Some Men Break
by Alexis A. Hunter
He had a driftwood heart; he had sleepy-ocean eyes.
I lifted my bloodied head from the sand and there he was, standing on spindly branching legs. Battered wreckage that had long since been washed thin and worn by the waves. I felt the pound of the surf in my temple, in my throat, in my groin.
I coughed up the salty sea and he only stood watching.
As my vision blurred out, I began to think he was only flotsam. Only jetsam. Not a man at all.
My testament is written in the sand. My finger is raw from the etching of my words.
Blackened clouds boil, encroaching on this island, and I laugh, high and shrill.
And I write faster--while he watches.
The sand scraped under me. I choked. Coughed. Waterlogged and gagging, I rolled to my back, aware of a great pressure on my wrist.
My driftwood savior pulled me free from the tide. I couldn't see his face, only those spindly legs. They looked so smooth, polished like sea glass. I longed to touch him, but his fleshy fingers gripped my wrist.
Sand in my ears, gritting between my teeth, clinging to my eyelashes. I shuddered. He pulled.
I fell into nightmares of half-memories. The last moments aboard the ship before they threw me overboard for what they termed "perverse desires." Long, long hours of treading water, dizzied by the sun.
I am being possessed. He says nothing, does nothing. He won't explain why I'm changing.
The elements beat upon us, yet he doesn't huddle. He doesn't shiver. The waves, the sun, the sky--all conspire against us. How much longer before I break?
My memories are a plague. I wish I could stop remembering the smell of sweat on Captain Doritt, or the feel of his skin--