Project 52: Toppling Atlas

1 short story a week. 52 weeks a year.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Week Seven: April 12th - April 18th

Chilblained Fingers: The Diary of Admiral William "Iron Jaw" Finch

Captain's Log, Day 73

Two months have gone by, and still we sit here; stranded on this forsaken mass of ice. I have spent the majority of my life preparing for this mission -- to be the first man to reach the earth's southern pole -- but here I sit. The Antarctic coast is in sight, but I am not able to reach it. And every day I can hear its taunting laugh growing louder. Morale is running low with the men, and food supplies are even lower. I fear if I do not do something soon; the men may mutiny against me.

Captain's Log, Day 75

Still here I sit in my quarters, with my ears glued to the wall. Do they think I cannot hear them? Talking behind my back as if I have gone crazy! I am the captain of this ship, and I will restore order!

Captain's Log, Day 76

I have passed out my reserve rations, and it seems the crew has fallen quiet for now. All of the crew except Caruthers, whose whistle writhes inside my head, and violently twists my brain until I can no longer stand it. He will have to be taken care of.

Captain's Log, Day 81

I can no longer stand the noise! My bones are being torn from their sockets as his whistles tear through my body. I'm putting an end to this!

Captain's Log, Day 82

My hands are cold, and lifeless, but I can still see the blood on them. I never had a problem with Caruthers; truth be told, he was a great sailor, and a fine man. So why did he have to taunt me so! I was so good to him, to all of them, and this is how they repay me? Even with my fingers wrapped around his throat, hoping to stop the noise, his painful attempts to breathe scraped out of his throat like a whistle. I couldn't bear to be so insulted; I started a fire, and cooked the son of a bitch! Moisture in the wood whistled and popped from the fire. Beyond the grave and he still managed to insult me to my face! I ate his right arm, and the skin from his face. Just try to insult me now Caruthers! I offer the rest to my crew, and marched back to my quarters. Two birds with one stone, I am victorious.

Captain's Log, Day 84

The crew is banging on my door as we speak. How dare they demand me to leave; she is my ship! I gave them my rations didn't I? I offered them Caruthers when they were starving didn't I! Is this their idea of rewarding me? I'm going to go skin all of them; I'll remind them who their captain is!

Captain's Log, Day 86

We are all sick, and we lost a great deal of good men these past few months, but a rescue party has arrived! We are going home! The captain will not be able to join us though. We never in a million years wanted to kill the captain, but we didn't have much choice. I have considered Will to be like a father to me since he picked me off the streets when I was young, but when we came to tell him that rescue had arrived, he flew out of the room with a knife and started to swing at the crew, accusing them of trying to overthrow him. We had used up all of our spare cloth and rope and the like for fires, so tying him up was impossible, and Will isn't the sort of man to be held down. I may have escaped certain death here in this icy hell, but the ghosts of my actions will surely haunt me as long as I live. May our misguided captain's soul find its way to heaven to await us, and may the lord have mercy on us for what we have done. Rest in peace captain, we will never forget you. It's time to go home... it's really time to go home.

- Maxwell Locke,
Newly appointed captain of the S.S Artemis


  1. Wow, this is a quite the demonstration of the flaws of the human psyche. And what a creative way to write it… The way he falls apart is brilliant, beautifully written.

  2. "Moisture in the wood would whistle and pop from the fire. Beyond the grave and he still managed to insult me to my face!" I love this. And the nickname "Iron Jaw"? Fantastic.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.