The Brig

It’s just turbulence. Not that bad. Seen it plenty of times before. You know how it works. Air pockets and things. Come on. It’ll be alright. How many times do you hear about a plane going down. Almost never. Not going to happen today. You know that. Just keep it together. Okay then, close your eyes. Keep them closed. No one is looking. It’s alright. No one will think it’s weird that a thirty year old is clinging to the seat with scrunched up eyes. I must look stupid. Can’t think about that now. It’s okay it’ll be over soon.

The Same thoughts keep on going round and round in my head. It never works. No matter how many times I’ve been on a plane, it never works. Smooths out in the air and my hands unclasp the seat. An old woman across the isle smiles at me. That bitch was watching me. Should get up and punch her in the face. Last person she watches.

Plane lurches. Loud crunching sound. The window next to me bursts. Things flying everywhere. The boy a seat back lets go of the bunny it flies out of his window. So glad I had my belt on the entire flight. Eyes scrunched again. Screaming all around. Please. Just. Stop. This isn’t real. It isn’t real. Can’t be. Come on, Mary. We’ll get through this. They’ll do an emergency landing. Just like in the films.

Eyes open. Bag in front of me. Oxygen. Waited to long to grab it. Head’s already light. Just a little more. Got it. Immediately turn around to see if the boy’s alright. He’s got the mask on, sobbing into his dad’s chest. Mask as well, but a massive lump of his head’s been scrapped off from something falling on it. He’s barely awake. Where’s Chip. He’s been in the bathroom for too long. Do they have seat belts in there.

The air pressure levels out and things calm down a little. The old lady, is crying. Harder than I was. Another lurch. Something hits me. Down, out cold.

I awake in a metal room. Nothing like the plane. I’m laying on a bed, on top of a white sheet and under a white quilt. My head has been placed upon a white pillow. I sense a theme here. My hands reach the top of my head. Somebody’s put a bandage on it. I sit up. The walls and ceiling are completely metal. The bed runs the length of the room on the right hand side, with a table to the left of me. There is a door opposite the table.

The second I sit up, I’m dizzy. Barely aware of who I am. I’ve never even seen a room like this before. It’s just weird. There’s a loud clank and then the door swings towards me. A man walks in.

“You’re finally awake then.”


What’s going on. The only thing that I wanted to ask, but couldn’t. The man had walked into the room. Long parka coat. Scruffy beard. Cap on, hanging low and covering his eyes. His voice was kind, and not intimidating.

“How you feeling?”

I scrunch my body up to the wall behind me. This isn’t happening. I’m on the plane. Fell asleep during the flight and this is the dream. My head starts aching. You can’t feel pain in a dream. That’s what they say. Maybe their wrong. Who even told me that. Can’t remember. This isn’t happening.

“Don’t do that. Lay still. You’ve hurt your head.”

Something in his voice made me think he wants to help me. I did as he said, positioned myself so I was comfortable and didn’t move. He places his hand on my shoulder.

“You’ll be alright in a couple of days. Something must have hit you pretty hard. Can you remember what happened at all?”

I couldn’t exactly. It was a bit fuzzy. I was on a plane. It started shaking. Things were flying. That’s it. I think my eyes were closed.

“I was on a plane,” I tell him. “I don’t remember much else.”

“That’s alright. At least you remember that. Just wanted to make sure your head is still working.” He laughed a little.

There is a little room on the edge of the bed, he sits down and smiles at me. Normally I would find this annoying and would try to get him to leave, but right now it’s comforting.

“Where am I?”

He laughs again. Such a nice laugh. “I suppose I should tell you that. Kind of hard to believe that I forgot. You’re on my boat. Delivery boat. I’m the captain. Call me Abe. We were on out way away from Britain and someone spotted the plane going down. No idea why. Was told one of the wings burst into flames and then it started to fall apart. Falling down into the sea. We knew we had to do something. I remember leaning over the side, watching it. I was stunned. Didn’t know what to do. How to react. Luckily others were faster than me and got out lifeboats to save you. Don’t how many were on the plane but we got as many as we could.”

I couldn’t let him continue without knowing. “Chip. Did you get him?”

“Chip. Ah, young man, wide glasses, skinny, has a stupid hat. Goes by the name Chip. That smile says I’m right. Yeah. He was in the bathroom when it went down. Nearly forgotten, but he got out before it completely submerged. You’re the Mary he was asking about. You can see him in a couple of days. We aren’t exactly a medical ship and he’s stuck on the other side of the ship. And you shouldn’t go walking around yet, we need to keep you in for observation.”

He paused. Everything he said made sense. Muffled screaming.

“What was that?” I asked.

