35 SOMEBODY FELL FROM ALOFT  

jasonabadboy4u 29M
48 posts
6/5/2006 11:43 pm

Last Read:
7/7/2006 8:19 am

35 SOMEBODY FELL FROM ALOFT

35 SOMEBODY FELL FROM ALOFT
I had signed on as an ordinary seaman on the Falls of
Ettrick, a merchant ship bound for England. The first time
I saw that ship, I knew her right away. She was the old
Gertrude Spurshoe. I had sailed on her years before when
she was painted brown and gold. Now she was painted black
and had a new name, but it was the same ship for sure. We
had a pretty good crew for that voyage, except for one hard-
looking ticket named McLaren. He was a pretty good seaman,
but there was something about him that I didn't trust. He
was kind of secretive. Kept mostly to himself. One day
somebody told him that I had worked on the old Gertrude.
For some reason he got all a-tremble over that. Then I
ketched him giving me all of these ugly black looks, as if
he was itchin' to knife me in the back. I guessed it had
something to do with the Gertrude, but I didn't know what.
Well, this one day we was tryin' to work our way through a
drippin' black fog. You'd scarcely know we had all the
lights on. And it was dead calm. There wasn't a breath of
fresh air. The ship just lay there wallowing in through, a-
rollin' and a-rollin,' goin' nowheres. I was standing my
watch around midships, and McLaren was doin' his trick at
the wheel. The rest of the crew was scattered around one
place and another. It was as quiet as could be. Then all at
once--WHACKO! This thing hits the deck right in front of
McLaren! He lets go a screech that turns my blood cold and
he falls down to a faint. The second mate stats yellin'
that somebody has fallen from aloft. Layin' out there just
forward of the wheel was someone or something, dressed in
oilskins with blood oozin' out from underneath. The captain
ran and fetched a big light from his cabin so we could see
who it was. They kind of straightened him out to get a good
look at his face. He was a big, ugly-lookin' devil. But
nobody knew who he was or what he was doin' up there. At
least nobody was sayin.' When McLaren came to from his
faint, they tried to get somethin' out of him. All he did
was jabber away and keep rollin' those big, wild-lookin'
eyes of his. Everybody was gettin' more and more excited.
We all wanted to have the body overboard as quick as we
could. There was smothin' weird about it, as if it wasn't
real. But the captain wasn't so sure about getting rid of
it that way. "Could it be a stowaway? he asked. But she
ship was so filled with lumber we were carryin,' there was
no space where a livin' thing could hide for three weeks,
which is how long we had been out. Even if it was a
stowaway, what was it doing aloft on such a dirty day?
There was no reason for anyone to be up there. There was
nothin' to see. Finally the captain gave up and told us to
heave him overboard. Then nobody would touched him. The
mate ordered us to pick him up, but nobody made a move.
Then he tried coaxin,' but that didn't do any good.
Suddenly that loony McLaren starts yellin,' "I handled him
once, and I can handle him again!" He picks up the body,
and staggers over the railin' with it. He is just about to
throw it overboard when it wraps its two big, long arms
around him, and over they go together! Then on the way
down, one of them starts laughin' in a horrible way. The
mates are yellin' to launch a boat, but nobody would get
into a boat, not on a night like that. We threw a couple of
life preservers after them, but everybody knew they
wouldn't help. So that was that. Or was it? The first
chance I had to go home after that, I went right over to
see old Captain Spurshoe, who was captain when the Gertrude
was around. "Well," he says, "one trip these two outlandish
men shipped aboard the Gertrude. One was McLaren, the other
was a really big fella. The big one was always pickin' on
McLaren and thumpin' him around. and McLaren was always
talkin" about how he would get back at him. "Well, this
wet, dirty night the two of them was up there alone, and
the big one come flyin' down, killed himself deader'n a
herring. "McLaren says the foot rope they were using parted
and how he almost fell himself. But everybody who saw that
rope knew she didn't give away on her own. She had been cut
through with a knife. "After that whenever we came into
port, McLaren thought we were goin' to get the police after
him, and he'd get pretty scared. But we couldn't prove
anything, so we didn't try. In the end, I guess the big
fella took care of things in his own way. If he was a ghost
that came back, that's what he was--if there be things like
ghosts."


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