By: Micah M. Johnson
Part One: Paul
Paul Stood at the front of the ship, gazing out to the Atlantic Sea below. He felt lightheaded, turned away, and started heading over to the food court. I hate this ship Paul thought to himself. He had hated it from the start. His parents had persuaded him to come with them on their annual business trip. Paul didn't know he gets sea sick really easily until he boarded the ship, but by then it was to late to change his mind. Aside from the food here, everything was terrible. The Deck pool was being worked on, so nobody could swim until it was finished, the fishing pools were almost always being used(Paul had woken up at 5 o'clock a.m. to get one and still there was none vacant), and the T.V. in his room only had 2 channels; News and ESPN. On the way over to the Food Court, Paul ran into Matthew. He had met Matthew earlier in the week. In Paul's mind, Matthew was dorky and cool at the same time. He had a huge pair of glasses that hang loosely around his neck. He had a huge nose that took up most of his face. And get this, Matthew's eyes were different colors, one was blue and the other was green. Besides his facial complexions, Matthew was really funny and incredibly smart. Ask him what the world's current population was, he'd know it. Ask him the square root of pi multiplied by 6, he'd know it. (Or he guessed and acted like he was smart, I honestly couldn't tell.)
"Hey Paul, where are you heading?" Matthew asked.
"I'm just heading down to the Food Court," I told him.
"Didn't you hear? Food Court has been delayed. There's been a murder."
That reply shocked me. A murder? Why would there be a murder? I went with the obvious answer and assumed Matthew was pulling a major prank. Next he was probably going to tell me it was my dad. So, I just went along with it.
"Really? Who died?" I asked, acting interested. I guess I'm not very good at sounding interested because he just looked at me with those blue and green eyes of his and frowned.
"You don't believe do you. Well, your loss. Anyway, it wasn't just one person.....it was 4. Come on, I'll show you."
I followed Matthew over to the supposed crime scene that he was talking about. He took me over to the bow of the ship and had me climb the ladder on the slide for kids. I was reluctant, but in the end I did as I was told. At the top of the slide, about 20 feet off the ground, You could practically see everything. You could see most of the ship from the construction zone sectioned off by workers, to the end of back of the ship where the food court was placed. Matthew appeared next to me and pointed to a part of the ship, sectioned off by yellow tape that said "Do Not Cross".
"See that over there? If you look closely, you can see
white tape outlining an area on the ground."
I looked closely and sure enough, there it was, a nice white taped section that resembled the outline of a body. Actually, there were 4 white taped body outlines. I couldn't believe it for 3 reasons.
1). Matthew had been telling the truth.
2). Matthew had been telling the truth.
3). Matthew had been telling the truth.
Not once in the short time I've known Matthew has he ever passed up on an opportunity to trick me.
"Paul! Paul where are you!" I could here my parents calling for me in the distance.
"Hey sorry Matthew, I got to go. My parents are calling me," I said.
"Oh, ya. I forgot to tell you. Your parents are looking for you. Ever since the murder crime they've been worried sick. They were afraid you were one of them."
I looked at Matthew, not sure if I should take him seriously, or if I shouldn't believe him. My wondering ceased when my Mom saw me and shouted, "Paul? Oh thank goodness your alright. Where have you been!?"
Should have taken him seriously, I thought to myself.
"I've just been here hanging around with Matthew. What's wrong," I said, trying to sound like nothing had happened
"I'll tell you later. All cruise passengers have been called back to their rooms." My mother said as she beckoned to me with her hand.
"All right, I'm coming down. One second," I said. Just before I turned around to climb the ladder, a metal grappling hook appeared over the side of the ship. It clanged loudly against the ship and then tensed up and slammed into the ship's railing. A man appeared over the side of the ship.
He held a gun in his right hand. My mom screamed. My dad ran at the guy. I heard to loud bangs and my dad crumpled to the floor. My mouth went dry, all the water sucked out of it because of the shock. My mother stood there, horrified, her mouth open but no words or sounds coming out of it. The man stepped over and hit my mother in the head with the butt end of his rifle. I stood there, shocked. Matthew grabbed me and dragged me into the slide. I looked at him. He had a finger over his mouth signaling me to be quiet.
"Be quiet. He doesn't know we're up here," Matthew said to me in a whisper. "Do you understand me?"
I slowly nodded.
"Good. Now listen up. I am not your average boy. I am a secret government agent. There is one of us on every cruise ship that sets sail. It was like that ever since the one at Disney got reported missing. All of the agents are kids. We are drafted once we can walk. They train us to deal with situations like this. Nod your head if you understand."
I nodded again, trying to take in all of the new information. But I could not help but wander off to one thought, My dad just died. My dad just died because of me The thought kept on repeating in my head. If I would have just not followed Matthew, if that is even his real name, to see the stupid crime scene, my parents wouldn't have gone looking for me and my dad wouldn't be dead right now. I don't even know if my mom is alright. I hope she is. I don't want her death to be my fault, too. Suddenly, my mind filled with rage. I was stuck in here while my mom was out there. I wanted to do something. I needed to do something. I started getting up, but Matthew forced me down.
"Woah. Where do you think your going?" Matthew said.
"I'm going to save my mom and stop sitting here like a coward!" I tried getting up again, but Matthew held me steady. He was surprisingly strong for a boy of his size.
"You don't want to do that yet. Did you see what that man was holding? Well, just in case you didn't, I let you know. He had a gun. And what do you have? Two fists that you barely know how to use in a fight. No, we're going to wait until nightfall."
"Why? Why do you think? The hijackers must have already taken over the ship. If they're smart, they've been tracking us for days, researching our ship and estimating at the number of guards we'll have. They've probably killed most of the officers by now like those 4 that were found dead already. If we go out there now they'll see us and kill us on the spot. Plus, we don't have anything to defend ourselves with, yet. If we wait until nightfall, we can sneak into my room and get weapons and report what happened to the Navy. Make sense?"
