The Cargo

They hoisted up the bodies in a sisal cargo net, limbs and heads poking out and dripping. The loaders slid it along the gantry rail with gaffs and chain-hauls, followed by a crew with stiff brooms and foaming bleach and yellow buckets on wheels, scrubbing behind them until the bristling sack was over the refrigerated container. Feeling that cold those trapped in the net started a pitiful moan and mumbled out weak curses in Chinese and Farsi and Hindi. The gantry operator let slack the cable and dropped the load into the container, the round shape binding on its rectangular edges, cracking bones as the weight settled. The loaders prodded the sack with shovels, forcing it into shape, hacking off fingers and hands that clung to the lip of the box, picking them up and tossing them in after the mass was in place.

They flipped the lid down and slid the bolts shut, using a mallet on one that stuck. Fists and feet pounded on the inside of container, but gradually grew silent. The barge pulled away and headed out to the research station.

–Steve Kilian

Olde Tales of The Sea

More Grim Death

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