They had to be off course. The wind had blown too long, and the sea had pushed too hard to expect a correct location. There were no landmarks, save a bleak horizon, and the stars had been veiled for weeks. The maiden voyage of the Ursula had not been a kind one. Even Captain Wilkes was growing concerned. And the crew was getting restless.
As night crept up upon them, a terrible fog came in to rest, and the water settled down to glass. The crew whispered to each other, spreading rumor and fable charged with dread. Lamps were lit in the quiet and dark. The creeks of the ship were like skittered heartbeats.
Captain Wilkes kept his eyes on the water ahead. After so much time of salt slosh and emptiness, the change, it seemed, had to bring something. And then, there were ripples.
What started soft and serene soon erupted into a spray of chaos. The crew sprang into action, bracing against the blast of water. Captain Wilkes’ tremendous baritone came swift and clear through the tumult, issuing order and valor in equal measure. The eruptions continued with increasing severity until finally its source was revealed: a steaming pink mass of flesh launched itself out of the water towards the Ursula amidst the horrified screams of “squid!”
Pistols drawn and harpoons manned, the crew fought valiantly to untangle the Ursula from the grip of the squid’s mighty tentacles. Principle among them was Captain Wilkes, who upon seeing the monster, immediately drew his rapier and threw himself into the fray – successfully hacking off one of the appendages himself.
But this only angered the beast. It drew its grip tighter around the Ursula, squeezing and cracking its hull. The men redoubled their efforts as they fought for their very lives. Just when their frenzy seemed to take effect, the giant squid grabbed hold of Captain Wilkes, lifting him high into the air. Held aloft, the captain gained an exceptional view of their foe and with unprecedented luck, determined its point of weakness. Captain Wilkes looked the squid in its large, jellied eye, and – though doomed himself – gave it a victorious sneer. He wrenched his head back to crew and shouted —
“Sweetheart?” Mom popped her head in the door just as gush of water escaped the bath, “Hey, careful, alright?”
“Sorry,” the boy said, wiping the soap bubbles away from his eyes.
“Five more minutes, then off to bed, ok?”
“I mean it this time, mister.”
“Ok,” the boy said and returned to the voyage of the Ursula.