All I could think of was the suffocating feeling of my soaking wet hair wrapped around my own neck. Nevermind that each drop of salt water flung into my face felt like a frigid bullet, blurring my vision and numbing my cheeks. And nevermind that not only were we sailing through a storm so violent the noon sky went black, but we were also in the midst of a titan: the Kraken.

The screams of men around me didn’t register; not as the behemoth tentacle slithered its way out of the water just feet off the edge of our ship. Not even rapid gunfire and canon blasts could cover the sound of soft, wet flesh sluicing from the depths as the beast from below came to claim her next prize. And the smell. Like a mountain of decaying bodies too far gone to tell what creatures they were - a living grave of all things dank, decrepid, and rotted. If my body were able to move, I would have vomitted.

But I was frozen. Both by fear and frigid water. It’s as if time slowed; the carnage around me happening at half-speed. The water-logged wooden floor beneath me was tinted a deep red as men - or what was left of them - bled where they’d been scattered. Shards of broken beams confettied the deck as the titan’s slimy slithering apendage pierced the ships hull from below, sending blood and flesh spraying as shouts turned to agonized wails before being cut short.

My eyes in their stunned glaze drifted downwards to my feet, now planted in a growing pool of murky liquid. There, just beyond the toe of my left boot, lay a gold ring. A wedding ring from the looks of it. Nothing ornate or eclectic; just a simple gold band. I’m not sure what it was about the sight of it, the out-of-placeness of it sitting so brightly in the bloody puddle, but it broke my trance. And I moved.

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