*Many thanks to Kate for her help, without which my plot would have looked similar to Swiss cheese (the variety with multiple holes) J.


By Sea Spinner


The jail rose up from the ocean like a dark unnatural sentinel, warning off all those who might trespass on the rocky peninsula.  Captain Lee Crane of the Seaview was in the uncompromising position of being one of the newest occupants of the prison.

“Where are the rest of your men?” yelled his interrogator. 

For the third time, Lee tested the bonds that tied his wrists to the arms of the metal chair.  They were so tight he was starting to lose the feeling in his hands.  He desperately hoped Kowalski and Patterson were alright.  As for Admiral Nelson – he had no idea how he had fared since their untimely separation from each other.  Since Nelson wasn’t with him now, he felt fairly certain that he’d managed to elude capture.

His mind returned to his current predicament.  “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“We want out of this accursed prison and you and your submarine are going to be our tickets,” shouted the man.

Lee thought he had seen a glimpse of hysteria in his eyes, but he figured he must have imagined it.  “Why do you need the submarine?”

“Our boat left us here, because our new captain saw what it did to one of his crew!”

It?”  The men were obviously unhinged.  They looked like they’d seen a ghost.

“The…the thing,” stammered the shorter man.

“Shut up, Jimmy, it’s served its purpose up until now,” snapped the interrogator.  “How many men came ashore with you, Captain?”

“I don’t remember.”

“If you won’t tell us, you leave us no choice.”  His interrogator nodded to two other men.  “Barth, Jimmy, take him to the tunnels.”

“Are you sure, Dan,” asked Jimmy, gnawing at his bottom lip.  “Do we have to go down there again?”

“Tunnels?” asked Lee.

“You’ll see, after that you’ll be so crazed that your mind won’t know what your mouth’s saying.”

His arms were momentarily untied before being securely bound behind his back just as quickly.  He wondered what the men had in store for him – something so terrible that he was certain he hadn’t imagined the terror behind their eyes.  He was hustled down a narrow set of enclosed spiral stairs that seemed to go forever.  The lower they went the darker and wetter the walls became.  A rotting smell assailed his nostrils, like seaweed that had lain on a beach for too long in the summer – at least he hoped that was what it was.  Water trickled down from gaps in the bricks and Lee figured that they were below sea level.

“Where are you taking me?” he asked.

“Where you’ll never be found unless you tell us what we want to know,” threatened Dan, stepping out from behind Jimmy.

Lee staggered a little as he was pushed from the last step along a dark tunnel.  It was as if the darkness absorbed the dim light shed by the flashlights.  Instead of illuminating it, the light was sucked into the tunnel and the menacing gloom beyond.

Rounding a bend, Lee was disturbed to see two skeletons hanging from chains at the end of the tunnel.  A third set of manacles, cemented into the wall were, as yet unoccupied.  He had no doubt in his mind that he was to be the third victim of whatever it was inhabiting the darkest depths of the prison, but he was damned if he would go down without a fight.

He couldn’t be chained to the wall unless they untied his hands first, so he watched and waited.  One of his captors lit a torch beside the empty irons and glanced back at Lee.  Before he approached him he rattled the mould covered skeletons of the previous victims.

“What do you think, Crane?  This how you want to end up?”

“Get on with it,” he snapped, suddenly tired of the taunting.

Dan grabbed his jaw.  “Are you that impatient to die?”

“Better to die than have to listen to the sound of your voice all night,” he replied angrily.

Surprisingly, so far he hadn’t been subjected to any violence, but he had a feeling that wouldn’t last for much longer.

The man’s bearded and unkempt head loomed so close Lee could feel the heat of his breath on his face, the reek of it almost as bad as the tunnel.  “When I hear your screams tonight, and know that the flesh is being stripped from your bones, I’ll raise a glass.” 

Lee held back a shiver and tensed himself for a fight as his wrists were finally released.  Before he had an opportunity one of the men secured him in a headlock as the others efficiently snapped the metal restraints around his wrists and feet.  His neck was then fitted to a ring, also attached to the wall.  The sudden tightness gave made him choke and he had to make an effort to slow his breathing down.

“Not so feisty now, are you?” grinned Dan with a cruel glint in his eyes.  “Last chance, where are the rest of your men and how many of them came with you?”

“Go to hell,” Lee rasped.

“After you, Crane.  Be seeing you.  Have fun down here with our little wraith.  We’ll probably be back to get what’s left of you around dawn, that’s if the high tide doesn’t get you first.”

The lights gradually dimmed as the men walked back around the corner, leaving him to his fate.  Save for the one petering flame, he was left in semi-darkness.  He’d noticed that some of the irons were rusted and tried his luck with them, to no avail.  For a brief moment he thought he’d felt something give in the right one but it had only been his imagination – either that or there were gremlins hiding somewhere around the corner playing tricks on him.

The minutes turned into what seemed like hours and nothing happened.  It had been eight o’clock on All Hallows Eve when he’d been taken by the escapees.  His mind wandered briefly when he realized it must be close to midnight – the witching hour, he thought grimly.  The manacle on his left wrist was too tight for him to turn so he could see the time.

Lee had never been superstitious, but right now, he had to ask himself if the chill he felt was just the cold from the walls or something supernatural.  The men had said there was a wraith.  Maybe they’d just had too much to drink but somehow he didn’t think so.

The torch gave him enough light to see the beginnings of the tide change as it found its way into the bowels of the old prison.  How many inmates had died this way when the prison had been occupied?  What number would he be?  Just like those prisoners before him, he was helpless to escape the horrors that might lie before him.

A loud groaning noise made his heart pound until he remembered that he’d seen timber shoring a few feet back along the tunnel.  At least the others were still free and might still be able to capture the smugglers before it was too late.  He knew there wasn’t much chance that the smugglers would come back.  A scurrying sound caught his attention.  He looked down to see a large number of big rats running quickly towards the steps.  The tide must have turned already and they were leaving to escape the water.  Lee let out a relieved breath once all of them had gone by without giving him a second thought and he was left alone once more.

Every drip and trickle of water that seeped and oozed from the ancient walls was like a thunderclap.  Still, he managed to keep his imagination in check, for the most part, by thinking back to the circumstances that had brought him here.

Twelve hours earlier

“Lee, come in,” said Nelson, inviting his Captain into his cabin.

“What is it, Admiral?”

“We’ve been asked to help the British Navy find out how contraband has been entering the country through Devon.”

Lee frowned.  “That’s not normally something we’d take on.”

Nelson gave him a weary grin.  “You’re right.  I’m afraid the request was on a personal level through the Duchy of Cornwall.”

“The Duchy of Cornwall?”

“That’s right,” Nelson said with a sly grin.

Lee knew that look and decided to keep going.  “Who is the Duchy of Cornwall, Sir?”

