[The Man who forgot his own name, 528 words, Genre: Experimental]
* Image courtesy of Dirk de Bruyn
He had gone out a long way. A long, long way in an effort to assist. Yet was it appreciated? It was not. Now he was stuck on the boat, drifting in the middle of the ocean. The ocean? God knows what ocean. He was lost and adrift, he had countered storms in his journey. Storms that had thrown him this way and that. These were the tides of time. And now he sat in his raft, an old metal tinny. In the ocean this deep there was no hope of life. And that was what stuck and gutted him. A severity of hopelessness as is only experienced by the truly damned.
He was a madman to have ever come this far out. Yet it was that madness that spurred him forward. The Gods had struck him with a lightning bolt. Naming him forsaken. That was the first storm. The storm that had split the ship out in the cold Atlantic waters. He had survived that storm by jumping onto the boat he was now on.
He was pale now as the sun shone down upon him, beating relentlessly on his skin. Burning him. Scalding his skin and making it peel. He conserved his energies by sleeping most of the time. One did not have to eat while they slept, so he conserved his energy in this way.
Oh, he prayed. He prayed for some form of respite from all that he encountered. Yet the memories of the storm, the initial one and all those that had followed, haunted him. The cries of agony as men fell into the ocean, being swallowed whole.
There was a point there, in amongst the desperation of drinking seawater where he had forgotten his own name. And now, now he waited. He leant over the side of the boat, staring at his reflection in the waters. One day those waters would become his grave. For now they only held his reflection, his soul. Yet one day, at the point where he had given up all hope, he would summon the energy to throw himself into those waters.
He prayed to God, he prayed to Jesus, he prayed to the devil and not one of them answered his prayers. He sang himself songs, songs of days gone past, where food and friends were plentiful. God had damned him and now it was time to meet his fate. He looked up at that sun, the wretched and pitiful sun, the blight of his existence, the curse of a thousand nights sitting and weeping over the blisters it had caused him.
It was time. He summoned all of his energy and brought his muscles into action. He started once, twice, to throw himself overboard into his watery grave. But, he did not have the energy. There would be no peace, drifting away into a watery grave. He looked at his reflection and it mocked him, it laughed for that was all it could manage.
He would die on this boat. With the sun turning his remains into a shrivelled prune. A slab of human meat jerky. ‘This’, he thought, ‘is a fate worse than death.’