The salty breeze was holding hands with the resin of the planks, playing within the sails like cheerful children, gently pushing the vessel onward on the bluest of seas.
On the quarter deck the capitain was facing up to the gentleman, hissing with a low, rumbling voice “We lost our route, sir. We are in the midst of unknown waters, pushing forward is going to kill us all!”. Just a smirk on the face of the other man, straight shoulders and the nose pointing confidently to the open sea “we are close, capitain. Pushing forward is going to bring us fame, glory and fortune. And I payed handsomely for a crew that would not back out on me”.
“Come to me”, it was soothing, it was a motherly call.
No man had ever sailed so far from mainland. They were looking for the point farther from any ground thread by man, the cradle of Nature, the place where She was.
The captain could be seen pacing his cabin, puffing smoke from his pipe, staring intently his charts, mumbling by himself.
They where in the middle of nowhere, in a lone, remote sea, but the gentleman had hope to spare for all. There were promises of riches and fertile land, and the crew was made of man with nothing to loose except maybe a score to settle with the gallows, and they would have gone to Hell either way, might as well go with the pockets full of gold.
“Come to me”, he coulnd’t remember when was the first time he heard, he felt, that call.
The island appeared after several weeks of travel, an emerald embedded between ocean and sky, an horizon less consistent than a breath, where the boat might have been floating on thin air as much as water, with a border so fleeting between the two.
The crew erupted with cheers and laughter, buzzing around the deck, preparing the landing with exicted chats, planning what would they do with their soon to come fortune.
“Come to me”, it had always been there, it was there when he grew up, when he took on the family business, when he married, when he laughed, when he cried.
The ship arrived to a sandy bay, a pearl glinting below a thiving grove of majestic trees. “I will be the fist to set foot on the island” the gentleman appeared from below deck, a tailored suit and his beard trimmed to the latest fashion, as if ready to be portraied by a painter at his return to court.
He had always been composed, but now he appeared what he really were: a lion ready to pounce on his prey. He had it in his hands, all he wanted. Nobody would have stopped him now, he had hold on until now, this was the moment he would get repaid for all his efforts.
“Come to me” it was there when he struggled.
Since he had set sail the voice had grown weaker, and on the island he couldn’t hear it anymore, but the feeling of Her had all but faded. He knew that it was there, all that he was looking for. She was waiting for him, he just needed to find her.
They set camp, and brought the stocks. That night the crew lighted a bonefire, and it was a night of laughter and songs, of liquor and dances, everybody knew they soon would be home with riches beyond immagining.
“Come to me, my son”, it was there, growing clearer by the day.
They explored the grove, followed all the streams. They climbed the island to its tallest cliff, and delved in the darkest caves. Days passed, and the explorers found nothing.
“We can’t stay much longer sir, there is not much food left” the capitain was scrutinizing the bags under the eyes of the gentleman, the demand was dismissed with a wave of the hand “The men will fish or hunt, it is not a problem” was the reply, but the gaze of the captain had meaning enough “Sir” insisted the captain in a low growl “There is no mo…” “We will NOT go away! Food will be rationed. I will find her” there was a fire burning in the gentleman, and the captain lowered his eyes like one may do after staring too long at the sun.
“Come to me. Everything will be alright”, business was bad, money was short, the love of his life had become an unbearble prison, poisoning his life.
The gentlment was nothing of what he looked before, the clothes had become baggy, the beard was a tangled shrub, and the fiery look in his eyes had quenched, revealing an ominous spark. The crew had been eating insignificant rations, but he had not been eating at all for days, trudging about like the lost soul he was, leaving trails of snapped branches and torn leaves along the paths that he crossed.
“Come to me. I will be waiting for you”, it was there for him, always, when he was afraid, when he was alone.
It was late night when he realized. All of the island had been searched, every grain of sand observed, every tree climbed, every rock turned and She was not there. But that was the place, he knew.
She was not on the island, and he needed not to wake the crew to find her. His steps were once again resolute, the sand was soft under his feet, and the water received him in a cold, yet conforting, hug.
He swam, the clothes still on, diving under the moon trying to find the place.
“Come to me. You deserve it”, it was a love so pure it would save him.
It was not enough, he took a deep breath and started diving.
Went up he needed more, and down again.
Breath. Dive. Deeper.
Breath. Dive. Deeper.
Burning lungs, it was his limit.
Once again. It was too much, he failed.
He started to rise for the last time, they would go home.
“Stay with me”, nothing could hurt him anymore.
It was her. A beauty beyond immagining. Eyes as big as the moon, flowing hair like a bridal veil, lips like ripe fruit, an hand pushing him down, a smile so intense it made him cry, lungs burning.
Loving eyes coming closer…
Soft lips approaching…
The hug of a lover…
The love of a mother…
“I will give you peace” behind the lips, teeth like needles, ready to feed.