“The Prince of Wales.”

“How…never mind,” he finished, expelling a breath of air.  If the Admiral wanted to tell him how he knew the Prince of Wales, he would in his own good time.  He knew Nelson had an unusual mixture of acquaintances, but this one was the icing on the cake.

“It’s a long story, Lee, and if we get time after the mission, I’ll tell you about it,” he conceded.

“Yes, Sir.”

“Set a course for the south coast of France.”

France?  I thought we would be going to Devon?”

Nelson studied a map and handed a set of co-ordinates to him.  “The contraband is entering through Devon, but he has information that it originates from an island off the coast of France.  Ile de Mal, it has a rather unusual history.”

Island of Evil,” Lee translated.

“That’s right.  The island was once used by the Knights Templar as a prison during the crusades.  In the eighteen hundreds, the French Foreign Legion took it over, but it was still used as a prison.”  Nelson took out a cigarette and lit it.  “It was only closed down in the last two years.  The atrocities that were committed there in the last nine hundred years could fill a library.”

“Who owns it now, Admiral?”

France is still the owner, but it’s deserted.  There has been talk of demolishing the old prison, but rumors abound that the two demolition crew who went there were never found again.”

Lee ran a hand over his dark hair.  “So we don’t really know what we’re up against?”

“Before we leave I’ll brief everyone.  We’ll take Kowalski and Patterson as well.”

“Right, Admiral.”  Lee stood up.  “I’ll change course.”

“Very well, let me know when we arrive.”

“Aye, Sir.”



“Patterson, where do you think the Skipper and the Admiral got to?”

“How should I know, Ski, we’re lost ourselves.  There’s not much hope of tracking down the others,” replied Seaman Patterson.

“This place is creepy.”

“You got that right, like out of a Vincent Price movie.”

Kowalski’s eyes lit up in the torchlight.  “Yeah, that movie he was in, what was it…The Raven.”

“That’s right, the one in the castle.”

“The one I thought was the creepiest was Doctor Phibes.”

“Hmm, you’re right, that was creepy.”

Kowalski figured that it was about six hours from dawn, almost midnight.  The witching hour for All Hallows Eve.  He tried hard not to be superstitious, but it didn’t always work.  Like that time when the Skipper came under a mummy’s influence, and the time the Admiral became a werewolf.  There were definitely things out there that defied explanation and as far as he was concerned, most of them were better left alone.

“Ski, you alright?”

“Uh, sure, Pat.  I was just thinking about some stuff.  Are you superstitious?”

“Nah, none of that bothers me.”

Ski looked behind them, there was nothing he could see in the corridor they’d just followed, but he still had the feeling that there was another presence near them.

“Don’t you feel it?”

Patterson’s eyebrows knotted into a frown.  “Feel what?”

It!” exclaimed Kowalski, frustrated that his friend didn’t believe him.

“Gee, Ski, maybe you’ve been watching too many of those creepy old horror movies.”

Kowalski ignored him.  “It’s time we checked in with the Skipper and the Admiral.”

His friend nodded and pulled the two-way radio from his belt.  “Patterson to Captain Crane.”

He waited a moment, then tried again.  Once again there was no answer.

“I don’t like this, Pat.”

Patterson glared at him and tried a third time to raise their Captain and the Admiral.  “Patterson to Captain Crane.”  Minutes ticked by until Patterson put the two-way back on his belt.  “They were on level two the last we heard from them.”

“Pat, contact the boat and then we’ll go look for them.”

While Patterson radioed the Seaview, Kowalski wandered a few yards away, searching the remaining rooms on the fourth floor of the prison.  A shadow caught his eye as he opened a battered wooden cell door.

“Stop!  Who are you?”

The shadow flung itself from the barred window and disappeared.

“Ski, Ski!  What is it?”

“I saw it but I don’t think you’ll believe me.”

Patterson frowned.  “Let me guess, you saw a ghost.”

“Yeah, why don’t you believe me?  It got out through there.”  He pointed towards the heavily barred window. 

His friend walked over to the window and tried the bars.  “Through these, you say?”

“Uh, yeah,” replied Ski, starting to wonder if he’d seen anything at all.  “I know what I saw.”

Patterson still looked uncertain.  “Let’s keep moving.  We have to find the others.  Something must have happened to them.”

Just as they reached the end of the level, a door slammed shut behind them.  Kowalski and Patterson both jumped.

“What was that, Ski?”

“I don’t know,” he swallowed nervously.  “I guess we’d better check it out, Pat.”

“Maybe it was just a strong breeze.”  Pat groaned.  “Either that or we need an exorcist.”

“You still think this is a joke, don’t you?” grumbled Ski.

Patterson followed Kowalski up the corridor, re-checking every room thoroughly but finding absolutely nothing.

“It must have been our imagination – or the wind, like you said.”

“Except there were no windows open, did you notice that, Ski?”

“It’s drafty in here, must have been a draft that caught the door.”

“One of those heavy oak doors?  It’s probably a wraith,” joked Pat, his arms flapping up and down.

Ski stopped abruptly and faced Patterson.  “Will you quit it?  Let’s go down to the next floor.  Maybe we’ll have more luck there.”

“Sorry, Ski,” replied Pat, taking one more look behind them before following his friend.

Neither of the men noticed the end door drift slowly and deliberately open to give the sole occupant a clear view of their departing forms.


Lee was chilled to the bone.  Thanks to the restraints, almost every part of the back of his body was flush against the freezing stone bricks.  To make matters worse, the tide was making headway into the tunnel.  He could feel the freezing waters lapping at his lower limbs – numbing his feet and ankles.

He strained hard against the manacles once more but only hurt his wrists and throat.  The flaming torch began to die out.  Its final sputtering gave the tunnel a half-light glow.  It reminded him of a mystical look, almost like the outer limits of another world.  He quickly forced that thought from his head and schooled his mind to ignore the panic that welled upwards like the rising ocean.

The water had now reached his knees.  Lee had no sensation below the level of the water.  As it continued its increasingly rapid progress towards filling up the bottom levels of the prison, he suddenly felt a drop in air temperature.  If he hadn’t been restrained, he would have jumped as a feather-like touch brushed down one side of his face.  It was so light that he might have imagined it but for the next thing that happened.

“Why are you here?” whispered a feminine voice.

Lee felt the touch again, this time he could feel the energy draining from his body.

“Why?  Tell me why?” the voice came again, strangely soothing as the deadly water started lapping at his chin. 

He was about to answer when some of the seawater struck him in the mouth and flowed down his throat, sparking a coughing fit.

“This is my world.  You have no right to enter.”

“S…smugglers, stop them,” he stammered as his strength finally left him and he was consumed by the darkness around him, knowing he would never wake up again.


