargo vessel Kohl.

Omar knew he had to act quickly before he lost his crew. "Men, men," he called out to his pirates. "It was an accident. The ship must have over run the skiff. That is all."

"Haa!" Asad threw his support to Omar. "Sayid is right. Taban, you and two men get in another boat and see if you can help Nadif and Korfu."

"Maya," Taban refused fearfully. "I will not leave this boat. There is a laab out there."

"That is just nonsense," Asad retorted. "You are just letting your fears overcome your senses."

"I will go!" Abdi shouted. "I told you that this was naxis. Even Nadif tried to convince me it was sanac and look where he is now. I will gladly leave the ship even if no one else will."

Just as Omar feared Abdi’s dire superstitions ran through the crew. Many of the stout pirates began arguing amongst themselves. Omar tried to calm everyone down, but it was no use. Not even with the help of Asad did the crew quiet down.

About a dozen men led by Abdi ran for the lines securing the two remaining fishing boats. Before Omar could stop them the men were in the skiffs and were now speeding away. They were not even interested in seeing if they could help Nadif.

Once the malcontents left the boat the remaining pirates stood in silence. They could hear the boats’ engines recede in the distance. But just as suddenly as it did with Nadif and Korfa the men in the departing skiffs began to cry out in fear and pain. The automatic fire from a dozen AK47s ripped through the air only to fall silent one by one.

The fog felt like it was becoming thicker. The white mist was becoming a malignant yellow accompanied by the foul smell of sulfur. The remaining pirates looked towards Omar for guidance. The pirate leader did not know what to do.

"Sayid, what do we do?" Asad asked.

Omar looked at the man for a few seconds before replying. "If we leave the ship we are doomed. I will continue to run the ship west until we hit land. Even if we run her ashore, we certainly can find shelter on land."

It was not the best answer, but the men accepted it. Omar went to the bridge and ordered the engines run at full speed. The Kohl tore through the water at its top speed. The fog continued to cling to the cargo ship as it ran in the direction that Omar believed west to be.

The remaining crew went below decks to either find food in the galley or to be alone in one of the crew cabins. With the ship’s equipment out of commission Omar did his best with dead reckoning until the sun reached its zenith around noon.

Omar held the helm in a death grip not allowing his hand to budge one inch lest he stray from his course. His teeth were clenched tight in his jaw and beads of perspiration dotted his brow. He focused his entire being in looking ahead into the fog, hoping to see some outline indicating land or some structure.

Asad walked onto the bridge with some sandwiches that he tried to offer to the pirate leader. However, Omar could not be torn away from his duty. He had less than a dozen men left and he determined that he would not lose them.

"Sayid, you must eat," urged Asad.

"Maya," Omar said tersely, "No, I have to get us to land."

"What is this?" Asad asked to break the uncomfortable silence.

"I do not know. Maybe there is a laab, spirit, or this may be naxis, bad luck," Omar said woodenly. These same thoughts have been plaguing his mind as well. "I am no prophet."

Asad sat in the captain’s chair munching lightly on a sandwich. "I remember this Ethiopian mercenary I once met." Asad said to no one in particular. "He always carried that Bible those Christians follow."

"Haa," Omar said. He did not hold too much to religion, even though he was raised a devout Muslim. However, having Asad speaking was better than staring into the sickly yellow fog that obstructed his view of the horizon.

"There was this one passage I remember him saying. I think it was in the back of their holy book. I do not know much about it. However, I remember these words and they have been coming to my mind often today," Asad continued. "And the sea shall give up her dead."

These words did not comfort Omar at all. In fact, when Asad mentioned them, a chill ran down his spine. Then out on the bow near the rail Omar noticed movement. At first it was slight and barely noticeable. Then it became blatantly obvious. The fog was starting to enclose over the ship. Furthermore, within the thin yellow veil Omar could see figures, human-like figures.

Omar grabbed the intercom microphone. "Attention all men!" he yelled. "Prepare to repel boarders!"

Asad jumped up at the announcement and looked out the windows. He too saw the encroaching fog and the figures within. Asad grabbed his AK47 and ran to the platform outside the bridge. His automatic assault rifle opened up on the fog. The bullets tore into the fog with no effect.

By now Omar could see the pirates running upon the deck. Some fired their weapons and others tried to grapple with the figures. It was useless. Once the fog reached the pirates, the figures shrouded inside would tear into the men. Hideous cries split the noxious air.

The fog slowly advanced towards the bridge. Asad continued his relentless fire. Omar willed the ship to shore, but the sea continued to play beneath the German cargo ship. The yellow fog now crept up towards the platform and Omar noticed the stench of sulfur overpowering him.

Omar watched helplessly as Asad fired frantically at a figure approaching him. When the pirate was out of ammo Asad tried to wrestle with the figure. It was hopeless. Asad cried out in agony as the figure tore the pirate apart like a facial tissue.

Omar backed against the bullet-riddled wall opposite the door. The fog seeped through and coalesced inside the bridge. A figure approached Omar. Omar knowing the futility of resistance still fired his AK47 into the creeping figure until it was empty.

Omar grabbed his knife and prepared to meet the figure in hand-to-hand combat. Once Omar jumped into the fog he had to fight an urge to retch. His eyes burned, yet he could see inside the bank of fog. There inside grinning at him stood a skeletal figure with outstretched arms and behind it even more skeletal figures. What stopped Omar was that behind the skeletal figures, he could see the broken body of Nadif shambling towards him.

The figures grabbed Omar and began to pull, twist, and break his body. Omar heard a horrendous scream tear through the air. Shortly before he succumbed to darkness, he realized the scream was his own.

* * * * *

AP: Today the missing German cargo ship Kohl was found in the Gulf of Aden. From the bullet holes found riddling the ship investigators believe the ship may have been taken by pirates. However, the ship full of very valuable cargo appeared to have everything aboard except the crew. The owners have not divulged if any ransom demands have been made by pirates from the region. The U.S. has decided to step up its presence in the area in order...

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