The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman

The sea was still. The only sound to be heard was the lapping of the gentle waves against the sides of our ship, gently rocking us back and forth. It caused all the men aboard to go quiet. Just a few seconds ago we’d been in a violent storm yet now this calm had come to rest on the waves. The seas may have calmed, but the violent storm had only moved from the waves to now wage on in our own hearts. We should’ve been relieved, but there was something about this silence. It was an eerie calm.

That was when we heard the cries. The dried out voices of desperate men. Our captain called back as loud as his voice allowed him only to be returned with silence. Our captain started barking orders at us, demanding we get closer to these poor souls should they need our help. So we did. We rushed to our positions and started in the direction of the voices. It seemed the closer we got, the more the sickening feeling grew in our stomachs, but we trusted our captain and kept at our work until at last we heard loud cries of help. There we saw him–if what we saw could be described as a ‘him’. The figure we saw was inhuman. His flesh hung from his bones and, like the rest of his ship and crew, he glowed with an unearthly red as though he had climbed his way out of hell.

We had all heard rumours of the Dutchman (for that was no doubt what was before us), but had never come across her ourselves. We all knew the legend of the Dutchman–her captain had vowed to round the Cape of Good Hope regardless of the cost. As the story goes, he was cursed by the devil to wander the waters for all eternity. Some said it only was by the love of a woman that he would be saved, while others claimed that this was a falsehood.

It didn’t matter what men said about her–the truth was far more terrifying. The Dutchman’s captain wore no hat as there was no hair or flesh for it to rest on. His crew moaned tearful oaths begging, pleading, for us to send their messages to those both dead and alive. The captain uttered no sound, but stood quiet and resilient. He stared into the eyes of our captain–finding the measure of this man who bore flesh when he could not. In contrast to the painful, desperate cries of his crew, we all stood still and silent as the waves beneath us.

The ghost captain continued to size up our captain, not a word from either man. We stared at his crew too shocked to look away, lest we never see these apparitions again. Then it happened. Right in front of our eyes they were gone! The ship, the crew, the cries–all gone, as though it was nothing but a dream. All of them returned to the Locker from whence they had come. No one would believe that right before us stood the crew of the Flying Dutchman! Though she was always seen from afar by a lucky few, our crew had been the first to see her captain face to face. It didn’t matter what other men thought of our stories, we would always know that we had been the first to see the crew of the Flying Dutchman and to gaze into the eyes of her terrible captain.

I hope you enjoyed this little piece I wrote. I’ve had it on my heart to write something about the Dutchman and then thought it would be fun to do it from a narrative point of view. Please let me know if you liked it and if you want me to do more myths and legends in this format.

God bless you, all my dear avidReaders 🙂

A Quiet Day in Hell

Silhouette of a woman;
All credits go to the original artist: Engin Akyurt

Stanza 1

If I could tell you the amount of times, I’ve had to bite my lip
down for you,

All the times I’ve changed my frown to a smile for you,

If you ask, I’ll say I’m alright.

You don’t really want to know,

You ask, but when I try to talk you don’t really want to know.

So here I sit, in silence–a quiet day in hell.

 

Stanza 2

The people who care, I feel sad for,

They have their own wars to fight, but always take on mine,

I have learnt to bottle my sores, to keep the wounds under my sleeves,

You won’t see the outsides, nor the insides that are torn.

 

Every day I’ll sit here, every day I’ll keep quiet,

It’s just another quiet day in hell.

 

If you’d just listen, maybe I would, too.

For now we sit in silence

Just another quiet day in hell

The Circus

The glittering lights are what lured people in—bursts of green, blue, orange, purple and red. The most noise you would probably ever hear in your whole life, but there was no way you were leaving, it was all too beautiful. The walls stand taller than cedars, made of a wood glowing as though lit up by a thousand fireflies, with vines and large green flowers intertwining in and out of the wooden beams. The gates are opened by a man dressed from head-to-toe in what you can only assume is a robe of the most brilliant starlight. He holds out his hand and when you take it, you feel alive with anticipation for what lies before you in this place of magic and mystery. Thus, you find yourself unknowingly walking through, wondering what strange and peculiar magic would meet you under the towering tarpaulin in the very center. It is almost as if you are leaving the world behind you and stepping into another. If I told you, you were, would you stay I wonder? Knowing the magic around you is from another world—a world much like ours, but with a twist which all other worlds possess. The first people you see are the ethereal beings dancing all around you clothed in the most gorgeous shades of jade, violet, topaz, gold and a variety of colours you have never seen before. All of these lit by the same unearthly glow that permeates this magical world.

