There where panicked shouts aboard the ship as I swam closer.
"There's someone down here!"
"Someone all the way out hear? Have ye lost yer marbles!?"
"Just take a look down there, you'll see."
"Blimey he's right! Man overboard! Get 'em up here quick!"
Moments later a simple rope ladder fell from the ship deck. I grabbed a hold and began to climb up. It was a strange feeling as if my body could suddenly feel the effects of gravity again, like climbing out of a deep pool although the fact that I was still completely dry only made it stranger.
I reached the ships deck, despite the difficulty of climbing a rope ladder in a dress. The crew members who where gathered around all gasp, whispering amongst themselves and reaching for their weapons, they eyed me cautiously. I froze, had it been a bad idea to just climb strait up here without a second thought? But I had no other alternatives.
A loud and commanding female voice came from behind the sailors around me. "What's all this? Com'on outta the way!" A couple of the men put up a weak protest as they moved aside to make a path. "But Cap'in! This person is-"
The young woman that, the men addressed as Captain, walked strait past. Her large brown eyes widened with curiosity as she saw me.
I was speechless, as was the woman facing me. We simply looked each other over.
Those brown eyes decorated with long lashes. Her dark curly hair, although tied back in a ponytail I could still see that it was about waist length. Her pale skin was slightly more tanned and her attire may have been more masculine than my own, but there was no mistake the woman standing in front of me could have been my twin.
More of the crew had gathered around now, and they once again began whispering as they glanced at the two of us. "A doppelganger..."
The other version of myself raised her hand. The crew fell silent at this gesture.
The woman glanced around at her crew then back at me. "Are you as they say, a doppelganger?" She ask, her voice was like mine, although she spoke much more coarsely and she seemed to have a lot of confidence in her own words.
I snapped out of my state of shock realizing that this question was directed at me. I searched my empty mind, but I could find no answer to the question. "Huh, a double... ganger?" I looked around confused, the other woman simply laughed. Even her laugh sounded like mine.
She turned to her crew and said, "I'm quite sure that this girlie poses no threat. If she did I'm sure that we'd be in a much more comprisin' position right now."
The people standing around me seemed to drop their guard, they all released their weapons and most went back to their work. Some still glared at me, which made me extremely nervous. The captian walked over to me smiling, "Sorry bout that. We ain't such a bad lot, I hope they didn't scare ye too much."
I shook my head slowly in reply, "Good, good. Come with me below deck, I'll answer any questions ye have to the best of my ability." she put her arm around my shoulders and led me down inside the ship.
I was taken to a large room, it seemed to be some form of office or perhaps a formal place for the Captain to meet with guests. In the center of the room was a desk that was attached to the floor, so that It would not slide around on rough seas. Apart from this the room was modestly furnished to the point where, if I did not know any better I would have not believed that it was on a ship.
The other woman sat behind the desk and motioned for me also to take a seat. I did so reluctantly, as she casually laid her feet on the desk. Glancing at me she explained, "My crew are a little superstitious. A doppelganger is a creature of myth. It is said to be a spirit that takes the form of a human, and if it should ever meet a human that looks exactly the same, then they both shall die."
I swallowed hard, for all I knew I could be such a creature. At the same time, I silently laughed at myself for thinking something like that.
The woman opposite me laughed, "But I, unlike most of my crew, am a realist. I only believe what I see with me own eyes." The woman's gaze locked on me as she continued. "And all I see here is a scared and confused girl."
She put her feet on the ground, lent forward and extended her hand over the desk between us as she introduced herself properly. "The names Devi, that's Cap'in Devi." She smiled.
"I'm Ara." I returned her smile as I shook her hand.
Captain Devi didn't seem like a bad person. In fact it was quite the opposite, she had a warmth about her despite her rough exterior.
I felt compelled to tell this person my whole story. Devi listened intently, and nodded here and there.
Afterward, I felt a little better having talked about my situation. Devi remained quiet for a moment, considering what she had just heard.
"Ye lucky. These are dangerous times..." I nodded, understanding that after all I had been through.
"We now float atop the 'Ghost Ocean'."
"'Ghost Ocean'?" I ask confused. The Captain nodded. "Accordin' to the history books, there was once a large inland ocean right here, long, long ago. But one day it just vanished," Devi kicked her fingers, "Just like that. Gone, overnight. Some of the people from the surrounding towns, which relied on the waters for their economies, went to investigate. But most of 'em drowned, much like ye almost did I imagine. Thus this place was renamed the 'Ghost Ocean'."
How can an ocean become a spirit, I wondered. I sat silently trying to comprehend the so called 'Ghost Ocean'. An ocean that no longer physically exists, yet it still held such great influence over its surroundings.
Captian Devi noticed my deep thought and laughed. "Don't worry girlie, no one can explain it. No matter how hard ye try, its something we mortals will not understand."
With that Devi stood up and walked over to a door at the back of the room, She motioned for me to follow. I stood slowly, as the other woman changed the subject. "I'd really hate to be in ye shoes- I mean shoe." She laughed. I looked down at my bare foot, this was no laughing matter.
When Devi turned to see my unamused expression she quickly continued. "I guess the best thing that ye can do is look feh someone who recognizes ye." Nodding, I stepped into the next room. This room seemed like a bedroom, but it was unorganized and messy, cloths and books where piled everywhere, it was simple and looked quite comfortable apart from the disorder that seemed to overflow.
Devi, stood at the entrance way to another room, I found myself wondering if we where still even on the ship. The Captain continued thoughtfully as she entered the next room, her voice echoed with in the stark white room. "The best place for that would be one of the bigger towns, with lots of people." This was a good point, it made sense.
The sound of running water came from the room that the Captain had entered. I walked to the door and was surprised to see the room was tiled and really was completely white, except for a wicker basket in the far corner. At the center of the room was a bath tub, Devi stood over it watching as water filled the basin.
Steam rose from the water, which ran out from a pipe that was attached to the wall. I watched the steam dancing off the water for a moment, with wonder. Then Devi cut off the water flow, turning a nozzle in the wall, just above the base of the pipe. I snapped out of my trance, and the pirate Captain handed me a towel and said "Take yeh time and relax a little. I'll lend ye some cloths once ye done"
I stood in shock. I looked at the towel, then at Devi. She just smiled and left the room, shutting the door.
I looked around the plain white room, and placed the towel on the basket in the corner, and inspected my now dirty and tattered dress. I had been so preoccupied that I hadn't even noticed. I slipped off my remaining shoe and sock, then began to unbutton my dress.
The bath water looked so inviting, as the irresistible steam played around the edge of the tub. I slowly ran my hand through the warm water, the temperature was perfect.
Peeling off my now ragged dress, I immersed myself in the bath. With a sigh, I began to finally relax and clear my mind.
I felt drowsy, and it didn't take me long to nod off to sleep, now that I was safe and comfortable.
To Be Continued...
(Sorry this one took a while, cuz I actually wrote two endings for it. (I decided to go with the longer one too...)
There will be more soon, I just have to put it all the snippets I wrote in order, edit it, and then type it out.
As always I appreciate comments, especially if u have any suggestions or have found an error. Thanx for reading!)
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