In a flash, the lightning had drowned everything within reach. Temporarily blinded by the brilliant light, the men ashore covered their eyes with their hands to shield them from the glare. For a while all they could see was white. The entire landscape was covered with a blank canvas of nothingness. The feeling that coursed through them was akin to finally emerging in the light at the end of the tunnel after being lost in a long, dark one for the longest of time.
It was both welcome and an overwhelming sensation.
After the light momentarily subsided, the seascape materialized before them again slowly, like unveiling the curtains to the morning sun-bathed scenery outside the window. But what was different was that the scenery before them had changed dramatically in the blink of an eye: what was previously a terrifying storm that threatened to swallow the world as a whole and sent shivers of cold, pulsating fear down the spines of the seamen’s companions standing off the shore was now a blissful, picture-perfect ocean stretching out in front of them in rolling waves of sparkling blue – as beautifully aligned as a picture painted by the hand of God himself. Gone, were the traces of anything even closely resembling the horrific events that took place just moments ago…and gone were the traces of a futile struggle against the forces of nature that conspired against their men.
Or at least that’s what it felt like, thought the Captain standing at the foremost rock in the harbor.
And as far as the eye could reach, there were no signs of life to be seen. No shipwrecks, no masts jutting out of the water, no floating wood, no adrift bodies – nothing.
“What in the name of the Devil happened to ‘em?”, a seaman wondered out loud.
But the question was so softly whispered that the Captain was not sure if he’d heard him right or it was just a figment of his imagination. Figuring it was a rhetorical question anyway, no one dared say anything in response for they were all too shaken from the haunting memories of all what they had witnessed tonight. Another sailor tried saying something incoherent in hopes of gaining an insight into the situation, but words failed him miserably as all that left his lips were broken sounds that made no sense even to him.
A large crowd had gathered all around the harbor, of fisherman and sailors, most of the people out of their homes to witness the strange events unfold and those who were still in the town were watching from their windows ̶ high in the palace towers ̶ of all that had conspired tonight. Nobody could believe what had happened, the fellow seamen were still recovering from the shock of the blow that hit them hard enough to knock everybody of their feet.
Watching the waves carelessly reaching for the seashore as if mocking the seamen of the huge loss they had caused the people and the overwhelming urgency with which the sea washed away their life-long fellows. The sea waves were quick in robbing them of their most precious treasures and washing away the same in a nonchalant sweep of the ever turning waters which left them mourning for the lost and helplessly clinging to the hope of obtaining an answer for it all.
An answer they were all afraid,they’ll never know.
Slowly, the huge crowd gathered around started dissipating and making their way back to the sanctity of their homes as the orange sun gradually faded away beneath the water, shooting millions of sparkling golden rays dancing their way towards them and perhaps, taking with them, the pain of those suffering souls that were made to set free of their mortal forms.
With a last, longing look towards the horizon now merging with the sea, the rest of the crew started making their way towards their shacks that will be reminders of their deceased companions, away from all the images of dread that the sea will now always bring with it as an inevitable aftermath of the storm.
The unprecedented events of that day were something the Captain could never hope to forget. They were as deeply imprinted into his mind as was the last, terrifyingly hopeful image that had reflected in his eyes just before he turned around to head to his home with his fellowmen. An image that made his crinkly, old knees go weak with astonishment.
A tiny flicker of green light just above the horizon, so tiny you could barely make it out, but there nonetheless. And of what he’d heard of the legends in his childhood stories of his father always talking about an afterlife, he could be no more than mildly surprised to witness the truth with his own eyes. He could barely breathe with overwhelming feeling that filled his lungs then, while his men made their back with their heads hung low.
For an instant the flash grew brighter, but no one had turned around yet, nor did it seem like they will. So with his gaze still fixed to the flash of hope in his teary eyes, he fell to the ground with the weight that was weighing his weary shoulders down.
He looked towards the heavens then defeated…
…And he fell to his knees on the ground with the seemingly overwhelming realization of it all.
He fell speechless.
Image: Calypso by Cyril Rolando