The revolver sat on the desk where he’d left it the night before, the morning glow warming it, as if the sun held it in its golden grasp. The desk was bare save for the gun, but freshly so, for there was not yet a layer of that fickle dust that finds its way onto things. It slips between the tongue and cracks, it whispers quietly while the house rests. His desk chair sat tilted at an odd angle away from the desk, frozen in a fluid motion. Stuck. It had a smear of blood on it (as did the desk), perhaps six hours old. Nothing serious. Indecisiveness.
Oliver Thatch lay in his bed on his back, arms and legs splayed out. Like a painting swimming before slow eyes, the morning came into view in small parts. First the base layer of the ceiling, a pure light orange filtered by the drapes. Then, the shadows hiding in the corners, behind the small potted plant, under the bed, stretching from his shoes by the window. The gentle, eternal hush of the ocean, drumming as fingers on felt on sand forever. The cool sheets under hot and sticky skin. Eyelids basking in the sun. Eyelids open.
Oliver tasted the night in his mouth, rolled it around like a cherry pit. It tasted deeply of shame, sadness, and an overpowering hopelessness: blood. His jaw was sore from being clenched all night, the bruise on his forehead sitting heavily against him. He lifted one arm, catching the rays with the open palm of his hands. This hand that was his, part of the arm and shoulder, were alive and functioning today. Did other people see his arm as he saw it? Was there a magnifying lens in his own eyes, something which distorted what other people simply saw as an arm?
A great swell in his chest constricted him to sit up. Tenderly, he felt the swelling under his eyes as he rubbed away the sleep. Another great loneliness, another tidal wave towering over him. A small man before a tsunami, under a gray sky. He could barely see the foam at the top of the wall.
Beyond it, a phone rang. It reached, muffled, and echoed back off the wave. Nothing could penetrate it, not sound nor hope nor a hand reaching through. He knew, it was his wave. He’d built it. He knew. The phone fell silent, as he knew it would.
Mechanically, Oliver inched himself to the side of the bed and got to his feet. He was still wearing his clothes from the day before, pressed onto his body in sloppy folds. With fingers from stranger hands, he unbuttoned his shirt and slipped off his belt, letting his skin fall silently to the floor. Muted steps over an unforgiving floor to the window.
The sea changed, but never really did. It was always a mirror, a vacuum that gave and took, that wore away rock and stone and sparkled like a gem. It absorbed light and sound and people and the sun, rarely spitting them back out. The sea was greedy. The sea was vain. It changed its color with each passing moment, so that one shade could never match its predecessor, but knew how to give way to its successor. It took his thoughts too, so that all he could give was an empty stare. In its depths all his monsters liked to sleep.
Another day rotating on this rock. Oliver sighed, pressing his hands into his face, keeping in the slimy black that he seemed to effuse out of every pore.
“It’s a beautiful day,” he said to himself.
He only had a handful left. The hours were slipping through before he could catch them. Piece by piece, he was breaking down like an old stone wall under the sun. He opened the window and sucked in the salt air. A contorted sound of anguish broke free from his chest and escaped, followed by a burning behind his eyelids.
“Yeah.” It was a beautiful day.