The breeze rustles through my receded hair, tipping the black hat askew. The sun bathes my scruffy face and the sea tosses its drops on my pale dead skin as I sit atop the prow of my ship.
I shuffle on deck and shamble back to the cabin, splashing the crimson coating with my feet. My hand shakes as the door opens with a creak and I hear the soft growling of the hound inside. I run my bony fingers thru the thick black fur of the hellbeast and smirk.
I scramble to my desk and rummage thru the drawers. Pulling out a cracked mirror, I hold it aloft, facing the horror it is bound to reveal to my hollow eyes.
I throw the mirror down, smashing it with all my might. The shards litter the cabin now as the dog yowls mournfully. Catharina! Where is she?
I barge out as fast as my decomposing feet can carry me and search frantically around the ship. Dust and ash fill my empty ribcage and I tumble over the lifeless crew as I gasp for breath that isn’t there. Dusk grows nearer, and a sense of anguish rises with the pale moon and I collapse on the charred woodwork. As my head hits the hardwood floor, the voices flood my mind.
They speak of the days of old; the days I roamed the seas in pursuit of fame, riches and delights. The days of fortune and favour; of gold and glory; the days when I freely and wholeheartedly indulged in the most twisted and macabre desires and dreamt a daring dream of conquest, opulence and splendor. These mellow, praising words soon turn into cusses, curses and afronts as they remind me bit after bit the fall of my virtue and triumph of my vice. I feel tears running down my malformed cheeks, as I huddle to a ball and let a few sobs cry out from my sore throat.
I do not want to hear them, yet they do not stop.
Catharina, where are you?
I gulp heavily and close my eyes. There is noone here, noone left on this magnificent galleon, once so full of life. Noone save me and the hellhound in the cabin. No voices, no crew, no Catharina.
I killed them all.
And I reveled in their pain and suffering as their blood slowly, but steadily, dripped down from their throats and eye sockets and soaked the dock of my beloved ship. I rejoiced as fear and terror filled their very essence and laughed with pride on the involuntary exanguination my blade and gun had forced upon them.
They are no more.
Now all that is left is my mistress, the sea.
The skeletal galleon drifts across the murky, tenebrous waters and I am bound to her, as she is bound to the journey. I straighten myself and fumble back to the prow. She needs no helmsman, no navigator, no captain even. I am hers and she is mine – tied together in an eternal bind, cast into a perpetual journey across the dismal oceans.
But where is Catharina?
Had I slaughtered her too, in my bloodlust?
Or had she managed to elude my righteous purging?
It is the sole thought of her that gives no rest to my wicked heart, for I must know what had befallen my dearest concubine.
The sea itself speaks to me, its whispers boring in my mind.
She is not with us. Find her.
The hound scurries to my side with a yelp and as the wind picks up anew, an oath comes to where my lips used to be.
We will be together once more, my sweet, sweet, Catharina.
For I shall find thee.
I woke up covered in cold sweat, panting, gasping for breath. I had fallen asleep right there, on the port, under the starless sky, his voice still echoing in my head, his ardour and determination pounding against my skull. I shook my head, distraught, and yanked myself upright. I had to go away, for I started hearing the siren’s call myself, yet I dreaded it immensly. The seas would surely spell my doom – I had to run. Far. It took a moment but I managed to compose myself and left both the port and the city in a hurry.
My retreat led me deep inland, into the snowy north, where I had barricaded myself in a secluded cabin on the ridge of a towering mountain far away from any large body of water. The pelagic nightmare followed me inward though and gnawed at my mind for years like a plagued rat on a rotten carcass. The feeling sickened me every time, but was strangely familiar for reasons I could neither grasp nor explain. Be that as it may, this was where I decided to make my stand.
Where you found this journal.
And as I am saddened to mark this as my last entry, I am still relieved to live with this terror no longer. While I still have a fraction of my mind intact and haven’t succumbed to the madness and bloodlust that have been haunting me ever since that day on the pier, I find myself obliged to share a final word of caution with you, whomsoever you might be.
Brave not the seas at night.
He roams still, affined to that accursed galleon where his crimes haunt him much like my own dreams give me no respite; bound to his oath and his twisted sense of love.