Another free story…

This was last year’s giveaway: Christmas is a good time for ghost stories and Secrets comes with the bonus of a sea serpent!

Aboard the frigate Hecuba, two bells in the last dog watch.
Only a fool would barge into Stephen Hopkins’s great cabin unannounced, especially when he was in conference with his first lieutenant. When Midshipman Rogerson burst through the door, he consequently got the reception he deserved.
“Are we beating to quarters?” The captain demanded, dark eyes glowering
below a mass of dark hair.
“No, sir.” Rogerson was a sensible lad of fifteen, two years now at sea and
utterly absorbed with serving king and country, so why he’d taken such leave of his senses as to come in unannounced was an utter mystery.
“Then, Mr. Rogerson, you are forgetting yourself. What is the meaning of
this?” The lantern shadows on the captain’s face gave it an unnaturally solemn
appearance. Barely more than ten years older than the midshipman but with all those years’ experience in his pocket, Hopkins seated at his own table in his own well-furnished cabin was a formidable man.
“It’s a monster, sir. Two points off the larboard beam and very close. Mr
Douglas said you were to be notified immediately, sir.” Rogerson was usually a
bundle of nerves when in the presence of his superior officers but on this occasion he was strangely animated.
Read more…

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