“A Mile from Land”
By. Lee McQuinn
(note: all names, locations, and identifying information has been changed to preserve privacy and respect.)
13 February 2017 – Timeline: 1985
After the burials were complete and covered with driftwood to make the location, we returned to the ship. The sailors in the crow’s nest remained on guard. And, life as we knew it, went on.
Our location was several miles below the equator and that called for a celebration. A grand party meant to wipe the morning’s horror from our minds. Wit the help of the Sailmaker’s best hooch, we celebrated King Neptune with guzzling contests, dancing, and other such shenanigans. As dawn began to lighten the horizon, I finally drifted into slumber somewhere in the vicinity of the bar.
Late into the night; I woke, sobbing. I couldn’t get the images of the dead out of my mind. Men, brutally beaten and sliced up. Women, bound and no doubt molested. Children… babies… with broken necks, and eviscerated. Sights that no living person should ever see, but we had. I felt strong arms surround me, pulling me against a muscle-bound chest.
‘Shh, Lassie, I got ya.’ I heard the heavy brogue in my ear, but I couldn’t stop the tears. ‘Aw, Love,’ He cooed, holding me closer.
And so it was for many nights. During waking hours, I could shove the images out of my mind, and stifle the sounds of gunfire from my soul. But, when I slept, both returned with a force that would not be blocked. Ever and always, I felt Ian’s arms encircle me. His gentle whispers letting me know that all was well.