Curse of the Drowned

Summary:
November 08, 2014: An American, a Russian, and a Brit walk onto a boat. Sounds like a bad joke. Instead, it's a bad demonic entity trying to eat Captain Mack's soul.

Quint's Folly - NY Harbor

A 90 foot fishing trawler parked in Slip 19 on Dock 32 of the NY Harbor.


Characters

NPCs

  • Obrou

Mood Music:
None


The Quint's Folly isn't typically a boat of any noteworthiness. It's a simple fishing trawler, a 90-footer, used for the bottom netting of Atlantic Cod, settled into its usual slip on the docks of the NY Harbor. The owner, Captain Mackenzie Linden, is equally lacking noteworthiness, other than the fact she's one of the few female fishing captain's in the area. Tonight, however, everyone on the docks seems to be fleeing the boat and leaving its resident Captain alone by a long, long stretch of flight.

The Folly is glowing an eerie blue-white, enveloped in a fog that seems to only exist around the boat itself, and nowhere else in the harbor. Just off the boat, on the dock itself, paces a large, 170 pound ball of fur named Rufus. The Folly's water rescue dog is whining and circling, not wanting to desert his owner, but unwilling or unable to climb the gangplank onto the boat.

Somewhere, in the belly of the trawler, Mack Linden is being held captive. She spent all day fixing the engine of the massive winch that hauls the fishing nets up onto the deck. She'd gotten a part cheap, from a questionable source, in a back alley warehouse near Shucky's Bar. Once it was fitted and the engine was started, something bad happened. It was like the Folly took on a life of its own. Cables snaked around Mack and bound her tightly, and someone, no, some thing, poured out of the engine exhaust and took solid form. She hasn't been able to focus on its shape, as it shifts and changes when she looks directly at it. She can only see it out of the corner of her eye, and it's like a nightmare given shape. It has tentacles, like a giant squid, but a torso and head like something humanoid, horned, and nightmare fueling.

She had no way of knowing that the broker was trying to unload a cursed object, tied to a demon who has been long contained in it, one who feeds on the souls of sailors.

The thing lets out an unearthly howl, and the police band reports are that something is horribly wrong in Slip 12 of Dock 32.

"Slip 12?"

Barry Allen is deep in the throes of a fascinating case about a mutant who accidentally exploded and took her aunt with her. It was an accident, he's pretty sure, but the science of the case grips him as much as any murder case would. But, despite his intense interest, the news over the police band breaks his concentration.

"Isn't that Mack's slip?" He shuffles through the receipts in his pockets of his pants and his stark white labcoat. He wrote it down after she told him-where did he put it?

"Who's Mack?" asks Charlie Thurgood, a classic New Yorker with a thick drawl and little patience.

"She's a friend," Barry says absently as he finds the piece of paper. Slip 12.

"I have to go," the young man from Central City says.

"And leave that work? Are you crazy?"

"It'll be here for me when I get back, Charlie. Bag of donuts if you seal the samples for me," Barry's walking out of the door even as he asks the question. The needs of the living out weigh the needs of the dead.

A streak of red and white blazing through the sky, be it a man a robot or something in between what is known is that it's traveling at past the speed of sound. Inside this streaking device is one Dmitri Pushkin eyes on a small heads up display on his suits visor, on one side a recording of the Rockey and Bullwinkle show, the other a small map of the city with his position highlighted and in the middle a clear view of his surroundings.

"Is there nothing you can't do?" Rocket says to himself in Russian with a smile, as the old cartoon show plays on. He's somewhat oblivious to his surroundings but something about that fog catches his attention bringing him to a stop, rocket propulsion keeping him in place. Then comes the report over the radio confirming there's something wrong. Turning off his little display Dmitri slowly lowers himself closer to the ground, having to focus his attention more on this odd occurrence.

Constantine appears on the docks, walking with his usual, purposeful swagger, hands jammed into his knee-length, camel-hair trenchcoat. One of the cops moves to stop him, but he flashes a blank piece of paper at the man, who, startled, lets him through the line. He carries a doctor's valaise satchel in his left hand, and pauses on the edge of the gangplank, looking into the swirling fog around the slip. The supernatural detective starts up the gangplank, his heavy-browed eyes glancing this way and that. Jiggling something in his right duster pocket, Constantine steps onto the ship, his leather-soled Oxfords creaking against the deck.

