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The Tower in the Sea

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The sea is glimmering, a pale haze rising above the waves, and it feels as if a fine veil of precious moire silk is thrown over the whole world. And in this world, Doghead is all alone, trapped aboard his ship, trapped inside his head, vicious, wicked thoughts dancing in his head, a furious fugue of rage and regret. And through it all, an old song haunts him, as alien and intrusive as the savage guilt that has engulfed him.

In the sea there stands a tower. In the tower there's a window. In the window there's a girl who loves the seamen.

Give me your hand, dove, so that I may climb up into your nest.

Woe, you are sleeping all alone. I am coming to sleep with you.

If the sea was made of milk and the boats were made of cinnamon, I would fish for my sorrows with sweet nothings.

The Invincible is sailing the wide wide seas, seas that are blue, seas that are dark, seas that are wine, seas that are blood. She is sailing along the shores of Africa, she is sailing in the Caribbean. She brings Doghead gold, she brings people terror. Around it, the world ripples. Around it, the world obeys.

The Invincible has brought Doghead gold and silver, and a beautiful palace in La Habana, a palace that shines with splendour in the barrio of Saint Lazarus. Sweet as a dove it is, beautiful as an angel, a palace of glory; it shines on the outside and on the inside, full of large precious mirrors and ornate lamps with intricate incrustations of fine gold. It is a shame to leave such a gorgeous thing all alone; who wouldn't want to sleep amidst all this treasure, with glory as spoils spread over each and every room, with watches, jewels, instruments, fabrics strewn in alcoves and hidden places, with statues and silks proudly displayed?

Why cannot Doghead return? What tugs at the strings of his soul now, what plagues him, what plays him like a musical instrument, so that he is no longer a dread-inducing corsair but a shade of his former self to his own crew, pale and red-lipped, a ghostly presence?

In the sea there stands a tower. In the tower there's a window. In the window there's a girl who loves the seamen.

Oh dove, give me your hand, so that I can climb up into your nest.

Oh woe, you are sleeping all alone. I am coming to sleep with you.

If the sea was made of milk and the tiny boats were made of cinnamon, I would be fishing for my sorrows with sweet little words of my love.

The Audacious is alluring, attractive, audacious – the perfect prey to draw the eye, the perfect prey to covet. From La Habana to New York she sails, heavy with spoils. Who wouldn't want to make her a little lighter? Doghead can lift her burden. Doghead can close his teeth around it and swallow it whole. Doghead devours The Audacious, and all her riches. And all her crew. And all her passengers. Mauls them and maims them and throws them into the vast blue sea, for The Audacious is mine, all mine!

There is a woman who hides, crawls into a hole like a rat and hides. A woman and her child. But Doghead finds them, finds them aboard The Audacious that is all his, finds them and throws them overboard. Throws them into the sea to drown.

The Centaur saves them, or so they say. That is how they tell terrible things about Doghead. The things they told the Italian captain, the things they told made him live up to his reputation and more.

In the sea there stands a tower. In the tower there's a window. In the window there's a girl who loves the seamen.

Give me your hand, sweet dove, so that I may climb up into your nest.

Aren't you a miserable one to be sleeping all alone. Here I come, to be sleeping with you.

If the sea was made of milk and the boats were made of cinnamon, I would go fish for my sorrows with little words of love.

How the thought plagues him, how the memory haunts him. The accursed Audacious has created a rift between Doghead and The Invincible. The accursed Audacious has made nights in his beautiful palace restless, and sleep won't come. Sleep won't come in the moonlight, sleep won't come in the daylight, sleep won't come in the hour of crepuscule until all hours are twilight, misty blue and pale, and all that Doghead sees is her, eating away at his sanity. The Audacious. Nay, the woman. Would that he hadn't thrown her overboard to die. Would that he had killed her with his own hands! So she wouldn't be playing tricks on him now, this shadow of a woman. Nay! Would that he had burned The Audacious, burned before ever finding the woman and her child. Would that he had killed them, killed them all, unknowingly. Sleep won't come in the daylight, sleep won't come in the moonlight, sleep won't come in the hour of twilight. And Doghead is going slightly mad, trapped aboard The Invincible. Would that she had drowned and died when he had thrown her overboard! If she is not dead, what right does she have to come and haunt him like this, dancing on top of Doghead's head? The wretch! He won't eat, he won't sleep. His shining palace, his ivory tower built with the flesh and blood, spilled, splayed and spoiled, his palace is no longer a refuge, and he spurns his heavenly island. Everything is hell, and the sea is hell. The water dances, and phantoms dance before his eyes.

Doghead just wants to go home. To be free. To sleep.

But the horrible woman lures him into the horrible dance that makes him lose his mind, until nothing pleases him, nothing scares him, nothing stirs him. Doghead never leaves his cabin, never leaves his cabin all the way to the island. Not La Habana, his beautiful home with his palace of gold and glory. No, not La Habana; Tenerife, where he was born and bred. He just wants to find a place to rest his head. The waves won't lull him any longer, the ship won't cradle him to sleep with her rocking. The cursed woman has cursed The Audacious, has poisoned The Invincible, has robbed Doghead of sleep, has awoken his conscience. By what right has she made him regret everything. Murder! Maraudering! Raiding! Burning! She has ruined everything!

Doghead just wants to sleep. To breathe again, be still again, farm the land in the town where he was born. Be gone, wicked woman spirit, stop your hellish dance to the hellish song of yore. How ardous it is, how torturous. How come this painful piety feels like the work of the devil?!

In the sea there stands a tower. And in the tower, there is a window. And in the window, there is a girl who loves the seamen.

Give me your hand, my dove, so that I may climb up into your nest.

Woebegone, you are sleeping all alone. I am coming to sleep with you.

And if the sea was made of milk and the boats were made of cinnamon, then I would fish for my sorrows with sweet words of love.

Would that he could find a harbour, a harbour of his youth, and rest, all past undone.