A Lesson On Buoyancy
| The cannonball whistled overhead splitting the wooden mast like birds cutting through puffs of smoke. No, this was more devastating. The shower of splinters fit the scene only too well; unimaginable chaos. One man screamed from the deck, curled in a ball, hugging a brick that fell from ethers knows where. Another man beat a hammer on the shattered remnants of the mast, instinct taking over though there was nothing he could do to fix it.
The captain's lips moved in a shout; no audible sound could be heard above the din. "Off the ship!" The lips seemed to say.
Those who had maintained some composure jumped overboard with reckless abandon. He did not. "You know what you must do," said the voice in his head. He grabbed an iron nail that tumbled past his foot, carried by debris and water tainted the color of death. "Quickly!" said the voice, "Before it is too late!"
The man burned a memory. Those lucid enough to notice gasped at his disappearance.
His feet dropped creaking a moan from the wooden planks of a foreign ship's stern. Surprised faces in a circle around him turned to stare. They glared. They charged. His eyes closed as they brandished sabers and cutlasses, closing in. He burned another memory; one wasn't enough. He burned more. He burned them until the nail in his hand turned to wood and the privateer into an iron float; a weighted anchor, he prayed. His eyes finally opened, mouth too, awaiting a drowning breath of brine. The others looked around, stunned at their new metal vessel. It bobbed peacefully in the water.
He looked on in horror. It did not sink. He failed. They roared again. They cut him down. No matter, he thought, he had already forgotten who he was.