Admiral Nelson came around with a start.  His head pounded as he recalled the ceiling rafter cracking above him.  He’d managed to throw himself out of the way but hit his head on the wall, knocking himself out.  Certain that his Captain had been right outside the room, Nelson looked around gingerly but couldn’t see any trace of him.

“Lee?” he croaked.

The only reply he heard was the wind as it picked up, howling around the ancient architecture.  Harry bent his head to read the hands of his watch.  Pain made him see double as he struggled to clear his vision.  He must have given himself a concussion.

“Damn, this mission was cursed right from the start,” he muttered to himself.

Steadying himself against the wall, he tried to remember exactly where Lee had been when Harry entered the room to search it.  His Captain had heard a sound and told Harry he was going to investigate.  That was the last he’d seen of Lee.

Harry looked down at his belt.  His two-way radio was gone.  He found it a few seconds later, smashed on the rough stone floor when he’d thrown himself down.

Although the door looked a long way off to him, he staggered towards it, the room swaying with every step he took.  If only he hadn’t hit the wall.  At least he’d managed to avoid the wooden beam.  On second inspection, he’d discovered the beam had been made from heavy oak or something like it.  He’d have been killed if it had connected with him.

He fell heavily against the door frame, his breath coming in short ragged gasps from the effort. 

If Lee was anywhere near here, he would find him.  If not…well, he’d figure out what steps to take once he’d searched the immediate floor.


Chip Morton, the Executive Officer of the Seaview, stood ready and waiting in the missile room.  He zipped up his wetsuit and donned his scuba tanks along with two other crewmen.

“Mister O’Brien, you have the con until I get back, hopefully with everyone,” he said with grim humor.

“Yes, Sir.  Good luck.”

“Thanks, Bobby.”

Chip, Hargreaves and O’Connell stepped into the escape hatch.  “We go in quiet.  If they’re in trouble I don’t want us to get caught up in it as well.”

He watched as both men signaled their understanding by nodding their heads.  The chamber began to fill up and there was no more time for talk.


The first thing Lee noticed was warmth on his body, not the energy-sapping cold of the water as it had crept upwards.  He thought he’d been dreaming as the hand touched his face and the voice spoke to him - thought that he’d been in the final stages of life.

“You are awake.”

It was the same voice, but this time there was nothing chilling about it, perhaps because the person behind it had most likely saved his life.  He opened his eyes and looked stiffly around, aware as he did, that the painful collar and manacles were still locked around his neck and limbs.

“I could only remove the chains where they attached you to the wall.  Otherwise, I might have injured you.”

 Lee looked up at the voice.  The creature he saw made his heart pound madly within his chest – it was both beautiful and horrifying at the same time, if that was even possible – like something straight from hell that still had an ethereal beauty.

Its body floated lazily above the floor, wispy dark tendrils surrounded its body, from which a head, arms and legs extended, much as a human being.

“What…who…?” he asked, not sure what to call the creature.

Her ruby red lips swept quickly up into a cadaverous smile.  “I am what Halloween-goers like to call a wraith.  I was able to save your life, but I regret I could do no more.  I almost killed you by bringing you here - by touching you.”  Her bright red eyes roamed over him longingly.

Lee suddenly became aware that he was lying under a thick layer of furs, wearing very few clothes.  He felt his face flush with embarrassment, but knew that she’d probably saved his life by getting him dry and warm.  He decided to get some answers from the wraith.

“Thank you for saving my life.  Why did you?  Those bones, the ones beside me in the tunnel, who did they belong to?  Did you kill them?”

A tendril wrapped around Lee’s uncovered chest in a deadly caress.  He gasped as he felt the same draining sensation as he had in the tunnel just before he’d passed out.  As quickly as the tendril had embraced him, it was gone.  He reached instinctively for the metal around his neck, trying to loosen it.

“You are lucky you are so strong otherwise you would have died from my touch.”  The smile slipped away and her form became menacing.  “I had no choice.  The others left them in my domain.  They trespassed where they were not welcome and paid the price.”

“What about me?”

“You?  I could feel something different about you, a goodness I have not felt for a very long time.”  Her expression became wistful.  “I thought perhaps you might be my savior.”

Lee wanted to sleep again, but he forced himself to stay awake.  “There are other good men here too, who might need your help.”

“I…I don’t know.  I have spent too long here to remember what the taste of redemption feels like,” she said, looking confused at his suggestion.

“Please, help me,” he asked, trying to sway her decision.

Once again, the tendril surrounded Lee.  He felt a different sensation as warmth surged through his body, wrapping him in an almost utopian cocoon.

“You see, I can make your experience as good or as bad as I choose, but the end result is still the same – my touch will still kill you.”  She hovered above him.  “I can sense you have a powerful sense of duty and honor – and compassion.  I will try to help you.”

Lee tried to shake off the feelings she’d given him, but it was hard.  He wanted to stay where he was.  The wraith floated closer and her lips brushed his, leaving them tingling from the brief meeting.

“I…I need to help my friends,” he said, struggling to sit up.

“All in good time,” she soothed.  “Sleep, you need to regain your strength.”

Lee renewed his efforts to break free of her spell but the wraith was much too strong for him. 

“Sshh.  I will help your friends.  Do not worry.”

His vision started blurring and Lee felt his traitorous body and mind finally succumb to her witchery.


Chip and the other two seamen from the Seaview swam quickly towards the underground entrance below the prison.  By now the cave would be completely underwater with the rising ocean.  Chip had checked the tides before they left the submarine to make sure their entrance would go unnoticed.  He knew that the others had entered the prison through a more conventional way.  The tunnel system wasn’t on the schematics, but he had an intimate knowledge of it.

He spotted the tunnel before Hargreaves and O’Connell and motioned for them to follow him into the tight entrance.  It was so close all of the divers would have to take their tanks off and hold them in front of them to get through.  He figured he was lucky not to be claustrophobic. 

Chip led them through, pausing only once when he thought he was caught on the sides of the narrow channel.  An eerie chill went through his body as he passed two skeletons chained to the walls.  The remnants of another set of irons were left in the wall beside the remains.  He wondered what had happened to the poor soul who’d occupied that position.  Probably rested there for years before the bolts rusted through and his or her bones were swept out with the outgoing tide.

Chip took off his tank and flippers before continuing upwards with Hargreaves and O’Connell a few feet behind.

“Stay close,” he warned them.

“Yes, Sir,” replied Hargreaves.

“Sir, do you think we’ll find them?” asked O’Connell.

Chip wanted to shout of course we will, but he put on his best XO’s mask and nodded.  “The others might have a broken radio.  We won’t know until we find them.”

He kept walking upward – it felt like the staircase had no end.  Chip finally saw a doorway at the top and took out his pistol.  A quick test of the handle told him that it wasn’t locked and he pushed it open a crack to look outside.

