Even though I captain this ship, I feel powerless against the infinite sea around us. And the sea makes sure to remind me of this too. Just last week I saw my second mate get swallowed whole by the mouth of the sea. I just remember yelling at him before he went out to try to save the bosun.
“All in naught, the sea has him now!” is what I said. True as this was, the siren call was already luring my second mate out. He just opened the main hatch and faced the storm. I remember his blank face as he received the news and the seemingly destruction of his soul. The trance-like steps he took past the rest of the crew huddled together and out he went.
This bright young man was no fool. So it confounds me on why he left so quickly after his friend. He has been on plenty of shipping routes to know how cruel the sea can be. How many shipping routes I’ve been on to know not to go after him. Instinct took over as I saw his shadow slip out of the door.
I remember running topside as he made his way to the bow of the ship. For a brief second I lost sight of his figure as he went deeper into the endless rain. Soon, I saw his outline looking over the sea and heard his distinct yelling that seemed to be barely strong enough to win the fight over the roar of the sea. I didn’t think and I just ran to him. One step at a time until I felt nearly weightless as I traveled towards him.
When I reached the second mate, I heard what he was screaming more vividly and more distinctly:
“JOHN, JOHN, JOHN…” He screamed endlessly at the sea in hopes to get his friend back. It took a second for him to see I was there for him. His grim look and despairing eyes fell upon me. I almost think that he knew his end was drawing near.
“I loved him.” He said. I gripped him hard to pull him in further on to the ship. A crack of lightning lit the darkened sea to reveal the hand of destruction coming for us. I pulled him but the second mate was frozen in place. I yelled at him, I screamed with all my might but he didn’t move. I heard the rush of water getting nearer and nearer.
“I loved him.” The second mate said again. It was then I knew that he made his mind up and no amount of tugging will make him move. So I ran, ran fast and hard further on to the deck. The sound of rushing water grew louder and louder, screaming for blood.
A shock wave like no other I felt made its way across the boat and was followed by a sound akin to a bomb going off inches from you. The water fell upon us first as rain, then as hail, then as an avalanche. No matter where I was to run, the sea would’ve engulfed me. At first naively I tried to fight the sea with all my might but sensing the inevitability of the sea, I just let it take me. The sea dragged me across the deck of the ship hitting me against every surface it could find. First it swung me against all of the containers on the deck then swept me over to hit the rigging of the ship. I’ve never felt a power so boundless upon me like this before. The swings kept getting harder and harder as my corpse gained more and more momentum. A sudden crack popped and before I had a chance to wonder what the sound was everything went black.
Next thing I know I was grabbed against the railing of the ship mere inches from the cold cliff that divides us and death itself. I was dragged and dragged through the water until the water just stopped. I began going through what I can only describe as the inverse of drowning, the water that made its way into my body was forced up and out like a spirit exiting my body. This kept going until I felt empty and hollow inside.
Through all of those traumatic events, I’m not haunted by the sea in my memories. I’m haunted by those bottomless eyes, deeper than any ocean or sea can be.