"Sing out, me hearties, yo ho!" he sings in a low voice. "Yo, ho, yo, ho, a pirate's life fer me. We're rascals and scoundrels, we're villains and knaves, drink up, me 'earties, yo ho."

"Ahoy the boat, permission to board! Is the captain about?" Constantine calls up to the bridge, standing on the foredeck with his feet spread for balance.

The fog that surrounds the boat feels like the cold of the sea bottom to anyone coming in contact with it. It also holds a sensation of utter wrong that has sent everyone but the bravest few scurrying out of the very sight of it. Rufus is a brave dog at heart, staying as near to the Folly as he can, but the giant Leonberger can't bring himself to cross the threshold into the unnatural mist itself. He lies down facing the gangplank, resting his massive head on his paws, and whines mournfully.

Inside, on the lowest deck of the boat, the winch engine clanks and hisses, running not at all normally but running still. The thing that emerged from the exhaust whispers in a slithering gibberish, sounds that resemble someone trying to speak while being held under water. It waves a clawed hand above her, the metallic clacking sound of talons scraping together like nails on a chalkboard. Mack's head fills with the vision of the black bottom of the Atlantic, the burial ground of thousands of men from the time of the Napoleonic Wars, the Age of Sail, when this creature last walked this plane and claimed the souls of the drowned.

"What do you want?" Mack shouts, but the shout is more a hoarse gurgle, her teeth beginning to chatter as a cold far deeper than that outside the ship seems to seep into her. She feels like she's soaked to the bone, sodden wet, in the coldest waters of deepest winter. She feels droplets of water begin to shiver down her flesh, and looks down at herself. She is wet, despite the boat being dry as a bone. It's as if she is being submerged in water she can only feel, not see.

The sound of Constantine's voice startles her into motion as she struggles in the cables binding her. "CHAUNCEY!" she hollers, a weak shout, but one aided by the various pipes and ducts leading from the engine room to the surface.

Amid a crackle of electricity and a whoosh of air, the Flash becomes visible just outside the police line. He takes a look at the situation and tries to discern the facts a quick as possible. Blue and whitish hue. Could be many things, could be some sort of trick of the light and the fog. Could be something underneath the boat lighting it up. Could be some sort of paint or some sort of trick by a technological device to put on a show.

"Mack," he says, worriedly, seeing that she's being held against her will.

Magic never really enters Barry's thoughts as she speeds away, past the police barricade. So quickly, in fact, the breeze blows the hats off of a pair of uniformed cops.

Barry zips across the little bridge to her boat, eyes focused on Mack. Still, he stops to look at Constantine as he passes by. Get a load of that guy. What's he doing here.

As Barry approaches, he's intent on disarming Mack from the bonds and getting her the hell out of her right quick.

Continuing a slow decent, Rocket looks over the ship itself trying to get something anything from it. What he gets causes him to just about lose control over his suit, the propulsion giving out for a quick moment.

Rocket calls out in a completely inhuman voice "Hokey smokes!", before switching back on his rockets just in time to avoid crashing right through the ship.

He'd never had to deal with something like this before, this feeling of dread, but from the moment he lands he turns his focus to life support trying to shut out that feeling all together. Trying to keep his mind off of the odd looks his hammer and sickle seem to attract.

Turning to face the man in the trenchcoat as someone speeds past he asks "Were we supposed to be asking permission before boarding?" in a thick robotic Russian accent.

Constantine reflexively ducks as Barry shoots past him, holding a hand up to protect his eyes from the wake he produces. His trenchcoat picks up the breeze and flutters for a moment, then falls still again. "Blimey, what was that?" The mage looks up at Rocket Red, eyes rising. "It's tradition, mate," Constantine tells the fellow. "Piss of people all you like, but it never hurts to be considerate to a spirit." He nods at the swirling mists, then cocks an ear at the muffled cries from below. "Excuse me, mate."

