Post 29: Gull
I keep seeing them dive. They skim the water’s surface, graceful; annoying. They appear unaffected and feed at will on what I cannot see. The body of water moves and undulates. The incessant fog that sits atop it makes the whole setting feel staged. After surviving the trials that got me here, I dared not venture out into the water to steal their food, only to discover what else lays beneath.
When the weather subsides, I will fashion a pole to spear one close enough. They appear dim, but not so dim to wander close to my enclosure. Once I skin and pluck one, I can lure more with its carcass. Perhaps with some of the offal I can get a better idea of what’s below the water’s surface. Until then I wait.
The structure is sound enough and I am grateful for that. It shields me from the majority of the wind and driving sleet. I found it after clearing the frozen swamp, edging my way down the rock sheer, hoping the sight of a cabin was not a trick of my eye. By virtue of whatever luck I still possessed, I was not wrong. A small wooden box stood whiting in and out of the snow on a plateau where the water met the rock. After days of nesting in branch tie-downs this was a variable oasis.
Splintered wood at the base offered room for snow and wind to spill in to the space. Before I allowed myself a chance to settle, I fortified the base with more firmly packed snow. A singular square window looked out to the west end of the beach. the glass was still intact. The space was barren save a few objects forgotten by decades. An empty table no wider than the door sat right beside the opening, with an upturned bucket as its seat. From corner to corner spanned a makeshift hammock; a bundle of rags weighing the center down. When I removed the rags I discovered a large oil lamp. I almost cried at the find.
The structure was not a commercial necessity but likely instead a personal construct, built by a sailor ages ago frequenting this bay. From the space’s condition, it had to have been some time since the builder was back from the sea.
As the sun set, I felt momentarily secure in my setting. I found the hammock would hold as long as it was anchored to the true corners of the structure. Before it was hung haphazardly causing the sides of the cabin to bow inward when I attempted to sit. The lamp at the very least gave off the illusion of heat as it sat upon the table. I had both oil and a lighter in my spartan larder.
The first night, I arranged what else I had left. The knife, three yards cable, and a full days ration of jerky. With luck, I would stretch the food to three days. Once assessed, I devised my plan to lure one of the birds, kill it, and discover what was beneath the water surface. If luck was on my side, I would have sustainable food for a time.
The following morning, I decided to walk the bluff when the weather was at it’s most docile. With enough dead wood I could build a fire as long as the wind stayed down. I even schemed a possibly way of using the metal bucket and the hollow table legs to fashion a makeshift stove.
It felt possible. I didn’t yet trust fortune again but the discovery of the shack had raised my spirits some. Then came the second night, when what slept below woke to bring itself up to the beach.
If there is no rest for the wicked, I must adopt the belief that in a previous life I was an awful person.