The bright blue sky was clear and untroubled. The peaceful squawks of seagulls filled the air, coupled by a gentle whoosh of waves.
‘This must be a beach’, he thought.
The sun was a bright beacon in the sky - untroubled by even a scattering of clouds.
Another seagull called.
‘Odd’, he thought, ‘that I would be on a beach’.
His mind felt like it was moving through molasses. Warm, gummy, oozy, slow molasses.
He pondered that for a while. Lost in the wonder of just ... being.
A seagull landed on his bow, and unceremoniously dropped a gooey poop on the edge.
‘Hmm.’ he thought. ‘That’s odd.’
He struggled to pull free from the slow, lazy path of his thoughts. Why was ‘thinking’ so hard?
Bow? Why not ... brow?
After all, he was a man, lying on the beach. Or so his mind’s eye had been imagining it.
Some wind blew - an ocean breeze - and his main sail rippled in the wind.
Wait. What? Mainsail?
He forced more of the fog from his thinking. Bow? Mainsail? These were not parts of a person. He WAS a person, right?
Mentally, he forced his awareness to open further. He felt his shape and form. He was ... stiff, solid. He had a lower half that was smooth and hard - and shaped like an elongated acorn shell. There were many ... things inside him. Chambers. Rooms. Ropes hung from walls. Windows. Stairs. A mainsail. A rudder.
Where were his arms and legs? His eyes? A mouth?
He tried to yell.
A horn sounded - deep and brassy. Why was there a horn right when he was trying to speak?
He tried again.
Braaaaahhhh! Went the horn.
Was that... him? What was going on here?
Something slid away ... and something else clicked. He was ... a ship? Not ... a man?
Desperately, he thrashed about mentally. But - nothing happened. He was still motionless, on a beach. A stiff shell with ... cavities within him. And ... sails?
He turned his attention outward. From ... somewhere .. he could see he was on a beach. His whole view was skewed to one side as though he was lying on his side and could not move his head.
Hmm. No head.
‘Am I a ship? Ships don’t think. Ships aren’t ... alive.’
A larger wave caressed the shore and his form moved slightly under the press of the water.
There were palm trees not far from where he lie. Again, more seagulls. Waves. The sun. A clear blue sky.
‘What is going on here? Who - What am I?’
If his own senses were not deceiving him, he was a fairly large sailing ship, lying on it’s side, beached on an island.
‘Am I dead?’ he thought.
Perhaps this was some form of punishment for a life as a pirate, he thought gloomily. Or, perhaps he was some wizard’s experiment gone awry. Abandoned because ... something happened?
His thoughts flitted around like confused butterflies.
The sun moved in the sky.
He could feel the warmth on his deck. The bow of the ship was up out of the water, but the stern was just immersed enough that he could feel the cool water caressing the wood.
Somehow, he longed to feel that water beneath him. What an odd feeling to have.
Inwardly, he sighed. That surprised him. ‘Why would I sigh, if ... I’ve never had a mouth?’
Memories - like watercolor paint in a rainstorm - bled away.
‘Perhaps, sometime in the past, I was ... not a ship? But now it seems, I am.’
He pondered that a bit longer. A few more hours passed. Nothing but wind, seagulls, and the gentle lapping of the ocean waves beneath his stern and rudder.
He must have slept, because when his awareness returned it was night.
Darkness covered him like a canopy. The stars were bright, and twinkled down at him. The ocean water was cold, but he used that to force himself to be fully awake, fully aware.
‘It looks like I can decide to spend eternity here as a helpless collection of wood and fabric, or I can do something about this. What are my options?’
He scanned himself once again. It seemed he had an awareness of his ‘self’ as a fairly large sailing ship. He had within him many floors - with rooms that were closed to his awareness. He felt like he was a ghost moving around himself. It was an eerie feeling.
His back side - the stern - was still immersed in water. And it appeared that he was in one piece. If he had been beached - it didn’t seem to have damaged the hull. His sails seemed intact as well.
But... could he move? Was he powerless to do anything but just ... sit there?
No. That didn’t seem right.
Whomever or whatever did this to him - or created him - would not have just left him powerless. He had to believe that.
Also - if he DID have a creator, where were they? Maybe locked in one of the closed rooms? He could not sense any movement - and his awareness could not penetrate any of the closed doors. He could have a ogre inside himself and he would never know.
Frustrated, he flapped his rudder in anger.
His rudder? He could move it?
He shouted for joy.
Bwahhhhh! Went the horn. Again? Who had done that. Was that horn, his voice?
Bwahhh! Bwahhh! He tried twice to speak. Each time the horn sounded. It could not be a coincidence.
He tried moving his rudder again.
Delighted, he blew his horn three times and splashed the rudder at the same time.
He could move! He could make sounds!
He was not just an inanimate object.
Inwardly, he cried silent tears. It seemed like emotions were somehow dampened. But he could still feel.
Now. Time to think. Time to get free from this beach.
After a few hours he discovered he had a lot more things he could move. In addition to the rudder he could raise and lower his sails, rotate the mast, move the boom about, raise and lower a pretty heavy anchor. And finally - something that filled him with hope - he had oars.
Inside himself, in addition to many closed off rooms he found open ones. Two things pulled at his attention. He found tucked away long pole-like oars on either side of his hull, and what looked for all the world like cannons resting inside some small chambers within himself.
‘well, I guess I could blast my way out - and probably damage myself quiet heavily - or maybe these oars can help’ he though hopefully.
Carefully, throughout the night, he practiced moving them outside of himself - they moved as if there were some invisible ghostly crew sliding them around. He could extend them - four in total - two near the front and two in the back - and move them about somewhat. It was as if he was an incredibly heavy whale, with tiny little arms.
He tried pushing against the sand of the beach. The oars could only reach the sand on one side, as he was listed heavily to one side. They got a bit of traction as they sank into the wet sand.
Mentally, he PUSHED as hard as he could .
One of the oars snapped.
OUUCH! BWAAAAAH! Went his horn.
That hurt! Pain shot up the broken oar and lanced through his wooden body.
Pain! And now one of his oars was broken!
He pulled in all four and wept once again.
This was getting him nowhere. It was hopeless.
The stars in the night sky twinkled down at him dispassionately.
Discouraged, tired, frustrated, and in pain. He slipped into unconsciousness once again.