Thursday, 16 October 2008
The black rock
The black rock called to me that day. Its sentience crawled out from under it and spoke to me across the waters. Its thick syrup of a voice sped across the breakers coming at me in engulfing waves, begging me to swim.
In a skyline devoid of rubble, except for the strange crust of souls that jutted high above the wicked sea, everything about the rugged peak inflamed my mind. I had to see for myself, I had to see what spoke to me from its burnt coal heart.
So I swam. I dropped as many of my clothes as I thought I needed and I waded into the surge. With each fresh wave that swamped my body I was refreshed for a moment and knew my recklessness, my insanity, but then the voice of the island craned its neck once more and carried its message still clearer so my ears could hear it anew. I had to press on.
It was a grave struggle. Never in my existence have I fought so hard; against tide, against exhaustion, against my own spirit and conscience, telling me to turn back.
You might think the waves would roll smooth and pitch less mountainous, less torrid than at the shore, but you’d be dread mistaken. I was buffeted and tossed by forces so great, forces I’d never feared and respected as I ought. And yet, as I drew ever nearer with every aching and despairing paddle of my arms the sound in my head turned to wondrous song and the voice became multiple. But the water was choking my lungs as I gulped of it again and the spray was singeing my eyes and I had not a stroke left in my muscles.
When I felt the strong arm of the lifeguard around my chest, I tried harm to raise my arm in defence, or perhaps even attack. With each firm kick of his legs the song died a little in my mind and I gritted and ground my teeth in such despair. Yes, I think I would have killed that saviour of mine if I’d only had the strength. I would have smashed my elbow into his face and drowned his body or dashed his head onto the rocks, if I’d had the power to. And as the voice of the rock faded forever, I cursed my guardian angel, this enigma of the sea, this lifeguard, with a tongue as black as the enchanted rock itself.
He left me there on the shore, screaming and ungrateful; begging of the black rock to call me forth, solemnly, once more.