“Some of the other survivors are in real pain. I’ll go and grab the doctor. Don’t try and move. I’ll be back soon. You’re hungry, right?”


I sat still like he told me. It’s not like he gave me a reason to doubt him. He was the captain, but now he’s gone there was something strange about him. I couldn’t really focus on them when he was in the room, but his eyes. There was something about them. Can’t remember what at the moment, but I’m sure about it. Maybe I’m just being stupid. I’ve really hurt my head.

The screaming was still going strong outside. Was it Chip. It can’t be. He’s on the other side of the ship, but it could be him. Couldn’t it? I have no reason to trust the captain. No reason to doubt him either. I’m a good enough judge of character and he seemed trustworthy enough. Friendly. If he wanted to hurt us, then he could have just left us in the water.

Maybe they need help next door. I’m no doctor, but I’ve had enough training to help. I swing my legs over the edge off the bed. The screaming stops. My feet hit the floor. I stand, my head goes light. Nearly fall over, but grab the bed in time to save myself. I push of the bed, swaying over towards the wall, and use that to keep myself up. I should be fine when I get going. I know Abe said I should just stay still but he was just worrying, I’ll be alright.

The door is heavier than I thought it would be. Should have guessed though, it is made entirely out of metal. The handle was a long horizontal bar, on the right side of the door, about half way up. It didn’t take much pressure to pull it open, and then it swung back towards me. I walked through. Head slightly better now. Which way was the screaming coming from.

My room was on a corridor where all the doors were on one side. The other was bare. Just metal. I was about halfway from either end. To the left was a dead end, and to the right was a corner leading around the side of the last room. I think it was coming from the left. Three rooms before the dead end. Shouldn’t be too hard to find.

I reach the first door, my feet clanking on the floor. I don’t think I’d realised before, but I’m wearing black almost medical scrubs kind of clothing along with a pair of black boots. They fit well. How did I not notice this. Or did I? Can’t remember. My head starts spinning again and I grab onto the door handle. Push it down and let my body go with the swing of the door. At the edge of the room is a bed, a white sheet covering a body like shape. A red puddle in the middle, with splatters on the floor.

“I told you to stay in your room, Mary. We don’t want you getting hurt.”

I jumped, nearly falling over. Abe was standing right behind me.


How did he get in here without me hearing him. I checked the corridor and my footsteps were so loud. He was wearing similar boots to mine. I couldn’t have missed him, so how did he get here. He would of had to have ran down the corridor to get here in the time I wasn’t looking.

“Don’t look so startled. I’m only worried about you. Come on, lets get you back to bed. There’s no helping here. Sadly he is no longer with us.”

“What happened?” I asked as he took my arm and led me back to my room. All of my doubts had disappeared.

“Nasty stuff. When the plane went down a piece of metal went through his stomach. We thought we could save him, but we were wrong. The doctor stopped most of the bleeding, bandaged him up well enough, but things inside. They weren’t up for the fight. He wasn’t in much pain in the end.” I thought back to the screaming. At least it was only brief. He smiled and then continued. “Why am I even telling you all this. You don’t need to know. As long as your safe. There you go. Lay back down. You don’t want to have any accidents. And this is a boat. In the middle of the sea. We are quite a distance from land as well. It will be a few days before we can get you properly checked out. Doing better than we thought. I’ll get the doc to come and have a look at you in the morning. If your well enough you can go and see, what’s his name. Chip, that’s the fella. Oh and didn’t I promise you some food, how stupid I am to forget. I would have came straight back to you after the man died, god rest his soul, but went to get food. I got chatting with somebody, a little way down the hall. You know how it is. Just you wait here. I’ll go and get you something. Some water too.”

He left the room. My head, spinning. When he was here, all I could do was trust him. His kind voice negates his harsh appearance, but now he’s gone. My instincts are telling me to run, but how can I? He could be waiting outside the room for me. Could know all my doubts. But I’m just being stupid, aren’t I? He’s done nothing but be kind to me. I just get this creepy feeling. It’s in my head. Got to be. I’ve hit it pretty hard. Don’t know how long I’ve been out. First things first I need to see the doctor. If I could meet one other person on the ship, that would calm me. He comes back in. Tray, steaming soup, bottled water. It’s sealed. Nothing slipped in outside of the room. Ignore his face. Avoid the eyes.

“Thanks,” I smile. “I don’t want to be more bothersome, but can I see the doctor?”

“You not feeling well? That’s not good. I can try, but he was with another guy a minute ago and seemed busy.”

“Can I go to the toilet while you ask?”

“Toilet?” He had a really strange look on his face. “I guess so… Don’t see why it would be a problem.”


