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The Captain's Log

Updated: Mar 1

[The document is part of a ship’s log. It looks water damaged though whether that was responsible for the missing pages or whether someone deemed the rest of the log to be unnecessary, I’m not certain.]



May 23rd 1968


11am: Zane is absolutely right; these idiots don’t have a clue what they’re doing. They’ve hired themselves a boat and a couple of men to sail it, and they’ve set up their fancy equipment assuming that was all it would take to become the next John Peel. Didn’t a single one of them think to learn how to use that equipment before we sailed?


Thank god they paid upfront.


Three of them, Richie, Tom (the de facto leader of our little group of employers) and Simon, have spent the last four hours unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to broadcast a signal. That hippy woman they brought with them, Morveren, doesn’t seem interested in helping. She’s been sitting up on deck all day instead, drawing seals.


She showed me one of the pictures and then asked me if I’d ever seen a mermaid. I told her that you don’t get them around here anymore, and she wanted to know: Why not?


Thinking of the idiots below decks, I told her that nowadays everyone listens to music on the radio, instead of mermaid songs. I think she might have believed me.


Winds getting up a bit, but nothing unexpected. Fuel running low.



May 24th 1968


12pm: Fair weather today, calm and sunny. Would be good for fishing, if I weren’t partaking in a side-line of piracy. I’d always imagined that buccaneering would be more glamourous than illegal radio, though.


We returned to port to refuel and the idiots sought out some advice on the broadcasting of radio signals. Guess whoever they asked knew what he was talking about because, blow me down, they’re finally transmitting. The signal is weak and the music is terrible, but they seem happy about it.


Feels like we can all relax now, enjoy the sea and the weather a bit. We’re out further than we’ve been for the last few days. Can’t see the mainland from here and no other ships about. Clear blue sky, summer’s on its way.


I thought the hippy girl was drawing seals again, though we’re really too far out to see them, but instead she showed me a picture of a mermaid listening to the radio and looking sad about it.


It’s actually quite good. I’d have kept it but she folded it into a paper boat and threw it overboard.



May 25th 1968


9am: Calm sea today, gonna be another warm one. Even saw some seals out, which was a nice surprise. If Morveren draws anymore of them, I might ask if I can keep one of the pictures.


Peace didn’t last long, though, as Tom called me and Zane into the compartments to ask for our help. Apparently their broadcast frequency has been “stolen”. He tuned into the frequency and told us to listen. After a bit of crackling, during which I won’t pretend me and Zane didn’t share a look, we could hear a woman’s voice speaking, repeating the same phrase on loop:


50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey


It was one of those number stations; Old radio channels that broadcast meaningless strings of digits on a constant loop. I hate them, creepy as hell they are.


Zane listened for a bit then asked if they were definitely on the same frequency as yesterday. These things don’t tend to just pop up. Tom was adamant, though I don’t think Zane or I really thought that meant much. I’m not really sure what he expected us to do about it. In the end the three of us just stood there like twits, listening to some spooky voice repeating nonsense over and over again. I don’t know what we were thinking, but we seemed to lose track of time somewhat and would probably have just stood around a while longer yet had not Simon, Morveren and Richie appeared at the door.


Me and Zane left them to it after that. Their problem, not ours.


11pm: I can hear Tom in the lower compartments listening to that goddamn number station.


50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey, 50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey, 50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey…


I guess they haven’t fixed it yet. Don’t know why he couldn’t wait ‘til morning though.



May 26th 1968


11am: Well, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day but no one aboard is happy. Tom absconded with our bloody life boat and disappeared during the night. Richie and Simon are furious about it, can’t think of any reason why he’d do something so stupid.


Only Morveren, who I’m pretty sure is high most of the time, is taking it in her stride.


I told Zane to get on to the coast guard. I don’t suppose Tom has the slightest idea of what to do and he’ll be lucky if they pick him up before he does something idiotic. Well, more idiotic.


After a while, I went to talk to Zane, to ask him if he’d had a response from the coastguard yet. I was surprised to find him sitting in the compartments listening to the number station. I asked him what he was doing. He waved his hand at the radio and told me that he actually found it quite relaxing. Something lyrical about it, he said.


50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey, 50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey, 50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey…


Madness must be contagious, I thought, or maybe just stupidity. Ain’t nothing relaxing or lyrical about a creepy voice to me. When I prodded him about the coastguard, he assured me they were out looking for Tom.


Morveren was out on deck again, not drawing this time. She had her arms resting up on the side rail, staring out towards the mainland.


I asked her if she was a local.


She said she was, that her family went way back round there. Then she pointed down towards the water and told me to look.


I peered overboard and thought I saw the shape of dolphins, their dark outlines disappearing under the boat. Not an unusual sight out here but probably exciting for some one new to the sea.


No word from the coastguard yet.



May 27th 1968


10am: There is something about that station. I’d not go as far as Zane and say the voice is lyrical, but there is something compelling about it. Hypnotic maybe, therapeutic. Richie and Simon left it on last night whilst they slept and woke up this morning saying they’d never felt better. They certainly don’t seem to care about Tom anymore.


Maybe I’ll give it a try myself. I’ve been having odd dreams lately.


When did we last fuel?



May 28th 1968


While the raging seas did roar

And the stormy winds they did blow,

And we jolly sailor boys was up, up aloft

And the landlubbers lying down below, below, below,

And the landlubbers lying down below.


Zane has gone. Did he take the lifeboat? I feel like it was gone already but I’m not sure.


I dreamt of Morveren, sitting on the side of the boat with her feet trailing in the water, the seals swimming about her. She laughed and handed me the picture of the mermaid with the radio, except the creature wasn’t sad anymore but smiling. Then she said she had to go see her family and dove overboard.



May 30th 1968


Richie disappeared during the night. I asked Simon where he was but he said he couldn’t remember when he saw him last. Then he asked if he could pilot the boat. I told him that he didn’t know how to, which he agreed was true. He stood still for a while, staring out to sea then suddenly turned around.


He had the oddest expression on his face, somehow both blank and desperate at the same time. Told me that he didn’t really want to go. But that he had to.


I was about to ask him where he had to go when he adds that he really wished that I hadn’t brought her on board.


Brought who on board?


Morveren.


I was about to say that she had come aboard with his group, not mine, but he just turned away and vaulted over the side of the boat into the water.


I think I should return to port. Or should I? It feels like there’s somewhere I need to be.



What date is it?


I leave the radio on all the time now. It’s too quiet with the others gone. The voice soothes me like nothing else, a pretty little song that calls to me.


I saw Richie in the water. I guess he wasn’t a very strong swimmer, but I had no time to bring his body aboard.


I wonder if Tom made it, or Zane or Simon?


I know where to go now. I won’t be alone for long. I wonder if it’ll be Morveren I see when I get there?


50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey

50 11 59 November 5 34 40 Whiskey




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