• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 03
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What Happened in the Hold

The ship lurched and tumbled in the dark,
Cresting waves that flashed white in the moonlight
Before plunging back down, down, into oblivion.

Below deck, a young man crept between the hammocks,
Passing his sleeping comrades with a small candle
And soft steps until he reached the door to the hold.

Balancing the light, he scaled down the rough ladder until,
Standing among the cargo, he set the candle down atop a barrel
And navigated his way in the near-dark to the farthest corner.

These barrels, larger than the others, stood alone;
Smelling the sulphur, a grin flashed across his features,
Unobserved by all but the rat in the shadows.

He dumped some powder out,
Creating a blanket of fine dust along the floorboards,
And ran two fingers along the surface, leaving two lines -
A pair of reflective strips in the black sand.

The powder stained his fingertips.
Lifting his hand slowly to his face, he touched his cheekbone
And dragged the charcoal along his skin -
Two marks under each sleepless eye.

Leaning over, he looked for his reflection on the floor,
Shifting his weight in hopes of catching a glimpse of madness,
And finding no such visage there, he grabbed the candle
And let the flame fall.