Part XI -- The White Whale

"We struck at will and marked each catch, then went on to find another kill; but suddenly they all dived under, and there fell on the sea, a still." "A still, I say, for still it was, except for those confounded birds. We all stood motionless and waiting, watching them, not saying a word." "The captain stepped from out his perching over the instruments to look around. Then searched about in strange expression that was marked by a peculiar frown." "'There seems to be a submarine about, from the readings dead before our path,' he sounded over the speakers, and then we all turned to look some more." "Then in the same instant as from the masthead came a loud cry, 'Thar she blows!' there came a might spouting fury and a bellowing as the sea arose." "And in our path where seagulls swarmed, there came a hump like a snowhill rising mightily out of the ocean, and in all that motion, we all stood still." "'Avast, ye maties,' cried the captain from his deck up aside the bridge; but no one moved for we all were staring as one at the mounting, oncoming ridge." "All about us lay a smooth, smooth sea save the snowhump in our course surrounded by a greenish foaming and the building wall it forced." "'The birds! I know it!' cried the captain 'Is this perhaps a fantasy?! To your guns! This is the legend monster! Harpoon the brute, I say!' said he." "The gulls were frantic in their endeavors, then I saw the wrinkles on the whale's head, and a score of harpoons in his backside that rose slowly as toward us he sped." "'There, there, what a leaping spout!' he cried out as a full mist was raised. The wave rolled all across the deck. The white whale slid past as we all gazed." "Then it turned and raised out of the waters, white teeth glistening as he splashed. We saw his open mouth and jaws and mammoth bulk, unknown vast." "Each man was held by this strange vision as he turned and crashed his tail a flick, and speeded toward us off our stern. Captain shouted, 'Avast, it's Moby Dick!'" Part XII -- Revenge "In the years gone by since Ahab's madness, the whale had grown full three-fold so that now his submerged carcas bulk would match the ship and smash the hold." "The harpoon gunman set his weapon and set himself to take his aim, as the monster came at us beading; with never-seen speed, toward us he came." "A great wash came across the deck, the harpoon fired and met its mark, and then there came a mighty crashing; into the sea, a dozen were disembarked." "Now the ship gave off a moaning as it rocked from starboard to port, then leaned over heavy tilting. 'We're taking on water!' came the report." "Then in a moment, came a splashing and yet another crashing ram. The men remaining scurried in haste. 'He'll sink us!' they cried out in their bedlam." "Another moment yet and we were listing so that water lay half across the decks, and the crew still left were diving over to save themselves from the wreck." "I scurried up to the tilting masthead and fastened myself securely in just in time to see the white whale rising to tip the ship upon his back's hard skin." "We lay on our side, all hands were swimming, at least those who survived the blow, splashing wildly at the swirling waters, hopelessly doomed -- no where to go." "I saw the copter hover lower in an attempt to rescue some men, but Moby Dick raised his tail to slap it, and it crashed into the sea on them." "Then I went under tied to the masthead and I heard a deafening, cracking sound and floated back up to the surface in time to see the white whale turn around." "His snout came up against the wrecked ship and began to push it through the sea and at the other catcher ship there trying to salvage some men frantically." "It crashed, and there came an explosion, fire flashed then across the waves, and I heard the gurgling and saw his white teeth send all those overboard to a salty grave." "Then Moby Dick turned in the waters and toward me opened up his jaws. I looked into the tomb within him and fainted -- that's the last I saw!" Part XIII --Epilogue: Rescue "When I came to perhaps an hour later, the smoldering fire of the wreck had sunk; there was debris, but no one floating about me and the sea was soft, but how it stunk." "In several hours appeared the great ship and the other helicopter pulled me out and set me down still inside the masthead, but there was nothing else anywhere about." "None aboard there would believe me. They truly thought that I was daft, stricken by another awful terror. I held by tongue and only laughed." "I alone was left as a survivor and from that day no one would hear my tale of what had happened to them, whether of logic or perhaps of fear." "Thus it was that grew this madness that has beset me through all days. For thirty years I bore that horror, and never again went out upon the waves." "Perhaps it is a true, true vengeance that such death befell that crew for all the slaughter that they relished. Indeed, my friend, it was sore due." "And mark, my friend who came to my resting, and now has freed me from this sick- ness that ravaged my mind and heart so -- still out there somewhere is Moby Dick!" "And mark, surely as there is a heaven and a God who justice does weigh out, the great white whale will be His right hand again and still again, no doubt." And then he bowed his ghostly head down and his sagging form sagged still more and his eirey light took to fading, and I heard the ocean at the shore. My battered senses called out to him not to go, but he said, "I'm free now and can go to resting," as the clock outside began to chime. But as he faded ever dimmer, I saw the spirit raise his head and in his eyes there had come a glimmer of peace and hope unlike the dead. "Death is freedom," I heard him whisper, and warmth replaced the cold in me. "Thar she blows, cap'n! Remember, Moby Dick lives on beneath the sea!" The clock had finished now its chiming, and the spirit had faded from my sight. There is a special heaven for whom life in a hell. In the dark, sleep grew on me with the night. Return to beginning of issue