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today 6/2/16 on aobibliosphere™ [aobibliospotlight™: A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart]

Sunday, October 28, 2012

guest post: Just Add Water by JH Glaze @themostcoolone

a couple of months ago, author JH Glaze graciously offered to write an exclusive story for those who would reply to his proposal. i am grateful, honored and privileged to be one of them. here is the result. enjoy!

Horror Challenge Topic: A Story of Historical Fiction
Suggested by AO Bibliophile

Just Add Water
An Original Story by JH Glaze

In the last years of slavery, a Spanish slave ship named Trouvadore made land in São Tomé, a Portuguese colony off the coast of Africa. The year was 1841. When the ship again set sail, their cargo manifest included some treasures of gold, artifacts from the region and 280 slaves. This is their fateful story.

The natives from the kingdom of Kongo had been brought to the island weeks earlier after being captured by roving bands of slavers. They were awaiting a ship from Spain whose purpose was to transport the captives to Cuba. There they would be put to work on the Cuban sugar cane plantations.
Two weeks into captivity, this group was proven to be defiant. Led by the Priestess from one of the villages where the captives had lived, an uprising threatened to destroy the operations on the small island. The ruler of the island, Armando De Principe, gave the command that any dissident within the population found to be causing trouble must be executed and burned in view of the other captives. An example was to be made in order to regain control, and this would achieve the desired result.
On a clear night in the midst of unrest, the Priestess was detained. A bonfire was built from fallen palm trees and driftwood gathered from the beach. The captives were forced to watch as their Priestess was bound and thrown into the flames. In her dying moments, she screamed out a curse in a language her captors could not understand.
“When the ship is near the island, my ashes will revenge. Your people will perish and mine will be set free!” she chanted as the flesh burned from her bones and all fell silent. In the early hours of the following morning, a few of her villagers collected her ashes in a clay jar and hid them among the cargo that was to accompany the slaves when all were loaded into the ship. The captors had achieved their goal and there were no more protests.
When the slave ship Trouvadore arrived at the island days later, supplies, cargo, and the African slaves were loaded without incident, and the ship set sail for Cuba. In the weeks that followed, the Trouvadore was beset by rough seas and though the crew had made this trip several times before, they began to believe that they were cursed. Several times they found themselves hundreds of miles off course. There was talk of mutiny, but the men feared the consequences of that action more than the tribulations they were enduring.
Disease and starvation began to take a toll on the captives who were locked below deck. Each day the dead were carried up the ladder into the sunlight and thrown unceremoniously from the back of the ship. For weeks, the scene was repeated, and the crew and their human cargo became increasingly concerned that none of them would reach their destination.
One calm and starry night, as they were finally sailing up the coast of South America, a few of the captives were awakened by the sound of chanting rising up from the deck below. When they ventured down to investigate, they were startled to find the ghost of their Priestess standing there upon a crate. 
She turned her eyes toward them and commanded, “From within this crate, take the jar of my ashes into the depths of the ship. Empty them into the bilge water. Prepare to be free, and cast into the sea.” Immediately, the ghost vanished.
The frightened men fell over each other as they climbed back up the ladder to their deck. Questioned by their elders, they told what they had seen and heard. After a brief discussion, the order went out to secure their quarters, to find anything on the lower levels of the ship that might float and have it at the ready when the time came. 

The elders descended into the depths of the ship led by one of the men who had received the instructions of the Priestess. He directed them to the appropriate shipping crate. When the crate was opened, the clay jar was carefully removed. Two elders were chosen to carry the ashes to the lowest level of the ship, while the others went up to prepare their people for whatever was to come next.
In the bowels of the ship, the elders stood looking down at the bilge water that stood in the bottom of the ship. With a nod to one another, the one who held the jar carefully removed the lid and stepped closer to the dark water. Looking back toward the other, he poured the ashes into the water. They stood for a moment watching, and then there was movement on the water. What began as a ripple in the surface was soon followed by the shape of a creature resembling the Priestess rising up to appear before them. Although this beast had large curved claws and long spikes running along its spine, the face was unmistakably that of their Priestess. 

She let out a fierce growl before leaping to the side of the ship just above the water, grasping the wooden beams with her sharp claws. With a howl, she dug into one of the beams and, tore it from the others in a show of incredible strength. The seawater rushed in with a roar as the elders scrambled up the ladder. Terrible sounds of the howling creature blended into the shattering of timber behind them. Within minutes, the ship would be going down.
On deck, the captain noticed as the ship began to shake and shudder. He ordered five of his men to go below and seek out the cause of the strange vibrations. Upon unchaining and opening the hatch, they were met by a rush of their captives, pouring out from the deck below.

They pushed their way up, overwhelming the crew, many of whom were asleep at their posts.
When the ship sank, everyone was thrown into the water. One hundred and ninety slaves and fifty members of the crew all thrashed and struggled to find some object to float on. Suddenly, something below the water and out of view began to pull each member of the crew beneath the surface. One by one, they screamed as an unseen beast grabbed and pulled them under. Not one of them resurfaced.

All but a few of the slaves found something from the ship to help them stay afloat, and the ones who were left to swim on their own claimed later that some unknown force had kept their heads above water. Certain their time had come to an end, they called out to one another as they waited in the darkness hoping for a miracle.

At dawn, a British ship headed out from the Turks and Caicos Islands, came upon the slaves floating in the sea. The crew pulled the hapless survivors from the water, considering them hysterical as they carried on about a creature that had sunk their ship. 
Once on land, the captives were relieved to find that they had been taken to a British colony where slavery had been abolished years earlier. Descendents of those slaves remain on the islands to this very day, and the story continues to pass from father to son of the Priestess who gave her life so they might all be saved from slavery and the sea.
Footnote: Although this tale is based on a true story, to this day it is not known what caused the ship to sink on calm seas in the middle of the night. Reportedly, the crew did not drown, but survived and were put on trial.

Copyright© 2012 by JH Glaze. Reprint permission granted to aobibliosphere.blogspot.com and aobiblioclassique.blogspot.com Images of Galleon and Witch above on a storm-tossed sea are from public domain sources and were digitally manipulated by aobibliophile™  exclusively for this story. 

about the author:

JH Glaze
JH Glaze is the author of “The Paranormal Adventures of John Hazard” series (The Spirit Box, NorthWest & Send No Angel), The Horror Challenge series of short stories, and other books. he lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Susan and their two dogs.  

visit his website www.JHGlaze.com for more information. his books are available exclusively on Amazon.com in print and eBook formats.
The Spirit Box - NorthWest - The Horror Challenge Vol I &  Vol II - Forced Intelligence
follow him on the web:

Watch for new stories coming soon!

i would like to say a heartfelt thank you to author JH Glaze for writing this story and to you as well for stopping by! 


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