The Devil & Georges Servan Aballaird – Part Two

Posted: November 15, 2014 in Short stories, starts & writing, The Devil & Georges Servan Aballaird
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When I next came to my senses the first thought I had was that I had let my flint get wet. Why I’d ever be worried what those bastard officers thought important I’ll never know, but here I was; the words running through my head that I was “as good as fucking dead!”
Then I noticed the strange green flashes playing out in the strange gelatinous velum I was in, that I was unable to breathe, the multitude of black things trailing down around me and that never-fucking-ending headache that dogged me wherever I went these last… How long had it been? Weeks? Months? It was impossible to say.
January seemed years ago and yet only yesterday. Yet here I was, and this ever increasing high-pitched buzz in my ears that made the green flashes slowly fade to red and black, until it properly hit me. I was under water! This nauseating taste in my mouth was sea water and I had to move up, up, up or else I would be drowned.
To hell with the rummin’ flint! I didn’t even know where the musket was anymore.I scrambled and tore and pulled with all my waning might towards that shrinking dot of a green flashing sky and then all at once I was coughing and spluttering amidst a noise and fire like I had never imagined.
Shards of timber and water rained down upon my head and I floated a moment, panting, stunned by the momentous scene that greeted my return to oxygen and the unexpected world of sobriety and alertness, a world I thought I had lost forever. All about was such an appalling cacophony of cannon-fire, gunshots and explosions intermingled with the yells and screams of hundreds of men and the constant hiss of falling water and the tumultuous sea, that I almost forgot my headache, never mind that I had found myself overboard.
Nevertheless, the noise and the heat of burning ships all around brought me to my senses and forced me to move. I feared I would soon be surrounded by the inferno so I struck out for a gap in the flames, a dark gulf in the increasing wall of fire.
It should not have surprised me that I became so quickly exhausted, for I had been in an ill state for many… How long had it been? Any exertion left me breathless and aching, and yet here I was. I was out of breath. How far I had swum I could not say. Not very I should wonder, but distance was impossible to judge on the fringes of that roaring, iridescent orange twilight.
There were burning ships and others yet untouched wheeling about, some appearing as nothing more than sails and rigging floating above angry clouds of pulsating smoke and vicious plumes of sparks blasting out all along their sides, and I could feel myself floundering. The smoke from all manner of burning things was clogging my gullet and the choppy swell – churning me about, splashing in my face, filling my mouth and stinging my eyes – was intent on dragging me back under.
As I coughed and retched and gagged and choked I clearly recall the moment, the precise point at which I surrendered myself, gave myself up for drowning, for whoever or whatever wanted to take me, and felt my soul loosen its hold. It was in that moment, vulnerable but ready, ready to let go and drown, that bastard the Devil whispered in my ear.
“Do not be afraid,” he said. “Your fate cannot be taken from you. It is my gift.”
Without hesitation I accepted the Devil’s gift, and as I reached out to receive it he engineered for the fish-pecked corpse of Georges Servan Aballaird to float into my arms.
“Remember tonight,” said the Devil. “For it is the beginning of forever.”

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