“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”
- T.S. Eliot
I found myself alone,lying on the shore with the water crawling up my legs. Only the distant banter of the seaguls keeping me aware of my own existence. It’s a funny thing, having a conscience. As soon as it leaves it’s port, it remains lost, adrift in a sea of broken dreams and foggy weather. Till at last it finds it’s anchor. Aye, i found my anchor. I’d recognise the endless chirping of these sea rats, any day of the week.
I got up on my feet, drenched in water and shaking as the stray dog i seemed to be. As soon as i got up was as soon as i could take a good look at what was going on around me. And boy, was it a charm. A ship seemed to be wrecked. It was split like a nut. Must have crashed against the shoreline. Those were some Gigantic Rocks there on the shore. Lousy sailor, that must have been. I was on a beach nearby. No way in hell, i could have gotten from the ship to this beach on my own two feet. So why the hell was i still breathing?
My own memory was cloudy, unreliable. I had some flashes of sailing, some faces and names that seemed familiar, but it all didn’t seem to make any sense when put together. A Patrick Stevens, resident in Boston, or maybe that was Susan Milano, the woman with the perky breasts. There was that other thing also. There were drag marks on the beach. Those were some big drag marks. Up to the place where i was laying just some minutes ago. Or were they hours? Damn, time. What a beautiful privilege that seems to be.
But there was no time for time, in the situation i found myself in. Whatever i had been in my past seafaring life, i was a survivor now and surviving was what i needed to do.
I found some supplies drifting away near the shore, before the night arrived. I was sure the crew wouldn’t be needing them. I got acquainted with some of the fine gentleman aboard the “Medusa”, as it seemed to be named according to the writing on the hull. It seemed like a fine ship, capable of standing her own on some nasty storms. Not so much against the cold embrace of sharp rocks, though. I stood there for a moment looking at the drowned crewmembers, looking at their wounds, at their deformed faces. Wondering if any of them used to be friends or even family. Since nothing came up in my mind, i decided it was time for me to leave.
6 days and 6 nights. That is how long i spent wandering about, with no one in sight and with my resources quickly draining. The winds were strong on that godforsaken rock i seemed to have landed on. The nights were particularly cold with the occasional thunderstorm coming in for a punchline. The wildlife seemed to be mostly composed of gulls and crabs. Nothing more substantial to eat. In fact the damn thing didn’t look like a beach anymore, it looked like a desert. I was about to set up camp for my seventh night when i saw some light coming in from a shack in the distance. Two thoughts seemed to be running through my mind. The first one was that a finding a shack was Great and the second one....that somebody else was alive in this place.
As i approached the shack, i felt a sudden uneasiness about the whole thing. There i was ready to engage in wahtever i might have needed to do, and i wasn’t a bit nervous. More ready to jump with excitement. I opened the door to be met with a corpse. A corpse? Well, let me be damned, the ghosts are the rulers of this island now. The idea seemed to amuse me. Whoever i was i did not seem to be a people person. I must admit that i wasn’t ready for my next glance though. As i turned my eyes to glance at a letter he had written that was on top of an improvised wooden table. It was the ususal, “i won’t be home for dinner dear, cause i’m stranded on an island” thing that i could so brightly recognise in my memory from so many ocasions. Neither of them, particualrly vivid. No, the ending was what disturbed me. It was signed as captain John Lancer of the “Medusa”. If this corpse belonged to the captain of that ship, then it just didn’t make any sense in my mind. The corpse was rotten to the bone. No way this was recent. It was at least two months old by the way it smelled. And i know i wasn’t sleeping for two goddamn months.
I turned around, to be warmly greeted by the gentleman who must have been responsible for lighting the shack. I didn’t get a good enough look on him though, cause he immediately buried the handle of his sword on my face, leaving me once again, adrift in my sea of memories...
The next morning i woke up to the thunderous roar of an angry sea god. It might have been the biggest storm so far. Seemed to be located in a camp. There were some primitive tents all around the place and food seemed to be plentiful also. However not for me, as my hands were tied to a pole. As the day went on, i got more familiar with the people who dragged me here. They didn’t speak english, and i couldn’t understand their language. Natives perhaps. They all wore robes covering them of the sandstorms. Asian looking faces and sharp knives for best friends as it seemed. One of the bastards, made me a cut across the face and then licked the blood from his knife. However they were, sick games was their thing. At least i learned of what happened to the poor members of the “Medusa” crew who didn’t die by the collision. They were for dinner.
It still didn’t explain why i was there and how i had come into the beach.
The next few days were uneventful, tolerable but just barely. I was mistreated but they were curious about me. Perhaps not as much as i was, but enough for them to play around with me, asking questions i couldn’’t understand, making cuts, feeding me disgusting things. I thought we were getting along well. Until, one of them took a closer look. The son of a bitch decided it would be funny to take a piss on my torso. Humiliating me and himself in the process, but as soon as he ripped my wet, worn out shirt from my body, he took two steps back. In fact everyone did, they seemed shocked and surprisingly scared. And then i saw it, a reflection on a rusty knife. The words tatooed across my chest: Discordia.
My conscience was left afloat once more, but this time there was something else in those strange waters with it. A ship. Dark as the night, massive as the rocks and roaring as the Kraken reawakened from the deep. It’s flags were black and covered with skulls on each side. there were no symbols on it. No symbols apart from the words written in red. No. Not Red. They were written in blood. The Discordia, they called it...
© Copyright 2016 John Stark. All rights reserved.
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