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Ashore

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In a forgotten age on the water planet, a home to adventurers, sailors and true men of the sea, those who understood that true treasures truly lied in the paths least travelled.

A much-forgotten tale is told today in one of the small pubs close to the shore.


The men of this town enjoyed the performance of the musicians and the ladies dancing as they chugged beer after beer but as night came everyone looked forward to the main event. Storytelling…


Living on a dangerous planet with little to nothing to look forward to every day, a life devoid of meaning, these moments were important as it reminded them and taught their young who would accompany them about their history and the dangers that lay in wait for them.


Today’s tale wasn’t just like any other random tale, a special speaker was coming. He was one of the oldest members of the town and he had promised to tell them a tale never before told.


The crowd fell silent as the musicians left the stage and the old man walked up with the help of a walking stick. No one dared to help him, it was common law, the weak die… there was no need to save someone when they were only going to be a liability


He climbed up the steps and sat on the chair they had prepared for him, he set his stick aside and wiped the sweat off his forehead then cleared his throat a couple of times but failed to do so. He then dipped his hand into this pocket and brought out a little bottle, opened it and took a sip then closed it back and put it inside his pocket. Then he pulled out a cigar and lighted it and took a quick breath before letting the smoke go then he raised his cold eyes and looked at the faces of everyone that was watching him, he then smoked some more as he looked around the bar before he spoke


“You young lads make me feel glad to be alive. Every passing day as I sit on the peer watching you all go about your daily business, it pleases me in ways that all the beer, cigars, gold and women in the world never could and I wish many of my friends and mates could be here with me to see what you have all become but it’s not too bad. I am here as a witness and very soon when my time is up I will go ahead and tell them of your achievements and I’m sure they will all be pleased”


The crowd remained silent…


“Well, today is special like I said because I want to tell you a story that I have kept to myself for a long long time. It wasn’t just me though, those of my time made it a taboo to speak of it but I think they will all agree with me that history must be passed on so that we learn from it and never make the same mistake. That way, all our sacrifices won’t be in vain”


“I know now that the seas welcome you, the harvest is always good, kids can play at the beach and sailors can cross it and come back safely but this tale is from a time when this wasn’t allowed when it was forbidden for us”


“As you know, we land roamers are not the only species on this planet. There are many tales of our origin, how the world was once almost taken from us. Some took flight, some took refuge in the sea and some desired the earth once more and those are us”


“Many of us believed that the others failed and they are no more but it…” the old man stopped for a second and look at the roof of the pub, it was making a creaking noise and he waited till it stopped. Then he put the cigar in his mouth again and blew out some smoke and continued


“The universe respects our wishes whether they are bad or not, that’s what makes us living beings. I cannot say much about those who fled to the skies but I can tell you beyond any doubt that those who fled to the sea bottom still exist and this story is about them”
The crowd remained silent, his words were important and they all understood that. If they were to miss this opportunity they might never hear this again…


“The theory was that they were building something, that’s why they took the seas from us. Back then, I worked at the shore fixing boats and helping them dock, offloading products and so on. So when it all started I was at the centre of it all”


“Sailors first started to go missing, some boats would fail return, it was just one or two and people first took it as simply bad luck but when no sailors came back no matter how many set out then the atmosphere in the town got thicker. Sailing was banned from there on out for some time until we could figure out what was going on but then even the fishermen started to go missing so going close to the sea was prohibited altogether”


“Things slowed down and we realised that things couldn’t continue like this so we gathered the strongest and most experienced of us to go and investigate what was going on. We bided them farewell with prayers and hopes. I was worried so I stayed at the shore waiting all day and all night, some of my friends were on that boat”


“One night as I waited as always, I saw a figure emerge from the sea. I was glad, it was one of the sailors, someone actually made it back. I ran to meet him with a towel”
The old man stopped and took another cigar out of his pocket like the one he was taking had finished but he simply looked at it and didn’t light it and continued with his story


“As I got to him, I put the towel around him and started to ask him questions but he didn’t answer. There was a sudden loud sound coming from the seas. I was scared. He then quickly grabbed me on both my shoulders and said ‘Listen, there is no time, the people of the sea are unleashing their hate on every other race. We made a deal with them, Five years! For the next five years, no one should sail out to sea. After that, their life would be complete’”


“The loud sound came again and my friend pushed me back ‘Tell everyone! Get out of here now! Before they get you too!!’ he yelled at me, I wanted to drag him to safety still but what I saw stopped me in my tracks. A large octopus tentacle stretched out of the sea and he ran towards it, now that I think about it he probably did that to protect me. The tentacle grabbed him and dragged him into the sea”


“After the fear had left my legs a bit, I ran to town to deliver the news and we did as we were told, we even added a year or two, I can’t even remember now but after that, the sea welcomed us again and life slowly returned to normal. Now we have tons of talented sailors and fishermen and our town continues to prosper so, to be honest, this tale should be left in the trenches of history but I thought it was better to tell you all. So if you ever are faced with something similar you would handle it better than I did”


The old man lit the cigar he had been staring at and put it in his mouth, then he got up with the help of his stick “Live life to the fullest, I know I did. Thank you for listening but I’m going to go hit the sack now, that story tired me out” he said and slowly walked out of the pub.

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