Needle Me Not

by Sabrina

Thinking back on my past life I was like the captain of a huge wooden ship and I was trusting in a compass that had been given to me when I was very young. The compass was passed on from grandfather to father to son and so on. Throughout the generations this compass had been given to each successive first-born male and during one fair summer day it was handed to me, bright within my hand, finely crafted of brass, a relic and a treasure. It had been cared for and was well polished with use.

So here I stand upon my wooden vessel with gray storm clouds and fierce gales driving the angry waves of a cold frothy sea. I find myself at an impasse with rocky reefs barring passage. There is no way about this obstacle yet my compass tells me I must press forward. I set my sails amidst the driving rain and the blasting wind and I ram my ship into the jagged rocks with a great crash and a terrific throw of splinters, renting deep gouges in the bow of my ship. There upon the shore the distant onlookers cheer me forward saying heave ho! One more attempt will do it! With a heavy crash I slam my ship into the un-yielding barricade, the turbulent sea rocking the huge vessel, twisting it around and slamming the port side into the unforgiving reef. The ship does a sickening chaotic tango orchestrated by the frenzied storm. The mob cheers blissfully with each boom of the hull against the rocks.

I wipe the mist and the spray from the face of my compass and make note of my bearings before setting the wheel for another run. The onlookers scream insanely like ravaged lunatics. The storm plays upon my disorientation and I am lost within my efforts. If only there were an anchor point or a calm place to reason from… I pause to contemplate but the fervor of the waves, the tossing and the turning; the manic shouting of the mob drives my thoughts like the fiery jets of a pinwheel sending my mind into fantasy. I have lost all sense of reality and I wonder how much longer my ship will survive.

This great compass passed down from generation to generation resting atop my palm, a sacred relic I have been entrusted with and my guide. It points true and without fail giving direction in the stormiest waters. The compass has been telling me to go this way since I first grasped it. My father recites how it worked for him, as it did for those previous. Others have whispered in secret that there were times when it was rescued from a wreckage or two. No one was ever sure why some were found drowned and smashed upon the rocks. The compass always safely retrieved so that future sons and pallbearers would have direction.

So now I stand here in my heavy boots, this ancient treasure set between my heels upon this great rock. Within my arms I cradle a heavy stone, hoisting it above my shoulders so to bring it down upon this wicked thing and dash it to pieces — crush it and mash it into fragments. Having safely destroyed it I will seek within myself my own direction and end this carnival of madness.

There stands the mob upon the shore. There waits my family.