A vast ocean. Deep blue sky enriched with sunshine. Sounds of wind and water. The light hits the waves with a million fragments of brilliant, piercing points of radiance. They dazzle and bewilder your vision. The sparkle on the waves, reminds you of the sparkle in your father’s eyes…
Down, now. Silently, diving beneath the surface. The water carries muffled echoes. Deeper.
Deeper. Darkening gloom rushes up to embrace you. There, at the border of the deepest, an enormous shadow looms near, a dark eye glinting at you. Closer it approaches. Opening its yawning mouth, a sudden current draws you in, rushing toward the ever widening darkness, white teeth shining like rows of pale birch-trees. In dusty books, far away in another world, pictures of this great beast have the caption: WHALE.
Down here, it goes by a different name: LEVIATHAN.
FEAR ME, it calls, echoing mind to mind. AS ALL DO. SWALLOWED UTTERLY INTO ME, YOU CAN NEVER GO BACK.
A wailing cry reaches your ears, thin and wavering. The teeth now tower below and above you, caught by a swirling of the current for a moment, poised at the edge. Distant shapes, long nosed, sleek, with rounded foreheads, swim and circle not to far away, to each side.
ENTER AT YOUR PERIL. THE PEOPLE OF THE SONG CALL YOU BACK. I CAN HOLD BACK THE ABYSS NO LONGER.
At that moment, you realize you’ve hunted this monster for long years. The Great King of the Abyss has appeared before you at last. Your own hesitation has caused you to pause at the brink of absolute sundering.
Adding salt to salt, your tears fill the watery void. Then the great drums of the beast’s heart reach your ears, and riding the back of your of your own death-song, forgetting everything that ever came before, lost to everything true and untrue, the current swells with a mighty rush, and the blackest belly of night swarms all about you.
Silence, except for the great rhythm of a drum, organic in its thrumming, like a great heart.
Your eyes open, drowsily. A room…people….a bed…
“Welcome,” intones a deep voice.
“Welcome, to the S.S. Palingenesia.”