Note to the reader: Welcome to chapter one of a grand adventure that the next few blogs will take you on. This story is a wild tale of us – humankind – and trust me, we’re a lot more interesting than we think. The cruelty of humankind, and a wicked plot that our protagonist finds himself at the center of. Every week, I’ll be posting another chapter, so make sure to keep checking to reveal the next bit of the story. Starting from the next couple of chapters, I’ll also be posting a short analysis and summary of the chapter because this story is packed with deeper meanings, symbolism, tie-ins, and allegories that lie beneath the surface, and so it is important that you watch the analysis to understand exactly what it is the events in this story are telling you on a deeper level. Grab a drink, a cookie, or some popcorn, and prepare yourself for the story of us…
The Cove was the haunt for men of ill-repute, a tiny shack where the beers were bottomless on Friday nights and where armed men often came.
It was a place – dare I say – magical, and its bewitching allure brought many men to her arms. The Cove was a home, a place of refuge for those not ‘fit’ for society. They can come here to find rest, because The Cove doesn’t discriminate. Paying customers with a thirst for whiskey are welcome.
One night, on one of my frequent trips to the beer parlor I chanced upon a rather ill-tempered customer, who often reminded me of some kind of earthen pot, in no small regard to his muscular forearms and powerful chest. I heard many refer to him by the name of Golem, but I had no interest in meeting the flesh giant.
Golem seemed to take an interest in me, and he sauntered over to the bar stool upon which I was sitting.
“Well what do we have here? You alright mate? Seems like you’ve had a beer too many, and it shows.” Golem laughing at the dazed look on my face and the dark circles under my blood-shot eyes. “Oy! Come get a load of this! Looks like the kid can’t hold his sea-water.”
“I’ve had seven already, and by Jove I don’t intend to stop now.” I replied, slurring my words so heavily that they could just barely understand me.
“What was that, love? Couldn’t hear you,” Golem mocked.
“Listen Golem,” I began. “How ‘bout you get lost? Or are we gonna ‘ave a problem ‘ere?”
“Depends, on whether or not that was a threat.”
I had always been quick to wrath, and in a beer-fueled rage I lashed out and delivered a blow to Golem, a crushing one at that. My fist connected with his chin, and a pain like I’d never felt before shot through my arm.
“Should’ve brought brass knuckles son.” Golem said, wiping a spot of blood off of his lower lip.
A bar brawl ensued, a massive outbreak of violence and bloodshed all powered by the force of a drink-too-many. It began with a single punch, and soon the entire Cove was covered with flailing arms and flying beer jugs.
Such is the magic of The Cove. It carries a spirit of fire that ignites upon exposure to several ill-tempered patrons and endless barrels of beer.
I got lost in the battle, tangled in the frenzy of twisting arms, legs, and shirtless bodies emitting a strong odor of saliva, filth, and gin. Caught among the chaos, I slowly inched my way over to the door, and fumbled with the knob.
My head throbbed, and I was unable to think clearly to a point where opening a door became a tedious task. After several tries, I twisted the knob and stumbled out of the Cove, bruised and still quite drunk.
I would have to steal some pain-meds, maybe another beer for the night, and then I would head to bed…somewhere.
I began to stagger towards the main road, just opposite the harbor upon which the Cove rested. I thought about absolutely nothing, as it was something I did very rarely. I lived off of gin, whiskey, and tainted beer, and so thinking becomes harder each day. Sometimes I bed down on the ropes stacked by the docks, and in the morning the sailors prepping for voyage would be my alarm clock. I would arise, see if I could scavenge a few pounds, and then I would head for The Cove.
Today would be like any other day. I would wander for some time, find a warm place to lay my head for the night, and in the morning I would pick up a few pounds for drinks.
Too tired to even walk, I ducked into a nearby alleyway and continued my journey there. The night was too dark to see even a foot ahead of me, and so I relied on my experience on the docks to guide my way. I especially knew that the alleyways were safe, because no one would enter the alleyways by the docks at night. No Golems, no sailors, no captains catching a beer-break, and no…
A light rounded the corner and nearly blinded my. Voices came from behind the light, and too drunk to respond I grumbled back. The voices continued to shout to me, and then they began to talk among themselves. Saying words like ‘drunk’, ‘pauper’, ‘miscreant’, and ‘advantage’.
“Hallo there friend!” One of the voices called out. There was a sharp click and the light went out, to expose two lanky silhouettes in uniform. They were harbor patrol. I had run into them in the past, and I knew that they were nothing like the police. They weren’t noble or looking to help those in need, they liked to take advantage of the poor, and that’s when I understood who these men were.
They drew closer, and I recognized them as two frequent patrons of The Cove. They were also often drunk, and they had lent me quite a copious sum of money some time back. Possibly a couple of days ago, maybe weeks? I’m very drunk.
