"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Henry David Thoreau


She heard voices whispering above the birds and roaring waves. They swayed around, above and behind her and had an unfamiliar rhythm. Curious, she tried to open her sore swollen eyes but the bruising wouldn’t permit it. Everything ached, from her hair to her toe nails.

As she feebly tried to turn herself onto her side from her coral scrapped stomach, she felt the breeze from an eruption of movement around her. She felt vulnerable and disorientated and vomited onto the damp coarse sand, retching out the last of the ocean.

She slumped back down and blacked out.

They next time she awoke she realised she had left the beach.

The new atmosphere was heavy with wood smoke; it smelt sweet and was comforting, reminding her of home. She tried to open her eyes again to survey her new surroundings but the bruising was still in control. She knew she had been bathed and changed she could feel the lack of crusty salt on her skin and her heavy matted hair was now smooth and soft. She felt clean and warmed by the fire and the soft fur beneath her, she relaxed a little.

Tuning into what was around her, she listened out for clues. She heard the wood crackling and spitting out its heat and the noisy crowd of insects performing their nightly recital from the open window above her head. She sensed she was alone and drifted back to sleep, feeling cared for.

The nightmare rampaged its way through the tragedy again, making her relive the horrors of a night of catastrophes. Screaming lives plunged helplessly into an angry sea, devoured by relentless waves that crushed and churned the breath out of their overwhelmed bodies. The crew holding as fast as they could until it became each man for himself.

The captain steadfast in claiming the bridge: kept his vow, watching the destruction of crew and ship, wishing for his speedy passing so the weight of guilt and sadness would vanish to peace.

Watching the gallant ship break and buckle under the force of storm and hearing its death rattle from between the waves was more than enough to break any heart. The splintered masts and tattered sails were strewn across the boiling sea, thick hemp ropes snaked through the swell carrying all its metal work to the bottom.

The moon shone half its light across the ill-fated vessel while its seafarers, dispatched to Poseidon, to the Old Man of the sea, drifted downwards to his waiting depths. Lifeless and quiet, a solemn precession of bodies showered the sand and coral. She watched the wretched scene from the bottom holding her breath until she could hold it no more. She awoke, gasping for the life giving air that had been stolen from them.

Large silent droplets of tears ran down her scratched cheeks, stinging her wounds as they slid past but moistening her eyes enough to enable her to open them just a crack. She could see the round homely shape of a woman standing to the right of the flames, the flickering orange light, illuminating her outline. She was fleshy and earthy swaying to the rhythm that came from the small drum she played. Suddenly stopping as she saw the fire light shine briefly, rebounding off the whites of her guest’s eyes she moved over to the bed and bent down and on realising that her guests’ eyes were open enough to see her, she touched her arm to her heart and said “Kira”, she did this several times until, her guests hand raised slowly in understanding and pointed to her sad broken heart saying,

“Flora . . . my name’s Flora”.

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