Nobody seemed to be around, so he slipped through and took up point position until the others had followed suit.  He wasn’t sure which way to go, there were no indications to tell him if Lee or the Admiral had been anywhere near here.  The prison had certainly seen better days.  Mortar was missing from between bricks at random intervals and rising damp had given the walls a slimy appearance.

Chip shuddered, remembering the first time he’d been here.  The thought of being incarcerated in a place like this forever made him break out in a cold sweat.  Even the amenities were very basic, to the point of having only a bucket in the cells for use as a toilet.  The prison no longer held furniture, but the metal beds still took up precious space in the cells.  Nothing much had changed, but it was still just as imposing and daunting as ever.

All manner of things had been etched into the walls.  Poems, insults and pictures alike all held a place in the bizarre gallery.  One of the images caught his attention.  It seemed out of place in comparison to the other drawings on the wall.  He stepped closer and realized it had been drawn with something other than an implement or pencil.  There was no mistaking the flaking, darkness of well-aged blood.  His memory had almost wiped out the existence of the thing – at least he’d hoped it had.

“What is that, Mister Morton?” asked Hargreaves, pointing to the flowing black garments, ruby red lips and red eyes.

Chip forced a shrug.  “I’m not sure.  Probably nothing, this place is…would have been enough to make anyone insane.”

Hargreaves wasn’t so sure.  “But it looks like blood, it must have really scared the prisoner, maybe he drew it as a warning.”

O’Connell began looking around nervously.  “You don’t think it’s still here, Sir?”

Chip shook his head.  “I doubt it’s real at all.  It was a French Foreign Legion maximum security prison for the most violent and dangerous criminals – sometimes political prisoners were held here too.  They were only allowed out for a very short time.  It was probably someone’s imagination working overtime.”

“How do you know all that, Sir?” asked O’Connell, his voice still trembling slightly.

“I…I think I read it somewhere,” replied Chip, resisting an urge to touch the two long scars on his back.

“Were they all guilty?” asked Hargreaves.

“No, not all of them,” he replied grimly.

Chip noticed Hargreaves give him an odd look.  “Come on, keep moving,” he ordered, unable to keep a harsh tone from his voice.

He saw the two junior ratings exchange curious glances but ignored it and continued sweeping the rest of the floor.  Finding nothing, they continued onto the next floor up.  Chip felt a rising fear that he wouldn’t find his friends alive.  He knew that they could all take care of themselves, but he also knew that a danger greater than anything earthly wandered these corridors.


“I dunno, Ski, they could be anywhere.  Maybe we should start searching the other wing.”

“We’ve still got one more floor to do here.”  He looked up the crumbling staircase.  “Up there.”

Pat sighed.  “Might as well get it over with.  Let’s go.”

They walked silently up the stone blocks, only stopping to catch their breath.  “Hey Pat, this is longer than the other ones.”

“And steeper,” grumbled Patterson.

Ski touched some old writing.  “I wonder what these symbols mean.”

“Probably graffiti.”

“Shh, did you hear that?”

Patterson stopped for a moment and listened.  “No, what was it?”

“Like some sort of howling,” said Ski, frowning.

“Nope, can’t hear a thing.”

“It’s stopped now.  It sounded like it came from up there.”

Kowalski stared into the infinite darkness at the stop of the flight of stairs.  The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as he imagined the sound again and the creature that might have made it.  He jumped as Patterson put a hand on his shoulder.

“Let’s go, Ski.  The quicker we get out of this place the better.”

“Oh, so now you’re starting to get spooked too?”

“Of course not,” he muttered, looking over his shoulder into the retreating darkness behind them.  “I’m…I…okay, maybe a little.  You happy now?”

At the top they found a passageway with a blind end and no doors.  “This is weird.  I don’t like it

Ski nodded and walked slowly down the passage.  “Pat, look at this, there might be a secret lever behind here.  Give me a hand,” whispered Kowalski, touching a loose stone block.

“It’s stuck, we’ll pull on the count of three, alright?” said Pat.  “One, two, three!”

Ski felt the veins bulge on the side of his neck as he pulled hard at the heavy block.  “I think it’s coming loose, Pat.  Keep pulling.”

“Look out, it’s gonna fall.”

They both jumped out of the way as it fell heavily to the floor and split in two.

Patterson knelt down beside it.  “Ski, look at this, another weird symbol.”

Ski nudged the block to get a better look.  “It’s an old-fashioned ‘G’.  I wonder what it means.”

An incensed shrieking clawed through the darkness where there was now a square gap.

“Pat, I don’t think the Skipper or the Admiral are in there.”

“Me neither.  Let’s get outta here,” cried Pat, bolting down the steps behind Kowalski just as a dark and shadowy specter flew through the wall.

“In here, quick,” Ski grabbed Patterson by the arm and threw him into a small room before bolting the door.

“Do you really think this will stop it from getting us?  It flew though the wall,” stammered Patterson.

“I don’t know.  I saw the same symbols on the door as the one on the brick.  Maybe it stops it from getting out.”

Ski put his ear to the door.  “I can hear it talking to someone, a woman, I think.”

He jumped back from the door as the howling started again but died off in the distance.  “I think it’s gone.”

“Uh, maybe we should just wait for a minute to make sure.”

“Maybe that’s a good idea.  Then we need to find the Skipper and the Admiral.  There’s no telling what that thing can do.”

“Yeah, you’re right.  We should go now.”

Ski nodded.  “Let’s make a break for it and head over to the other wing.  Maybe they’re over there.”

Patterson opened the door slowly to see the stain of pink from the sun’s first glow seeping through the small windows.  “Coast’s clear.”

Ski followed him out of the door, all the while hoping that the creature hadn’t found the others.


Harry leaned heavily against the door jamb of the last cell.  Nothing – not even a small sign that Lee had ever been there.  He stifled an urge to call out his Captain’s name as he heard something odd.  Maybe he was imagining the sound, but the whispering seemed to echo from everywhere.  He felt his way into the cell and found his way into the far corner as the sound grew louder.  It seemed to come from the staircase.  The sound of metal clanking against metal came to his ears.  Pulling his gun out he crouched facing the doorway, his back to the wall – waiting.

“You cannot hide,” a cold voice threatened in a whisper.  “I will find you.  You are mine.”

Harry swallowed hard, his mouth dry.  Meeting all manner of monsters and aliens head on he could handle.  The unknown and the unseen were harder for him to deal with.  He’d never been one to sit back and wait, but that was exactly the sort of position he was in and it irked him no end.

“Show yourself!”  He yelled, hoping to flush out whatever it was into the open.

“Death will come quick enough without wishing for it,” the whispering intensified.

