|borrowed from http://fotolympus.deviantart.com/|
Ship's log, 25th May.
We're stranded here, the shore in the distance, out of reach and mocking me. The salty air sits in my nose, parches my skin. Father had promised so much when he dragged me on board this ship--I know now those promises were hollow. How can he make good on the sunlit beaches, the sweet fresh fruit, the girl he said was waiting, when he's lying on his rack coughing blood? The mutinous crew took everything, even siphoned the fuel and then beat my father, the captain, near to death.
"Thomas," he rasps, a dry rattle knocking around in his chest, "water..."
"Of course, Father." My parched lips crack. Iron tickles my sinuses, red smears my sleeve when I drag it over my chin.
I dip the tin cup into the bucket, scraping the bottom to get the last drops--our last drops. Maybe it will rain tonight, the clouds look ready to weep. My hand shakes, the precious water splashing in the cup, but I won't spill.
A sick smell comes from his mouth, pushed out by a groan when I tilt his head. I touch his chin, let him know the cup is coming. Blood shines in the split skin of his lips when he sucks the water down. Then a wracking spasm of coughs grip him, and the water is lost in the mix of blood and spittle flying to stain his cheeks and bed clothes.
"Leave me," Father commands. He's so weak he can't even roll to the side to spit. How can I leave him? Would I want to die alone? No. I will stay with him these last moments, I vow. Father flails a limp, broken hand at me, his words hardly a whisper when he says, "Leave me."
"I can't, poppa. I can't."
Father eyes sag, matching his sunken cheeks. He has no strength left, still he lifts that shattered hand and places it on my cheek. His skin is cold. White clouds his eyes. "Love you, son."
"Love you, too."
One last breath escapes him, his chest sinks, and outside rain begins to fall.
I wish it would fall in here, and take the place of the tears my body can't produce.