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A Lucky Escape

I had always been afraid of water. I knew how the North Sea could be in December and although there were severe weather warnings the boat sailed anyway.

Lying in bed, my windowless cabin at the front of the ship was worse for movement, and it was noisy, as if I was above the engine. Soon the engine and the ship’s rolling began to lull me to sleep, with its strangely comforting roar. The sound like a mantra, blocked my thoughts and as in deep meditation, I was letting go.

The ship’s vibration was drifting far away and then I heard it, knock-knock. The cabin door was creaking with the increased rocking of the ship, so that I found myself straining for another sound, but there was nothing. I must have imagined it, but then, knock-knock, this time more insistent. There was someone at the door.

I put on the light and looked at my watch. It was just past 2 o’clock in the morning. The air was cold, I shivered and pulled the cover around my shoulders and stared at the door. The handle was still. No movement.

I don’t know how long I stayed like that, but after a while I eased back into the pillows and the warmth of the bed, and fell asleep.

It was light when I awoke at 6am and the sea was calm. The engines throbbed reassuringly. Opening the door, I looked down the corridor; there was no-one there.

We docked at 7.30am and my friend was there to meet me. She said I looked pale. ‘You haven’t seen the ghost have you?’ I stared blankly. ‘It’s just that someone disappeared off the ferry a few years ago and they say it’s haunted.’ ‘No’, I said, ‘I saw nothing. Just a bit of rough weather.’

After I got off, it took a while for me to stop feeling the motion of the ship. I wondered what sort of crossing I would have on the return trip.

(336 words)



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