Read part 3 here: Drifting: A Gift. (3)
The sea was a gentle rising valley. My ship was a slender invader, a feather, running faster than a gazelle. It never slowed. Even among the giant sweeping swells of the ocean. Even when the wind died to a whisper. The valley would swell to form mountains as far reaching as the sky, yet I did not fear the ocean. We simply sped across it, up and over, down and through. Never slowing. Home was calling, and I could feel it.
A few days had passed since I left the giant forest. It had pained me to leave, but I knew that it was not my place. I wondered if the Father Tree would think of me. In the eons he has existed I would be as insignificant as a blade of grass in this valley of water. Yet, I hoped he would remember me. I would remember him.
Upon the peak of the highest mountain, I saw nothing. Nothing but sea. My hopes often would rise and fall just as the waves of the sea. It was mid-day when I had reached the top of the oceans swell. Then I started my decent once again. The sun was hot against my back as I shot down the water ramp. The ship softly burrowed against the soft water. Cheerfully speeding down the massive ravine. I grasped the boat eagerly, and stared down with no fear as the mountain of water flew past.
With a yell, we reached the bottom of the great mountain. That was when the ocean flattened out again. No longer was I sailing through a valley, now it was a window. Wherever I looked down in the water I saw a world of ancient shifting darkness. The water was clear, clearer than air itself. Yet as far as I could see, I only saw one thing, the deep abyss.
We barely caused a ripple in the glass as we continued on. The sun was now cool. It settled behind my back. My vision began to blur as the sky darkened. I still had the hope that on the horizon something would appear. I could feel the sleep on me, and after hours of staring into nothing, I submitted to it.
Waking, staring, sleeping. I brought myself to the front of the boat every day to peer ahead, and search for something new; some sign of land. The boat continued to cut through the still water. Days on days nothing changed. No more sweeping vistas, no more giant mountains. Only glass. At first I was glad for it. The sky was clear and the wind was a brushing breeze. Over time, though, the glass cut into my mind. It seemed that the ocean had lost it’s fierceness. I no longer felt like a strong sailor; skating across the sea with careful respect. I now felt like a trespasser: A man who was not welcome to even see anger or ferocity. Only a mask of glass, with nothing but darkness below.
More days would pass. More and more glass. I would talk to the sea, with no response. I would sometimes throw pieces of wood from the boat, or leftover meals into it, to attempt to get some kind of response. Nothing.
I had finally reached despair. I lost my will to steer the ship, and we simply stopped in the water. The sun just continued on. Pressing forward cheerfully as always; above the glass, below the glass. And soon, everything was glass. I crept to the front of the ship, as I did every day. I peered off across the glass. My face was turning to glass; just like the sea.
Nothing, more nothing. Always nothing. Never changing. Glass. Glass. Glass. I peered down at the frozen water for hours. Glass. Days. Glass. My heart became a stone, and I sank to my bed day after day.
After nearly a month, I was still a slave to hope. I would crawl out of my bed every morning still. I was not looking for land anymore. I was just looking for the glass to change. My mind was broken. My heart was a rock, but the hope; the terrible hope; brought me back to the glass.
A microscopic ripple.
Did I imagine it? Was it there? Did my mind finally betray me? Was I hallucinating? My hope was callused. It did not want to start dripping again.
Another ripple. Barely visible. It was thinner than a slice of paper, but I saw it. Again and again.
The hope began to flow. I willed the sails to go forward full bore. On wards toward the ripple. It was getting stronger now. It was a pulse. The life of the ocean was returning.
The ripple was now turning to a rhythmic drum. The ocean’s valley’s were stronger than ever. I screamed with delight as we plunged down the rolling waves, only to rise again and again. They only continued to get stronger.
There was no storm, only the ripple. My delight soon turned to curiosity. The ripple was only strengthening, yet there wasn’t a cloud in sight and the wind was as light and pleasant as always. My curiosity continued to grow, until finally something new happened.
I heard the cause of the ripple. It wasn’t the ocean waking up. It wasn’t life returning to the glass. It was a quiet drum. A barking, groaning, violent yet distant drum. It was shaking the very earth. Once I first heard it, it only got stronger. I was sailing towards it fast. Before the day was over I heard nothing but the shaking booming drum. I could plug my ears and hum a loud tune, but every ripple brought a new beat of the drum with it. Louder and louder until it felt like God himself was striking the earth over and over again with a hammer. It shook my bones and thrashed my eardrums. All while the pulse of the sea grow to monstrous size.
Little did I know: I would not see God, but I would see the hammer.