Having heard Mack's cries from below decks, Constantine casts around, looking for egress below. He spots the open hatch leading belowdecks and, juggling his doctor's bag, starts climbing down the ladder, then hops to the deck and descends yet another level, looking over his shoulder the entire time. He lands on the bottom deck, inches above the bilge sumps, and watches Barry trying to pull the cables apart. "Good luck with that, mate," Constantine tells the Fastest Man Alive. "Don't know too many people who can cut through steel with bare hands." He looks Mack up and down, then winks. "Hang on a tick, luv. I'll have you out of there soonish."

Constantine produces a pendant from his pocket and starts muttering over it, a language that sounds vaguely Gaelic with some English thrown in. "I command you to show yourself to me," Constantine says, casting his stern voice to the steel of the boat. "I demand of thee thy name, face, and purpose. Spirit, show thyself!" he commands.

Bells clang — ghostly bells — of the sort that used to call sailors to their supper in the galley before hulls went from wood to metal, and sails powered them rather than machinery. There is the creak of canvas and rope, and a smell of sea air cleaner and older than what has been in NY Harbor for centuries. There is also the sound of screams, echoing from the past, the screams of those who were cast into the water by weather, wave, or simple misfortune long, long ago. Most sailors could not swim in those days. A fall over the rail meant near-certain death.

Anyone setting foot on the ship feels a sudden weight, as if there are wearing lead shoes, as if they are overboard and too heavy, being dragged towards the bottom of a depthless sea. It is hard to battle against this fatigue, and the primal terror it incites. Being dragged into dark water, unable to claw to the surface, your lungs bursting with the need for air, lights exploding in front of your eyes as your brain begins to lose the ability to make vision work. The closer one gets to Mack Linden, the stronger the sensations become. Also, the wetter the rescuers get as the unnatural forces at work seem to be drowning them on dry land, or dry deck at least.

Mack's eyes, looking unfocused and pale, as if she's beginning to experience hypothermia, turn towards the Flash, recognizing her name, but not the person speaking it. Her lashes are rimmed with hoarfrost, the same creeping up her legs. Her lips are going bluish from the cold. The cables constrict around her, hundreds of feet entwining her in a maze of rope and metal, strung up to a wall like a fly caught in the web of a deranged spider. She opens her mouth to speak, but water dribbles out. She's drowning from the inside out.

The demon slithers forward, still unseen except from the corner of the eyes, three tentacles reaching for the Flash, the undersides bearing the awful hooked cups of the giant squid. Then Constantine arrives and the thing hisses and materializes. Its eight feet tall, with ten tentacles barbed menacingly, the torso of a drowned man, distended and sickly pale, and the head of a monster, the beak of the squid and horns of a demon. Its massive arms are tipped with taloned hands, and it swings two more tentacles at the warlock, grabbing for the pendant. "Who dare demand anything of Obruo!?" Latin for to drown. A demon old as sailing.

Repeating what he can remember of what Constantine has said, he moves over to the ladder soon after. He's finding it difficult to keep his suit together at the moment but with a bit of a thought he has the images of his family to keep his mind off this unsettling feeling.

There's no using the ladder for rocket, more just gliding down beside the rocket, his bulky armor making any attempts to climb up or down things ill advised. He's fast enough to get down in time to see something, for a moment, though he's not sure if he did see it.

"You'll find out I'm not anything you've seen before," the Flash says as he begins to work on the wires and the cables. Grabbing the end of them with both hands he begins vibrating fiercely hoping to pull them apart by loosening the bonds at incredibly high speeds and using its flexibility against itself.

But even as he does so he can feel the heavy pull of the sea on him, dragging him downward. He's not normally one to feel fear, but the inability to get away from that feeling. Gritting his teeth, he redoubles his efforts, focusing on her bonds, and begins to work on another one if successful.

Eventually his legs are grasped the tentacles of the demon and the scarlet clad hero is pulled away from Mack, sliding on his back towards the demon. Eyes wide and worried, he kicks his heels as fast as he can attempting to break the grip.

