Look Through

Original source material

From Dumbfoundland

Story 2

And then the sea turned black.  Not thick like oil or slimey as you’d be expecting.  It was black but still water.

There will be some payment for the sins, I’m telling you now.  This could not be regarded as a curse I’m saying to you or some witchety prediction.  It’s deduction, that’s all.  Sins must be paid for and we’ve sinned enough for plenty of towns.  I’m saying it, I’m telling it.

That old castle, that factory groping out to sea.  That foolish hotel that no one new stays in.  Buildings but they are not blind, they are not mute, they are not deaf.  The tarmac and weeds and rubbish and smashed shops.  We creep onto the sea like a throbbing pervert.  We wheedle and claim we’ve a right to it.  We’ll pay.

The sea turning black changed everything.

Never much fish anyway, but we stopped eating them for safety’s sake.  They appeared unchanged by the new hue but all the same, fish from a black sea, no way no one was eating them.

There was a fearing to touch it, to let even a merest drop get onto skin.  Could be poisoned, could be poison which has turned it such.

There is the pleading and he doesn’t pay it a mind, like drowning puppies.  They cry for life also, no differences.  Neither understands for what they are pleading.  Life.  We complain of it always and yet want it when it is about to be taken away.  Stupid, all living things is as dumb as they come.

‘It still sea then?’

‘How you mean?’

‘Well, it’s black, not so?’


‘Should we still call it sea?’

‘Well that’s rather a childish thing to say there, of course we call it sea.’

‘Look like sea to you?’

Occasionally bodies can be found washed up on the beach, specially in summer when there is a risk of stench.  A certain tidiness, a certain diligence.  Now sea’s black, no bodies.  Maybe something in the water revives the corpses and they swim off happly or maybe people stopped dumping them, because of the fearing of it.  So where are those people going?  They are sure to be dying still, no disputing that.  Soon as people stop dropping here, soon the town won’t be anymore.  We born from vengeance, it’s our life blood just as it’s what we take.

It’ll change when we pay, things will change.

Sea keeps taking bites out and bites out and bites out.  No more than before no less.  All the same, it’s black but it’s the same.  Leaving none of a stain, don’t spread blackness, bes it, and that’s that.

‘That mean we going call it sea as before?’

‘So it is now black.  So what?  Everything else is the same.’

But people won’t go near it.   Soon the beaches are clean and pure from lack.  No tainting of human debris of any kind.

And  the sea turned black one day.  Believe me?  I’m telling you.  It happened.  Well I don’t know, no one saw it.  Maybe someone did, but that does not change the reality of the sea turning black and why would they do such a thing and how?

I don’t notice pleading anymore.  Like  I  have tinnitus, I hear so often I don’t hear it really much.  Like people living under waterfalls.  I read once, they don’t hear the roar at all and I thought, imagine that, to not hear something that persists so and it’s loud!  But that’s pleading.  And I don’t hear it.

If any of us were to go back there, if we had not made it such a forbidden place, we would’ve seen him.  Comes often with his little candle in his little jar, Monday evening, Tuesday evening, Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, Friday evening, Saturday evening, Sunday evening.

‘What you think sea is?  Water.  It’s water still.  So it’s sea!’

He lights the little candle and puts it into the little jar.  He launches it.  On certain days it will not be repelled out, it will come onto the beach rejected.  Other times it will slowly drift over the flat, tired sea.  Few waves, seeming stagnant like the candle is happy to travel on until the tiny light drops beyond the horizon.  He does it a lot.  He watches it until there’s nothing to watch.  If we ask him what he’s doing, he turns with childlike joy on his wrinkly face.  I’m setting fire to that world out there, bit by bit.  And we ask him, but you seen that world?  Nope, don’t want to either.


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Copyright: Elizabeth Watkin

All work on this blog belongs to the author Elizabeth Watkin and must not be reproduced without permission.

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