"Yes," I replied Reluctantly.
"Good, now here's what we are going to do." Matthew said as he started explaining the plan.
Part Two: Matthew
Matthew stood crouched behind a crate. Paul should be in position at the slide waiting for Matthew's signal. Matthew sighed. Poor Paul. He had watched his parents die, a fate no kid should go through. Paul doesn't know it, but his mother had also died. The hit from the mans gun hit her square in the head. Estimating the swing and weight of the gun as it hit Paul's mom, Matthew doubted anyone could survive that. Matthew had to keep this information from Paul. He couldn't afford to have Paul lose it and become thirsty for revenge. The sun set and the moon started to rise up into the air. It's time, Matthew thought. He jumped up from his hiding place and, being as quiet as possible, made his way over to the right side of the ship. Matthew's room was on the left side, but it was Paul's job to get into his room and call for help. Matthew was supposed to cause a diversion to get all the troops away from that side of the ship by shooting a gun, and the only way to get one was from a soldier. He went over his intended route in his head and once he felt like he knew what he was doing, he started running over to the right side of the boat.
Matthew sprinted across the deck of the ship trying to be as quiet as possible. He made it to the other side and dove for cover. He took note of his surroundings. There were many crates and walls that he could use for cover if he were to be shot at.
Along the left side of the ship, a Hijacker turned and started heading his way. Matthew slid behind a crate and waited, listening to the sound of the Hijacker's foot steps as he got closer. Matthew started breathing slowly, getting ready for what he was about to do. The Hijacker was getting close and Matthew could hear his breathing, long and deep. Right before the Hijacker passed the crate Matthew was hiding at, Matthew pivoted on his right foot and swung out with his elbow. Matthew heard a satisfying crunch as the blow struck home against the Hijackers nose. The Hijacker collapsed face forward, momentarily blinded by the tears brought by his broken nose. Matthew stepped out from his hiding place and punched the back of the man's neck. The Hijacker's vision went black as he slumped into unconsciousness. Matthew took the gun from the guard and hit him one more time in the back of the head to make sure he wasn't going to wake up anytime soon. He then aimed up into the air and shot the gun twice. There was shouting from the other side of the boat as the Hijackers heard the gun fire. Matthew quickly checked the clip on the gun to make sure it was still loaded. Might need this in the near future he thought as he made his way further along the right side of the ship, firing one shot every 1 minute to keep the Hijackers as far away from his room as possible.
Come on Paul, its your turn now He thought to himself.
Part Three: Paul
Paul heard the gun shots go off in the distance. According to the plan, that was the signal. Paul started heading down the ladder of the pool slide. Once Paul reached the bottom, he started heading over to the left side of the ship. As he went, he went over Matthew's instructions in his head.
"My room number is 234. The password to enter is 1657384. Inside you will see tons of gadgets and gizmos. Don't touch any of them. Some of those buttons in there have the potential to blow up half of the ship. In the far corner of the room there is a cellphone. Go to it and call the number 801-356-0997. When they answer, ask to speak to Mr. John and say its about the fish. Don't add any other words. You must say exactly that. A new speaker should come on. You need to tell him everything. Tell him that Agent Cult has sent you and that he needs to send help. Tell him about the Hijackers. Don't leave out any details. You got this Paul, I'm counting on you." Matthew had said.
Paul went over the room number, password, and the phone number he had to call as he approached the stairs leading up to the 2 floor. He glanced around, searching for any Hijackers that were around. Seeing none, Paul started heading up the stairs. He came to a door marked, "2nd Floor Rooms 200-299" and walked in. It led to a deserted hallway.
Where is everybody? Paul thought to himself. Ever since the "murders" on the ship, Paul hadn't seen a single passenger besides his parents. They were probably being held hostage somewhere in the ship. Paul quickened his pace. He stopped at room 234. Matthew's room. A number lock was on the door. He remembered the numbers Matthew told him and quickly typed them in. Once Paul typed in the last digit, he heard a couple of clicking sounds and then the door cracked open. He went inside.
Paul turned on the lights and stopped dead in his tracks. The room was huge and all over were weapons like guns and knives and even a rocket launcher. On a panel sliding out from the wall there were 100's of buttons and dials ranging from all different colors. Paul wanted to go check everything out, but he knew he should stick with the plan. He made his way over to the corner of the room where a huge glass case was standing. Inside the glass were all kinds of talking devices like radios, earpieces, and even walkie talkies. Among the gadgets there was a phone. It didn't look like any other phone Paul had ever seen in his life. It was smaller than most phones and it had a huge antenna sticking out of the back. Paul opened the glass case and took out the phone. He dialed in the number that Matthew had told him earlier. A mans voice came on the phone and said,"Hello, could I interest you in our special 2 for five meal?"
Paul swallowed and replied,"I need to talk to Mr. John about the fish."
A new speaker came on and a voice said, "What is wrong? You are not Matthew."
I told the voice everything. All of it. From my dad dying to me calling and asking to speak to Mr. John. Once I was finished the voice replied:
"I'm sending a Navy Ship to your location right now. Well done. Don't worry, help is on the way. Stay out of sight." And with that the phone line went dead.
I was so happy. I had done it. Help was on the way. And not just any help, a Navy Ship was coming! I might actually survive. Then, just as the word survive escaped my thoughts, the door to Matthew's room was blasted open and 3 Hijackers came running in. One shot me in the leg while the other came up to me and hit me in the head with his gun. My vision started turning black and red as I started drifting into the lonely void of unconsciousness.
Find out what happens to Matthew and Paul in my next book Rescued.