He led me out into the corridor. This time we turned to the right and followed it to the end and around the corner. There were more rooms here. This time on both sides. Two on the left and one on the right. There was also a door right in front of us. This one was different to the other doors. It was one of those hatch like doors with the wheel in the middle to open it.

Abe walked ahead and opened the last door on the left.

“Wait here, one moment please. Just going to check if anyone’s in there.”

He didn’t wait for an answer, just walked in and pulled the door too. I wait outside. How big can it be in there for me to have to wait. I get close to the small crack in the door, but can’t see anything. Pitch black. He’s been gone a while. Can’t be that big. What’s that noise? Cracking. Sizzling. Popping. What is it. Is there someone else in there. A flush. Abe comes back out. He swung the door open. The lights on now. He walks back out. Bigger than before. His cap pulled further down. Just his bushy beard on show. He pulls up his head and looks at me.

“No one in there, but thought I might as well take advantage. Hope you don’t mind. Nature’s calling and all.”

I force a smile. There was something in his eyes. I’ve worked around it now. It doesn’t affect me. He’s using them to control me. I’m sure of it. It isn’t going to work now. I know his plan. And he doesn’t know that I know. I walk into the bathroom and close the door. It’s tiny inside. A little cubicle, a sink and a towel rack with one dirty looking white towel.

I walk over to the stall until I’m sure he’s gone. Maybe I’m just imagining all of this. None of it is actually happening. Maybe I’m still on the plane. Fell asleep. Had too many pre-flight drinks and having a really bad nightmare. Maybe my head is doing this to me. I’ve hit it hard. But his eyes. There is something wrong with them. They lit up once they looked at me. I’m sure of it. There was no light above us to reflect in them. Where were the lights. There is a single bulb handing from a thread in here, but out there. I don’t remember seeing one. He’s made this place to kill me. To torture me. Make me feel pain. Why. I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this. Please.

I don’t know who I’m begging. If I’m stuck here, then I’m stuck here. Maybe I’m not even on a boat. I’m in some warehouse in London. If I can get out then I’ll be okay. Just need to breath and focus. He’s gone now, I’m sure of it. My hand reaches out to the door handle. It’s locked, with no lock on this side.


Why would he lock me in here? Does he know that I don’t trust him? Is he suspicious? One thing I’m sure about. I can’t trust him anymore. He’s evil. He’s locked me in here, for no reason. I can’t let him know that I’m on to him. He’s gone, so didn’t hear me try and open the door. Pretend I’ve gone to the toilet. Flush the chain and wash my hands. When he opens the door, I’ll act like I know nothing.

Flush. Taps on. Wash. Taps off. Door. Open. Abe is outside, leaning against the opposite wall, smiling.

“Don’t know if you noticed or not, but I had to lock the door. We were taking the body passed and wanted to make sure you wouldn’t see it. Not a pretty sight.”

Did he know? Was this the truth? Am I just being paranoid?

“Thanks. I appreciate it. What are you going to do to the body?”

I had to move the subject away from the locked door. I can’t be sure about anything, and don’t want him asking if I knew.

“One of the guys said we should just throw it overboard. I’m not going to lie, that would be the easy way, but it wouldn’t be fair. That man has a family and they deserve the body.”

“That’s right. It’s the right thing to do.”

“Yes. It is. We’ve moved the body down to the bottom floor. It’s always cold down there.”

“That’s good. Is the doctor available?”

“I’m sorry, but no he isn’t. He’s assured me that if you’re walking around then you are okay. There are a lot of people in pain on board and we need to make sure they are alright. You’ll be seen in the morning. How is your head? If it is really bad, we can go see him. I don’t want you to be in pain.”

To be honest, my head isn’t in any pain at all, should I be worried about that?

“It seems to be alright now. I think I just need to lie down.”

He leads me back to my room, makes sure I’m alright and then leaves me there, laying on the bed. Should I just trust him. He hasn’t done anything to hurt me. It’s not like he hasn’t had the chance. There is just something about him that makes me want to run. I pull myself up. No pain in my head at all. Is that weird? Am I dreaming this? I go to pinch myself, but stop. No that’s just stupid. I’m not in a TV show, I’m not dreaming. I know how that feels.

The door is unlocked. I walk out into the corridor, look left and right. Nothing. I go back to the room where I saw the body earlier. It’s gone, so his story works out. He didn’t lock me in the room either. I walk back round and go to the hatch like door. Using both hands, I turn it.


4 Responses to The Brig

  1. Pingback: Part 4 | Ashley Manning

  2. Pingback: Part 5 | Ashley Manning

  3. Pingback: Part 6 | Ashley Manning

  4. Pingback: A week off | Ashley Manning

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