‘Ahoy, friend. Be you well?’ Caliban called across the water to the boat heading towards him. Darkness had fallen swiftly over the still waters of Xuangong, a veil of silence drowning the city in stillness. Echoes of his voice rolled through the night, but there was no response forthcoming from the other vessel.
Fingers curling around the pole in his rugged hands, his little boat cut through the glassy surface. Going forward, he promised himself, there would be no more night voyages. He was getting too old for the chill and the danger, let alone the exercise. ‘I’ll save myself for the tourists and the sun.’
Just at that moment, a horn sounded. Kilometres away or mere yards away, in the still night it was impossible to tell. Leaning heavily on the pole, he drew his little boat to a stop.
‘Maybe it was out in the harbour?’ No sign of the earlier vessel, not that the horn could have come from that. ‘Oh no, what if I’ve strayed too far out? Perhaps I should turn back.’ Quizzical, confused, scared, all of these emotions pass across his face as he begins the turn, only to find that the fog has crept its way around him. Really, there was only one option left to him.
Surrender to the elements. The sea would be more forgiving than a ship colliding with him, especially if he’d drifted as far as he thought possible. Undercurrents would pull him towards the sewers, eventually. ‘Very classy way to travel.’
Where he’d end up though, that was in the hands of the currents. Xuangong was known for claiming the victims that entered its waters, merciless and unrelenting, but still safer than waiting for collision. Yesterday, everything had seemed so perfect, but what was left of that feeling?
Zilch. Zip all. Zero.
‘1, 2, 3, jump!’
This was a tricky one. Having to be so conscious of each and every sentence, ready for the next letter. But still, managed it!
The Idiot in Tin Foil