Tuesday, 15 July 2008
The Covered Isle
Between nightmares and waking dreams lies my memory of Recuva, The Covered Isle.
Sailing on through miles of mind, I can return there in certain light, as the sun begins to droop on a summer’s day.
Yes, we’re drinking port on the deck when the clouds all billow in. The warm sea breeze darkens and the dolphins, that have been marking our journey with splashes and foam, are gone; replaced by petrels and terns, skuas and gannets.
A member of the crew - we called ‘Saint John’ - stands next to me. ‘The seabirds’, he says, ‘mean land is nearby’.
He suggests to the captain we follow the birds to wherever they are heading, in case this sudden squall blows into Neptune’s fury.
The weak captain acquiesces. He is already soft with gin. We barrel over choppier waters and the island rolls into view. Thick and shadowed by heavy hanging cloud, Recuva broods before us.
Everything about it screams death to us. It is jagged, foreboding black, with sootier waters and no kind bays or inlets to welcome the traveller.
Every inch of my flesh tingles as I gaze on its peaks, rising like shark fins from the ancient waters. I think we all want to turn away, our eyes, our bodies, our craft; but we continue, sucked onwards towards the hungry maw of Recuva.
Later that evening we moored off hell, and in my daydreams I can still hear the sickening laughter, the crackle of flames and the scent of flesh cooking.
When we fled, I never looked back.