With joy at last my heart beats, not with terror as has been the case these many days since the naval frigate
sank beneath the waves. Nor joy at the sight of the dolphins that had kept me
safe yesterday as that predator of the deep circled ominously. My joy is for the sight of land, though i scarce believe my own eye's, being that they
are so swollen and sore that tears struggle to escape. As i draw closer to the land upon this flimsy piece of flotsam that saved my miserable hide i
can hear the gulls screeching and smell the vibrant scent of earth and vegetation. My skin blistered and raw burns like acid as the sea washes over me
in belligerent waves, unconcerned at my pain. My blood seeps pink, mingled as it is with the puss from my ruptured sores, staining my wooden saviour
which is in the shape of a cross from where it broke from the mast. Ironic.
I would laugh, hah, if my throat was not parched and ruinous from the swallowing of great amounts of brine, as i have just escaped that Grim Reaper
for the third time.
The first time i escaped his bony clutches was that fateful day aboard the Bounty, me only a young man caught up in the machinations of that vulgar
mutiny. Bligh and Christian having no thought for us pawns but as pieces to be forfeited in their game of ego's. I barely survived that insurrection,
only the intervention of my friend John Adams saved me from a sharks frenzy.
Then of course there was my capture after our return to Tahiti aboard the Bounty. The arrival of the Pandora in the south pacific, sent from the
motherland to fetch us home to the gallows was a fearful sight to some of the mutineers who went scurrying into the jungle in an attempt to escape.
But for me and four others it felt like a chance at redemption, and so we gave ourselves up without a fight. The other nine were soon rounded up and
suffered at the hands of the soldiers brutally. As captives we left those glorious islands and those dusky innocent people in search of Fletcher
Christian and the rest of our mutinous crew. At first jailed upon the quarter deck in what we mockingly called Pandora's box i was soon taken below
decks to be punished by Captain Edwards. I wasn't the only one of course to suffer his wrath at our mutiny and desertion of Captain Bligh, even
though at no time did i ever wish to be a part of it at all, but was merely caught in a tide of circumstance.
Aboard the Pandora an illness passed on by those misty eyed maidens of the isles had me bedridden for days and wishing for a quick death, payment no
doubt for our sins of the flesh, only the ministrations of the good Doctor George Hamilton saw me through. This illness was the reason i was below
decks and not caged above with the others when the Pandora met her end on a jagged reef. Luck, fate or whatever it is called had saved me once
As the Pandora sank beneath that violent storm tossed sea, and as my mates swallowed the briny, i held my nerve and found a breach within the
Pandora's hull. Swimming to safety with my satchel strapped about my waist i grasped a splintered spar which has carried me these past few days. The
voices and screams of those aboard will haunt me and i wish with all my heart that they survived, particularly Doctor Hamilton and John Adams and
perhaps not so much for Captain Edwards, even if that thought stains my soul with more sin.
The Reapers gruesome visage has haunted my thought's as i've lain across this drifting wood. The sea, my lover for all these years, has deserted me
at last to atone for my sins alone.
Now washed ashore i smile, though it cracks my lips and more than likely resembles a grimacing corpse. Barely able, i drag my pain wracked body above
the high tide line and collapse. Though born upon the waves and suckled at the breast that swells beneath the hull i was sore pleased to be once again
on terra firma, even if i am marooned and a thousand miles from hope. The sun, my persistent nemesis, now gives up it's claim and sets slowly behind
the line of trees no more than twenty yards from my supine form.
For five days now my strength has slowly returned, there is fruit aplenty though it made me gravely ill at first, ravenous as i was. And lizards,
languid, slow moving and succulent. Rocky outcrops at the northern end of my paradise harbour eggs and chicks. Time, now that i can move freely, to
explore a little more and see what i can see.
I tried to cross the interior of my little island but the foliage is so tangled and dense it would take a day to cover twenty yards and the vines and
branches attempt to shred my skin, opening sores that had promised to heal.
I decide to set out the next day and circumnavigate my world if possible.
The nights seem to be getting colder and a fire will soon be a must if i'm to survive.
I've not written in my journal for many days now, i haven't the heart, it seems that i've been fooled. Why do we cling so dearly to life when it's
clearly not benign at all but a desperate creature that wants to eat us, flesh and soul and all. The Reaper may have been the lesser of two evils
perhaps. My luck is in truth a curse. I laugh, a little dementedly, and shake my fist at the vaulted sky.
By my count now three weeks have passed on this accursed atoll. My explorations discovered, to my dismay, that this Eden is no more than a mirage.
Scarcely more than a league or two to walk around the whole damned thing, the gulls cajoling and wheedling at my nerves the whole time, as though
aware of the blight upon my soul. Insects swarm about and attempt to devour me at every turn, as if i havent bled enough without now suffering at the
whim of these tiny vampyres. The fruit continues to make me ill and i cannot keep it down anymore, the lizards once succulent now taste foul and
sulphuric. The gulls eggs have all hatched and left the nest for the safety of the treetops and the sky. It hasn't rained for over a week and fresh
water now lies stagnant and stale, the sacs of the little vampyres littering the surface.
Blasted though my soul is with all my crimes, and though the guilt wracks me at times, i believed in our Lord through all these trials. It seems now
that i'm forsaken.
Though some wreckage has reached the shore none of it is of any use. Broken and splintered wood, torn and tattered fabric no larger than a
handkerchief, no casks or bales or any other thing.
As the lord is my witness, i swear, as i lay huddled beneath the leaves at the edge of the forest floor, with the moon looking balefully down upon me,
that the sea whispers my name, her breath lightly caresses my cheek, salty and slick. Am i forgiven?
If any shall ever find these words i would be amazed and saddened, amazed that any would land upon this evil shore, and saddened that if you have your
nightmare has just begun. These words are to be the last that i shall write before i carry my broken spar to the waters edge and pledge my body and
soul back to my mistress the sea. She calls me now, her tongue laps at my toes, her hair white and wild breaks far from the shore as if tossed, her
breast swells to meet my embrace and her loins shall forever hold my bones within their loving grasp.
And above the crash of the surf the Reaper laughs, loudest and longest of all.