“Paul?” I asked, he looked so angry, and I felt so confused. In the back of my mind I knew Paul was dead, Mitch had even confirmed it. The ghosts I were seeing were the echoes produced somehow by the Sky Kraken spawn, for whatever reason I had no idea. I knew this man was not my husband, and had even proven was not Mitch, but I was blinded by the idea that there was a chance I could be with my husband again.
“You whore!” He shouted at me. He suddenly slapped me. My husband had never hit me before. I stumbled backwards, one boot still in hand, my other hand pressed to my cheek. It stung and I was stunned, flabbergasted.
“Paul, I-“ I didn’t know how to explain it. Did he not know what he was? How was Mitch enlightened and not Paul? They were the same creature? How did Paul know I had sex with Mitch and not know that he was in essence: Mitch? “I would never betray you!”
Before I’d been a pirate I had been a quiet, demure, meek, and a loving wife who had loved her husband so much she had gone to the clouds to search for him as a stow-a-way on a pirate ship. I had defended myself with a fork against Haig raping me and trying to throw me overboard. He’d lost a testicle, an eye before the Captain had stepped in and said I had gained passage on the Deceit at least to the next port. I had proven I could be useful. I knew about cannons, and I had taken good care of Gertie.
Being a pirate had changed me, had hardened me, and had made me rugged, more cunning, and less just accepting of my station in life. I was dressed as one, well mostly dressed. I was still needing to put my boot on. I wore brown knee breeches, a loose sleeved shirt that had once, a lifetime ago, been white. A heavy blue overcoat, a red bandana over my hair that had not been brushed in probably three years. I’d have to cut the mats out of it. I didn’t have my cutlass, I had not brought with me in the shark cage, but I had my fork. I had forked Mitch, and I did not want to fork my husband for reason other than this was my husband.
“You’ve been gone for five years,” I said to him. “Look at me! I’m not the same woman you married!” I shouted at him pulling my boot on. Three years ago I had never imagined myself wearing breeches. A woman’s place was in a dress, in the kitchen and pregnant. She is subservient to her husband. I stood up from the ground where I’d fallen. I instinctively reached into my coat pocket for my fork.
Paul must’ve had some sort of insight into me, into what I’d done to Mitch, because suddenly his great weight was on me, we tumbled back to the ground as I lost my balance from his assault. He was grabbing at my hand that was in my pocket, and though I tried to fight him off, Paul was stronger, heavier and a lot more bulky than a skinny starving pirate. He had my wrist in his hand, and smashed my hand against the ground until I finally released the fork in pain.
“You’re not Paul, you’re a copy, an echo!” I shouted at his snarling face. Suddenly Paul began to convulse and to blur like Mitch had. I looked away as Paul’s image disappeared and turned into Orford. He seemed surprised to be holding me down, to be straddling my waist, practically sitting on me. He opened mouth and braced myself for the scream that was going to erupt from his throat. Only I heard what sounded like a far away, hoarse whisper.
“Help. Me.” I looked heavily at him, he had not released me, and for a little Cabin Boy he was still pinning me down.
“Orford, it’s me, its Honesty,” I tried to talk to him. His eyes had a glassy look to them, as if he wasn’t seeing me. He suddenly convulsed and blurred again. Who would he become next? Suddenly the blurring stopped and he wasn’t anyone. He had become… Sky Kraken spawn. It wasn’t an eel anymore, it was more or less a miniature version of the Sky Kraken himself. Had the spawn matured? When I had seen it before it had just been a pink eel with suckers. Now it had a human like torso, and from the elbows and knees were the pink tentacles, and its head was that misshapen form like the skull and skin had been removed. Its mouth opened wider and a long slimy tongue uncurled from its saliva dripping maw. I turned my head as its tongue touched my face, and slathered down my breasts. If I could, I would have forked it.
“Get off of her!” Shouted Mitch’s voice and the Sky Kraken spawn jerked before suddenly a hot liquid began to dribble down onto my stomach. It gurgled and coughed black blood onto my face and neck. I was too close to vomiting. The smell of it was like week old fish mixed with coppery blood and stomach bile.
Mitch was suddenly there, grabbing the Sky Kraken spawn, and dragging its convulsing body away. He ripped his spear from its side, it curled up and didn’t move any longer. I didn’t understand, I had had sex with Mitch as that Sky Kraken spawn, and then it had turned into Paul. I heard whispering in my ear and I jerked, expecting someone to be behind me. I picked up my fork from the ground. More ghosts? Only Mitch was on the grassy hill with me, that and the dead Sky Kraken spawn.
“You okay?” He asked and I nodded walking over to the dead Sky Kraken spawn, I kicked it as hard as I could and it was like kicking jam. My booted foot just smooshed into it. “Come on now, its dead. Let it be.”
“I don’t understand,” I stated looking at him. Mitch looked like he had before. The black shirt, the blue ankle length breeches, the spear. “Let me see your side.” I said looking at the gunshot scar still on the side of the dead Sky Kraken Spawn.
“No,” he said firmly.
“Let me see it or so help me I’ll leave and never come back.” He sighed in defeat, tossed his spear into the ground and lifted his shirt up. His side was unscathed, unscarred, and as pristine and perfect as it should have been.
“What are you?” I asked. “How can you be Mitch when he was Mitch?” I looked down at the dead Sky Kraken. I heard the whispering again, once again behind me. I turned and there was still no one there. Now I was certain was going insane. I’d managed to have sex with a monster who had only worn the guise of sweet, gazing Mitch, had nearly been beaten by my disillusioned husband who was the same monster as Mitch. He couldn’t look at me for a while. This man had intently held my gaze, repeatedly, soaking in my visage, now couldn’t bring his eyes to meet mine. “What are you?” I demanded.
“That wasn’t my brother, that, was me, we’re for the most part all one creature,” he said slowly. “Every once in a while, we find a touch of independence. We’re all the same mind.”