How often have I heard this cry without realizing it? Too many times. The few words spoken only hint at the danger of the moment and the stress being undergone. Why don’t those in need scream for help? Emotions and circumstances play a part in the depressing silence. It was something I never understood until I had to make the same cry. Now, I wonder if those around will pick up on the clues I have laid out for them or will I have to face the darkness alone.
Tethered to the past, unable to move forward, each day is more difficult to get through than the last. The darker emotions are more keenly felt. Joy and happiness are now fleeting things to be treasured. You know what you are. Through no fault of your own, you’re a wraith and a stranger. More dead than alive, there seems to be no place for you among the living. To your credit, you try time and time again. Can you be saved? Are you worth saving? You’re not so sure but your few friends and family say yes. Yes, you are.
The words are written with precise grammar and punctuation. They say what they say. Their meaning is clear though some will argue and debate it.
Intent is just as important as the literal interpretation. Without the spirit, the letter is a soulless thing.
Together, they can’t be twisted or manipulated though some will try.
Was it arrogance or a sincere desire to help that led to this? I ignored the warnings. Things are worse than they were before. I’m mired in a conflict of my own making, unable to win free. I no longer see or hear the person I came to save. Alone, I look to the path I strayed from. If I escaped this, I would do better in the future. A would be rescuer sees my plight, not realizing the danger they are in. I yell and scream, hoping they heed the warning I ignored. It’s too late. What looked like solid ground gives way beneath them. They tumble and fall, to join me in the quicksand.
This morning I realized the page I had set up with some background info about Count Albritton and his stories was never linked to the rest of this site. Special thanks to GriffithsKL for her comment which brought this to my attention.
I updated the Books section of this site to add some information about all of the books I have published and to make it legible. I plan to edit and post the background info for Count Albritton this weekend. I might be distracted by birthday plans so no promises.
In the meantime, you’ll see some more flash fiction. Until later.
I’ve refused jobs before. Sometimes it was because there was nothing I could do. Other times it was because my perspective employer wasn’t being totally honest with me. This time, it was a little of both.
Across the room from me, the man poured himself another drink before asking “Is it the money?”
“The money is fine but I can’t help you.”
For a moment, I was afraid he might hurl his drink across the study. Instead, he sat down at his desk. “But I’m haunted. You said as much.”
I nodded, choosing my words carefully. The last thing I wanted was a confrontation but he needed to know the danger he faced. “You’re not plagued by some ghost or spirit. You’re haunted by whatever it is that you’ve done.”
“But I can’t sleep. I see and hear things.”
“I’m not saying you’re crazy or imagining things. Magic has a way of giving life to thoughts and memory. Anything I could do would be temporary at best.”
“So what do I do?”
“You need to face what you’ve done. Own up to it. Talk to someone before it’s too late.”
“And if I can’t?” he asked, sounding like a man who had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
“You know the answer to that better than me. I’ll see myself out.”
With that said, I left him to his thoughts. Would he get the help he needed and accept the consequences for whatever it was he had done? Would he continue to be haunted by his deeds or would guilt drive him to do something irrevocable? Only time would tell.
Author’s Note: Although it might not be apparent, this is another Count Albritton story. Originally, this story was a bit longer with a few cliches and a darker ending. I changed it up a bit and this is the result. Enjoy.
He was more than a sailor. He was also a warrior, who had seen his fair share of battles, and most likely a fool. He didn’t fear the dangers of the sea. He even said as much on many a time. Did he really believe that? He knew the answer to the age old question every man or woman who made their living on the sea asked themselves. What is the greatest danger of the sea? When I first took to the sea, my captain gave me the answer.
“You can flow with the currents and bend with the wind. Storms can be weathered. Reefs and maelstroms can be avoided. Pirates can be fought or bargained with. The creatures lurking beneath the waves can be defeated. The greatest danger is getting lost.”
My captain wasn’t talking about not being able to find yourself on a map. He could use the stars as his guide or other tools of the trade to navigate. It was the lure of what lurked over each unknown horizon. There, one might find some new discovery, untold wealth, or adventure all at the risk of sailing for so long and far that you forgot why you had taken to the sea and those you left behind.
Years later and captain of my own ship, I understood the answer and how easy it was to fall prey to that danger without realizing it. At home, friends and family spoke fondly of you and awaited your return. In time, they gave up hope. Some cursed your name for abandoning them while others simply forgot you.
Aloud, I asked my reflection “Why doesn’t that scare you?” The answer was simple. I was already lost. So what do I do about it? That question also had a simple answer. It was another lesson the sea and my old captain had taught me. You can always change your course. With that in mind, I left my cabin to give new orders to the crew. I still didn’t fear the sea. I only feared that my homecoming might be too late.