Rock of Gibraltar

The ship rolls on white-topped waves. Mist caresses the rocks ahead, like an old lover both comfortable and passionate. I am in love with this place. I will never leave again, and I am glad.

"Ya ready, Cap'n?" Impudent as always. I shouldn't have taken him on, but we were short a man, then... it is irrelevant, now.

"As ever, Mr. Moore. And you? Prepared?"

"'Course." His voice wavers slightly; just enough for me to notice. I suppose he regrets.

The rough sea and the mist call to mind battle, officers in smart blue and the blast of cannons and splintered wood streaking through the air and into the dark water. The sea accepts all sacrifices. I have a sudden urge to run to the prow and throw myself in, to surrender to the crash of the waves and the inevitably shocking collision of body and wooden vessel. The sea has always affected me this way. All my life I have resisted the urge to leap blithely into the wide arms of the deep.

"Nothing pers'nal, Cap'n. Honest if ya hadn' been who ya is, id've never thought a', y'know, this..."

"No hard feelings, Mr. Moore." We are silent together for a few minutes, and he walks away. We are nearly to shore; he is going to guide the ship into port. He is a good navigator. He is a good man. She and the crew are in good hands.

I relax against the mast and enjoy the scenery. The wind has picked up, and it cuts into every exposed slice of my form. I am more content than I have been in what seems like an age. This strait and its rocks and mist and wind are warm blankets to a cold soul.

Tonight, in Gibraltar, I die.