Joseph had been in this apartment for years now, for as long as he could remember, since he had left the hospital after being found on the beach. This is as far as his memory stretched back, before then it was spotty, feelings more than memories, sensations of the sun and the salt water. Flashes of thunder haunting his dreams, tormenting him, waking him up in a cold sweat with a deep scream coming from his soul, yet stopping, not able to articulate from his lips. He was mute, had been for about the same amount of time.
So with no family, he sat with his fractured glass, come and go memory as his only constant companion. Looking out at the world, his neighborhood, from behind a curtain everyday, joining it only when necessary to go to the grocery store, the library and the hobby shop, his body being as mangled as his past.
His necessity fed his sole passion, ship carving. His apartment shelves were decorated with his work. Model ships, well researched, their real life counterparts sitting at the bottom of the sea, came to life once again, through his hands. He was alone in the world, save for his ships, both of them floating abandoned through a life in which they didn’t quite belong.
The answer to his mysterious past came, as answers often do, in plain wrappings, unexpected, yet mundane and work-a-day. Still if recognized for what they are, always, life-changing. When the UPS man arrived on this ordinary day in this ordinary life, his knock shook Joseph to the core. For Joseph had no visitors and certainly was not expecting any parcels. After verifying the address several times, he signed for the package and the delivery man left. The manilla envelope hand addressed and sealed was placed by Joseph on the kitchen table, a curiosity to ponder as he finished his noon day meal. The contents were obviously packed with great care, which made the fact that a return address was lacking, even more curious.
Finally with the dishes cleared away, Joseph opened it cautiously at first and then with abandon, as if it were an unexpected Christmas gift which had arrived at any time other than Christmas.
A ship’s logbook slipped out of the wrappings, at least that this appeared to be. Not a new one though, obvious from the yellowed pages and warped water soaked feel to the cover of this ledger. This book had survived a storm somewhere and landed in his hands for a reason.
Joseph began to read the book, turning page after page, until the light faded in his small apartment and he was forced to stop his reading momentarily to turn a lamp on. This log was intriguing, day after day it told the story of the ship, the Lucky Robinson and her crew, not to mention the much despised captain and the beautiful Loralie he brought aboard somewhere in the South Pacific. Joseph never really closed the book but drifted off several times that night. The thunder dreams as he called them, were more intense than they ever had been, insisting on inserting himself between his naps.
He was up early the next day, quickly finishing off a bowl of cereal then going back to his reading, his carving all but forgotten. It appeared from the log’s daily recordings, shortly after Loralie arrived, the crews luck and attitude became even darker than before. Within several weeks the crew became ill and delusional. The crew, with a man identified as S- leading the charge, believed Loralie was casting spells. With the captains adamant refusal to put her ashore, an already tense ship soon became unbearable. Reports of seeing her fly and calling sharks to her late at night, with some kind of high pitched song, circulated like wildfire. This man S- even claimed to have seen her performing her rituals late at night. Mass hysteria, catching like a panicked fever soon had everyone believing Loralie was a witch, a siren of sorts, causing havoc on the ship.
The last entry told of a storm, a fierce tempest, with no land in sight, blowing the ship and its crew off course. The final entry stated the ship had gone down in 1874, with all hands lost. And that was where the book ended and where Joseph’s journey began.
For the Lucky Robinson was calling to him from a place he had been unable to access for years. The research was wrong, deep down in his soul he knew it. There were survivors, time travelers if you would. For Joseph recognized the names in the log. He had met them, worked with them, tried to convince the captain with them and it was obvious now, that he had not traveled alone.
He picked up the brown paper wrappings which had brought this log to him, frantically shaking them for any clue as to who may have sent this log book, when a greeting fluttered onto the floor. The note, quickly retrieved, was obviously written in modern script, years, decades even after the last entry, It was meant as a welcoming, a taunting of sorts. The note was simple, brief, yet ominous in its few words.
S-you were right all along. Missing you, Loralie.
And as Joseph dreamt that night the last door opened and his frantic trek to find her began. Before she destroyed other lives. Before she sank other ships. Before her answers left questions echoing down through the centuries.