So this is fear.
The man stood trembling on the edge of the plank as dark clouds tumbled towards the boat. The approaching storm sent cannonballs of wind to clear its path. Inside the storm, the ocean was black. Outside, it churned blue. The water was rising and the sky was falling. Something had to give.
Swells rolled towards the North Australian coast, trying to dislodge the man, who was naked apart from a pair of white boxers stained yellow with urine. He was also bald, with a chunky physique, and beady close-together eyes. Angry red welts criss-crossed his back, and burns blistered his cheeks like chicken pox. Desperate for fresh water, he licked his cracked lips, tasting salt mixed with blood
The man had not felt fear before. He had seen it in others – that silent scream trapped inside wide, white eyes. Sometimes, like steam whistling from a kettle, the scream escaped, and sometimes it hid itself in short, sharp breaths which mirrored the rapidly beating heart.
Fear made its own noise. Horror movies captured it perfectly: psychopaths plunging their knives in time to fear’s screech. Sitting in the comfort of the theatre, the man had thought that noise beautiful, but now he was the victim.
Fear screeched through his body as he overbalanced, falling heavily onto the plank. Scrabbling, he managed to cling to the wood. His willpower abandoned ship. The man closed his eyes, expecting to die.
Q & A
Jack is the main character in my next book. He’s agreed to an interview. I’ll be asking him questions at the end of some of my blogs. Part of Jack’s contract stipulates he cannot reveal specifics about himself and his past – it would ruin the story. Some people might say this interview is an exercise in dialogue. Others could suggest it’s a unique way to introduce readers to a character before he’s officially unveiled to the world.
Q: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us today, Jack.
A: No worries.
Q: You’ve been through a lot.
A: Yeah, but I’m not the only one in this world with problems.
Q: Do you have any advice for people who’ve had similar experiences to you?
A: Just the usual things. You know – stay strong. Don’t give up. It’s all right to ask for help sometimes.
Q: Have you always followed this advice
A: Tried to, but it’s harder than you think – especially when a creature from another dimension wants to bite your head off.
Jonathan K. Benton