‘The waters are fine, friend’, the man with rotting teeth spat at me.
As I entered, my legs wobbled slightly, causing me to grab the nearest chair, and promptly collapse on it. The aged man laughed, the wrinkles on his face dancing with the jolly merriment of waves spraying onto an unexpected rock.
‘Somethin’ wrong, boy?’

I shook my head, then winced as this brought on a new wave of nausea. ‘These floors are not still enough, this must be built on a cursed place’.

‘Nay, they are as sturdy as my mother-in-law, bless her heart, and a hurricane couldn’t brin’ that woman down’, he chuckled at his private joke. I seriously doubted he was even married, but was too polite and unsteady to say so, instead, I shrugged as I ordered a pint of lager. To my surprise, my request was ignored by the innkeeper, who walked straight past me. In fact, when I looked around me, all the village folk paid me, and this man, no more attention than one would to a common stray cat.

The old man seemed to not tire of pestering me, he turned, and asked,’so, tell me, boy, after being at sea for so long, are you finally coming to settle? Were the treasures, adventures, and wild beauties too much for you? Or do you s’pose that you have a better chance of survivin’ amongst the dead? This island has no maidens no more, at least, not youn’ ones for you’.

I flushed for no apparent reason, then thought ain’t no common drunkard gonna intimidate me, and replied truthfully, ‘a sailor’s life is profitable, but lonely. I am come to seek out a companion, to bear me sons, so that I can live out the years of my life more comfortably’.

Silence lapsed between us, then, after studying me for some time, the aged man asked me once more, ‘how long will you stay?’

‘For as long as the Lord shall allow. Then, I plan to have my body returned to the sea, I wish to die in the place where I was born and bred’.

The old man seemed to sober for a second, as his eyes passed over me, full of pity, ‘ever’ man should be buried, ’tis only proper’.

But I shook my head, stubbornly, for I would not have this old man criticise my wishes so easily. ‘It would be true torture to have the ground trap my soul, whilst I know that I can comfortably live in the soft caress of my mother waves’.

The man chuckled. ‘You mean to be pounded by water, and wash up on an island, such as this one? Well, you got your wish, son. Do you want to know why no one here is paying you any mind? They can’t see you: you’re already dead’.

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