Harry put his hands over his ears – the noise was overwhelming.  Something intangible brushed against his skin, leaving him breathless.  He looked up and saw two red eyes boring into his head.  He snapped on his flashlight and when he saw what was before him he thought his heart might stop.  It was obviously a wraith, but he’d only known about the female and this one was obviously male.  The black apparition began wrapping itself around him, draining him.  He fired his full clip into the ghoul but it had no effect.  Was this it?  Was he going to die here, in this cold, hostile place far from the Seaview and her crew?  It wasn’t death that scared him, but the thought of it happening away from his friends, alone.

As the feeling of death enveloped Harry, he found himself wishing for nothing more than to tell Lee goodbye.


Chip was halfway up the steps before he realized the two seamen weren’t behind him.  He stealthily re-traced his steps back to the landing.  There was no sign of the men but as he took two steps forward a spine tingling scream shattered the eerie silence.  He broke into a run heading straight for the last cell.  As he burst through the door he watched as O’Connell slumped against the wall.  Hargreaves was nowhere in sight.

He did a quick sweep of the room.  Apart from O’Connell there was nobody in the cell.  He knelt beside him – there was no pulse and his chest was still.

“Damn,” he muttered.

O’Connell had been a good man.  He’d only been on Seaview for six months but he’d already impressed Chip with his work ethics.  The XO closed O’Connell’s eyelids and stood.  Hargreaves had to be around somewhere.  Either it was him that screamed and he had fled or the creature had him.

He could almost feel the phantom pain in his back, along the scar lines, taking on a life of its own, mimicking the feel of the whip as it bit through his skin.  The White House had asked for him specifically.  He’d been sworn to secrecy by the President himself and to be honest, he had never seen the creatures and even though he’d heard about them he hadn’t believed it – until now.  He hadn’t known at the time that it was because he was a Freemason, like the President.  It was something he’d never discussed with any of the crew, including Lee.  The whole mission had been top secret and the President had been very specific about the consequences if he spoke about it to anyone, including Nelson.  His silence had almost cost him his life.

When this mission had come up, Chip hadn’t known what was worse – watching Lee, the Admiral, Kowalski and Patterson go inside the prison without him, or possibly having to go in to find their remains.

His knowledge might have saved them and might yet.  He couldn’t be sure of that, but it still felt like a dereliction of duty to let them go without all the information, and also cut him deeply, as if he’d betrayed his friends.

“Chip!” gasped a voice.

Chip snapped his pistol up, his nerves on edge.  The beam of his flashlight fell onto a khaki clad leg, then moved up to find a shock of red hair.  “Admiral!”

Nelson didn’t look good, his face was almost white and he leaned heavily against the wall.  He staggered and would have fallen if Chip hadn’t caught him.

“How did you get here?” he rasped as Chip eased him to a sitting position on the ground.

“Kowalski and Patterson radioed in when they couldn’t get in touch with you and Lee.  I brought O’Connell and Hargreaves.”  He dropped his head.  “O’Connell is dead, Hargreaves is missing.  I could have prevented all of this.”

“No, Chip, you couldn’t,” said Nelson, his breathing easing.

Chip looked up.  “Yes, Sir, I could.  I had intimate knowledge of this facility from a past mission.  I should have shared it with you.”

Nelson shook his head.  “You were sworn to secrecy, Chip.  You didn’t really think I would be that careless, did you?”

The XO was speechless – how could Admiral Nelson have known about that aspect of his past.  He’d had help from the President to cover his tracks so carefully that nobody could ever have linked him to a government mission.

“When the President found out we were coming back here, he briefed me personally on the events that took place here during your mission.”  Nelson took a deep breath.  “Now, help me up and let’s find the others.”

“But…you left me on the boat,” stammered Chip, giving Nelson a hand.

Nelson nodded.  “I had to.  After what you’d gone through the first time, I had hoped to prevent you from having to re-live any of it.  I couldn’t know how you’d react.”

“Thank you, Sir, but I’m more than capable of dealing with it,” he replied stiffly, not sure whether he was angry or grateful.

“Oh?”  Nelson locked onto his eyes.  “You never saw the wraith, did you?”

Chip didn’t know what to say.  “No, but I heard it screaming when it was trapped in the room, only for a moment, before I passed out.”

“I just encountered it, and its mate.”

“It has a mate?” asked Chip, horrified.

The Admiral held a hand up.  “Its female mate saved my life.”  He wiped some perspiration from his brow.  “Just in time too, I might add.”

“Where’s Lee, Sir?”

Nelson looked worried.  “I don’t know.  I haven’t seen him for hours.  Where have you searched so far?”

“I finished this wing, but there’s still the psychiatric section.”  Chip was troubled.  “I still haven’t found Hargreaves, Admiral.”

“Let’s take a look at the other wing.  Perhaps he ended up there.”

“Yes, Sir.”  Chip hesitated.

“What is it, Chip?”

“I’d appreciate it if this was kept between us, Admiral.  Please don’t tell Lee.”

Nelson nodded.  “You couldn’t have known that the two wraiths had been released.  Still, since the file is closed under a Presidential order, I have no option but to keep it between ourselves.”  

Chip still wasn’t convinced that Hargreaves was alive, but he wouldn’t consider the alternative yet, at least not until he had physical proof.  Lee, on the other hand, had a survival instinct stronger than anyone he’d ever known.  So as he pushed on with Nelson, a small part of him was still hoping for the best. 


When Lee came around again he was on his own.  He dressed as quickly as his aching body and the cumbersome steel restraints allowed and took stock of his situation.  His clothes had dried somehow, he looked at his watch.  It had been three hours since he’d been taken by the smugglers.  The room he was in apparently had no doors – that was going to be a problem.  He searched around the walls, knowing there had to be a trigger for a hidden door somewhere.  The only thing he found was that three of the four walls, the ceiling and floor, had strange symbols on them – above each symbol was a capital ‘G’.  The fourth wall only had a scarred piece of stone where Lee could only assume another symbol had been.

“Don’t you trust me?” came the waspish voice of the wraith.

Lee spun around, his back to the cold wall for the second time that night.  “Should I?”

She floated closer, her lips parting as she stopped a mere inch from his face.  “You could try,” she offered.  “With trust come other things, other…opportunities.  It would be like no other experience you have ever even dreamed of…but it would come at a high cost.”

“I’m not prepared to meet that cost,” said Lee.

“A pity.  I think you would make a worthy companion, especially after eight centuries alone.”

For the first time, Lee felt a touch of the isolation she must have suffered living in the prison for all those centuries.

“What do the symbols on the walls mean, and why isn’t there one on this wall?” he asked, curious.

His simple question provoked a violent rage that made him fear for his life.  He backed against the wall as her flowing limbs seemed to grow larger, almost filling the room.  Lee felt the life being drawn from every pore in his body.

“What are you doing!” he gasped.

Her red eyes glared venomously at him.  “You want to know about the marks?”

