The long-tail cut across the jagged surface of the ocean just as everything disappeared in one vast brush-stroke of blackness. The sounds around me - the drone of the engine, the rumbling of the ocean - struggled to escape the enveloping silence that seemed to descend from the sky. It was as if we were staring into the eye of darkness.
The island revealed itself onto our left every now and then - some lighted part of the shore, an array of cottages bordering the white sand beach, and dark hills that I knew flanked them. The long-tails swayed near the shore, in limbo, fleeing the absence behind and hesitant of the presence in front.
The lamp revealed half a lip and chin, adding glimpses of an eye or a nose as the boat crashed into the lashing waves. The red glow of the cigarette on the dark side helped fix the contours of the face. The man stood at the stern, now quiet, alert, guiding me to my destination.
Spray of salt water on the face
The ocean, restless and foreboding, held back its stunning visuals from us. The fluorescent blue and pastel yellow striped fishes with the wonderstruck look in their eyes, metallic green algae on dark purple coral, anemones, the black spiky balls I didn’t have a name for yet – Where were they now? Did they look the same even in this ink blot of pitch black? If I dived in for a peek now, would the waters be as benevolent as it were a few hours ago? What unspeakable creatures awaited me from the chilling depths of the ocean?
My mind bobbed along with my body in that vast sea of emptiness.