The Mystery of the Carnival Cruise Ship
6/5/16 Exercise #2: Random Plot Generator
Character 1: A woman in her teens with a lot of anxiety
Character 2: A man in his forties who can be very judgmental
The story begin on a cruise liner
A mysterious death occurs
It’s a story about terror
You’re characters compete with one another
Disclaimer: I didn’t use character #1 and took some liberties with the plot points.
The Mystery of the Carnival Cruise Ship
By Zach Pearson
Blood bothered Frank. He had never liked the sight of it, even when it wasn’t his. Funny right? A cop who gets queasy at the sight of blood. As he walked along the deserted deck of the Carnival Breeze Cruise Ship, Frank was surrounded by his fear like never before. Blood was splattered everywhere. It covered the deck like the scene of a mass shooting but there were no bodies to be found. There was just blood. Unnatural amounts of blood.
In spite of this, the blood wasn’t even the hardest part for Frank. The smell was much much worse. It was the stench of rotting flesh. As if hundreds of corpses had been left on the deck for months. The ship had only been missing for two. And again, there were no bodies here.
Frank couldn’t figure it out. He knew he should just wait for the crime scene guys to show up. This wasn’t his job. He was a beat cop with no aspirations to play the detective. Still, this was too great a mystery for him to turn and walk away. Frank covered his face with this shirt, hardly masking the putrid aroma of death. He stepped carefully around the long smears and scattered pools of dried blood. He wasn’t going to touch anything. He just needed to take a look. He had to know what happened to this ship; what could do something like this.
The cruise ship had drifted into shore early that morning. Literally drifted. There didn’t seem to be a crew at the controls. The boat ran up against the cities northern coast, neighborhoods of rich folk who had called the police in an absolute panic. Something had disturbed the perfectly controlled world they had built for themselves. Something really fucking weird.
Frank was closest to the scene when the call came in so he was there within minutes to reassure the locals that it would all be taken care of. He was only supposed to tape off the crime scene and wait for backup. That was all he had intended to do.
Now Frank made his way across the upper deck, past a large swimming pool of murky red water. In the center of the bloody basin something small and thin was floating. It looked like an arm, hand outstretched, grasping for something it never found. Frank couldn’t really tell though. He shuddered and kept walking, more quickly now. His backup would be here at any minute. If they showed up now he would be unceremoniously sacked for his little investigation.
Frank ducked through a broken doorframe and stepped over the battered in door that lay on the floor at the entrance to the Bridge. As he suspected there was nobody at the controls. Just more dried blood and what appeared to be light scratch marks down the side of a black leather chair. A phone dangled lifelessly from its cord. Frank moved through the control room which was similarly deserted. Computers and chairs lay smashed on the floor. Many of the window panes were reduced to shattered glass. A few appeared to have bullet holes in them. Franks curiosity deepened even as his fear increased in kind.
He moved now to a narrow stairwell that dropped him down into the ships bowels. The pretenses of Frank’s investigation had all but fallen away, the imminent threat to his job security forgotten. Frank was completely wrapped up in the mystery of this ravaged ghost ship. As he passed through elaborate bedrooms, many bigger than Frank’s entire apartment, the curious cop ascertained that he was in the cabin suites. The blood stains didn’t do much for the décor, he thought morbidly.
The next room was another bedroom but Frank recognized it as the captain’s quarters. It was smaller, still a nice room, but a bit more barebones. At the back stood a large wooden desk with a cracked computer monitor and keyboard resting atop it. The room was as bloody and broken as the rest of the ship with papers strewn across the hardwood floors.
Frank began picking up the papers and looking them over. He realized now, he had lost his job the minute he stepped onto this ship. He didn’t care, not right now at least. Frank picked up page after page scanning them and then tossing them aside. He barely understood what he was looking at.
There was a soft crashing sound that echoed from somewhere in the ship. Frank stopped dead in his tracks, ears perked. Backup, Frank thought, I’m running out of time.
Tossing aside some stray passenger logs Frank hurried over to the desk and began pulling drawers open. The first drawer was suspiciously devoid of contents. The second drawer presented the opposite problem. It was so full of random trinkets that Frank could only assume that it was in fact, a drawer for all of the Captains junk. Frank found what he was looking for in the third drawer, hidden under assorted notebooks. It was a small leather bound journal.
Frank half expected it to begin reading “Captains Log…”. It didn’t. Each entry was headed simply with a date. Entries ranged from anywhere between a couple sentences to a couple pages. Many days were skipped entirely. Frank flipped excitedly to the very back of the book. In his zeal he didn’t even hear the second crash that echoed just a little bit louder from somewhere in the ship.
Frank let out a great sigh of disappointment. June 12th 1995, a full four days before the ship broke contact and went dark. He wasn’t sure what he had expected. How many captains would keep a detailed journal throughout whatever horrendous ordeal had befallen his ship? How long had the captain even survived the massacre?
Frank scanned the final entry anyways. Despite failing to solve the mystery at hand, the captain’s final journal entry was certainly interesting. The crew had discovered a stowaway on the ship. A teenager who had been hiding for several weeks before the ship even set sail. It gets better though. The kid was supposed to be dead. His parents thought they buried him and everything.
A shiver ran up Frank’s spine as he read the strange journal entry. The thrill of the mystery was wearing off, allowing anxiety and fear to start seeping in. Frank became aware of noises that bounced around the cavernous chambers of the carnival cruise ship. It wasn’t a faint crashing anymore. The backup had arrived and Frank was in a world of trouble. He honestly hadn’t wanted to lose his job and the reality of it was hitting him now.
Frank replaced the captain’s journal in the third drawer and gently pushed it shut. He also closed the messy junk drawer and the oddly empty first drawer. As he made his way back across the room the noises grew louder; footsteps coming down the stairs. With the condition the ship was in they may have even sent in a S.W.A.T. team. Frank kept his empty hands raised in front of him just in case.
Frank pulled open the door leading out from the captain’s quarters. He barely had time to register what he was seeing. He had found the missing passengers, solving the mystery of the Carnival Cruise Ship. It was a small comfort as they tore him apart limb by bloody limb.