The Thunder’s Roar
Martin Hooijmans | Lars de Ruyter
A deafening roar of thunder forced me to my knees. I screamed out, my eyes closed against the fierce hail and cutting winds. Boards splintered, the fragments shredding first my clothes, then my skin. Something heavy and cold smashed into my right arm with a sickening crunch. I hardly felt the pain.
The screams of my crew had long since faded. None were left on board. None were left alive. All had been taken by the storm. All had perished in the waves. All had been my doing.
An icy wave washed over me, forced my eyes open, and then I saw her. She was more beautiful and terrible than my imagination had foreseen. Her naked body was perfectly shaped, her long, dark hair cloaking it against the winds. It was her eyes that scared me, eyes as azure and deep as the ocean itself, eyes that could drag you into its depths.
She approached me, slowly, her every step driving the ship further into the raging waters. I could only watch her. I could only wait for the end.
Her hands enclosed my face, eased it up with gentle yet firm intent, forcing me to stare into her eyes. One by one, I could see my men, the color drained from their cheeks, taken by her will. Then they were gone, replaced by a dim glow of compassion.
Do you wish to live?
Tears welled in my eyes as remorse overtook me. This was the price for my arrogance. I had spoken out of turn, had tempted the gods, had boasted that no storm would take me.
I would not be able to return.
I shook my head.
“Take me,” I spoke with the remnant of my voice. “Take me as you took my men. Take me with the height of your fury.”
Another roar of thunder struck me in the heart, and I fell on my back. In my fading vision I could see her smile. I could feel the hail on my face, heard the violence in the air.
Waves, higher than the highest mast, closed in on my ship.
Closed in on my life.
Closed in…on my soul.