The Sea Hates a CowardNate Crowley
science fiction, horror
Schneider Wrack was never a dissident. But since he’s serving the sentence anyway, he may as well become one.
Because in the city, the sentence for sedition is death. Death, and then reanimation, before being shipped out to Ocean to work until you fall apart – or something gets you. There’s always a need for fresh bodies in Ocean. In the 70 years the city has been under siege, it’s been the only place to get food, and so the whaling barges work night and day to haul in enough meat to keep three million people from the edge of starvation. Human labour isn’t an option – Ocean’s too big, too cruel, too full of monsters – so it’s the dead that man the whaleboats. They’re meant to be mindless, empty vessels, but the procedure isn’t perfect. Schneider has woken up months into his sentence, trapped in a living hell of meat and brine, and he’s not happy.
It’s going to take a lot to stir the workforce into revolt; few of them have all their original limbs, and fewer still can remember their own names. But you’ve got to do what you can with what you’ve got.
It’s time to bring hell back to the city.
Nate Crowley lives in South East London, and knows too much about the history of public aquaria. Once, he accidentally punched a wrasse while wearing a diving suit from the 1800s. He keeps a List of Animals. He is the author of Daniel Barker’s Birthday, and can be found on twitter as @frogcroakley. The Sea Hates a Coward is his first wossname.