In the dream there is thunder, people shouting, the muted hissing of an intercom. High overhead a monitor displays flight times, a picture of smiling children. Twenty yards away a woman kneels on the tiled floor beside a man in a flowered shirt. As the boy watches them, his mother's hand tightens around his. He can smell his father's sweat, overpowering his Old Spice aftershave, hear his father's voice breaking as he yanks him roughly away.
Then the clatter of running feet, the distant high-pitched beeping of an alarm somewhere in the airport. He stares, refusing to budge, and wrinkles his nose. There is a smell at once oddly familiar yet strange, something he is certain he has never smelled before: salt and scorched metal. For an instant he wonders if it is a dream, has he perhaps forgotten something? But then his father's voice grows angry, even frightened.
"...come on, this is no place for us."
As his parents hurry him away, he cranes his head, still transfixed by the kneeling woman. Her spun-candy hair glowing beneath the fluorescent lights, her mouth open as though to receive a kiss, but he thinks no, she is about to scream...
But she doesn't. Instead her head dips toward the man's. Even from here he can see tears welling, a small black, streak of mascara. The man sprawled on the floor lifts his hand. He touches her, his fingers leaving small red blooms upon her cheek. Then his hand falls limply across his chest, where more flowers bloom, lush and moist, staining the gaudy Hawaiian shirt red.
"Flight 784 for San Francisco is now ready for boarding," the PA announces. "Gate number thirty-eight, gate number..."
People are everywhere now. Someone helps the woman to her feet; someone else crouches beside the man on the floor and frantically tears his Hawaiian shirt open. In the distance the boy hears a siren, shouting, the crackle of a security walkie-talkie. His father pulls him roughly around a corner. His mother's hand nestles in his hair and he can hear her murmuring, more to herself than to him—
"It's okay, don't worry, it's all going to be okay..."
But even then he knew she was lying, that nothing was ever going to be okay again. Even then, he knew he had watched a man die.
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
|Chapter 7||Chapter 8||Chapter 9||Chapter 10||Chapter 11||Chapter 12|
|Chapter 13||Chapter 14||Chapter 15||Chapter 16||Chapter 17||Chapter 18|
|Chapter 19||Chapter 20||Chapter 21||Chapter 22||Chapter 23||Chapter 24|
|Chapter 25||Chapter 26||Chapter 27||Chapter 28||Chapter 29||Chapter 30|
|Chapter 31||Chapter 32||Chapter 33||Chapter 34||Chapter 35||Black Sails|