Tommy Marchand smiled to herself as she leaned on the ship’s railing and gazed out to sea. Her present job was so beautifully meta. Here she was on a ship, being shipped like the cargo in the hold; at the same time, she herself was shipping cargo – her own body a vessel that mimicked the ship’s function. Except that the ship was still under the control of the captain…

As this thought crossed her mind, she felt herself slipping and knew that soon she would lose control again. Strangely enough, this did not scare her. Even the first time it happened had been pleasant. That was yesterday, three days since the hump had been extruded and filled. She had been resting in her cabin when the previously ghostly consciousness living inside her (the one that should have stayed under until well after the ship docked at the other end) suddenly became one hell of a lot stronger. Even as she felt herself becoming the ghost and the child rising, it was almost a relief to lose control.

When it was discovered that a passenger and lifeboat had disappeared, a search party was immediately organised. It was a couple of days before she was found drifting off the coast of Malaysia, far outside the projected search area and almost dead from starvation. It took a little longer than it should have done to identify her, since along with a surprising amount of weight, she appeared to have lost the hump which was listed as her most distinguishing feature.

4 thoughts on “Vessel”

  1. I love this – very cool self-awareness and plays on the “ship” theme in so many ways! I like the central character and her cheerful resignation, and I am very intrigued by what is happening to her – as of now, I have no specific idea but the story is certainly open to being explained in exciting ways!

    I love the way it is not clear if this is the future or some sort of secret present (supernatural, alien, whatever) – it leaves a lot to the imagination, which works.

    I may have preferred to find out about her conspicuous hump in the first paragraph to make its loss more startling in the last, but that is a minor crit.

    I would also have used “after” rather than “since” in “since the hump was”.

    A lovely and mysterious story – would like to know more :)

  2. Lovely idea of shipping and escape. I like how little is told about our protagonist and what has happened to her.

    I liked the fact of the losing control being pleasant and the narrator’s general lack of panic – very creepy. Think the formalish last paragraph works very well as an ending.

  3. Our Hero is some kind of transport host person: she has a hump placed on her which appears to contain a consciousness separate to her own. This consciousness was supposed to be in some way dormant, but appears to have awoken and gained partial power to control Our Hero. Our Hero is currently being shipped somewhere, presumably to transport said consciousness; the consciousness, however, has other plans, and kidnaps Our Hero and takes our out to sea. Our Hero is finally located minus the hump — and, presumably, minus the extra consciousness.

    Interesting to see multiple levels to the word “ship” cropping up. The sparse information did manage to intrigue me, and keep me reading. I like that while there is quite an explicit ending, its meaning is unknown to us.

    > meta
    I found the word used by itself (rather than a prefix on another word) a bit jarring. Sounds like Internet lingo, and it stands out against the language of the rest of the piece, which doesn’t use any Internet lingo. But this is a minor nit!

    > since[,] along with a surprising amount of weight, she appeared
    I’m not entirely sure, but it seems that this should have an extra comma.

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