As you walk passed the food tent, the smell of fine meats, puddings, freshly baked breads and other delicious aromas awaken your hunger and you find yourself in the middle of a food hall filled with hundreds of other people no doubt drawn by the same aromas that drew you. These delectable pastries, meats and puddings aren’t the only thing that leave you speechless. In and amongst the crowds of hungry patrons weave beautiful fairy-like beings in brilliant green and gold silk. They twirl and spin leaving fairy light and bits of fairy dust trailing behind them.

When you leave the food tent, you are caught up in the throng all heading for the main event in the big top. Your breath catches in you throat when your eyes are caught by a woman dressed in a mish-mash of dazzling colours, jewels and jangling beads that cover her clothes. She wears around her neck the all-seeing eye and her hands beckon passers-by to have their palms read and futures told. You see a man a mile high and watch as he walks passef unphased by your presence as though you were not there at all. He wears the colours of the forest and you wonder if he were not a giant like children read of in books.

The quiet sounds of the ferris wheel as it spins around and around at its slow slumbering pace fill the air. The laughing sounds radiating from the carousel and if you listen carefully, you might hear the sounds of the horses whinnying and neighing. They are molded out of the finest wood and their bridles and saddles are painted in the brightest cheerful colours you will ever see. Your senses are filled with wonder. As long as you walk among the stalls and gaze at the wonderful beings around you, the magic will not fade and you will never want to leave—so very few people do, staying in this eternal carnival. A place where magic is commonplace and reality does not exist.

Then you see something that causes you to freeze in your tracks. What it is you can only guess. A lion or a bear? It walks passed on a leash led by a fair young woman, she casts a stark contrast against the creature she leads. She has long gold hair that she has braided beads and flowers into. She wears a simple white dress and sings soothingly as she strolls passed you. The creature looks like a lion, but has the tail of a bear and blinking eyes which decorate its body like Christmas lights on a tree, leaving you both stunned and terrified. You turn around and return to the throng, now surging forward with a force that almost carries you towards the giant tent ahead of them.

Once you enter and have your seat, drink in hand, you wait with the same nervous excitement that fills the tent. The lights all go out as a man steps into the ring, but this man needs no light. With a brilliance that astounds you, he is pure, white light. A giant firefly in this world of oddities.

The act that follows are clowns riding on creatures large as elephants, but gentle-looking like giant kittens. In fact, they are. Giant fluffy creatures that almost swallow the clowns in their fur. Next come elephants, with noses that resemble purple garden hoses and blow flame instead of water, leaving you in awe. Then come the lions that look as big as boulders and have tails decorated with sparkles. This all before beings so beautiful and alluring, as if adorned with a peculiar kind of magic, step out into the ring. Women with hair long and golden like dawn and their eyes as clear as crystal springs emerge first juggling what would appear to be jars filled with light, but look closer and you will see tiny creatures that sparkle like star dust. So beautiful you wouldn’t believe they could exist. These women would dazzle their on-lookers for several minutes and then men appear. Now a small thin woman wearing a light blue dress that glitters just a little as she walks into the ring. The ring-leader announces the girl as she enters the ring. She approaches a ladder leading to the very highest point of the tent, you lean forward in your seat. This angelic being is going to perform an acrobatic act. She flies through the air as though she had wings. Men as thin and flexible as acrobats, yet ask them and they will say they are nothing of the sort, join the woman as she flies through the air. They possess a bone structure unlike any other human being that can bend and stretch, could it be because they aren’t human beings? Although, no one would believe it. They look like any other man you’ve ever seen; only separated by their intense beauty, as though born of fairies—men that could have any woman in the world but love only the strange magic of this ethereal carnival.

When you leave the tent, you are left stunned by all the magic you have just witnessed. It’s almost a shame to leave all this magic behind, but in the distance you hear a faint ringing–your alarm clock. The real world beckons.

Thank you for reading this little short story I wrote. Just a bit of light reading before I get back to my serious articles.

Enjoy your evening, my avidReaders.