Before i give a short synopsis i would like to state a few things about this short story, i wrote it after finnishing a 40,000 word 'book' and wanting to get a story out of me. this story i wanted to show my views on life
it is about life, from the view of a passenger on a ship as a dying man tells his story of twisted morals and betrayl
The ship was dank and dark as it went through the black mist of the night. The people inside were silent, keeping out of each other’s business. The heavy oak panelled walls kept every ones misdeeds- no one else.
As the boat trundled through the blackness one passenger dared to break the silence. Walking through the thick carpeting, clutching his side was a man clad in black. His hands were glinting red, as the blood seeped out of a gap in his stomach. His name was unknown to anyone on the ship, but his presence seemed to go unnoticed until the man crashed into me.
And who am I, you ask? My name is unimportant, the importance of me is only to retell the tale I was told that dark and dreadful night. I was simply was seeking my passage to a new home, but this man’s story changed my fate forever.
The gentleman in question stumbled into my arms as I was making my way to my room; his blood soaked my white shirt and dampened my dinner jacket. He clutched at me for support as the man slumped to the floor. He grabbed hold of my shirt, smearing it with his crimson liquid and gasped for air.
I didn’t think, but moved on and into my room, with the wounded man. I fumbled with my key and pushed it into the lock, as the man groaned for life. Laying him down on my bed, I grabbed the phone, but the dying man pushed it out of the way and reached for me, I neared as his gasped.
“Water...” the gentleman struggled to say. I reached for a jug that was on a bedside table and poured him a glass. He drunk deeply, when he finished he seemed a bit more alive.
“I need to get you a doctor.” I spoke darkly, but he waved a weak hand at the notion. For some unknown reason I followed his demand, and pulled a seat next to his bed, as he sat up feeling the pain in his side and turned to me.
“No,” he whispered, “Too...late...”
I was about to argue but he silenced me, and changed my life for good.
“My name...Is Vincent...”
This is his story, this is my story, and this is the story that will change your life-as it did mine
He spoke rapidly; forcing his gasping down, trying to tell his entire story before he left this world. And so he did.
“I grew up in a crowded city, no one cared for me, and I had to live for myself. My parents cared for me, and I loved them, this helped us survive, but it was not to be. My parents were gunned down trying to help a shop keeper being robbed. I had no one from then on. The life I led was lost, and I wondered the empty streets searching for someone to love.
“Time went on and I grew up, starving, bony-but alive. I never visited their graves, I there wasn’t anything left there for me. I left the city as soon as I had the money and went to a quieter place. The village I went to was sweet, a haven compared to the suffocation that was the city, This village, released the strangled part of me, made me flourish in to a better person. I started to live again, forgetting the horrors of the past as I lived a peaceful life. I started to date, and live a normal life, but, that was all to change.”
He coughed and a past him some more water, he drunk and continued.
“One night, while I had my latest girlfriend with me, she was resting in my bed, and she looked stunning, a knock at the door made me leave her and see who the late night caller was. It was a man, dressed in a dark suit. He had a neatly trimmed goatee and carried a case full of papers. The man announced himself as Ripley Brown. He said he was a business man, and pushed his way inside, opening the case full of papers. He then went onto explain himself.
“Mr Pearce was a searcher for people who were lost, he wanted to find people who had lost a part of themselves and try and put it back, I know it sounded stupid but I listened. He said he wanted-no-needed to put things in order. He went onto to tell me of work he wanted me to do, he would pay handsomely, handing me a check just for having me listen to him. The check was more than I earned in a year and he said he would pay double that for every job I accomplish.
I accepted and he showed me a sheet of paper, it had information on a house not far from where we were, and said that my instructions were there. I didn’t ask any questions, just left straight away, money clouding my thoughts. When I came to the small house on the outskirts of the village, a light was on inside, I opened at the door and found my instructions on the table, in a red opaque envelope.
“I read the orders- it said that my task was to decide who was to live. That’s all it said, nothing else. As I stood there puzzled, a crack of light shone through one of the doors and I paced in. I had no idea what Mr Pearce wanted, but I saw what he had in mind. The light came from two television screens; one had a picture of an elderly woman and the other of a young girl. They were both held in a chamber, and were still alive. Below each of the screens was a button. My initial thought was absurd; he wanted me to decide which one lived and which one dies. The button pressed would do the deed. “
I was taken aback, shocked, in disbelief; I couldn’t believe the legitimacy of his story but let him continue.
“Ripley Pearce came in behind me. He verified that was what I was to do, and that I had a minute to do it in, if I ran out of time both died. I had to think quick, shaking off the shock, and fighting my moral demon. I saw the woman and the girl, and knew that a long life spared was a good one than a short life spared, my finger reached for the button of the elderly woman, but then I thought, what if the young girl had an illness and was going to die and the elderly woman could live another fifty years? My insides were spinning. My Pearce spoke in a heavy voice as he asked me ‘what is the right thing to do?’ my mind twirled around as I felt sick, then I broke, I pulled the television’s down and screaming ‘There isn’t one!
“Mr Pearce clapped, happy of my choice, he patted me on the back and answered ‘of course there isn’t, sometimes there isn’t a right decision and sometimes there isn’t a wrong one.’ I was happy that I was right, but then a question came to my mind as I asked the strange business man what happened to the people, and he replied ‘person’ they were the same person, one film taken when she was young and another about forty years later. I hated him for it, but I was intrigued, he had awoken something deep inside me and I like it- it was like a drug”
Vincent Started to cough violently, and blood spewed out of his mouth, his voice rushed as he yearned to continue his story.
