Fear The Dawn: Chapter 27

Perched atop a pitch-dark sail, a lone figure kept watch over the silent ocean.

Karma felt a moment's peace standing there in his favourite spot, the wind gently blowing against his fur, hidden from the outside world, but it couldn't last. The sun would rise soon, and no hiding place would protect him from its bitter judgement. He took another look across the ocean. The coast was still clear all around, he had time to think about his next move, at least.

Finding that woman wouldn't be easy, the ocean was vast, and hers was a small ship that he had only ever encountered once. He could try to locate one of the other ships and ask if they knew where she was, but he quickly dismissed that idea. The others had every reason to hate him, and he didn't want to stir up further trouble. This was something he would have to do on his own.

He dropped down from his perch, landing softly on the deck below and his sense of calm vanished instantly. Besides the quiet lurch of the water against the hull, his ship was silent from dusk till dawn, totally devoid of life save for its lone passenger, and below deck lay an inescapable reminder of the sins of his past. It was hard to believe he had ever felt at home here, now it felt more like a prison, confining him with his crimes for all eternity. “I did this”, he reminded himself. This was not the cruel work of fate or some vile tormentor, he had created this prison for himself. That realization did little to raise his spirits.

He wished she was here, that girl he had been with in the other world. When he was with her, he felt like he could do good things and be something more than he was, but she was lost to him now. If only he could remember her name, that would give him something to hold on to, but no matter how much he scoured his memory the best he could come up with were momentary glimpses of light, fleeting and inconsistent. He remembered a bit about the morning before he went away, and he could still recall how he felt seeing her broken will to live laid bare before him. It wasn't much, and it filled his heart more with a sad feeling of loss rather than strength, but it would have to do for now.

Karma looked out towards the horizon again. There was another way, on that last night he had tried that trick that Banshee had taught him, and he had felt something. She said that it could be used to find the other ships, and he had felt something after a while, but the moment he put his paw on the railing all he could think about was Banshee's body sinking beneath the waves, never to be seen again. Looking down at the water he suddenly felt dizzy and short of breath, and he reeled back from the edge and toppled onto his backside.
Is this what I've become?” he asked aloud, clutching his spinning head with a paw. It was pathetic. He thought of the girl, what would see think if she could see him now? Was this really all the strength he had left?

He still needed her. When he had lost everything, she was there to pull him back, but now that he was on his own again things weren't any better. He just wasn't cut out for this life anymore, more than anything he simply wanted to find her again and go back to the other world. He closed his eyes and tried to remember something about her, but those thoughts remained as elusive as ever. “Please”, he whispered feebly as he lay there on his back. “I still need your help.” He reached out towards the rising sun, and it seemed to reach back, wrapping around him and pulling him away.


Even before he opened his eyes he could feel her arms wrapped around him. His fears and pain seemed to melt away instantly, and his heartbeat slowed to a relaxed, contented pace as he enjoyed the soft touch of her body and the warmth of her breath on his face. “I've missed you”, he whispered, nuzzling up to her.
What are you talking about, silly?”, she asked. He opened his eyes. It wasn't the girl from his memories. Even though he didn't remember what she looked like, he could still faintly hear her voice in the back of his mind, and he knew that wasn't it. Still, it was a welcome change of pace from last morning, and after spending so much time alone it was nice to have some company. He wiggled around a bit to make himself comfortable, wrapped his arms tight around her, and shut his eyes again.
Hey, come on, you know I have to get up”, the woman said, slipping away from him and getting out of the bed. “I've got to get going.”
Why?”, he asked, but she didn't seem to hear him, she was busy messing around with various things elsewhere in the room. He shrugged, not bothering to move from where he was, at least he was comfortable.
I'll see you later”, she said, opening the door and stepping outside. For a moment, he wondered if he should follow her, but it sounded like she was going to come back, so he just rolled over to his other side to wait. This side faced the wall, and there was a small window just above, through which light and a small breeze flowed into the little room.

