The night was cold when Captain Roberts asked me if I would like some hot coffee which I didn’t refuse. I followed him down below deck where a few of the crew sat, mumbling among each other, drinking their coffee. I was handed a hot mug and sat on a small wooden table.
“Tell me,” the Captain sat opposite of me. “What brings you to sea?”
“I’m looking for someone,” I said.
“In Antarctica?” he raised an eyebrow. “Far away from someone to be searching for, don’t ye think.”
“I think so,” I said.
“He must mean a lot,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who will go out to sea for someone.”
“I didn’t foresee myself doing this,” I paused. “But it’s something I need to find out that only Captain Lewis will know the answers.”
“You’ve come a long way for answers?” the Captain was surprised. “Out of curiosity, what is your quandary?”
“Not long ago,” I slowly reminisce. “My husband came back from sea a changed man. He acted strangely and did things he never before did. I saw him killing a rabbit and then feasted on it raw. His skin became a different colour and his eyes, changed too. I need to know what happened to him.”
The Captain nodded as he slowly sipped his coffee.
“I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I believe you must be warned. The Marquite is cursed, you know,” he solemnly said. “Anybody who boards it, death takes them. This is no tale sailors say to scare young lasses such as yourself.”
“Has it always been cursed?” I cautiously ask.
“Not always,” said the Captain. “Months ago it sailed somewhere to the west. I heard something terrible happened to it, but that was all I ever heard. Many sailors don’t speak of it if we do hear of it, afraid to be cursed.”
“Do you know what happened?”
“I was never told,” said the Captain. “Anyone will tell you that those who step on The Marquite death will follow. That’s all I know…”
“Do you really believe it’s true?” I was scared to know.
“There was a man–I only know him by his first name—Henrik, was walking back to The Marquite one night. I know this because my ship was in the same port. Henrik, was stabbed to death on the street before he ever reached the ship. His murderer was never caught… Another man, known only as Marlow, was found dead in another ship he boarded. There have been others, who have encountered the same fate, all were crew of The Marquite.”
I drank the rest of my coffee in silence. I wonder if ‘he’, had anything to do with those deaths or was it the curse that had befallen them?
“You might want to rest your eyes,” said the Captain. “We should be a few days away from The Marquite.”
The Captain stood up and left to his quarters. I was left alone with the few crew man that sat in silence, leering from where they sat as they drank their coffee. I didn’t have to discern what they were thinking. They probably believed I was dragging them to their deaths.
The next days were rough as the sea decided to make my journey agonizing. The winds blew, throwing the ship violently side to side. The rain that followed made it difficult to see anything. I surely thought many times we were going to die, and then I wondered if I was foolish to come searching for a panacea.