The rains finally relented after what seemed like an endless winter. Another storm hung out in the Atlantic, churning in the warm waters off the coast of South Carolina. Ky looked out the window of his dad’s 1989 Nissan truck at the dark clouds and the occasional crack of lighting out on the horizon.
The truck did not have a radio and if there had been a radio you wouldn’t be able to hear it over the rattle of every joint of the truck that was held together more by duct tape and less by bolts.
Today was not a normal Saturday. Normally Ky’s dad had the day off and they would go out fishing or spend some time around the house fixing something that didn’t actually seem to be broken.
There was always something wrong in the surrounding world of Ky. He just wanted to spend time with the friends that he had but was not allowed to see for various reasons. Especially since his mom went to live with her mom back in Tennessee.
Ky’s dad had to pick up another job, a job that he didn’t like. Something called a stevedore. Again, the union rarely made the boys work on the weekends, but because of all the storms this winter they were playing catchup. A shipment had to be off to Liverpool by the afternoon. It was three days late and they might lose the contract if it stretched out any further.
The truck pulled up to an old trailer on the outside of the container yard. Ky followed his dad in as he poured himself the last of the coffee in the carafe and didn’t bother to start another. He downed the black sludge in a couple of drinks and sat the cup down next to a bunch of other dirty by the sink. He guided Ky over to a desk where he turned on a computer that came into existence sometime in the late 90’s. He opened up a mispelled folder called “Gamse” and ruffled Ky’s hair.
“I shouldn’t be too long,” Ky’s father said. “We only need to load up a few containers and push the boat out. Maybe a couple of hours at most. Stay here. You can walk around the trailer, but don’t leave the trailer. Got it?”
Ky nodded and clicked open one of the games on the computer. He didn’t know what Spades was, but he tried to play it as his dad exited out of the trailer and toward the container yard.
The game didn’t work correctly. No matter what Ky did he couldn’t seem to get the cards to move and if he could move them, they didn’t stay where he wanted them to stay. They always came back to his deck.
So, he closed the game out and opened up Pinball. The right shift key on the keyboard was missing and held down with a piece of electrical tape for some reason. So that game didn’t work either. The internet browser was locked with a password so that was a no-go as well.
Ky looked out into the container yard. The sun was out, and the wind seemed to barely blow.
A perfect day to be outside and to play.
He eyed a series of containers on the other side of the yard by a ship that had no movement what so ever happening and determined this might be the best place to go and have a look around. A lap around the containers and back to the office. His dad would never know that he had been out. A perfect plan.
The sun called to him.
Ky walked out from behind the desk and to the door. He waited a few seconds before he opened the door in the slowest fashion he possibly could. He peeked out from the threshold.
Large trucks and cranes were abuzz to the right of the trailer. Loading up a large ship with multiple containers from a couple of different cranes. The shouts of inaudible orders, beeps, and the clanging of metal on metal. To the left was pure calm and the faintest of breezes bringing the brine from Charleston Harbor to his nostrils. The sea air confirmed today was meant for being outside in the brilliant sun and not cooped up behind a computer that still ran Windows 95.
Without an extra thought, Ky slipped out the door closing it as quiet as he could behind him.
Ky ran into the middle of the canyon of containers. They were stacked so high they blotted out the brilliant sun and cast him into a forest of shadows. Ky noticed the temperature dropped drastically inside the rows of containers.
The wind swirled through the containers. It was not a strong wind, but it was it cut through the hoodie Ky wore. He felt the goosebumps form upon his skin, from his toes to the tip of his nose. He took a step backward ready to leave. A sense in his brain told him to get out of the containers and head back to the office.
The office might be boring, but the office was safe.
Ky took another step and bumped into something. He turned. A boy, about his height, maybe an inch taller stood with his hands in his pockets, a black hoodie a size too big hung off his gaunt frame. The hood pulled up over his head hiding the top portion of his face. Only the pale lips and even paler skin of his nose and chin shown from beneath the hood.
Ky took an involuntary step back. Something about the kid did not click with him.
“Do you want to play?”
“Huh,” Ky replied before even thinking.
“Would you like to play with me?”
“Is that a yes?”
Ky shrugged, “I suppose so. What do you want to play?”
