The Journal of Professor Headonius Burroffski,
Assumed Date:- 12th July 1930, early morning.
Location:- Unknown Island.
I’m still not awake, love. I had a terrible night. My sleep was disturbed from the start by the howling winds of a small storm. It set in with a vengeance and seemed determined to keep me awake by loudly tugging at the canvas of my tent, and between this and the ceaseless screeching and caterwauling from the jungle, I found it all but impossible to sleep. Still, a hard day toiling under the tropical sun will weary even the strongest soul and I eventually sipped into a deep but troubled slumber.
I dreamt of the sailing ship again. I say again but realise I have not mentioned it to you in my previous entries because up until this point these dreams had been half-remembered and vague at best. Upon waking all I could recall were the briefest of fragments of images; being stood on the wooden deck of a creaking ship, sails flapping above me, a feeling of something uncomfortable yet indistinct beneath me. I merely put them down to Freud’s wish fulfilment dreams giving reign to my desire to be off this island and back with you. The fact they always left me in the doldrums I reasoned was down to the simple fact that I awoke to the reality of being marooned.
But now… well after last night I don’t know what to think. The dream I had last night, the dream that woke me in a cold sweat all but screaming, seemed to have nothing do with either the good Dr Freud or my wishes to get off this damnable island.
Of the dream itself, well I shudder as I organise its events in my mind, but I feel that if I commit it to paper I shall rob it of some queer vital energy it holds within me. I shall endeavour to tell you of it in every detail I can recall and hope that by this act I will dispel it from my mind like early morning mist vanishing under the sun.
Well, as I say, it took me a long time to get off to sleep but as I finally dropped off, the sound of the canvas flapping in the wind appeared to travel with me. It seemed I had no sooner closed my eyes than it was time to open them. I was startled to find myself stood on the deck of the ship again, only this time I seemed fully awake. I was aware, totally aware, I was asleep in my tent on the island, yet I was equally sure I was stood on the slowly swaying deck of a large wooden ship the like of which hasn’t been seen for nigh on a hundred years. Above me, under a clear blue sky and burning yellow sun, the sails flapped lazily in the light breeze. The ship rolled lugubriously and I turned to look at the wheel. No one stood on the deck. No one tended to the sails. No one climbed in the rigging. In fact, as the wheel slowly turned with the whim of the ocean pulling at pushing at the rudder, I had the all too familiar realisation I was all alone. This ship was deserted, a ghost ship, except for one soul alone… and that was mine!
I walked slowly about, my footsteps echoing on the wooden deck as I looked for any sign of life. No replies answered my timid calls of “Hello” and “Anyone onboard?”. A door creaked and swung on its hinges, its dark mouth leading into the body off the ship. I took a step towards it, my gut knotted with fear, when a sound behind me brought me to a dead stop. A sound of heavy metal chains dragging over themselves.
I waited, frozen to the spot, my mind telling me to wake up, that this was only a dream, but my body unwilling, or unable, to listen. A cold dread began to spread through me, as though my spine had turned to ice and was freezing my organs one by one.
And again; chains dragging only this time accompanied by the unmistakable sound of a footsteps somewhere beneath me. I turned slowly but the deck was empty. The only feature on deck was the latticed wooden hatch over the cargo hold. I walked slowly towards it, my stomach in my mouth as I noticed that it was not only bolted and locked but nailed shut all the way round.
I stopped, cautious lest I should get too close to the lip although what I was afraid of I could not have explained. From inside the dark, shadowed bowels of the ship the sounds of chains came again and I peered hard into the gloom, unable to make anything out. “Hello,” I ventured.
The darkness below me moved and for a moment I thought it was a mere shadow creeping across whatever cargo was down there; but then almost like a liquid coalescing into a solid form I saw it! Oh god I saw it and it saw me! My heart stopped. There, in the swallowing blackness of the cargo hold, seemingly carved out of the darkness itself, a beautifully terrifying face glared at me. Topped with enormous onyx horns, its flaming eyes, full of pure malevolent evil and a naked desire to not only kill me, but to consume me entirely, fixed upon me and I felt my soul wither under its glare. I wanted to wrench out the nails, smash off the lock and open the hatch. I wanted to throw myself, body and soul, to him. I was being drawn, piece by tiny piece down into his burning, oh ever burning eyes…
I awoke with a shout, the storm outside had blown itself out and even though the night was warm, I was covered in a cold clammy sweat that chilled me to the marrow.
I hope that is the last I see of that blessed ship and I certainly never want to encounter that face of evil with its burning eyes again. Maybe I have not been drinking enough water under this sun? Maybe it’s just my mind adjusting to this new environment? Whatever the cause, I hope my nights are less disturbed from now on. Today I shall tire myself out with a hike into the jungle – I have rocks to find and I want to see how big my new home is – and then I shall sleep like a babe, I am sure. I shall write of my findings later my darling Rose. Think of me in your prayers and I think of you.
All my love,
Your Doni x
To Be Continued…
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