Beneath This Violet Sun
Sea spray hits my skin, like a piping hot and newly forged rapier dipped mercilessly by the hand of a blacksmith into ice water. A hiss escapes my lips as I relish in the pain of icy spray on my burning muscles, salt stinging my eyes and providing endless torment, each second an eternity.
If we had known, would we have decimated everything beneath the surface of the Pacific so completely?
A whip lashes me, a slice of karma for what I had done to those under my command what seems like a lifetime ago.
I bite my tongue, the serrated edges of my incisors cutting deep, drawing blood into my mouth in a plume of metallic spittle. I wonder if I should have tied the top half of my overalls around my waist for better comfort, as now the blank canvas of my spine is asking to be painted red.
I keep moving, keep forcing myself balanced against the rocking floor beneath me, willing myself to breathe the musty, humid air.
I must not dwell on what could have been, only on what is.
My hand brushes the place where she used to caress me, blade lithe, edge lethal. Scarlette is gone, having been used against me by my very own brother.
Did he know he was damning me to this eternal servitude when he plunged it betwixt my ribs so seamlessly, his motion without pause or any lack of his famous and passionate elegance?
Even if he had, I doubt it would have changed his mind about murdering me.
I had been a fool.
My fingers scream as they wrap around sea-slick rope, my shoulders creaking in protest. My heartbeat, which would have at least provided some kind of guiding metronomic rhythm, is gone. That’s the cruelty of this place, it is inescapable even in death. Suicide, as I had committed and thus cast myself from my first life, isn’t an option here. I have tried and ended up merely pawing my way up through the earth again, knuckles crimson as the sky, body a silent enemy that works against me with every protesting nerve a sleeper agent lying in wait.
The sea sprawls, an endless eerie oil spill from the edge of the glorious bow upon which I’m stood.
I had wanted a ship like this for as long as I could remember when I was a mortal boy, but I had wanted to be the captain, not the snivelling deckhand.
Black sails billow in the non-existent breeze, the solar tides gentle and incoherent with what lies just beneath.
The captain, a brutal man with soulless black eyes, - such an ironic way for me to describe them I know, - catches me gaping and lets the leather of the whip lick my flesh once, this time with venom. The tongue leaves its unsubtle caress behind, and sea water converges, causing the wound to sting, and my eyes to water against the unrelenting heat of the endless Mortarian day.
I gasp, the sound a weakness I have become accustomed to now trapped in this slow meat. My body had once been beautiful, agile and sharp, a razor to the carotid of the ocean, but now… now I am merely the undead, the unblessed.
Knowing I need to move before receiving a third lashing, I reach out and take the mop in hand with the same assurance I had once handled my sword. It squelches, filth and salt spilling out over the black wood that I can only assume has come from the bloody forest of this place. Moving the mop from left to right, I find the grain of the wooden floorboards hungry for whatever it can get, be that sea water, sweat, blood, or tears. It does not discriminate.
The dark skeleton of the boat’s body groans, and though it slits through the surface of the water effortlessly, something beneath the waves is causing it to protest.
“Men! Battle stations!” The captain roars, bringing a brass telescope to one eye and extending it with a single jerk of his wrist. The men surrounding me with their greasy, salt coarse skin and weathered bodies hurry beneath the rags of their clothes, the tatters of what had once been minimal black cotton jumpsuits with no warmth or waterproofing. The sea suddenly splits in two, causing him to drop the metal instrument with a thud. I watch on as the scope rolls toward me, the deck tilting suddenly beneath my feet.
It rises, terror ringing out through me like a claxon despite all I have seen, all I have witnessed. It seems funny now, that this is the kind of terror I desired to inflict on the mortal world. The tentacle protrudes like a suckered beanstalk from the abyssal depths only feet beneath me, wavering from left to right, and then back again, untamed in its fury.
The silence that falls over the broken men around me is familiar now, the only motion in their petrified silhouettes the bobbing of Adam’s apples as they swallow down their nausea at the inevitable.
Perhaps if I had known what waits on the other side of death’s door, I wouldn’t have worried so much about vengeance and justice. For this is not my first time facing such a monstrosity, not even my first time on these waters. Our mission is simple, bring back goods to Mortaria, for Haedes and his band of gods made mortal.
If we happen to die along the way, it matters not to them, nor to fate or destiny.
We resurrect, bodies becoming a demon’s next meal beneath the waves, our souls returning to the river Styx. Then, another ship will take our place, and another is already in construction to replace the one we’ve lost, ready for us to board again like a vessel straight to the deepest circle of hell. Perhaps there will be a return trip. But then again, perhaps not.
There is no desire by the people who govern this place to make our lives easier. To provide guns, or cannons, or anything else that would imply long range combat is tolerated, that pain is avoidable.
Instead our suffering is what they’re counting on, what they’re farming.
I have become a member of a cattle herd being led not to death, but endless suffering as the result of my crimes.
One of my feet staggers in front of the other, pushing me toward the starboard side of the vessel, where my hands cling shakily to the cannon, it’s barrel dripping with shiny black seaweed.
It’s not loaded, of course.
They never are.
Merely a taunt for those of us overshadowed by flailing tentacles of demons that outnumber us seventeen to one.
I cuss, my long silver hair scraped back into a ponytail and hanging limply against my tenderised spinal column, blood still weeping down the back of my pant legs and onto the floor. I feel my mouth press into a grim line, my body steeling itself against the pain, against the elements.
“Move boy!” The Captain barks, shoving me to one side and causing me to lose my balance. The waiflike elegance of my form is surely lost here, among the burl and the bulk of men far more suited to this kind of work.
I stagger backward, my muscles betraying me when I need them most, my palms crying out with the pain as they grapple for any traction against the grain of the boat’s railing. Unfortunately for me, I realise I’ve been shoved down the gangplank and find no railing from which to cling.
The wooden board wobbles beneath my slender gait as I try to regain balance, and just as I think I might make it, the entire boat rocks toward me, the sails looming overhead like cloaked reapers as I’m left tumbling back into thin air.
I fall back, resigning myself now to the end.
As I tumble, calm, into the sheer blackness that is beginning to froth beneath me, I look up to the violet sun overhead.
It’s permanence breaks something inside of me, some stubborn assurance that I have known best, that I was meant for greater things.
The water crashes up in a decorative plume around me, the taste of it like ashen coated coals on my tongue as I sink.
I don’t fight, don’t protest, or struggle. I simply let the tentacles claim me, let them pull me down.
I have realised, if nothing else, that now temporary death is my only tranquillity.
And so, beneath this violet sun, I sink into the darkness of the deep and beckon sleep.
Did you want to know more about my fantasy infiniverse?
Check out my books-
BOOKS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM KRISTY NICOLLE
THE TIDAL KISS TRILOGY- A MERMAID FANTASY ROMANCE
THE KISS THAT KILLED ME
THE KISS THAT SAVED ME
THE KISS THAT CHANGED ME
TIDAL KISS SHORTS AND NOVELLAS
BEYOND THE SHALLOWS
WAITING FOR GIDEON
THE ASHEN TOUCH TRILOGY- A DARK FANTASY ROMANCE
THE OPAL BLADE
THE ONYX HOURGLASS
THE OBSIDIAN SHARD
SOMETHING BLUE- A DYSTOPIAN ROMANCE