Islands of cascading mossy trees lined the gritty sand of ocean beaches. Waves trickled in from the calm gulf, a gentle breeze through the sound’s leaves. The water was murky, stagnant, diseased.
He huffed out a sarcastic laugh.
A sea to match his withering soul.
He dug his toes into the stained brown sand and gripped tightly the rope in his hand. On waters such as this there would be a need for much rowing and he was far from the young boy he used to be. His back arched into a hump at the base of his neck, the dirty gray beard framed a face calloused by early mornings and blinding sunshine. Only his eyes remained untouched by the enemy of time. A putrid green iris tainted by bolts of golden lightning, pin point pupils focused across the shore, a sight the strength of ocean miles.
The man, a true man of this barren sea, wiped the crumbs from his beard and the sweat from his brow. Humid drops of sweat linger on his eye lashes. With each lapping of the waves he rocked to and fro from the balls to the heels of his feet. He danced with the rhythm of the water just as his dory, his home, his lover, his life, his curse, danced to the beat of his heart. It required only one more step forward, one more pull of the net, one more haul against his paddle, one more lunge against his lungs.
Then he would be free.
Then the work would stop.
Then the sun could bake his skin.
Then the ocean could swallow him whole.
It all started with a step and that is how it would end.