He sat in the rocking chair on Ardrianne’s porch, wide lichfire eyes gaping out into the darkness with a vacant, unblinking stare. There was nothing to see, not really. The hour was long after midnight, long into the third bell. Witching hour, as they called it. When all the ghosts you hid from found their places in your mind.
The rain was falling steadily. It was cacophony over the leaves, distant applause, heavy sighs, muted laughter. The rain was white noise, and white noise was whatever you wanted to hear.
Tonight, the rain was screaming.
The rain was the screams of sailors, the horrific groan of stretched timbers right before they split. It was the wet slap of its slimy flesh, the clash of sodden weaponry. Above all of the chaos and the cries and the half-lost words, it was the sea. It was the roar of the sea all around him, loud in his ears and tight in his chest. It was the same bitch who’d swallowed Father, and she’d almost taken him.
The rain was the sea tonight, and tonight he was still drowning. Still down there in the cold and the dark, still there on the deck, on that horrible ship. Somehow still watching Creep lay there like a cockroach. Wondering if the latest boot was the last. Wondering which one would be. All the while he heard the ghouls. Their rise. Their feast. Their fall.
He was a thousand different places now, but none of them were really on Ardrianne’s porch, sitting on a rocking chair, listening to the rain. None of them were now, on a cool Friday evening just a few hours before dawn.
He was under, he was over.
He was on the ship, he was sinking below.
He was part of Forever, and he was part of Then. He was living it over, again and again. And yet, he was sitting still.
He knew his face was wet, and he didn’t know why. It scared him and he couldn’t stop shaking anymore. It was cold, salty. Familiar. The sea was still all over him. It never really ever went away.
He didn’t recognize his tears, didn’t recognize the rain.
Tonight the rain was screaming, and he was anywhere but here.