Constantine takes a few deep, controlled breaths, eyes narrowing at the sensation overcoming him. The greatest power of the spectral entities is fear, and Constantine hardens his will against the fear overcoming him, coughing once, firmly, and spitting a mouthful of salty brine onto the deck of the engine room.

The spectre appears before him, lashing with tentacles, and Constantine raises the pendant a bit higher, a faint glow limning it. When those tentacles strike, flames sprout from the pendant, lashing out like whips to strike at those grabbing appendages.

"I'm the bloke who's going to banish you into oblivion, mate," he informs the monster. "Unless you let this boat and these people go. This is your one warning." He walks forward, dragging his feet on the ground, but holding the burning pendant aloft yet, a talisman against the evil here. "Stadh-cuil, tuit sir t'ais, fleadh in geocach, dearcargah a dh' itheas," he chants, his voice still firm and steady. The flames from the talisman burn brighter with every word, a warmth suffusing the room, driving back the numbing sensations of the icy grasp of a watery grave. A sensation like a warm summer sun seems to come from the center of the pendant, along with memories of sweet grass, soft summer loam, and the drone of honeybees.

Flash gets enough of the cables parted that Mack falls forward, onto the floor, water still leaking from her mouth as she shudders and her lungs fill with fluid. She passes out, although the incantation Constantine uses has the bluish tinge leaching from her skin. Time is of the essence here, though the cold is retreating, the water inside the Captain is still there.

Obruo raises both arms to shield himself, itself, from the flames of John's talisman and Barry's kicks dislodge the sharp hooks of the tentacles holding him. The Flash is free a moment later. The demon writhes, circling tentacles around itself protectively, putting its bulk between the heroes facing it, and the winch engine still running behind it.

Barry zips over to her and, from his knees, his hands are placed on her back and just below he throat. His hands begin to vibrate quickly in an attempt to raise her body temperature. Soon, he's a blur, moving to her head, her legs, toes, etc. Oberman, or whoever, is forgotten for the moment.

His hands check her. She's not breathing. Good thing he knows CPR.

Holding up his hand towards the creature the yellow glow from Rockets mask starts to come from his hand as well. It glows brighter and brighter the hot yellow light warming up the room. "Who is wanting squid for dinner?" Coming out in a similarly robotic voice, the older Russian man trying his best to sound 'badass', but falling slightly short.

Holding up his hand towards the creature the yellow glow from Rockets mask starts to come from his hand as well. It glows brighter and brighter the hot yellow light warming up the room. "Who is wanting squid for dinner?" Coming out in a similarly robotic voice, the older Russian man trying his best to sound 'badass', but falling slightly short.

The sound of a whirling engine starts to slow down, grinding and seizing, as if something were wrong with it. Rocket's life support goes down parts of the suit losing power as he redirects his focus that glow growing stronger and hotter. If anyone has a cellphone they'll find it going off blaring for seemingly no reason, the lights flickering on and off, the boat itself shaking somewhat.

Constantine's eyes narrow, glancing behind the demon as it shifts position. Barnacles on a ship are one thing, but the winch assembly, completely rusted and covered in nautical sea-life, when the rest of the engine is shiny new steel? That's enough to make any detective curious.

"No time for that! Get her out of here!" Constantine orders Barry with a snap. He bears down on the monster like a physical force, still chanting Gaelic. He stops for only a moment, letting the pendant hang from his wrist by the chain, and brings up a can of spraypaint and a lighter. "Suffer the flames of purification! Know the fire that brings life and purity!" Constantine demands of the monster, bearing down on it with the improvised flamethrower. Almost close enough to touch the watery monster, he switches the flames from the demon itself to the winch engine, blasting the rusted, corrupted screws with a bright-burning flame, teeth set in a grimace and his eyes narrowed against the intensity of the fire blasting against the metal.

When the engine for the winch stops moving, something about Obruo seems to falter and weaken. His connection to the Quint's Folly has begun to fail. The cold in the air dies as does the fog surrounding the boat. The feeling of being dragged into the water becomes faint, tenuous, as if the creature has to focus on its own manifestation, rather than its hold on the immediate reality.

