Call of The Sea
The dark waves crashed through his mind.
The angry water crashed against Joel’s sanity washing away any chance of early morning serenity.
A half-empty coffee cup and a half-burned cigarette were the early morning signs that this weather-beaten mind retained a grip on life, if not on sanity.
The waves of insomnia had torn through the 40-year-old’s body and carried him into the lounge of his small bungalow in the early hours. His eyes fought against the rising tide of lethargy in a helpless bid to view the reality in front of him, but the storm in his mind was winning the battle for his attention.
Dark, foreboding cliffs jutted out into every corner of his mind as the salty water battered every inch of his aching brain. The morning sky above the blood red sands was painted with an eerie mist which hid untold terrors for his already shattered state of mind. The vision gripped every inch of Joel’s tired brain and he could almost smell the dark waters as the devil’s beach filled the tiny room.
Joel’s stressed heartbeat was almost audible above the tumultuous sound of the turbulent morning waters that repealed him, yet called to him like a drug calls to an addict.
His eyes were heavy as the cigarette burned away in the shaking fingers and the coffee cooled in front of the aging face – a face ravaged by the inability to sleep for three straight nights. The ability to function had long since diminished. He extinguished the burnt out stub and pulled another smoke from its packet. The flame of the Clipper was the only light in the dark room. He sighed deeply – but there was no-one around to hear. As he pulled on his cigarette and drained his coffee cup the feeling of weakness overwhelmed him. His body rebelling against his attempt to stand – his body won.
Joel’s home had become a mausoleum housing the coffin of his broken mind. He was alone, swamped by solitude, clouded by regret and gripped by nothingness. Vague images of the past flickered through his consciousness, punctuating the chilling visions of the vicious sea, dangerous, deep waters which still called to him – pulling him in their direction like the Devil’s magnet.
The world outside was slowly waking, but it was a Sunday (not that Joel realised this) so the slumber was broken very gradually, as gradual as the madness that had crept through the tired man’s sense of reality over the past three days. Vague memories of the catalyst for all this were lodged firmly in his subconscious as the call of the sea overwhelmed his thoughts.
It was auto-pilot that took him to his car and started the engine. The enigmatic call of the stormy waters were proving too much and the hypnotic grip refused to let go of his brain cells as it held him tight and pulled him forward, compelling him to ignore the all-encompassing tiredness which ravaged his undernourished body.
The blankness was all encompassing, all thought obliterated; Joel’s mind was drawn to the sea, nothing else mattered. He wasn’t paying attention to the road, he didn’t know where he was going – he was just going there. His lights were on, his gear changes were smooth and seemingly calculated – but they were automatic physical responses; they were a necessary part of achieving his one and only goal. He had to reach his destination.
The morning air was cold, the mist was spooky and the air was heavy with cold. The sun was trying desperately to peek through the curtain which surrounded the barren countryside on the coastal road. It was almost as if nature was painting a perfect backdrop to accompany a tortured soul on its journey. This tortured soul was in such agony that it didn’t feel pain any more. Rationality had been eclipsed by an unnatural desire to retrace the steps Joel had made three days previously. But retracing his actions was tragically impossible.
That morning Joel had driven the exact same route. The route was also bereft of cars on that day – it always was in winter, the cost held know draw for people in the cold early mornings winter served up in this quiet, English resort. But that day his car contained a fellow passenger, a passenger that was no longer gifted with the breath of life.
Joel’s late girlfriend was in the boot of the car – her head caved in with a garden shovel. There was no doubt she was dead, she had left a bloody mess on the conservatory floor. Joel had lashed out with such ferocity that the first blow had probably stolen away Anna’s life. The following six blows had served only to splash her life blood across the floor, walls and windows of the bare room. Even the plants on the window sill had been coloured red as the spade beat her once beautiful head to an unrecognisable pulp. Mangled brain, shattered skull and slivers of skin painted a patchwork of deep horror in that quiet bungalow.
Joel had been driven by an unnatural rage, a blind hate, the desperation of a spurned lover who realised that his partner was going away. It was a momentary madness that had snuffed out one life and changed another forever. The unanswered phone calls meant that the rest of the world was blissfully unaware that anything unusual had happened that morning. But he had known that this state of affairs wouldn’t last, yet such thoughts had been exorcised by the pull of the sea, by the utter need to repeat the journey. Nothing mattered.
Anna’s bloody corpse had been offered to the sea. The tide had been high and was lapping against the shore that morning, when it withdrew it had taken the lifeless body with it. The sea had carried her out of Joel’s life forever. The sea had been just as angry that day. The waves were thrashing the shore just as they had been in Joel’s mind ever since that dreadful journey - the journey which had switched his mind off and turned it over to the land of nightmares.
His car pulled up at the end of the deserted track. The stoney road opened up to form a gravel car park – empty on both occasions except for Joel’s sombre vehicle. The car park merged into a grassy verge which led to a short stretch of beach, a beach which was again submerged by salty, black waters. It was as if the sea knew that it was not permitted to breach the natural wall provided by the grass banks, just as Joel had seemed to know – somehow – that the tide was ready to turn. Slowly, it was ready to retreat from the shore and take Joel’s grisly secret with it.
Anna had seemed weightless as he carried her limp body to the water’s edge. It had taken Joel no time at all to undertake the grim journey and to almost drop her bloodied body into the awaiting waters. It didn’t take long at all for the violent waves to carry away their unholy cargo and consign her to the oblivion that awaits us all.
None of these memories penetrated Joel’s mind as he stood at the waters edge surveying the very oblivion into which he had conveyed his lover merely days before. His heart was beating slowly and his eyes were emotionless pits of tiredness as the sea screamed and yelled at him through the silence of the morning. He edged closer to the lapping waters as the sun began to rise in the far horizon. Emotionless he walked forward as the sea soaked his trousers.
He was no longer alone. As the water surrounded his waist he noticed the beautiful form of Anna a few feet in front of him – her hand was held out to him, a gentle smile spread across her beautiful, unblemished face. He took her hand and she led him deeper and deeper into the dark waters.