A couple was walking while making the street light explode with stones. The aim was perfect, two long steps, the pebble slips from their fingers, the sound of broken glass, a sudden darkness. Every now and then they could hear complaints from someone who was trying to sleep in one of the boats. One could hear the laughs from far away, and the feet running. Then became the silence, and the inhabitants of the boat decided to sleep the rest of the night.
For the weekend it were twenty the people who disappeared in the docks. That Monday, the thirty-years-old man had the malachite statue in the right pocket of his shirt. He observed the black and white images of the twenty people, with the desperate messages of their families and the descriptions of how they looked the last time they were seen.
The store manager was in silence. The man that looked like an addict lost himself in the paper glances. The god in the pocket was smiling and dreaming with every lost children floating in the darkness of the sea.
-Have a nice day – He greeted, he took his bag and he went away, immersed in his thoughts. He had a bad feeling, inside his bones, that wouldn’t simply go away.
The hallucinations of a city forgotten by time and attacked by the salt became more and more common. Every time he looked through the window of his flat he saw the very picture of desolation. The scenery changes between hallucination and hallucination, like if years had passed between each visit. The face of the city looked haggard, burying itself in the sand, drowning with a dried throat.
He headed to the docks, while holding the heavy bag over his chest. Every light pole, some of them with a broken lamp, had one or two signs of the disappeared people. But people didn’t see that as a reason to not going to the market, which worked as well as always.
But the fishing wasn’t plentiful anymore. The fishes caught in the nets looked sick, but the marketers hid this while they made fillets and extracted the bones. The hallucinations came back and he found himself on the wet wooden dock, he was covered by a dark and dead sea like a nightmare and that voice got inside his bones and made him burn.
They dragged him, leaving all his groceries on the floor, the shouting man.
He looked at the white ceiling, as white as the salt, as white as black that sea was, until he realised he woke up in a hospital room. He could hear the dripping of the intravenous and he felt the uncomfortable needle in his arm. He was trying to sit up slowly just when a nurse entered the room.
-Good morning, shock boy! –He greeted with strange happiness. She approached, holding a tray full of medical instruments –How are you feeling? –
-Well – He answered in a groan, with low, confused voice. –What happened? – They dragged you from the docks. You were in a shock state. You even tried to beat up some nurses while they were driving you here! – She said with a voice tone that he man found too amusing and carefree. He remembered the scene at the market and he touched his chest.
The god was there. The woman looked at the reaction of his pupils, she took his pressure and pulse, and everything looked stable. She made a sign so he would open his mouth and stick out his tongue; and it was in that moment when she let out a horrified scream.
He had his mouth black, like a deep pit, starless, like coal, like sea.
It was already morning when the woman headed to the docks and started to splash over the wooden boards with a yawn that satisfied her. She was wearing her blue uniform for work and it was time to arrange her food stand, to heat the burners and wait for the first catch of the day. And she thought it was odd she was the first on arriving. Splash, splash, everything was saturated with an odd humidity and a smell that was stronger than the fish insides.
She looked inside the boats and the inhabitants that used to sleep there were not inside. The ships floated like empty and hollow carcass. Annoyed, she looked at her feet, she observed the strangely red wood and she cried of horror into the loneliness of the place.
The noise that it made, the song, it sounded ancient and old, incomprehensible, and it was driving him crazy. He left the keys on the table; he was still confused about everything that happened. He woke up the morning he was leaving the hospital with the noise of sirens going and coming, without bringing anybody back.
The sound, it was whispering into his ears. It wants him now; it wants him like how it wanted him that day on the beach when he was just a boy playing in the sand. He never went into the sea. He loathed it and he hated it, even though he lived in a port city. He held the god in the palm of his hand and something made him understand that if he survived the last month was because of it, but there is not a god made to do miracles. The power of the malachite statue had a limit.
He felt the sound of the waves, inside his ears, the song from whatever it was in the water. His heart skipped a beat when he looked at the sea in the horizon. Now he could understand it, what it was waiting at sea. So calm, as old as the sea valleys where it hide. It called him, it called him. So alone, so hungry.
He took the keys, he locked the door, and he threw the keys through the window. He crossed the city in the middle of the night, the buildings that looked like they were sleeping, but no one was sleeping. The salt was starting to stick to the body, and the people closed their eyes in the darkness. He realized he was being followed by sleep-walkers like him when he reached the docks.
He passed under the police tape and he felt the red swollen wood creak under his weight. The somnambulist crowd dragged their feet and continued singing. When they reached the end of the docks men and women, some of them with children in their arms, fell into the dark water, dark as a mirror that won’t reflect anything and they sank like stones, without even turning their heads to greet goodbye.
The man grasped the smiling god in his hand and threw it into the water. He asked it, mumbling, if that was what it wanted, but it whispered ‘no’. It told him to get closer, like it had told that fisherman to get closer, like it had told to those children to get closer; and then it would tell them the most fantastic stories.
The man swung over the edge, and then he jumped.