For The Daily Prompt: SOS
I will never forget the day that I found, on a beach by my home, a bottle containing a handwritten note signed by Captain Nemo of the legendary submarine the Nautilus. At first, I thought it was a joke. After all, there was never a real Captain Nemo who built a submarine named the Nautilus and navigated the oceans 20,00 leagues under the sea.
At least, I never thought there was one – until I found that bottle and note that was rolled up inside and sealed with a gold, wax seal emblazoned with a big black “N ” in its center.
“What an odd object to find,” I thought to myself.
“It’s genuine!” said Max, the eccentric, and scruffy, antiques dealer who operated a shop by my oceanside home, and who I had brought it to for examination. “And from the looks of it…it’s been to sea for some time!”
He could hardly contain his glee.
I immediately became suspicious though, the way Max was rubbing his dirty beard and eyeing me intently. Max’s reputation was a bit less than scrupulous.
“What about the note, Max…what does it say?”
“Ahh, the note…lets see.” He carefully popped the bottle’s cork then cracked the wax seal and opened the letter. He slowly read through its contents then handed it to me. “Perhaps, you can decipher its meaning.”
I grabbed the letter. It was written in French.
“I don’t speak French, Max.” I said to him, disappointedly. “But you do!” I quickly reminded him.
He snickered deviously, then began to read the letter.
“Ahoy, my fellow maritime friend, or land-bound, oppressor. It is with great reverence that I implore upon you an act of good will. My vessel, the Nautilus, and the people aboard it are in need of much assistance.
Max looked up at me – shockingly.
“And?” I said.
Max read on:
“We have been at sea for many years now and have found food supplies exceedingly scarce about the oceans. The scourge of mankind and its destructive forces upon the seas has forced us to seek alternative means of survival. It is for this reason that I request any provisions you can wholeheartedly spare.”
Max continued staring at the letter in astonishment. For a moment, I could swear he was going to cry.
He went on:
“The Nautilus lies on the seabed incapacitated. Its coordinates are roughly at 30° N, 77° W. Sadly, her electric propulsions have been damaged and are currently under vigorous repair. Until our work is completed, we require immediate assistance. You will be paid in bullion. Your help will be greatly appreciated.”
Captain Nemo – The Nautilus
“Oh my god!” said Max suddenly. He backed up a few steps then looked at me in shock.
“What…what is it, Max?”
“Those coordinates. Those are the coordinates for the Bermuda Triangle!”
What? Are you sure?” I asked him, although I did not doubt Max in the least. He was known to be a worthy seaman and an expert in maritime folklore.
If it was true that this letter was from Captain Nemo, and his submarine the Nautilus was stranded on the ocean floor in the Bermuda Triangle that could explain a lot about why dozens of ships have disappeared inside the Triangle.
Captain Nemo may have been luring them in all along with these fake, bottle messages and then destroying them once they deliver the supplies. It would be the perfect way for him to punish what he always referred to as the world’s oppressors. This would also allow him to remain on the ocean floors indefinitely. .
“What are we going to do?” asked Max.
I thought for a moment, then said, “Nothing. Give me the bottle and the note back.”
Max stepped backwards a few more steps and clutched the letter tightly. “No…I’m not giving it to you. This letter is priceless!”
I quickly lunged at Max and ripped the letter out of his hand and then grabbed the bottle. “It’s mine, you fool, and I’m keeping it!”
It was easy to overpower Max. He was a short and frail man – mostly from too many years of smoking and drinking.
I quickly left the shop then headed the short distance home. As I drove, I kept looking down at the bottle and trying to come up with a plan for what I would do with the bottle and the letter.
Should I show it to anyone else?
Surely, I did not have to worry about Max. He was an old man who was always telling tall-tales about the seas to anyone who would listen. People would quickly disregard his claims as the pure delusions of a silly, old man.
The more I thought about it, however, I quickly came to the conclusion that it would be better not to tell anyone about it at all. It would be better to hide it and maybe find someone who could take me out to sea and bring Captain Nemo the supplies he needed myself. I could spend some time with Captain Nemo and maybe even write a book about his many years of adventures.
Then, and only then, would the world have the answers to the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle and of Captain Nemo. I would be a hero, win the Pulitzer Prize and be revered as an important, discoverer comparable to Christopher Columbus himself.
Yes, that is what I will do I decided.
It is the quest that my life has been searching for forever!
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