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January 1, 2023

The Lost and the Dreamers

This indecision turns my mind from sanity to salinity. The ocean beckons. The ocean wins. 

I wade first to my ankles, then knees. The riptide tries to uproot me, pulling at my legs like an insistent mermaid, easing me away from the land. 

There’s no point struggling, not even if I wished to, so I lay back in the water and stretch. It’s a languid departure, watching the clouds drift past, or me past them. 

I do not sink. I thought I’d sink!

As a leaf upon the water of life, I neither crinkle nor crisp. I merely am. And for a time, I’m happy. 

The stars do not silently appear, nor do they pop into existence one at a time, they explode. In celestial bursts of diamond brilliance, the night becomes a beacon to the lost and the dreamers. To someone such as me, it’s heaven. What I wouldn’t give to drown.

Slowly, an argent moon breaches the undulating waves like the great white whale himself. Had Melville journeyed this way?

I am overcome with melancholy, a desire to turn over and breathe in the ocean. But the world below is as the world above, just a little less distinctive and a little less blasé. So, I wait, as I have always waited. Time moves on. 


To those of my kind, a night can be a moment, or aeons. I no longer remember which. The stars shine in remorseless perpetuity, the argent moon never dimming. I am lost, but do I still dream?

There is no sign of the ocean dissipating until the seafloor jags into my back and I flounder, falter, and eventually fall.

The Earth crumbles atom by atom until I hang in the space it occupied like a bat without a cavern roof. There is nothing. I am nothing. Oh, what bliss!

It is not Her that comes for me, but the moon. As a pillow, it rises from beneath and eases me into the stars. They tickle at my face like cobwebs, or so I imagine. 

My father called me a lost soul, a good-for-nothing dreamer. That I came from nothing and would return to nothing. I say to him: So what!


© the author

by Richard M. Ankers

Richard M. Ankers is the English author of The Eternals Series and Britannia Unleashed. Richard has featured in Expanded Field Journal, Love Letters To Poe, Spillwords, and feels privileged to have appeared in many more. Richard lives to write.

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