The large warship and its crew had been left adrift and alone after an exhausting battle between a fleet of Spanish ships. Lamps dotted around the boat illuminated the scared expressions on the men’s faces as an eerie silence seeped from the wall of darkness around them. Captain Briggs looked at his pocket watch, and a sudden chill crept up his spine. He turned to his second in command. “What time have you on your watch, Mr Tomson?”
A look of dread spread across Mr Tomson’s face. “I’m afraid to say, captain. The hands stopped moving a few hours ago.” The captain looked over the edge of the boat and peered into the murky water as the voices of a thousand tortured souls called out to him from the dark abyss.
After summoning Mr Tomson to his quarters, he shut the door behind him. Captain Briggs took a puff of his pipe, blowing a cloud of smoke into the air. “What do you think is happening with the watches,” asked Captain Briggs. “I’m not sure, Captain, but the sun should have risen already. Something is not right here.”
One of the crew began banging down the door to the captain’s quarters. “Something is happening. You have to come and see this,” he cried as he continued beating down the door.
Up on deck, a bright light illuminated the night sky. The glowing light seemed to call out to the crew. Most resisted its warmth, but few seemed mesmerised by its glow. “I’m not scared anymore,” said one of the crewmen as he reached out to touch it before disappearing into the light. The bright light continued taking the men one by one before disappearing back into the darkness, leaving some of the crew behind.
“Captain, come here and look at this. I see something burning in the distance.” Mr Tomson pointed into the darkness. “It could be land, captain.” The fire in the distance turned into a raging inferno as it neared the ship. The men looked on in horror as the flames licked at the boat. “What’s happening, Captain?” cried Mr Tomson.”
The Captain pulled his pocket watch from his jacket and tossed it overboard. “Time doesn’t move in purgatory, and the raging fire is our Judgment.” A sadness filled Mr Tomson’s eyes. “Will it hurt, Captain?”
“For all eternity, Mr Tomson.”