THE NORTH SEA
Anyone who has spent time on the sea at night has felt the thrill of strangeness, as the moon danced on swells and whitecaps all the way to the horizon. Even from the safety of the shore, the ocean calls in a voice at once familiar and alien. Creatures mythical and modern haunt the deeps, from Kraken to Leviathan to the great white shark. Even at the shoreline, the ocean covets its mysteries, but out on the belly of the sea, beneath a blanket of moonlight, all the rules change.
Even after two years on the oilrig, the ocean’s melodies still haunted Winter. Night after night in the middle of the North Sea, the ocean sang Her siren song, calling Winter by name. While the riggers drank “near beer” and shared stories in the galley, Winter prowled the deck alone, a white specter yearning to walk that shimmering moonbeam highway to realms of beauty and terror. He ached to walk on nameless, misty shores in search of the flame-haired enchantress he saw in his dreams. She was like the sea, beautiful and treacherous, alluring and deadly. Just her voice could freeze the blood of lesser men, but Winter always sensed he was more than mortal. In the endless nights he prowled the decks in search of Her, wondering if it were She, not the ocean, who called his name.
He spun in the direction of the voice. It was Valo, the only person on the rig he called a close friend. Valo stepped up beside him and looked out into the shimmering void. For a few minutes the two men stood in silence, soaking in the eerie splendor of the moonlit whitecaps. Shreds of clouds were drifting in from the north, shrouding the moon in phantom vapors. Winter shivered.
“Can you feel it?” Valo whispered. “A storm is coming.”
Winter could see his breath as the air grew cold. Lightning glowed in the distance, soon followed by a low complaint of thunder.
–From Indigo Dawn by Hank Eder