It is my turn outside now. The stars have all but gone, covered behind the clouds that I watched rolling in earlier as the sun set. These oppressing dark hulks of cloud have given a much more desolate feel to this whole affair. True pathetic fallacy that not even Shakespeare could match.
The hull of the boat facing me seems so far away and so tall, silhouetted against the ink blue skyline. The rudder breaks the smooth line of the hull as if it is a lone tombstone, the propeller to it's left looking like the dark, dead flowers, laid in mourning.
As I hold my ground on the netting my legs are getting battered, courtesy of the broken hatch cover, wrapping at my calves with every surge. They would be bruised for days afterwards.
It's so dark here, we may as well be invisible. There must be something that we can do to increase our visibility. Increase our odds. The light on top of the life-raft had never worked. No one was too surprised at this. There are six EPIRB's flashing away inside, I pop my head through the hatch, between swallowing water and breathing I ask for one to secure to the boat. The lanyard that comes with the beacon is very thin. I give it a sharp pull at the end and just as I would guess, it snaps. I make sure that I lash it to the dinghy as tightly as possible using the entire length of chord and with about twenty half hitches to make sure it stays put. The flash reflecting from the white of the hull is not the brightest light. Though at least it is okay, and that is the highest standard we seem to be reaching tonight.
'What are you doing?, Thom?! Are you okay?'
Sacha! It's so nice to hear him. I start a little dance from sheer happiness that I can now safely say he is safe.
I tell him that we have found some flares and are keeping watch for boats that may be passing.
He gurgles a reply through his hatch, he must have got a lung full of sea water. On his second attempt between coughs, he splutters out that him and Slava are okay and that they've found the rum. Lucky fuckers. A spot of rum now would be lovely. Of course this is no time to get drunk, though I do feel that I could just do with getting right royally mothered. To forget where I am, wake up with a bad headache that wasn't caused by a slap from a fire extinguisher. Wake up in bed and as far in land as is possible.
Not an option, instead I look around and nothing's changed. The sea continues to roll on towards me, the stars still choose to hide from me, the navigation lights I can see are of boats heading away from me. I am not frightened, I don't think I've been fully fearful throughout this entire catastrophe, there doesn't seem to be any time for that. I am stressed. I feel like I am so close to something that's so good, yet the more I endeavour to reach for it the more it eludes me. What it is I feel I'm so close to I have no idea, stands to reason then that it would be so out of reach.
I itch, all I can taste is salt, I am soaked through, I am on a boat the wrong way up, my ears hurt, my eyes hurt, my legs hurt, my head hurts. Why the fuck am I here? What the fuck happened on deck that made the boat flip? Who the fuck was on the helm or standing by on the sheet? Where the fuck exactly am I? When the fuck will I be somewhere else?
I can feel myself getting riled up with unanswered questions. Questions that don't need answering or even asking, certainly not now, not here. I must have been gritting my teeth for some time. My jaw aches, I can taste blood and I'm spitting out bits of tooth. I need something to do. I head back in and let Pete have a turn at looking for some hope. I can't find any, not out here, not on my own, not like this.