Lee couldn’t speak.  Choking sounds came from his throat as he tried to say no.  She abruptly stepped back and appeared to grow much smaller and older.

“Please, forgive me.  I have been alone for such a long time.  The only people I have seen for many centuries have not been like you.”

“I…”  Lee took a deep breath.  “I’m sorry.  I had no idea asking about those would upset you so much.”

“It was the Knights Templar.”  She turned away from him, her arm sweeping around the secret room.  “I knew of herbs and healing.  My mother taught me some simple spells.  I had been a nurse, one of the only ones able to look after wounded Knights.  My secret love was a knight.  I had nursed him back to health on the battlefield once already.  During the Battle of Montgisard* he was mortally wounded.”

The wraith faced Lee again.  He could see the pain on her face even though centuries had passed.

“What happened?”

“I made the mistake of using a spell to give both of us immortality.  Though I had cast the spell, Hugh was also punished.  I was forced to this prison after we became wraiths as punishment for the spell.  The only way I could be imprisoned for eternity was if holy symbols were used.  I do not know what happened to Hugh.”

“The ‘G’, what does it stand for?” asked Lee, risking her rage.

“My love would never tell me, only that it symbolized everything good.”

“How was the symbol removed from that wall?” he pointed to where the symbol had obviously been erased.

“When the prison closed two years ago, a young guard took pity on me.  He gave me my release from the cell.  It seems his family had worked in the prison for many years and knew the story.  I regret to say I killed him for his kindness.”  Her chalky face pleaded with him for understanding.  “You must understand, my imprisonment had left me with an anger I could not contain.  My mind was not my own.”

Lee shook his head carefully.  The skin underneath the metal collar was hurting him more with each passing moment.  He longed to get it off.  “I’m sorry, I can’t stay with you.”

“You would deny me your company, as I have been denied the company of others for so many years?”

“Yes, to save my friends.”

“Even at the possible cost of your life?”


She smiled at him.  “You have passed the test.  The honor of being the first man in eight centuries to do so is yours.”


She knelt before him.  “You are truly good and would sacrifice yourself to save others.”  The wraith suddenly became sad.  “It is a rare quality.”

“How can I get out of here?”

Her hand reached out as if to touch him but stopped short.  “Follow me, I will show you the secret passage.”

Lee watched carefully as she pulled a well-hidden lever then handed him a burning torch.  A small passage door opened in one of the walls with a symbol.  As he stepped through he turned around, expecting the wraith to follow him.

“I cannot leave through this doorway.  I will see you on the other side.”

He hesitated, but sensing that she was true to her word, he moved slowly down the dark passage.  It was so small that he had to bend at the waist to avoid hitting his head.  The lever in the room must have activated the exit door and he quickly found his way into a section of the jail he hadn’t seen.  It was obviously a lot older than the area he’d been held by the smugglers.  Parts of the walls had fallen and each room held chains leading from a central point.  He shuddered at the thought of being incarcerated in such a place.  In times of old Lee knew that violent criminals were more often than not treated brutally by their jailers.  Daily punishments were an ugly reality.

The wraith materialized before him and pointed her arm down the corridor.  “That way.”

“Why are you really helping me?”

The wraith stopped – her back still towards him.  She bowed her head for a moment, and when she spoke, Lee could barely hear her words.

“I told you I haven’t tasted redemption for many centuries.  Once a year I have a chance to redeem myself, to leave this netherworld existence.  That moment is tonight, at midnight.  Some of you call it the witching hour.”

Lee took a chance and put his hand on her shoulder.  Even though he felt his strength draining he left it there.  “As far as I’m concerned, you’ve already earned that redemption.”

She pulled away and faced him.  Tears were streaming down her cheeks.  “I was right to save you.  Thank you.”

“I don’t even know your name.”

“It is Agnes Sawyer.  I…”

Lee watched on, astonished as a blinding light came from above.  “What is it?”

The wraith stared up at the light, seemingly entranced.  “I have my chance, thanks to you.”

He waited, but the wraith stopped short of going through the light.  Looking at his watch, he realized it was now a few seconds after midnight.

“You have to go, or you’ll be kept here for another year,” he urged.

The light began to dwindle until it was gone.  “I cannot leave until you and your friends are safe.  I will not have earned my passage until that moment.”

“You’ve made a great sacrifice.”

She looked down at him from her position halfway between him and the remaining light.  “No more than you did when you touched me of your own volition, knowing that I might take your life.”

“That was different.”

“No.”  She floated back down to the floor until she was able to look him directly in the eyes.  “I have made my choice,” she said sternly.

Lee almost felt like a child being scolded.  He supposed in the scheme of things he was an infant compared to the six hundred year old wraith.

“You obviously know this prison much better than me.  How do we get to the newer wings?”

“Up there,” she pointed to a crumbling staircase.  “Take those steps up three levels.  I will meet you at the top.”

Lee followed the wraith’s directions and had reached the second level when a noise caught his attention.  It wasn’t a loud noise, but something about it rang alarm bells in his head.  He stepped silently from the landing and into the corridor.

Unlike the two levels below, this one had received a new coat of paint and tiles covered the hallway floor instead of the sandstone blocks.  It looked like he’d found exactly what they had been supposed to find on their mission – the smuggling operation.

He crept closer, carefully avoiding any doorways until he’d had an opportunity to make sure the rooms were deserted.  Some of the rooms were empty and contained instruments used to inflict punishment on criminals during their stay.  A few were stockpiled high with boxes, the names on the side revealed that the contents were something completely unexpected.  Limpet mines! 

Lee found one of the boxes had a loose lid.  He pushed it up and discovered that the mines were vintage WWII.  He had no doubt they were unstable.  A noise in the passage alerted him to someone else’s presence.  He quickly went to the entrance and hid behind the thick wooden door.

“Crane’s body will just be bones by now.  I still reckon we should have roughed him up a bit, Dan.  Bartho would have broken him in no time flat,” came a voice Lee knew belonged to Jimmy. 

“Shut up, he wouldn’t have talked.  I saw that right away.  He would have died before we got anything out of him.  Come to think of it I guess he did.”  Dan laughed harshly at his own joke.  “It would have been a much worse death at the hands of our tame little wraith.  Go find Bartho so we can get this stuff out of here.” 

Lee heard the sound of retreating footsteps and waited for Dan to walk through the door.  He didn’t have long to wait.  Edging out a little from where the door joined the wall, one of his steel manacles scraped along the wood.  Before he had a chance to react, the door was thrown backwards, knocking him hard against the wall.  Lee recovered in time to see the door flung closed and the leader, Dan, stand in front of him, menacing him with a pistol.

“How the hell did you get free?” he gasped.

“Maybe you should ask her,” replied Lee, nodding to the left of the man.

“That trick’s as old as the sun.”