“I left that night, and went through different trials, all which I passed. There were all related to the moral dilemma, and they changed me, twisted me, into someone who was a shadow to society.”
My curiosity got the better of me as I asked him of the deeds that Vincent had done, that had led to his state now.
“I killed people, friends, people who have meant a lot to me. I was once set a task to simply go to a foreign country by plane. HA!” he shouted, as blood sprayed on me, I ignored it and passed Vincent a handkerchief from my pocket, he wiped his mouth lazily, smearing blood over his face. Then he continued.
“While on the plane, a bomb went off in the lower hold, making the plane spiral down. I saved a few from flying out of the dying aircraft. When the plane crashed a patrol boat came and saved the few remaining survivors, apart from the few that I saved only three more managed to live. You know, I felt that he caused it Mr Brown, he never said, but he did, I knew, I saw it in his eyes. It just seemed that all I did was kill or end up having people die around me. Ripley Pearce had different tasks for me, I had to save innocent men from death. Another time I was put through the police force- and had all these rules and regulations drummed into me. Ripley Pearce introduced me then to a couple-the wife was dying of cancer, and they couldn’t afford the medicine- later that day I saw the man steal from the pharmacist- the pills they couldn’t afford. I had to make a split second decision when I saw him. I chose right-I let him get away with it.
I proposed to him that maybe, it wasn’t the right choice but he answered in a different tone-as if uttering something he had been told.
“True, there is never a right choice for things, just perspective”
I pondered the answer when he continued and I sensed the nearing of Vincent’s death as he neared his story conclusion.
“And how I got here? I was told to blow up this ship; I came to the engine room, with the explosives in my hand, set them, when I saw a letter addressed to me-just on the location of where I placed the bomb. Then, out of the darkness, I saw him-Ripley.”
At this moment, Vincent reached inside the depths of his black clothes and pulled out the envelope addressed to Vincent, it was smeared with his blood but was intact.
“He told me, my fate had come, and embraced me, whole holding a dagger, and so here I am.”
His voice seemed simple, as if it was an event meant to happen, but I couldn’t see why he was so blasé about his impending death. He placed the letter firmly in my hand forcing my fingers closed and uttering his final words
“this ship will blow in a couple of minutes-get out and read the letter-do what it tells you please- I know you don’t know me- I know you don’t trust me, but I implore you to-please.”
I nodded; if his story was true then he had just saved my life. I saw the sincerity in his eyes as the man I just met slipped from this world, accepting his fate, his eyes closing slowly and seeing him drift off into the eternal sleep.
The next events that unfolded were a blur; I sounded a fire alarm on my way to the deck some people responded just in time-most didn’t. The people I saw- I told for them to get off the ship. I reached the deck and jumped off into the wet, dark night as hell opened behind me.
The flaming wreck of the ship warmed my clothes slightly and, along with the other survivors we waited until dawn when the ship was found and we were saved. I clung to the letter, shielding it from the waters and only dared to open it when I was in a hotel room a day after the ship exploded. It read as follows
To whomever it concerns,
The truth and answers you so dearly want are marked on the map on the reversed side of this note, if Vincent is reading it then fate was not meant to be and you should ignore this message. If it’s someone else however- fate has worked its way again. Go to the location on the map and find your fate.
Ripley I. Pearce
The map was of a city nearby and I hired a car, driving through countryside until arriving at the crime ridden city. The map led to an old cemetery as I walked to the weed infested tombstones until I reached the graves the map led to. The gravestones were old, but not ancient. And there was a small chest resting in between the two grave stones.
I picked it up, opening it slowly as a note was resting on top, and an object was underneath wrapped in sanguine silk. I read the note first- when I opened it, my mouth dropped-it was addressed to me. I continued to read.
I understand you have a lot of questions but rest assured they will be answered.
First you must know why I have brought you here-for you see, it was meant to be. Vincent was meant to do all those things in order for him to meet you, tell you the tale of his life and so you could come here-but why?
The simple answer is that he was meant to change your life. But in detail is so you can see the true meaning of what life is about. The fact that everything is linked and that you are a piece of a inexplicably long chain of links, but you are the final piece.
Nothing is new, we all think that it is because we simply re-invent an old idea, but it is still the same. The object in the box will add the final answer you need. But back to the main point. Sometimes people won’t achieve things in their lifetime-merely help someone achieve the same thing after they have met their maker. Think of Da Vinci- never being able to create a flying machine, but after his death, it was created.
Vincent couldn’t face his parent’s death, but you can for him, and answer the one question he wanted to know-why they had to die.
This chest doesn’t contain all the answers you will have to fine them out yourself, rest assured though I will come when the time is right
Until we meet
Ripley I Pearce
I unravelled the cloth, and found a small box on the inside. It held a gold ring, on the underside was inscribed the truth- the one thing that meant everything and nothing, the meaning of my purpose and everyone else.
It is not easy to do the right thing-but it is the right thing
It all slipped into place-Vincent did the right thing-even though it was hard, and his parents did the right thing even though it cost him dearly. It suddenly made sense as I saw that everything was linked. Pearce was right- not all questions were answered but I had the rest of my life to find that out.
As I looked to the gravestones I saw the last little piece of information that made me feel that there was something awaiting Vincent.
Rest In Peace
Ripley I. Pearce
Without Vincent’s story, my life wouldn’t have led me to this ruined graveyard in this forgotten city to the answer that was at the beginning of someone else’s life. The truth is hidden in events like this, events that lead you on a journey-short or long, you find yourself.
And who am I?
I am just another Vincent-trying to do the right thing-even if it is sometimes hard.