The wind howled through the rigging.
The sight of the ship didn’t sit right with me.
I don’t know how long it’d been there, but I know it hadn’t been tossed up willy-nilly by a storm. There was no water as could be seen, but the ship had been made fast to a stone plinth not fifty feet from me.
I was about to turn away from the curious vessel when I caught sight of the name on the bow.
My back stiffened for a heartbeat, and then I stepped closer to the edge of the waterless shore. There, on the stern, was the ship’s home port.
It took me only a few minutes to get down to the ship and then half a dozen more to climb up the vessel’s side.
I made my way past the debris of years and forced the door that led to the lower deck.
Skeletons with shattered heads greeted me, and I stepped over them and their cast-off weapons. The remains formed a rough path that led to the captain’s quarters.
This door was harder to breach, but in the end, it opened.
There I sat.
Or what was left of me.
A desiccated form that was undeniably me sat in a great carved chair, Colts in his hands and his hands on his desk. The hair was gray and grew long past the shoulders, the beard the same. One eye was missing, burned out.
I stepped closer and saw a metal, circular frame had been driven into the center of his stomach. The flesh around it had been seared, and I could see straight through to the back of the chair.
I leaned forward, and the hands on the Colts tightened their grip.
I looked at the ruin of my own face and saw the one eye glaring at me. The captain opened his mouth, and I saw the tongue was gone. Burned out. Still staring at me, he mouthed a single word.
I nodded, took a round from my belt and loaded the Colt in his right hand.
His arm trembled as he brought the pistol up and placed the barrel against his temple.
The Colt roared.
I took my Bowie knife out and removed the captain’s head. I carried it with me to the upper deck, placed it among some old leaves and deadfall, and set fire to the ship.
I watched it burn from the shore, and I wondered how long he’d been waiting for me.