[Essay] Terrible and True

by Evan Baughfman


“Anybody hear us up there?!” voices shrieked beneath the waves of Pearl Harbor.

Everyone heard.


***


Trapped inside the sunken hull of a torpedoed battleship, three sailors begged for release from their watery prison. At all hours, they screamed for help.


Nobody dared risk rescue. Too life-threatening.


Opening the hull would drown the men.


Blowtorches would instantly ignite oil-ladened water, putting all in peril.


There was nothing to do but listen.


Unrequited pleas of the stranded eventually fell silent.


***


When the USS West Virginia was refloated, salvage crews found the trio of corpses in an airtight room.


A calendar marked each and every day they had survived beneath the turquoise surf.


Sixteen in total.


384 hours as they withered away, starving to death.


Ronald Endicott, only 18 years old.


Clifford Olds, 20.


Louis “Buddy” Costin, the eldest at 21.



Much of Evan Baughfman’s writing success has been as a playwright, his original plays finding homes in theaters worldwide. A number of his scripts are published through Heuer Publishing, YouthPLAYS, Next Stage Press, and Drama Notebook. Evan has also found success writing horror fiction, his work can be found in anthologies by No Bad Books Press, 4 Horsemen Publications, and Black Hare Press. Evan’s short story collection, The Emaciated Man and Other Terrifying Tales from Poe Middle School, is published through Thurston Howl Publications. His novella, Vanishing of the 7th Grade, is coming from D&T Publishing in Summer 2022. More info is available at amazon.com/author/evanbaughfman