“And so am I,” hissed the wraith.

Lee watched as the man’s complexion paled.  He turned around, his horror-stricken face etched in Lee’s mind.

“No, please, don’t kill me,” Dan pleaded.  “I…I helped you, you were all alone.  I brought you new victims.”

The wraith’s tendrils began to swirl, wrapping themselves around the smuggler until he was cocooned.  “You do not deserve to live.”

“Wait!” cried Lee.  “You’ve earned your right to leave this place, to find peace.  Don’t lose it again because of this man.  Fight it, remember who you were.”

He was about to reason with her again when he felt a gun in his back and a rough voice at his ear.  “Don’t move,” Jimmy said, having re-entered the room behind him.  The brute Bartho loomed at his side, every bit as intimidating as Lee remembered.  “Hey, Bartho,” Jimmy told his cohort.  “This is getting old.  Shoot the wraith.”

Lee lunged for Bartho but was roughly pushed back to his knees, the gun still held at his back.  He watched helplessly as Bartho shot five rounds into Agnes.  The only effect it had was to make her angry.

“Hey, you let him go or the Captain pays for what you do to my buddy,” yelled Jimmy.

Agnes looked at Lee, her eyes molten pits of lava, tendrils still clutching at the other man, taking his life.  “I am sorry.  I cannot do what you ask.”

Bartho pushed Jimmy out of the way and clipped Lee over the head with the pistol, just enough to get her attention again.  “I’m in charge here now.  You do as you’re told, be a good wraith, just like you have for the last two years.”

Lee slumped forward on his hands as blood dripped down from his temple.  “No, don’t, please…Agnes.”

She stared into his eyes.  “I have another year to make good what I have done this night.”

“What are you talking about, wraith?” yelled Bartho.

“This!” she hissed, as more tendrils whipped out to capture Bartho and Jimmy.

Lee heard a strangled gasp as all three men writhed and screamed as their energy was drained.  This was what might have happened to him – what had caused the wraith to change her mind and help him was still very much a mystery to him.

“Get out, I do not want you to see this,” she gasped, her eyes pulsing with energy.

He stood up, holding a hand to one side of his head.  “Agnes, before, when the light came, please, remember how you felt.”

For a moment, Lee thought she hadn’t heard him, then her shadowy tendrils un-swirled from the men and dropped them onto the floor.  He knelt beside them and was relieved to find that they were all still breathing.  At least the wraith still had her redemption, maybe even more so.

“Thank you, Captain.  It is Captain, isn’t it?  That’s what I heard one of them call you?”

“Yes, Captain Lee Crane.”

She cast one more despising look at the three men and floated back to the ground.  “What do you wish me to do with them?”

Lee grinned.  “I’ve got that covered.”


“You can’t leave us here,” screamed Bartho.

Two of the three were manacled to the same wall as he had been.  The third he’d had to improvise and had tied him hand and foot on the ground with his shirt.

Lee looked at his watch.  “There’s still eight hours to high tide, I think that’ll give me enough time to figure out what to do with you.”

He’d seen the three scuba tanks on the steps and knew a rescue party had come, but where were they – and where were the Admiral, Ski and Paterson?  They were all pressing questions and he meant to find them now that two of the three men had been taken out of the equation.

“I need to find my friends now.”

Agnes floated up the stairs ahead of him.  It was so surreal, he barely believed what was happening.

“Does one of your friends have red hair?”

“Yes, is he alive?”

Agnes inclined her head to one side.  “He is, but there is another problem.”

Lee groaned.  Another problem?”

“My mate, my love…I had thought him imprisoned in another place, but it seems he has been here all these centuries, unbeknownst to me.”  She continued up the steps.  “Hugh attacked your friend.”

Lee slipped on a piece of wet moss and almost fell back down the stairs before regaining his balance.  “You said he was alright.  Where is he?  I need to find him.”

“He was in the solitary confinement section, two floors up.”  Agnes moved away from him.

“Where are you going?”

“I have to find Hugh, to stop him from harming your friends.”

“Can he hurt you?” asked Lee, concerned.

“I don’t believe he would, then again, I killed so many people after I was set free that  I cannot be sure.”

Lee stepped onto the landing beside her.  “If there’s any danger to yourself, I don’t want you taking a chance.  There must be another way of defeating him?”

“There may be, but I cannot say for sure.”

“Captain, I must try to reason with him, to fix the choice I made so long ago.”  She started moving again.  “If something happens, do not get between us.  It will be lethal to you.”

He followed her to where she’d last seen the Admiral, but they couldn’t find him.  About to suggest that they try another part of the prison, Lee stopped short as he saw Agnes stiffen.

“What is it?”

“My love,” she gasped.  “He is hunting for your men.”

“How do you know?”

“It seems we are linked.  I have never felt this before.”

“Where is he?” asked Lee, impatient to find them before the wraith.

“There!”  She pointed through the window towards an isolated section of the prison, accessed by a stone bridge.

“Is that the only way to get there?”

“I’m afraid so.”  Her body swept towards the doorway.  “I am faster than you.  I wish to save your friends, Captain.”

“Let me go first,” he protested.

She brushed against him so lightly he barely felt the contact.  “No, this is something I must do.”

“But…”  Before the words could come out of his mouth Agnes was gone.

Lee took off at a run, ignoring the torturous chafing of the metal restraints.  He couldn’t let her face the wraith alone, no matter what Agnes thought she had done wrong in the past.

He slowed as he came to the end of the bridge and slipped through the door, breathing heavily.  The last ten hours was catching up to him and he felt it in every fiber of his body, but he wouldn’t stop until Nelson, Chip and the others were safe – including Agnes. 

The asylum wing of the prison was even eerier than the main prison.  As he searched through each floor, old straight-jackets, restraints and shock therapy tools remained. 

A sudden howling noise reached him, and he walked cautiously down the passage until he found the source.  Agnes had found Hugh and the two were in a stand-off on an open expanse of terrace that extended over the cliff.

“Hugh, you must not hurt these men!  They are good people.”

The male wraith was bigger than Agnes, his face twisted into a savage mask that sent ice surging through Lee’s veins.

“They all deserve to die.  You are wrong.  There are no good people left.  They all died on the battlefield.”

Agnes floated closer.  “Please, Hugh, you must believe me.”

“You lie,” he growled.  “Nobody deserves my compassion.”

“Their Captain, he is a good man.  I sensed such good within him, such compassion and strength – just as I did with you many centuries ago,” she pleaded.

“NO!” he hissed.  “He fooled you, as our friends did after you brought me back to life.  They imprisoned us here for centuries, isolated, alone,”

“You’re wrong!” she shrieked.

Hugh’s tendrils began to wrap around Agnes and Lee saw pain in her eyes.  “If you will not help me, you can die too.”

