Black Sea – 1. 

It all started off rather innocently. Things weren’t complicated back then. Those were simpler times, lived by simple folk from simple towns and simple families. Completely oblivious to the true potential of destruction, a fire storm that words can create. And words, just sounds created by man. Who would’ve thought that words could have such an effect? Pen surely is mightier than the sword no questions asked. For a sword cuts right through resulting in a quick death. Yet words linger. They feed on you like a parasite. They hollow out your core and suck your soul till it’s nothing but a figment of imagination, maybe not even that. Mike woke up that morning, like every other day for work. Quite a routine he had. Perfected to the second. 5 alarms placed strategically to give him the best possible wake up. He wasn’t a morning person but then again who is? And those who say they are, are pathological liars and should be shot. Precisely at 0759 the door would open and he would step in, moments before the morning meeting. Fashionably late but not late at all. 

Carol again woke up with a nightmare some eleven thousand miles away. Thinking something had happened to mike’s ship. She sent out a frantic text but realised that he was in an Internet blocking zone so he would’ve get messages for another 7 days. Times were hard and their relationship was stretched but she understood that it was harder for Mike. She sent him an email instead on his company ID. That still worked. 

The ship had just docked out of walvis bay last week and was rather empty with a high freeboard. Any sailor or marine enthusiast would know that the Atlantic in winters is relentless. The worst was still a few days away. For now Mike was trying to keep up with the strange accent of the Burmese second engineer. His eyes were burning partly because he didn’t sleep well and also because he had yet again been stingy with the contact lens cleaning solution. A bad thing to mess with those things. They have one rule and one rule alone. Keep them clean or they will make you cry. Quite literally. Mike however couldn’t be bothered. And who can blame him, after a long hard day who has the time and patience to change the solution in the contact lens case? 

The swell still battered the ship and coffee mugs clunked and shuffled around on the coffee table. He must’ve been half way through the morning meeting when he turned his attention towards Mike. That’s when the lights went off. Total darkness. Just the faint hum of the turbochargers surging and coming to an abrupt halt. 

“Mike,” said second in his thick Burmese accent, “what the fuck just happened?”  


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