Message In The 26th Bottle

Dearest Elizabeth,

I am writing this letter in a hot humid hut by the flickering light of an old whale oil lamp. I am surrounded by the sounds of flapping wings from ghastly demonic devilish vampiric bats which continue to make my life a living hell. I feel the air of their wings brushing the hairs on the back of my neck, making them stand at attention like soldiers.

I trust that you will read this letter, in the unlikely event it survives the long journey home, in my own voice, which I pray you will remember.

Short days ago we were together, we watched sunsets glow, felt the Dawn. We lived and were loved by each other, but now I am saddened that in the past few months I have nearly completely forgotten your face. I wish I had dedicated every minuscule feature better to memory, but as the days past, and my mind was slowly swallowed by madness like a droplet in a pit of slime, I remember less and less of my previous self- my previous life. The slight curvature of your nose, the lift in your brow, the tiny wrinkles on the ends of your lips- the wrinkles from a lifetime of laughter. Such tiny insignificant features which now have taken on such profound and sacred meaning to me, suddenly it has become so vitally essential to remember everything about you. The exact colour tone of your hair, the exact angle of your jaw. Why is it that faces, being so easily recognized, so easily pulled up from our past, are yet so easily forgotten in our minds in their absence.

I cherish the memories of your face even as they fade, though try as I am, painting them endlessly with a stick in the sand. I remember, I remember less, I forget, I am saddened that I have forgotten.

Little more than your name remains now, and it is nothing more than a whispering mantra I repeat to myself while suffering fevers in my sleep. But it’s a name with little to no substance or meaning, but rather a mangled cluster of disgusting letters and throat sounds.

I was first sent here, this forgotten corner of the vast ocean, by the crown. For the crimes that I had committed, and the sins I had refused to confess, I was given two choices by her majesty the queen, banishment, or death. Now here, stranded on this lonesome island, the hounds of Justice shall never find me. Though, no matter where I hide, I shall never escape the hideous angry ghosts of the men I’ve killed in hot blood.

I boarded the 26th ship to Australia, the land of thieves and banished souls. Our ship never arrived, for a strong storm our mast to smithereens. We were left stranded by god, set a drift into the endless blueness.

Blue, the colour of your eyes. Blue, the colour of the sky. Blue, the colour of the water beneath it. Blue took on a new meaning for me in those forty months we spent drifting in circles in the ocean.

As the other crew members spiraled into madness, it was your eyes that saved me. I dreamed I was swallowed up by the glacier blueness of your final stare. I dreamed I was floating and swimming endlessly in your pupils. It calmed me, it kept me alive when I surely should have died- I wish I had died along with all the other crew members- but I wouldn’t.

All men die, but some men have to suffer before they die, and I have found throughout the whole of my life that I am one of those men. I’ve learned to accept that all this suffering is necessary, it is what I deserve after all the wrong I’ve done. Though I’ve lived a life of sin, know that I will die- when the gods have finally permitted me to do so- as a honest man.

Believe me, though I’m sure the ghosts of the ones I’ve wronged have laughed greatly at all my misfortunes, I do believe they now cry for my forgiveness, for the punishment has gone on too long. No man or woman has suffered as I. I’ve no doubt they will vouch for me at the gates of heaven- for I have already been through hell.

I pray to God, or Allah, to whoever, or whatever could possibly listen, that this letter finds its way to you. I have no doubt it shall, for I have handed it to a glass bottle with strict instructions. It shall carry it to the ports of Morocco, and on to the glorious lands of England where it shall seek you out.

If 26 bottles could wash up here on this tiny sandy shore, then why not at least one be carried off to any other. If my suffering these past twenty years on this tiny island has earned me anything, let it be that this letter finds you.

4 thoughts on “Message In The 26th Bottle

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