6.6

Jerret woke up to the world exploding. Light blinded him and a thunderclap rocked the ship. He could hear screaming elsewhere in the ship and as soon as his sight returned he leaned out into the dark hallway. Jessie had also poked her head out but the screaming was coming from the control room. He went for the door only to be nearly knocked over by Calvin, who shoved his way past and out the front door into the rain.

“Mr. Jerret?” Jessie gave him a worried look.

“Stay in here, kiddo, I’m gonna go check on him.”

It was pouring outside, and between the beating of the rain and the wind it took several worrying seconds for him to spot Calvin again. The man had made it to one of the large logs and was curled up next to it, his feet sunken into the mud that had formed. Jerret sighed inwardly and walked carefully over to him, wishing he had a pair of shoes to his name.

“Hey, you gotta come back inside before you get sick.” He had to yell a bit to make himself heard. Calvin didn’t move, and Jerret grabbed the collar of his shirt, trying to haul him to his feet. The man started sinking down again immediately, “Oh come on, I’m getting tired of this shit!” He started dragging Calvin back to the ship as another burst of lightning lit up the clearing. Calvin started screaming again, although it was barely audible in the storm, and struggled to free himself from Jerret’s grip. He latched onto the doorframe as Jerret tried to pull him through, his voice already going hoarse.

“What’s wrong?” Jessie’s voice distracted him for a moment and Jerret almost lost his grip.

He steadied himself and managed to pull Calvin inside, throwing into the cell room. He braced himself in the doorway, expecting the man to make a break for it, but he just lay on the floor where he’d fallen, not moving. For a terrifying moment Jerret thought he was hurt, but Calvin curled up in a muddy ball again on the floor and lay there silently.

“Mr. Jerret?” Jessie came out into the hallway a bit and Jerret leaned out of the doorway to look at her.

“You should get back to bed, it’s still night.”

“What’s wrong with him?” Jessie took a step towards the cell room and Jerret stepped out into the hall, shutting the door before she could look in.

“I guess he got scared, but I’ll handle that. You go back to bed.”

She frowned and looked around at the hallway. There was only a faint blue light indicating emergency power. “Mr. Jerret?”

“Yeah?” Jerret sighed inwardly.

“I think the ship is… d-e-a-d.” She spelled it out as if it were a forbidden word and he hesitated, listening carefully. Despite the storm outside it was disturbingly quiet in the ship. There was no air circulating, and no odd ticks of machinery working behind the scenes.

“I… uh… Well there’s nothing we can do about that right now.” He shook his head and gestured for Jessie to go back in her room, “Get some sleep and we’ll sort that out after the storm.” He waited until the girl had gone back to bed to reenter the cell room. Calvin hadn’t moved since he’d left. “Can’t have you running off on us.” He hooked his arms under Calvin’s and hauled him backwards into one of the cells. The man just lay on the floor as he shut and locked it and Jerret left him there, heading for the kitchen.

He could hear a faint hum from the refrigerator, so that seemed to be powered at least. The water turned on as well and he got himself something to drink. He debated keeping watch in the cell room but those cells were almost impossible to open from the inside. Instead he opted to use Calvin’s bed for the night.

The bed was so soft he wasn’t sure he’d be able to sleep on it at first, but fatigue overcame him and he drifted off on top of the blanket.

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