Shredding Veils 12

November 14, 2009
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Chapter 12

The ocean washed over and between the countless stones that connected water to land, pulling away the tiny amounts of sand created by each wave. One wave forced its way higher up onto the beach than any of its precedents, soaking the rocks before reluctantly draining back to its basin. Plankton and other miniscule creatures were left clinging to land, left to die with their brethren nearby. Dramas like this happen at every moment and at any place you care to name. Sadly, very few people care about the extinguishing of lives that they consider too insignificant to care about.

People are ignorant, was how Matt voiced this concept to himself. That’s why I left everyone far behind, because nobody’s even aware of what I always think myself into circles over. I hope I never have to spend a long time with humans again for the rest of my life.

Matt’s makeshift rowboat bobbed through the water like a cork with a rudder. Except that there was no rudder, only a teenager with two long pieces of driftwood for oars. He was on a salvage mission, collecting anything he thought might prove useful in the coming winter months. This was how he had come by many of the implements that he now used regularly, and also definitely one reason Matt’s bones weren’t being picked clean by vultures right now.

Matt smiled as he remembered how he had made his boat, which he always thought of as a ‘vessel’. One day he had been down at the beach, wishing it wasn’t so cold so he could go swimming. Several dry logs higher up on the shore caught his attention. Further inspection had revealed an interesting fact: They were all roughly the same length and thickness.

An idea that had been persisting at the back of his mind suddenly surged to the front, and Matt started work on a hybrid of a boat and a raft that would end up being big enough for a person. On all the survival television shows, vines worked as waterproof ropes with plenty of strength to hold together a simple raft. They had never mentioned something about an actual boat, albeit a small one, but he still wasn’t going to take any chances. The last thing he needed was for it to fall apart at sea.

Eventually the thing had come together. The entire project took two-and-a-half days of nearly constant attention and effort. There were plenty of vines to encircle the raft several times, but they were too scraggly and scrawny to be of much use.

Everything seemed to be going as well as could be hoped, given Matt’s limited access to supplies. That is, until three of his ropes frayed and snapped simultaneously on the jagged edges of the driftwood logs. With a snap the vines came apart, their severed halves springing away from each other. Tears filled Matt’s eyes as the foundations for his boat rolled in different directions.

“Holy ****, no way is this gonna work! These stupid vines are too weak to hold anything together!” he raged. He sat for a time, trying to breathe slowly to calm himself. Ok, fancy tying didn’t work, so maybe it’s time for blunt brute force. This wood’s so dry that it shouldn’t be too hard to shove in some pegs or something to hold it all together. So he got up and found some small pieces of living pine wood to stuff into preexisting cracks in the driftwood. So far so good. Finally, he stood back to admire his handiwork. It appeared seaworthy; five logs pegged together with a slight gunwale of interlocking sticks running along two sides to protect Matt against small waves.

One test ride and two found paddles later, Matt declared his vessel ready for calm waters near to shore. His heart had overflowed with pride because he would no longer be tied to areas where he could stand for all his needs.

Currently Matt was maneuvering along the base of some cliffs of middling height. He kept his eyes peeled for a glint of metal, an out-of-place ripple, anything that might signal some sort of useful tool. During the summer months of January and February the sea under his little craft would be teeming with shimmering shoals of small fish flashing their armored sides toward the sun. Now, however, the dark green water didn’t appear to contain any signs of life. Appear to have conscious things in it. Exactly my point. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.

The sunlight sparkled across the surface, dazzling his eyes if he chanced to look west. Today was one of the few calm days this time of year, especially on the Pacific. Matt had figured that it would have been a terrible waste of resources not to spend a good portion of the shortened daylight hours on the water searching for gadgets.

Matt squinted ahead to wear a small rock stuck its tip a little way out of the water, presenting just enough of a hazard to note and avoid. As his watercraft jerked clumsily through the liquid in time with his rowing, he absently scanned the side of the rock that had just been revealed due to his forward motion. His eyes stopped on something that appeared to be caught on it, lapping gently with the swells of the ocean. Curiosity piqued, he dug hard into the water with his left-hand oar and slowly brought the unwieldy vessel about.

Bobbing gently in the light surf was a sodden rag doll, caught fast to the rock by a fold of its disintegrating dress. As Matt grew nearer, he perceived that something was fastened to one of the doll’s hands. It looked like a Ziploc bag with a piece of paper inside. With a sure hand he reached out and grasped the doll, tearing the bit of dress by which it was snagged. Surprise rushed through him when he realized that this doll was handmade, not the mass-produced variety he was expecting some tired young girl to have dropped on a walk along the beach further north.

Matt slid the plastic bag open and withdrew the paper. A tiny hole had opened in the side of the bag, but most of the writing on the slip was still legible. It was obviously a letter or note written in an untidy script, the marks of someone who had only recently learned how to write.

Deer Monica
Mommy says youre not coming home for Carnival. She says you are dead and you will never come bak. But youre my big sister so I no youll come back and make me laff agen. Becuz I no youll be here, I sent you my favorite doll that you made for me. Prospero ano un felicidad!
Prospero ano un felicidad? What the heck does that mean? Oh, right, it’s probably Spanish. That’s Chile for you.

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