The clouds were not there five minutes ago, and they were then. Worried he called for Captain Shanzing to come out on deck, at the same time he shouted up at the crow's nest, to see if the lookout had spotted the source of it yet, these were there usual fishing grounds and if there was a problem they were going home today without pay. Captain Erlmack Shanzing opened the door to his cabin and emerged at a steady pace, the crow's nest did not answer, the lazy sod.
"Is there a problem here sailor?" He asked, then looked away from the young man to the sky, and the water. "Gurvin get up to that crow's nest, if our lookout is asleep he is to be locked in the brig, I want you tah tell me what yah see up there." Gurvin, the sailor who had first noticed the increasingly concerning spectacle, dashed up the mast as fast as he could, slapped some handcuffs on the sleeping watchman and took his spyglass. Looking through the assemblage of metal and glass he saw on the horizon what looked like, a hole in the ocean. Which surely was not possible, he wiped his eyes and the lens of the spyglass, then pressed it against him again, yessir, a hole.
"Thar's a hole it the wah'r Cap'n!" He shouted to the deck below.
"There's a what now boy-oh?"
"A HOLE! in the water!"
"Yah mean like a vortex?"
"Nay sir, it be calm as anythin'."
"Mighty peculiar, do yah see any stormin' or fightin' o'er there?"
"Then we'll make toward er' an' investigate!" He shouted a reply and an order in one sentence, the men hesitated. "Get to it or it be the lash for all o'ye!" This spurred them into action.
He thought about those words a lot, he had a lot of time to think. More than any man that was for sure. Three hundred years of thinking is a lot. These words stuck with him, he rolled them over in his decaying mind, he had read it somewhere once, but where? Couldn't remember, everything blended together. Grey. Everything was grey.
He heard some commotion above some time ago, he couldn't tell how long, his eyes were open and the only thing that he saw was watery blackness, the only he had seen, the only thing he would continue to see. Could have been thirty minutes ago, could have been ten years, it still would not matter. Nothing mattered. He had been certain of that for a long time now, it felt like he had been down there an eternity, which was a strange thing to feel was it not? One cannot measure eternity, no matter how long he had been down here it would be the same percentage of eternity. He had already thought over the question of whether or not he would be here for eternity, he decided it didn't matter. he felt the water begin to move, it felt like it drained completely out of the ship, how long did it take? Did it really happen or was it a hopeful hallucination? Did it matter?
That is, nothing mattered until a beam of light shot across the darkness. A single board of what he thought to be an immortal prison was pried loose. A board off of the hull of his ship. The Tempest was being opened, and as soon as the first board was pried off his fingers moved, rustily curling inward. More wood was removed, and he could raise his hand, then his whole arm with some difficulty, it was at that point he realized that this was no hallucination. This was real. Was this the end? Was this the sweet release of death, or dare he hope, of escape?
The hole was a meter wide now, he could move his arms freely and the interior of the ancient ship was illuminated for the first time in centuries. It had not aged well, decayed but preserved, a strange limbo between life and death, a glance at his hands told him he was likely in the same state. He saw heads peering through the hole, they probably would not even think him alive. But he was alive, and as fresh air poured through the hole in the hull he found that he could twitch his toes.
Ropes descended into the hull, he was one of the only things left that could be considered reminiscent of what it used to be, all his shipmates had wasted away to nothing, the markings on all the barrels and cannons had eroded, did the ship even read The Tempest emblazoned upon the side anymore? It probably did not.
They slid down into the hull, they looked like your average sailor, in his waterlogged mind he decided, probably correctly, that playing dead was the better choice, so he went limp, closing his eyes for the first time in three hundred years, it was hard to move them at first, like they had rusted open. He felt himself being hoisted, and heard the words.
"Yah anybody lookin' for this guy? Maybe we'll be gettin' a reward."
"Gather round folks and let me ye' all about the strangest thing that happened to me in my fifteen years o' sailin' these waters!"