Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cabin Fevre ~ 1. Horse Latitudes

My name is William Fevre, a fact that bears no relevance in these circumstances.
The solitude and the hunger have driven me to retrieve quill and ink from the captain’s lonely desk and scratch these words on the blank side of The Aurora’s useless charts; charts which detail coastlines infinitely distant from this God-forsaken place.
The quill scratches across the dry parchment while the creaking of the ship’s timbers sing in harmony with the creaking of the chain to which we are tethered; marooned, this purgatory in whose vault remains but one soul – my own. Perhaps I should follow the Cook, who rather than see another night of blood, had thrown himself at the mercy of the glassy sea upon which nought will float save The Aurora and the links of said chain, black as a Guinea slave and wider than the helmsman’s wheel. But to where does the already dead soul in suicide depart if not to some bleaker vault, some blacker hell?
If some naked pilgrim does not pass this mooring soon, I shall be overcome by the hunger.
May God forgive me my body’s needs.

For many days the occupants of this becalmed vessel could remember nought save their names - It was a short interval of peace.
We soon discovered that the larder and the barrels which should have contained salted meat and water were empty.
The crew learned to gather the night’s moisture by spreading the Aurora’s redundant sails on deck and allowing the dew to trickle into the empty barrels, providing us with water – but no food.
Within days of our arrival, if indeed this is an arrival, the memories returned, bringing with them the onslaught of hunger.
Cabin 13 had been berth assigned to me on this voyage to the new lands in the west. The Aurora had gone down on the third day of an Atlantic storm that had hung over us pitiless to our insignificant voyage.
I remember looking up from where I’d tied myself to the mainmast, seeing fire on the ends of the spars, and being pounded by a foaming deluge that required me to hold my breath for longer that I was accustomed.
Three or four of the crew, including the Captain and First Mate, did not arrive with us. I can only assume they have gone to some other chamber of hell.
It’s true that some of the crew never did comprehend the truth of our demise, some in ignorance and some being the first to be slaughtered by the hunger.
I invoked God’s word in order that I did no succumb to this savagery, lest I send myself into hell’s deepest pit forever with redemption beyond my grasp.
But unable to overcome the cruel torture that hunger performed on by body, my mind had acquiesced to the body’s demand, and I crept one night from my cowering cabin to partake, like the scavenger, on the scraps left by the sated crew who slept at random on the cold deck.
I returned, shameful and with hands bloodied, to Cabin 13, and barricaded myself against becoming carrion for tomorrow’s hunger, horrified by the haste with which civilised man will be driven to savagery by the desires of the body.
So here crouches a new demon – a man who once considered himself virtuous; a man whose worst sins have been committed post mortem.


the walking man said...

William Feure presents an image of the lost. OH, the needs of them stuck between the dusk and the dawn...after reading his account all the way through a couple of times this line struck me with particular potency

"If some naked pilgrim does not pass this mooring soon, I shall be overcome by the hunger."

Yodood said...

Post whose death, Wm. Fevre's or his meal's. Oh, that hunger that succeeds the heart beat.

James Higham said...

Now that was an interesting read.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Walking Man: Is he stuck between dusk and dawn?
Yodood: I think you answered your own question - Mr Fevre is most certainly dead (I think) :)
James: glad to have fired your interest

Candie Bracci said...

Really nice Mr Pisces,really nice beginning.

jams o donnell said...

Excellent Pisces

the walking man said...

Aye Pisces, them that are dead are dead...William needs to eat and I was his breakfast.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Thank you Candie & Jams

Walking man: I see what you mean - best not read the rest of the story since you may find Mr Fevre has eaten your soul.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes. Shades of the Donner party. Looking forward to part 2...

JeffScape said...

I shall most certainly return to finish this.