Had the life he couldn't remember been like this? Once again he scoured his memory in the hopes that this setting would help jar something loose. For just a moment, he thought he caught a glimpse of her face, smiling kindly as she looked at him, but he couldn't be sure if it was her. He tried to hold onto it, to commit to memory, but his contemplation was shattered by a terrible scream from the window. He jumped up and pressed his face against the glass. Far below, he could see the woman from before, being held by someone. He leapt out of bed and dashed straight out the door and down the flight of steps.
Let go of me!” he heard her say.
Shut up”, a cruel voice responded, and he heard a striking sound. She groaned in pain, and he jumped down the rest of the stairs.
Your boyfriend's a worthless piece of shit, you should be thankful”, the other person said. He had her pinned up against the wall, and he was holding a knife. Without even stopping to think about it, Karma threw himself into into the other man, knocking him away and freeing the woman. The man broke free and shoved him back, and they stood there facing each other a short distance apart.
Get away from her”, Karma growled menacingly.
Oh, so you want to fight?” he jeered. “I'll kill ya, you pussy.”
The man was much bigger than Karma, but it didn't matter, his instincts were so well-honed that his body seemed to move on its own. The man slashed out at him with his knife, but he wasn't nearly fast enough, Karma avoided his attack easily and kneed him in the stomach so hard that he doubled over, and before he had even a moment to recover he slammed his elbow into the side of the man's face, sending him sprawling to the ground. The knife dropped from his hand with a clank, and Karma was on him instantly, pinning him to the ground with the knife at his throat.
Even as the blood poured out of his mouth, he remained defiant. “You gonna kill me, short stuff? You and that stupid bitch deserve each other.” He spat blood on Karma's face, and Karma pressed the knife into his throat, drawing a bit of blood to shut him up. He had promised not to kill the strangers anymore, but already he was sorely tempted.
Are you all right?”, he tried to ask the woman, but she wasn't there anymore. The man laughed.
Looks like she's gone and left you already. What a shame.”
You!”, he exclaimed, raising the knife to strike him. As he plunged the knife towards towards the man's head, he thought he caught a glimpse of fear in his eyes.

Don't you ever think about hurting someone like that again”, he growled, slamming the knife in the ground right beside the man's head and bending the blade.
I knew you didn't have it in you”, he laughed.
Karma struck the stranger in the side of the face, causing him to yelp in pain. He grabbed the man's broken jaw and shoved him down onto the ground, bringing his own face right in close.
I don't know who you think you're dealing with, but listen up. If you ever do something like this again, I'll find you, and next time, I'll finish the job. Do you understand?”. He stared right into the stranger's eyes. “Well, do you?!”. He must have seen something in Karma's yellow eyes that frightened him, because his bravado finally broke and he nodded fearfully.
Good”, he said, releasing the stranger. “Now get out of here”. The man was gone even before he finished speaking.

Karma's rage faded from him the moment the stranger left. He could hardly believe he still had that kind of anger inside of him even after all that had happened. He looked around for the girl, but she was gone, lost to the darkness. “We were happy together before that creep ruined everything”, he thought, and it suddenly hit him that the reason he had been so angry was because he saw a bit of himself in that man. “They probably hated me, too”, he thought, “I ruined their lives just the same.” Still, at the very end, he had seen something in his eyes, a kind of understanding. Maybe he would change his ways, perhaps that stranger could still redeem himself. Maybe he could, too.

Karma climbed aboard his ship as the other world sank back into the sea. It made him sad to see it go, he had really hoped to find what he had lost. He tried to recall the image of the girl's face that he had seen, and he realized to his dismay that it was gone again. He took a deep breath and started climbing down the back of his ship. The ladder was gone, thrown into the sea during his rampage, so the next best thing he could do was hold on to the rudder.
Here goes”, he thought, clinging tightly to the wood and trying not to fall in. Carefully he dipped his tail into the water and closed his eyes. It was horribly cold, and he had a hard time keeping his balance, but beyond that there was nothing.
I have to do this”, he said. “It's the only way I can make up for the things I've done.”
Still there was nothing.
Banshee, Line... I'm sorry. Please, give me the strength to do this.”
There was something there. A faint, pulsing sensation in his tail. There were several of them, pulling on him from different directions. He counted four in total. They were out there.

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