The seas had become the image of a nightmare. A swell of between six and eight metres, working with a easterly gale was doing its best to batter the ship. Now 2200, and with two hours of waiting on the mess couch, being thrown about by the ships movement was just about all he could take. Walking to the mess phone, he lifted it, and dialled the bridge.
“This the POMED, can I have the XO please.”
“Aye PO, two seconds.”
In less than a minute, a voice filled his ear.
“POMED Sir. Am I still due to see you this evening?”
“I hadn’t forgotten you, PO. However, I am going to be on the bridge for sometime yet. We can continue our conversation in the morning.”
“Aye Sir.” and with that the XO hung up the phone.
Relieved to finally be able to crawl into his rack, the PO changed out of the rig of the day, and into a pair of well worn boxer shorts. Pulling the curtain back, he climbed into his middle rack, threw back the covers, and climbed in. The sensation was something akin to heaven. With his weight off his feet, and the luxury of laying fully stretched out, flat on his back, he gently smiled at the magnificence of this tiny moment of utter relaxation and imagined freedom.
Prior to closing his eyes, he considered lashing himself into his rack; the sea state being what it was. Deciding against it, he rolled over onto his chest, and in the manner of sailors the world over, held on to the mattress, stopping himself from being cast out and onto the deck.
Sleep came easily for him, yet rest did not. His mind flew to the hangar he had originally hidden in, yet two days after the incident. In the sharp contrast of daylight, images of women, enslaved into a world of sexual depravity took over his mind. All either dead or dying, chained to the deck of the hangar of the vessel he had so recently escape haunted him. None of the girls, ranging from what he could only guess to be between nine and fifteen years of age, had been given food or water in the week after the crew failed to sell them. Everyone of them was naked. Many had been beaten, and all had been raped. Varying in race and colour, not one of the girls, children really, would ever leave the vessel alive. He could not save a soul beyond his own. The stink in the confines of that space was unimaginable, and he awoke, being shaken in his rack by another PO.
“Holy shit mate, are you alright? You were screaming like a bastard.”
“Christ, was I? Sorry mate.”
“No worries, sing out if I can do anything.” with that, his curtain fell shut, and his mess mate left him to it.
The stench of the girls in the hangar still filled his nostrils.
Click the picture, Sweet Jane.
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