Eyes of the Soul
I shipped out on board the Gypsy Witch to escape from her piercing eyes which haunted me continuously,but still they remained, always present,even after crossing over thousands of miles of deep ocean. She had been so sweet and kind in her parting of the ways,yet in her never ending kindness lived a relentless pain for which I knew of no cure. My escape into the sea had boomeranged as the stinging salt spray drove the loneliness ever deeper into my soul. Our fine 3 masted clipper ship was beating windward now into a relentless freezing gale over a seemingly endless white capped sea. The beautiful and majestic Witch took the freezing gale in her teeth, as she plowed her fine lined sturdy clipper bow onward towards the treacherous Horn, each oncoming wave sending shudders down her spine and huge plumes of spray over the windward rail. The cry of the wind as it sang in the rigging was music to my tortured soul,whistling and then screaming in one long eerie song. I felt as one with the Witch as we faced the punishment of our existence from which there seemed no escape. My regression into the past was momentarily broken with the barking of orders to go aloft and reset the Moonrakers. These aptly named sails were the highest up, thus very dangerous sails at the peak of our tall ship. The crazy bastard of a captain seemed intent on killing us all in the name of speed, fame and glory. From the deck,that was just fine with me. I gritted my teeth and scampered up the twisting ratlines with my shipmates to each successive spar ever ascending. High up in rigging the ship’s motion turned much more violent, with a wild pitch and sway motion that made it very difficult to hold on. Looking down,the ship appeared as a small toy beneath the bending and swaying of the mast. The freezing wind screamed in the rigging all around. I was the first to reach the Moonraker spar. Placing my feet on the footline we stood upon and braced against to furl and unfurl the sail,I began to work my way to the end of the spar,holding onto the spar and inching my way out to the end. I felt the shifting and tugging of the footline as my shipmates stepped onto the line to take their positions behind me along the spar. I never was comfortable with working at such heights,even when in more calm conditions,it was simply something I learned to stomach as I did what was required. Fear and prayer were constant companions as I worked aloft in the ships rig,only lessoned by frequent numbing fatigue. Suddenly, I felt the footline go slack beneath me. I instinctively hugged the spar as I heard a shipmate scream as he instantly fell. In the ensuing blur I could not discern where he landed. I hoped it was in the ocean,however even that was an almost certain death,as a ship in those conditions is impossible to stop. It would be very difficult for the sailors on deck to get a life ring to him in time. The rapid onset of hypothermia then becomes a welcome blessing to the overboard sailor. The southern ocean tossed the ship violently as if intent to shake the rest of the sailors from her rig. The mistress of the sea seemed to revel in her dominion,exercising her frightful power of life over death. I hugged the spar tightly in pure terror,uncertain how I would get to safety. Her warm piercing eyes returned,I hugged the cold rough life sustaining spar. It was impossible to let her go. Could there be a second chance. God help me to survive.