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Adrift in the Black Sea
I drift between massive black swells of ocean.
The sky is black; the wind is cold.
Dark, grey clouds and fog roll low.
I am alone.
My scarred board and I drift alone.
For a long time we roll with the waves, tiring, and becoming colder with every minute.
Then in the distance, a light.
I squint my eyes to better see the light.
It is a ship.
A rusting tramp steamer sits in the middle of the black sea.
My feet kick, and I find myself slowly moving toward it.
Soon, I can see the rusting metal hull, the rails, and the bright lights shining down upon me.
I can barely see the walking men as they throw a rope to me.
I grab it, they pull me in.
Every man wears raggedy, dark clothes.
They are emotionless, moving like a drone.
I crawl aboard, they leave me.
As I stand, I look around at the old derelict ship.
I wonder who the men were, and where they have gone.
My feet step forward, I walk down the side of the superstructure.
I walk through a bulkhead, and into a dark passageway.
The light bulbs cast shadows as they flicker.
The paint is cracked and rusted.
The metal floor clunks an echo with every step.
I walk a maze of passageways before I come upon the mess hall.
At least four dozen men like the ones who rescued me sit, unmoving, staring into space.
I walk in.
I walk up to one of tables where they sit.
No one moves even an inch.
I call to them.
No one moves.
I call again.
One of them moves an eye for just a second.
I climb stairs to the top of the superstructure, to the wheel room.
Alone, standing into the horizon, the captain stands.
He wears moth eaten, dirty clothes.
His face is worn, strained.
His hair is grey, dirty, and scraggly.
I touch him on the shoulder.
He does not move.
I call him captain.
Still, he does not move.
I look out the window.
My heart races as I see that everything has gone from the sea.
Nothing but black is on the other side of the glass.
I race to the exit door.
The handle will not turn.
I am trapped.