Crell let out a hoarse shriek as he fought to push up from the ground. He struggled under Rosie’s weight and eventually passed out, his chalky face scrapping against the planks of the deck.
An eerie silence swelled around them only broken by the sounds of random scraps against the bottom of the vessel. Even the violent jostling from beneath had all but ceased. It was as if Crell’s outburst was boiling water and the fire beneath had gone out.
“How much further?” Rosie whispered, desperate to get her feet on solid land. None of the crew moved an inch. Their eyes were wide and their mouths pinched shut. Lousy lot! Rosie had the good mind to knock each and every one of them into the blooms below. “How much further!” She hissed.
“M-maybe twenty minutes, maybe.” One of them finally spoke up.
Twenty minutes?! She couldn’t keep Crell pinned for that long. Granted he had passed out on his own, but what if he suddenly came to? What if her already weary arms gave out and he hurled himself into the blooms? She needed to think.
She stared down at the purple rashes that resembled broccoli, that had begun to grow forth from Crell’ blood speckled face. The were the ugliest of tumors sprouting most around his nostrils, mouth, eyes and ears. The fullness of his lips had already shrank down and drew his lips up from his teeth. He was dehydrating. The pollen of the Blooms was drinking his blood. She could see it pulsing in the growths upon his skin.
“His blood, they drink blood.” But what about water? Crell wanted water. He was willing to hurl himself overboard to get it, suddenly believing that it was below them, thanks to the fog of delirium. But below was only the blooms and the things that lived within them.
Ah nature was a funny thing, the dance of predator and prey was beautifully choreographed. The things below didn’t want human meat alone. No, they hadn’t started their jossling until the pollen had been released. They had only grown truly violent once Crell was infected. They wanted the nasty looking growths that had appeared on his skin and would probably take over his entire body if she didn’t stop them first.
Crell was just a host for whatever it was they truly desired.
“Water!” She whispered. “I need water and lots of it! Quickly!”
“What do you need water for?” Another crew member asked. “If Crell is dying we had best toss him over and fast before those things pull us all down.”
“Just get me water. If this doesn’t work, then…” Then what? What would she do? Rosie couldn’t possible throw the man over board. She needed him to get back home.
Ladle in hand, dripping with water, the crew member leaned forward towards Rosie and Crell, having gotten what was requested even though very much reluctant. Before he could pass the ladle forward, the vessel was rocked again, this time far more violent than it had before.
The body of the vessel spun 180 degrees. Its motors chocked and bucked to get back in rhythm. Rosie fell from Crell’s back and smacked against the side of the vessel. Hissing and shrieks rose up around them. The water splashed forward unto Crell’s dying face.
His eyes suddenly shot open, his mouth sucked in air and water. The vile growths from the pollen fell away from his lips.
THE END OF PART 4
I think part 5 will indeed be the last installment for this story. I do apologize to those reading for taking so long to get this part written. With the holidays and other business, I have found it very difficult to get to my computer and write. I am so glad that I did today.