‘Come find me when you wake up,’ she whispered with a smile playing across her lips.
I didn’t have time dwell on her words as my eyes closed and I feel into a deep sleep. Colours swirled before me, dancing to a song I couldn’t hear. My breathing steadied and felt my fingers releasing their grip on the soft sheets I was laying on.
Waking in the weak predawn light, I couldn’t recall any of the dreams I had had and it was almost like I’d never had a dream in my whole life. A loud rushing echoed in my ears and I eased myself up, I saw the sea stretching out to the horizon in front of me. Confused, I watched the white crested waves hitting the beach, whilst my fingers clutched at the sand grains.
I felt for my pistol and knife, but found nothing other than the rough shirt and black trousers covering me. I glanced down and saw I was wearing my well-worn leather boots. Boots I had taken off the night before as I’d gotten into bed. I pulled the right foot up and inspected the boot just to double check. It looked too much like my own for it not to be. Letting my foot drop back to the sand, I looked closer around.
The beach looked like any beach this far south, with its golden sand and clear blue sea. There was a scattering of palm trees marking the edges of some kind of jungle. I listened, but heard no call of animals or the wind. Turning back, I watched the sun raising and tried to recall what had happened.
The ship had docked and we had been granted some shore leave. It had been evening time when we had arrived and I had tripped through the small town, still feeling the swaying ship under my feet as my boots tapped on the cobblestones. There had been in an inn. My first taste of real food and beer since we had left the last harbour, the blazing fire on my back. Laughter, old tales and songs filling the air. Women. A soft bed under me, a warm body on top of me, whispering voice in my ear, ‘How do you like it, Captain?’ The pleasures of the night, waves of satisfaction, tiredness and guilt. Pulling the blanket over us and falling asleep. Her leaning into me and whispering, ‘Come find me when you wake up.’
I shake my head and push sand covered fingers through my hair and beard. Licking the inside of my dry mouth and then my cracked lips, I glance around and decide I need to find water. Standing up, I’m shaky and sand falls off me as another wave crashes across the beach. Stumbling, I make it into the shadow of a palm tree and keep going.