As Constantine melts the ancient screws holding the $20 motor part onto the engine. They once were part of the hull of the HMS Eagle, one of four ships that were sunk on reefs of the Scilly Isles in 1707, resulting in the deaths of 1400 sailors. Obrou feasted on the souls of the drowned that day, and the screws of the shattered hulls became tainted. They failed to hold on the reefs, and their part in the drownings cursed them evermore.

Mack is still unconscious on the deck of the ship, even as Rufus bounds up the gangplank and into the boat looking for her.

When the engine for the winch stops moving, something about Obruo seems to falter and weaken. His connection to the Quint's Folly has begun to fail. The cold in the air dies as does the fog surrounding the boat. The feeling of being dragged into the water becomes faint, tenuous, as if the creature has to focus on its own manifestation, rather than its hold on the immediate reality.

As Constantine melts the ancient screws holding the $20 motor part onto the engine, the demon shrieks, the sound echoing through the boat, and inside the heads of the rescuers. It's not a sound they will soon forget. Obruo melts into sea water, leaking down into the ballast tanks where he is flushed out, nothing more than natural liquid as the demonic entity is cast back into the pit from whence he came.

The screws are nothing but slag now. They once were part of the hull of the HMS Eagle, one of four ships that were sunk on reefs of the Scilly Isles in 1707, resulting in the deaths of 1400 sailors. Obrou feasted on the souls of the drowned that day, and the screws of the shattered hulls became tainted. They failed to hold on the reefs, and their part in the drownings cursed them evermore.

Mack is still unconscious on the deck of the ship, even as Rufus bounds up the gangplank and into the boat looking for her.<re>

Barry looks down at Mack worriedly. His attempts at CPR don't seem to have been fruitful and if she's going to be brought back, it's likely she's going to need medical attention. The Flash nods at Constantine's words and picks the woman up in his arms.

The Flash uses Obruo's preoccupation to his advantage and burns away from the seen as fast as his legs will take him. If successful the pair find themselves in the emergency room lobby.

"I need a doctor, right now!" the Flash exclaims to a room full of shocked nurses and patients.

"Gee, an unhappy ending," Rocket starts, noting that Flash and the woman have left leaving him with Constantine. He turns down the power to his blaster slightly taking another shot at the screws not wanting to take any real chances.

Turning his full body to face Constantine Rocket holds out a single hand. "Good work Comrade"

Constantine slumps wearily as the screws melt, then are reduced furthur into slag. He looks over at Rocket, staring at the hand for a moment as if it was a knife, then shakes it wearily. "You too, mate." Constantine fishes in his pocket for a cigarette and lights it inside his cupped palms, taking a few heavy drags, then for good measure reaches inside his jacket pocket for a flask. He takes a couple of good belts from it and examines the melted screws. He casts about for a moment, then picks a heavy sledgehammer off the wall. The magician slams it into the side of the winch box a few times, fury visible in his shoulders. It takes a few deafening moments before the winch box goes flying against the wall, ripping the screws out with it, along with the deck plate holding it down. Constantine picks up the unwieldly piece of metal with a grunt and tucks it under one arm. He walks past Rocket, dropping the entire piece of metal into his valaise, and then starts climbing up the ladder, holding the bag as if it weighed no more than an empty plastic bag. In short order, he's walking down the gangplank, stopping only to pet the dog before he walks back down the pier without so much as a 'by your leave'.

The police rush in once the fog and glow are gone, following the dog on board with the sense of unnatural panic gone. They will wind up baffled by the lack of any sort of evidence other than a busted winch motor and some destroyed cabling. Rufus sniffs at Constantine for a moment, then licks his hand with a whulf of acceptance.

Flash's timely removal of Mack to the land of medical technology is fortuitous. They are able to revive and stabilize the ship captain quickly, and his speed has insured she hasn't suffered any brain damage from the inexplicable near-drowning. She'll be in the hospital for a few days recovering, partly as she is held for psyche observation after the ridiculous story she tells authorities. Go figure, they buy people flying around in spandex without blinking these days, but drowning on dry land due to magic is just plain crazy. She's not happy about being stuck there, and calls in a favor from a frequent deck hand to feed and care for Rufus during her absence.


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