The boy thought over his answer for a bit and a smile broke his lips.
“How about hiding and seek?”
“It would be impossible to find you,” snapped Ky.
“You hide first. I bet I’ll find you. No problem.”
“Yes,” said the boy. “No problem at all.”
That is what Ky wanted to do. He wanted to run and hide from this boy and not come back here ever again. He would make use of that computer for however long his dad took out in the yard.
“No going back to the trailer though. That’s off limits. You need to stay inside the containers.”
“Oh,” said Ky. “Okay. I’ll stay out here.”
“Good. I’ll count to one hundred,” the boy said as he hid his eyes in the crook of his elbow and leaned against a blue container. “One — two — three…”
Ky ran down the aisle of containers. They were cavernous and never-ending. He’d run down an aisle, turn a corner and be swept into a new hallway of containers. The wind began to pick up and the clouds started to roll in.
The voice of the boy counted in his head. He did not know how this was happening, but the kid started into the 80s and there was nowhere to hide.
Ky popped out of the end of one of the rows of containers. He stood next to the edge of the dock. A large ship that looked fully loaded sat in front of him. A single container sat next to a plank that ran up to the ship’s deck. An empty crane hook dangled above the
The container was the only one open in the whole yard and appeared to be the best hiding spot in the whole yard.
“One hundred,” the voice of the boy boomed in his head. Ky jumped into the container and hid behind a stack of nondescript boxes. He moved further into the boxes finding a little nook that sat completely hidden in complete darkness. He held out his hand, two inches from his face he could not see his own hand. At full length, he could barely see it.
There was no way that the other boy was going to find him in here. Even if he came into the container and stood right in front of this nook, he would never see him. This turned out to be the most perfect hiding spot the world has ever known.
Rain began to patter on the top of the container.
“Great. dad will know I’ve been outside,” Ky said to himself.
The rain started to come down a little harder and the clouds unleashed. Ky began to pull himself out of the dark cubby to return to the trailer. It would be a long while before his dad returned. He had a good chance to dry out before his dad even got out of the crane.
He rounded the boxes and looked out into the storm and the boy. The boy stood at the entrance of the container and started closing the door. Ky stared the boy in his deep, black eyes. The boy remained emotionless as the door slammed shut and then the lever was swung into the lock with a clang.
Ky rushed to the door and pounded on it. His small soft fists not making enough sound to overcome the driving rain. That did not deter him though. He pounded, he cried, he shouted, he screamed until blood ran down his and his voice gave out on him.
He collapsed to the floor of the container as it was latched on to by the crane and pulled up into the sky.
“Dad,” cried out Ky in a voice so soft he didn’t know if he even spoke or not. He tried to cry again when the container was placed down on the ship with a bunch of other containers. There he lost consciousness and was not awake when the ship pushed off from the dock, nor led out to sea by a tug boat.
The ship broke away from the calmer waters of Charleston Harbor and entered the choppier and churning waters of the Atlantic. The ship rocked and dipped, the waves became larger the further ship got from shore. The captain hoped for calmers waters once they reached the mid-Atlantic and smooth waters on the approach to Sines.
A day into the trip is when Ky awoke. If it wasn’t for the salt water leaking into the container then he might have not opened his eyes. He sputtered the water out of his mouth and nostrils. The night before a rogue wave knocked numerous containers off the deck of the ship. Some of the containers sank as soon as they hit the water. Others, like Ky’s, have been bobbing along about a northern current. Closer to Philadelphia than their original destination. Far enough along for no one to go scoop them up. Far enough along for no one to care.
Ky splashed around, feeling his way through the darkness, bumping into floating boxes. The water sitting at ankle depth. He found his way to the door and began to push. The lock and the weight of the water not allowing a single millimeter of the door to push outward.
The water continued to rise. Covering Ky’s feet, then lapping at his knees, soon it passed his waist and that’s when the container pitched, and Ky was thrown forward. Boxes crushed Ky against the door. He tried to scream in pain, but it was muffled by the rush of water filling his mouth and shooting down to his lungs.
No one ever did find Ky. There was quite the investigation and most blamed his father. No charges were ever brought against him, but the court of public opinion found him guilty. Ky’s body was never found like so many others trapped in containers at the bottom of the ocean.