Patch: Black Silk and Pearls

There was salt in Patch’s eyes, untasted.

The dark water only slapped Patch’s skin once, not breaking contact until Patch chose to- and for the moments in between, there was a caress that didn’t hold, a push that couldn’t pull, a depth too big to show. Patch walked into the flow.

It was cold, that night, as Patch stepped forwards, grit rubbing at the spaces between the toes.

The waves rolled almost flat, before they tripped over themselves and gushed, foaming, to the ends of the earth. Swishaswoooosh, swishaswoooosh, they sang.

It took some time to get past the usual hurdles. First the navel, which shrank, perhaps for fear of leaking, one way or the other. Once that was done, it was a rapid plunge to the pits, where Patch hovered, arms raised, hands up above the wet, surrendering to the universe. And that was it, the shoulders, no harm done. Simple now, to lay back, kick heels.

After the shore was no more, Patch found a splintering plank. It was a relief to have something solid to hold, even if it was slippery to the fingertips. It was better than the tendrils that brushed and caught the soles below. Then there were more pieces, and Patch, for want of something to do, began to piece them together. A raft grew, which was torn apart now and again, but each time, Patch added stronger wood.

The waters brought the raft to the rocks, and it came apart. There were shells clinging to the rocks; they refused to be cleaned or seen. In a pool there was a small stone, which Patch picked up. It was cool and hard to touch, perfectly round. Patch held it, and looked up.

There was another wreck heading for the harbour. It’s skull face grinned. When the faces came close, Patch handed over the stone, and stepped aboard.

This vessel was part of the sea, the blood it held went straight to the heart.

“Welcome aboard” said someone, and Patch said “yo ho”. The captains laughed, and the ship went to find a monster.


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