Monday, December 12, 2011

My fourth voyage, the unlock'd door, shipwrecked

            ...Alas, amidst these many words and crises, I was suddenly aware of the beast straining for freedom, so quiet had it slipped upon me on this first night of the moon, and was bid to ask the captain to lock me in my cabin before the "fits" came onto me again.  The captain ask'd if I was madden'd, for we fancied the ship would break in pieces every minute, and some told us she was broken already.  To lock me away thus would condemn me to death, or so he believ'd.  However, there was no room to debate, thus he order'd the mate of our vessel to imprison me as I requested and such was our fate seal'd, for the kind hearted captain planned in secret with the mate to rescue me against my wishes.  The mate was not to lock the door, for once the other long-boat was in the sea they would rush upon me, bind me against the violence of my "fits," and carry me to salvation.
            I knew none of this, but only that the beast was mere moments from rising up.  I pull'd off my own shoes and coats before I observ'd to my horror the door was as yet still unlock'd.  I cried out for the mate to fasten the hasp, but he had gone and laid hold of the boat, and with the help of the rest of the men, they got her flung over the ship's side and prepared to get in her.
            With my final clarity I bethought myself that perhaps I should hurl my body from the rail, to God's mercy and the wild sea, rather than let the beast free among good men, and so I fled from my cabin into the light of the moon.  My vision grew dark and my flesh hot as the mantle of the beast fell upon me, and I felt my hands upon the rail and then no more.  Merciful God has spared my mind from much of what transpired after this, but as always I glimps'd and heard meer moments of what my beast experienc'd.
            It was much anger'd at finding itself cloath'd and it howled and roared and tore at the rail.  The mate and another man ran to the beast, thinking it was I in my "fit" and try'd to calm it with words afore they saw its face.  The terror of den wild zee, as the Dutch call the sea in a storm, was naught compar'd to the beast.
            They fled in fear, and the beast kill'd the mate in a moment, falling on him as wolves do to lambs, tearing at his flesh until his blood flowed cross the deck.  And now the crew's case was very dismal indeed, for they all saw plainly they must face the beast or risk the high sea and the dark and distant shore they had glimps'd.  Being wise men all, they chose the distant shore and threw themselves into the boat.
            A raging wave, mountain-like, came rolling astern and broke over the deck and the beast was driven from its kill.  It slid cross the tilted deck, into the air, and was all swallow’d up in a moment, tho' I can recall a sight of the wave falling upon the long-boat much as the beast had fallen upon the mate.
            Nothing can describe the confusion of thought which the beast felt when it sunk into the water, nor is it easy to make sense from the many images my intoxicated mind saw through the smok'd lens of the beast.  It swam well, yet disliked water and could not deliver itself from the waves so as to draw breath.  It could not drown, for the beast is immortal yet for purest silver, yet it could be thrash’d and batter’d by the waves, as it was.  At one point it felt land under its paws, yet the sea came back as a great hill of water which buried the beast deep in its body and carry’d it back away from shore.
            There was much time as the beast fought with the sea.  It would struggle to the shore and then be either dragged back with a howl or pounded against the land, and this did happen countless times.  One time would have been well nigh fatal to me, for the sea, having hurry'd the beast along, dashed it against a piece of rock with such force as to leave it senseless.  But it recover’d a little before the return of the waves and held fast to the rock till the wave abated.  Then the beast struck out again and fetch'd another run up the shore and the next wave went over it yet did not carry it away...  

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