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#2 Rogue Pod: Illegal Activity – Words on the Waves

     Weaving between the islands off Leverburgh, John Coe and Comet trawled the scenic coastline for any opening and option to cause disruption and chaos. In an attempt to keep a low profile, they only surfaced for air very delicately: if they were seen too close to the causeway, it would only stir up unnecessary fanfare. John Coe had never understood human fascination with his kind. In some of his stranger one to one ‘mentorship sessions’ with Comet, he’d heard of humans swimming alongside orcas and performing tricks – little dances and head nods at the click of a finger. This baffled him. Why ridicule something you respect? Why trap something magnificent? Why kill the natural instincts of something you love? In his mind, this was all fuel for the fire he intended to rain down on the scum who’d taken his Lulu away from him so cruelly that fateful morning – all those years ago.

***

“They’ve been gone for days, Puffin!” exclaimed Floppy Fin. “How did John even convince Comet to go with him on this trip anyway? He was pretty put out after the whole ‘your mentorship is bollocks’ debacle.”

“I think John apologised,” replied Puffin.

“John apologised…to Comet?” questioned Floppy Fin.

“Yeah, said he needed him for more one to one mentorship. Said he helps him figure out what not to do,” said Puffin smartly.

“Ha, our John’s done it again. Always had the gift of the gab that boy and Comet won’t turn down a chance to be needed, would he? figured Floppy Fin.

“It’s not Comet, he needs – just the radio on his back I imagine – and as for Comet, he wouldn’t even turn down the opportunity to look needed. Desperate sod; his glory years are well and truly behind him.”

“Agreed, Puffin. But if we’re going to pull off this Rogue Pod thing, it looks like we will in fact need him around,” reasoned Floppy Fin before both orcas let out an enormous sigh.

***

Maintaining his composure in the face of Comet’s incessant ramblings, John Coe started to twist his body in a desperate attempt to hear anything useful coming from the radio on top of Comet’s back. Nothing new of interest had come through the device for quite some time, just white noise. But, white noise was not enough to keep Comet out.

“… and that’s the difference between wild Atlantic salmon and the ones that occasionally slip out of the farms along these coasts, John. You don’t need to eat those fattier ones, you’re big enough as it…”

“That’s enough! No more talking from you. Why doesn’t the talking side of your brain switch off and go to sleep now?” insisted John Coe.

“That’s not a bad idea, John: I lecture best after a good rest,” said Comet in an upbeat tone. Immediately, Comet’s right eye closed and his head arched slightly to the left, as he continued to follow behind John Coe, in a far more subdued manner.

“That’s it Comet… nice and calm… follow on…nice and steady. Don’t die on me old orca – I need you” ordered John Coe softly.

“You need me?” grunted Comet sleepily.

“Only your body…” whispered John Coe.

“I’ve got a great body?”

HOW DID HE NEARLY HEAR THAT? screamed John Coe in his head. But, it was okay: Comet was subdued, now. One side of his brain was resting and recovering, the other side, just keeping him swimming along and surfacing for air.

John Coe kept motionless for a moment and let the flow of the current wash both the killer whales effortlessly around a cliff edge that struck out sharply from the mainland.

In this moment of peace, a melody John Coe had heard over Comet’s radio from a while back started to creep into his mind. It was littered with low woodwind staccato, sweeping strings and high pitched flutters of percussion instruments. The lyrics were playful and sweet, but that didn’t matter to John: he’d parodied it. It was a song for Lulu now and it hung around and sat heavily in the forefront of his brain. Bobbing up and down below the surface of the waves he was desperate to sing it aloud, but something had caught his eye. The melody simmered down to a light whisper in his ear and John Coe grazed the zombified Comet gently across the face with his fluke and ushered him above sea-level to take air and share in the view.

Over in the distance, pristine machines with clean sails, boasting an array of timeless colours and fluorescent images, skimmed across the peaceful North Atlantic waters. Suddenly, a crackle came in over the radio atop of Comet’s aged body.

“WOOOYAHHH! You’ve tuned these babies up a treat, mate. Over.” shouted a man’s voice. Then silence. John Coe had no idea what was going on.

“Aye, great to hear. Over,” another younger man replied in a thick Scottish accent.

“So, they’ll be good to set off tomorrow then with the crew? Over.”

“Aye, well… if you think she’s ready, get everyone and everything on board and let’s get back out here tomorrow. We’ll have turned a mean profit when we get back home.”

The bitter seed that John Coe had planted in his mind upon Lulu’s death was now a thorny vine, bursting out between the folds of his brain and pricking away at the soft tissue.

Blasted bastards, he thought. Getting ready to take, take, take once again. Take a life, take a meal, take our meals, it doesn’t matter to them as long as they turn a profit.

He angled his upper teeth against the soft flesh below and tore into it slightly. Just the taste and the smell of pain, teased him and fueled the plan that was sparking in his mind. With great urgency, John Coe hurled his gigantic body a full 180 degrees against the current and cut his fluke across Comet’s dazed face, violently. SMACK!

“Wake up you giant sack of sea-scum,” shouted John Coe, in a foul tone.

“ARGGGHHHH! You merely have to ask, if you need anything,” replied Comet, expressing his disgust at his abrupt wake up call.

“It’s time to go. No time to lose. We need to get the others.” With every short burst of instructions John Coe managed to calm his nerves and conceal the pain he was feeling – but not his impatience.

“Would you like to learn about tuna on our way home John?” enquired Comet.

“No!” burst out John Coe. “Shut up and let’s go!”

As they rode the waves for many kilometres back to Puffin and Floppy Fin, night descended upon the pair of weary orcas. Comet was quiet for once and John Coe’s mind emptied. For a split second he felt no pain or mental torture. But, after a while the tune he’d made boiled over into his head once again. Only now, with an ambitious plan assembling in his head, did he finally have the courage to sing it out loud – if only very quietly.

“I could have swam all night, I could have swam all night

And could’ve have swam some more,

I could’ve have sunk their boats, I could’ve bit their throats,

Some things I’ve planned before.

(Sung with a quiet gusto)

I could have sunk their boats

I could have bit their throats

The humans could die, die, die

All night!”

“Did you say something John?” asked Comet, a little confused.

“You’ll find out tomorrow, Comet. Just keep up for now,” replied John Coe, with a sinister grin broadening across his face.

<Chapter 1

Recommend0 Simily SnapsPublished in Adventure, Contemporary Fiction, Fantasy, Fiction, Sci Fi, Young Adult (YA)

Responses

  1. Hi George,
    I am really loving Rogue Pod. The techniques that you have developed as you move on to newer projects are aging like wine. I also can’t express the beauty of the character John Coe enough. You’ve really done some of the impossible with this one.
    Now, I don’t want it to sound like the reason I wrote the appreciation was for a promotion. But I have been working on a web novel of my own. I would really appreciate if you would check it out and maybe if you like it give a … shoutout. Link:https://medium.com/captivating-chronicles-serialized-fiction/vyom-chapter-1-part-1-781438b26cc6