Honestly speaking, I had forgotten all about our little agreement, and now it was coming back to haunt me.
“Hey! You’re that scumbag we lent some pounds to aren’t you?” One of the voices who identified as the mamma’s boy Jerry.
“Yeah! Where’s our money, friend?” Dan, Jerry’s equally infuriating brother added.
“Look, gentleman.” I slurred, trying my best to sound as sophisticated as possible. “You’ll get your honey, when I say you’ll get your honey!” What was I doing? It was like I had lost control of my tongue, and that it had proceeded to spout absolute rubbish, just for the fun of it.
“What? Henry what’re you saying?” Jerry asked.
“Forget it J, let’s take what he has and get lost before some honest patrolmen get down here on their watch.” The rather impatient Dan said. He came up to me, and firmly grabbed my arm while Jerry came over to check my pockets.
I shook them loose crying, “Oy! Hands off! Before you get your hands somewhere they shouldn’t be!”
“Ugh! Jerry, pin him down!”
“No! I’m warning you! Gents! Keep your hands off!” I continued to yell. Come on! Run! Fight back! I wanted to get away, but my muscles seemed to go limp the moment I needed them. With a burst of effort I managed to throw the brothers off, and I tried to make a break for the docks.
My arms and legs – still barely functional after a night’s worth of intoxication – slowed me down, and all I could do was stumble out of the alleyway.
I felt a cool breath of the sea upon my face as soon as I had freed myself of the dark holds of the pitch-black alleyways. I was free for a moment to rest in the embrace of the moonlight, only to take a terrible blow to my back as Jerry came down on me with an iron-rod, turned into a makeshift bludgeon.
I turned around and lowered myself to the ground. Dan slid a knife out of his pocket, and Jerry brandished his new club.
“We lent you a couple hundred pounds because you assured us you could pay us back. You promised! Weeks went by, then months, and still no sign of the repayment you promised. People like you have been a scourge to this place long enough, so maybe it’s time no one hear from you again.” Dan said, gritting his teeth.
I backed away, until I was right up against the edge of the pier, but the brothers came nearer still.
Jerry caught my collar, and pulled to the ground before bludgeoning me with his weapon. Then came several punches from Dan, who didn’t hold back in the slightest.
First the face, then the eyes, then my stomach which caused a shower of my stomach’s contents to spurt from my lips. A foul-smelling, thick, hot broth of beer and chicken.
Jerry continued to strike me with his iron rod, crushing my frail body several times over, shattering bone and breaking skin. When it met with my head, I heard my skull crack, and I felt the bone fragments impale the surrounding flesh. Then, a warm liquid began to ooze from the wound, covering the mucked up wood of the pier I was laying on.
Beaten black and blue, I felt the life slowly start to ebb from within me. With each impact I felt myself die a little more.
Footsteps. Heavy footsteps. The commotion had caught the attention of other Harbor Patrol Officers, and their boots were now thumping their way down to the pier.
“Harbor Patrol is coming. We need to get rid of the body. Now!” Jerry cried.
“Get him up, we’ll dump him right here.” Dan responded.
I felt myself being pulled right to the very edge of the pier. Dan knelt down, and stared into my eyes. Then… he laughed. He laughed! He took one long look at my blood-covered face, my open wounds and cracked skull. Somehow his first thought is that it’s funny?
“We’ve been killing homeless drunks like you for some time now, and the harbor is better off for it. Consider this a favor to the beloved docks you call home, tramp!” Dan said.
“Dan, you’ve got to hurry! The footsteps are nearing.” Jerry exclaimed, fidgeting nervously.
“Right then,” Dan sighed. He paused for a moment, and then plunged the knife deep into my side. “Just making sure you’re out for good, Henry.”
I rasped, and looked down at the wound. The knife had cut deep, and had potentially shredded through my intestines, because along with blood, more strange fluid poured out of the wound.
I felt myself being lifted off the wooden boards of the pier, and the next thing I knew . . .
I went over the edge.
The surface of the bay embraced me, and instantly I was flooded with water. I felt the frigid waters course through my body, through my mouth and into my lungs. The deep’s icy fingers wrapped themselves around my throat, and choked the remaining life from within me.
This was when I realized. I had gambled, fought, and drank away 25 years of life on this earth, and only now did I realize that I wasn’t ready to go. I didn’t want to die, having lived a wreck of a life. I wasn’t ready to leave, and that’s when I began to plead with fate.
And as I went out, I begged. I begged the universe, the cosmos, death itself, I begged anyone who would listen.
Please, I begged. Give me another chance. I’ll do anything. Anything for another chance.
Look out for Chapter 2 coming very soon!