August 6, 2010

When your fall is long enough to make you contemplate life, there is always a chance of staring death in the face. I’d even say diving straight into its belly.

When I came to my senses this morning, I could not bring myself face to face with the fact that I was alive. How could I? I had been tossed into a whirlpool by a raging sea storm and had seen the end in such great detail that I could write a book about it. I was quite sure I had woken up in an afterlife, like all those people I had once dug out from their graves- may their souls rest in peace. All I could see was the vast sea around me, behaving like nothing had happened between us, the sun above me and pure white sand below me.

My body had not felt any pain, surprisingly. There were some minor bruises here and there from the rough stuff the sea had gotten into. I had landed on an island and had felt a twisting pain in my chest when I could not find Zenya or the boatman anywhere near the wreckage that lay a little ahead on the shore. The last time I had run so frantically looking for someone was when I thought I had lost Pepper.

It was Zenya who found me. Zenya and the boatman- whose name is Fred. Turns out they had been up and about before me, scanning the island and looking for any signs of help in all directions. Fred, who knew the sea around his home for miles, had come to the conclusion that we were either on a new, uncharted island or had been washed off quite far away from the main island in the current. He also mentioned that we had been missing for nearly a day. There were reasonable chances that a search party had been sent for us by now.Till then, we had to create a distress signal, find some food and a high ground for shelter.

After helping Zenya gather ample amount of wood for fire that could last a whole night, I had got down to writing everything extraordinary that had happened to us yesterday. Even after working with me for two years, Zenya had never gotten used to the fact that I could write my journal anywhere, any time, no matter the situation. “Of all the things, this is what you think of doing right now?” was what she always says, tirelessly. But I know she secretly admires this odd habit of mine. Another woman who admires this is my wife. I am already the most pathetic husband in the entire world.

But I never got much time to think about her as we had been reported of much more pressing concerns. Fred, who had gone around the island to plant the distress signals for the ships sailing by, had come back in quite a hurry, half shocked and half confused. He never really told us what he saw. He just kept forcing us to follow him to make us see for ourselves.

Nearly opposite to where we had washed up on the island, the land rose into rocks and was covered quite thickly with vegetation on the top, where we had stopped. Fred had been murmuring how ‘something is wrong, something is very very wrong’ all the way. My frustration had almost reached its peak when he had pointed towards the sea.

In front of us was the full view of the sea with a ship clearly visible to the naked eye, visible to the very last man on the ship. But none of us thought of calling for help because the ship that we saw was a pirate ship.

The ship’s masts had been hanging the sails inked with a skull and bones in full glory, while the crew- out of a Pirates of the Caribbean set- had been moving around the deck. This was not normal. This was not normal in any part of the world now a days, other than on movie sets. We wanted to believe we were seeing a costume parade happening on a ship in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. But what made it worse was what was on that ship.

The ship’s crew had been trying to lower a cage, covered with a white sheet, inside the ship- using chains- but they had been moving cautiously around it. The cage must have been large enough to fit an elephant inside it. A part of the chain had slipped through the men’s hands who had been trying to lower it, causing a side of the cage to hit the deck. The whole ship had fell silent. The next thing that had torn through the sky was a roar and a shriek that had made us shiver where we stood.

There was a beast inside that cage. We had only caught a glimpse of it, but it had black fur and teeth bigger than a sabre tooth tiger and claws bigger than an adult’s hands. Whatever it was, it was not an animal we had seen before. Neither were the people.

We haven’t spoken much since then. The ship is still somewhere near the island as we can hear the roar with the shriek time and again- every time feels the first, sensing chills down our spine.

It’s night-time already and there has been no sign of a search party. We are stuck on an unknown island, where the seas have outdated ships and the ships have caged beasts in them. Zenya thinks we are stuck on the wrong side of the ocean. I think we are stuck on the wrong side of life after death.