Lee surged forward, throwing himself between the two wraiths.  “Stop, you mustn’t hurt her.  She loves you.”

He felt himself caught between the two entities, felt the energy leave his body like blood from an arterial bleed.  His vision started to fade as blackness enveloped him.

“Hugh, you must stop,” cried Agnes.  “He is sacrificing himself to save us.  Can you not see that?”

The feeling of death settled upon Lee like mildew, freezing his limbs and slowing his heart.  His ears became deaf and his voice mute.

“Do you not remember what it felt like to save a life, to fight for a good cause?” she sobbed.

“Lee!” cried a third voice.

“Hugh, please!”  Agnes’ voice broke.

For the second time in twelve hours he believed that death was close.  Then the darkness was gone, and he felt the sun on his face, warm and inviting.  With that last feeling he passed out, not knowing if it was the end.


Chip sat beside his friend and Captain in sickbay.  He looked at his watch for the tenth time.  It had been sixteen hours since Lee had tried to save the female wraith and been caught between the two of them.  Since then his vitals had improved significantly, but he hadn’t regained consciousness.  The three smugglers had been locked in the brig after Chip had found them while retrieving the scuba gear.  It had all ended well, but Chip still had to get over his lingering deep-seated guilt.

“Chip, why don’t you get some sleep?” suggested Jamie.  “He’ll wake up when he’s good and ready.”

“I’m okay, Jamie.  You get some coffee.  I’ll look out for Lee while you’re gone.”

Doctor Will Jamieson looked at his patient, then at the XO.  “If he wakes up, make sure you call me.”

Chip nodded.  “I doubt he will, but if he does you’ll be the second person to know,” he grinned.

He watched as the doctor left sickbay then turned his attention back to Lee.  His face was still pale, but there was more color in it than when he and the Admiral had found him.  There were bandages around his ankles, wrists and neck where the manacles had abraded the skin.  Apart from that, he was in good health and there was no reason for him to remain unconscious.

  “Hey, buddy, it’s about time you woke up.  I can’t sit here for much longer without the Admiral fixing to make sickbay off limits.”

To his surprise, he saw Lee’s eyelids flutter.

“Chip,” said Lee, his voice hoarse.

Chip put a hand on his shoulder and gave it a squeeze.  “Welcome back to the land of the living.  How do you feel?”

“Terrible,” replied Lee.

“I have to let Jamie know you’re awake.”  He made to stand up but found Lee’s iron grip on his hand.

“Wait!  What about the rest – Kowalski and Patterson and the smugglers.”

Chip frowned.  “Kowalski and Patterson turned up just as the wraiths left, turns out they accidentally let Hugh out of his containment.  I found the smugglers later when I retrieved the scuba gear.  They were transferred to a British Navy ship for what I can only guess will be a long incarceration.  Hargreaves and O’Connell,” he took a deep breath.  “Both of them were killed by the male wraith.”

Lee shook his head sadly.  “They were both good men.  What happened to Agnes and her mate?”

Chip sat back down on the chair.  “Agnes left you a message.”  He watched as Lee assimilated the information.  “She said thank you, and wished you a long and happy life and that your actions made Hugh stop and realize that there are still people who deserve to live.”


“The Admiral and I both saw a white light above the wraiths.  The male wraith went into it first, then Agnes told me what she wanted you to know.  She followed him into the light.”

Lee lay back on the bed, his hands behind his head.  “I’m glad, but I thought it could only happen at midnight on All Hallows Eve.  I guess Agnes did more than she needed by saving all of us.”

“Is that all you have to say?”

Lee shook his head.  “What else is there?”

Chip stared at Lee.  What he’d been through was above and beyond the call of duty.  It had almost killed him.  What was worse, Chip still felt guilty – even though he’d been in the prison before and almost lost his own life on a Presidential mission, he still felt that he could have spared Lee the pain he’d undergone.

“You almost died, Lee.”  It was on the tip of his tongue to say and it was all my fault.

Lee struggled to sit up.  “Chip, before they were wraiths they were just two human beings who fell in love with each other.  They’d already paid their price.  It was time for them to…I don’t know… to do what wraiths do when they deserve redemption.”

“Yes, but…”

“Chip!  How long has the Skipper been awake?” snapped Jamie, walking back into sick bay.

“Uh, not long, Jamie,” replied Chip guiltily.

“In fact, Chip was about to get you, Jamie,” Lee came to the rescue.

The doctor’s wrath turned to his patient.  “Well now that he’s been reassured you’re alright, he can return to his duties.”  Jamie gave Chip a glare that had him climbing out of his chair and heading for the door.

He managed to muster a grin at Lee.  “I’ll be back after my watch.”

“No hurry, I guess I’m not going anywhere,” mumbled Lee.

“You’ve got that right, Skipper,” Jamie said crisply as soon as Chip had gone.  “How do you feel?”

“I’m a little tired and sore, but all things considered, I feel pretty good.”

Jamie took some vitals.  “You were in bad shape when I got to you.  It was touch and go for a while.”

“Thanks, Jamie.”

“I’ll have some lunch brought down for you.  If you manage to eat all of it, I might be persuaded to let you go to your cabin.”

Lee grimaced.  “I guess I don’t have any choice.”

Jamie patted him on the shoulder.  “Nope, you don’t – not if you want out of here.”

He was caught in Jamie’s clutches and there was no way he could escape without doing at least a little of what the doctor ordered.

“Jamie, Chip wasn’t hurt, was he?”

Jamie frowned.  “No, why?”

“He was acting strange, like he was holding something back from me.”

“Everyone had a full physical after they came back and his was fine.”

Lee wanted to pursue this with Jamie, but the Admiral walked into sick bay and sat in his usual chair beside his bunk.  “Lee, Chip told me you were awake.  How do you feel?”

“Much better, Admiral.  How are you?”

“Oh, I’ll live.  I had a concussion, that’s about all.”

“Not to mention six stitches and a run-in with the male wraith,” added Jamie.

“Admiral, did Chip seem… upset?”

Nelson shook his head.  “No, why do you ask, Lee?”

“I…nothing, I guess I’m still tired.”

Nelson pushed himself to his feet.  “It’s finished now, Lee, and we have a new mission.  I’ll brief you once you’ve had something to eat and freshened up.”

“Alright, Admiral.”

Lee watched as Nelson left sickbay.  He couldn’t put his finger on it, but his instinct told him something wasn’t quite right.  Maybe he’d do a bit of digging after they got back to Santa Barbara.  He was sure that there was something the Admiral and Chip weren’t telling him.  It was just a matter of digging deeply enough.  He looked up as one of the stewards brought some dinner in and put it in front of him and suddenly realized that he didn’t have any appetite left.  Still, he ate it anyway, figuring that the sooner he was out of sick bay the sooner he could unravel the mystery.

The End for now.