Reil’s hands managed to grab onto the rim, yet slipperiness caught him and his body slid off from his only chance of staying whole, while his mind roamed pits-darkest.
His nails scraped the white paint in trails-uneven, his body falling into doom, but then the cold surface changed, and something else touched him, something coarse and wet. Eyes shot instantly and his hands grabbed the object of salvation in a flash, a thick brown rope that was hanging from the deck-fixated. Reil’s fall stopped and his body swung into the moving mass of ship, to which he used his legs to stop an ultimate collision.
The grouchy rain kept bashing him, but this time it acted as comfort, yet he wasn’t out of danger as the blades of the ship below rumbled the water, and his feet were slippery against the oiled surface watery and cold.
He could do it, he should be able to do it… But before he was to try and probably slip into trouble, a familiar voice came from above.
“Reil! You alright?!” Reil breathed up and caught Tristan’s franticness that lacked any contents of indignation to the fact that he had been pushed down without prior knowledge or consent. Reil would’ve definitely been mad if he were in his shoes.
Yet the vulnerability of the position he had put himself in was draining his abilities to overthink, and he begged whatever god there was for Tristan to just pull him up, thus, he nodded with a gulp in emptiness.
“Ho— I’ll get you. Slowly, R!”
The rope writhed, Reil’s shoes peeling off old layers of paint in the infinity of friction. Balance tho was found and steadiness moved him away from the swampy waters and fierce propellers. All this thanks to the disability of Tristan holding up a grudge, and definitely for the prospect of them getting to their destination on time…
Whatever it was, he couldn’t shy away from the feeling of thankfulness of having such a good friend and…
His foot at that moment slipped and his head banged into steel resonance. His motor function survived to hold him tight, but his eyes were in a blurry haze.
Underneath, the foamy green awaited hungrily as to savor this new and special ingredient called: suited and wet man. Vegetation scattered around the ship as it ploughed a path forward in selfishness of its own needs, caring less for those unsuspecting and those unable.
Reil’s hot breaths filled the air with more suffocation, and his dread was so heavy that it was as if it were pulling him down with every second by. But it all crashed when his bones hit the body of the ship, getting him to nearly drop the thick rope-safe from instinctive lack of reason. Still, he didn’t swing backwards as something acted as a deterrent from above.
His legs dug in again as he shivered from the cramps in his muscles and adrenal gland’s overdraft of chemicals that were eating up his stability of carefulness. His reddened nails scraped and scraped as he moved up and up, but this time it appeared that nothing as such were to happen, the hungry propellers below getting distant and the growls of cylinders and consumption of fuel: a leftover of vibrations resonating through the frame of ship.
The small anchor became visible on the side with red and white life rings scattered down and around the top side of its frame. How could they really help if you were to fall down in this moss-infested shithole of mud and mosquitoes and other beasts-forgotten?!
Reaching the top, Tristan offered his smooth hand towards Reil who took it instantly, yet with some hints of shame present only to his eyes. His knee tho caught the edge in a nasty graze and shot pain through his leg’s groan, only to be shushed by Tristan who helped him off the edge and into the moving ship, now utterly surrounded by water and tall trees filled with life, lights and motion.
“Quiet… the crew went down deck. Almost saw me, those three,” Tristan whispered as he and Reil drew closer to the bridge in the shadows of its height and protection from the rain. There was the black briefcase laying against the steel wall with the umbrella, a bit damaged on the side.
Reil knew his leg was going to hurt a lot after some time yet right now the effects were minimal, so he sat on the briefcase in silent martyrdom. Tristan did the same on the narrow spot, which was never meant to act as a chair. Their bodies were glued together with discomfort and awkwardness.
“What were you thinking, Nefarian!” Tristan growled out of nowhere, his hands: fists at the naked air.
“I didn’t see another way to get there…”
“Why did you risk your life, idiot! You could’ve died. You know the risks!” It wasn’t rage, but the trickle of overwhelming… concern? The hell was wrong with this man…
“I’m the least of anyone’s worries. Climb out my ass.” Reil stood and conquered his personal space. He didn’t want to be harsh, but this was going over the usual bounds. The annoying rain was tugging him to go under the protection of the umbrella and box, but…
“You always become so distant… when it’s about you. Why can’t you just stop trying and just trust me with your problems without me trying to drill into your head…” Tristan lamented through an exhausted gaze.
“It’s so… exhausting…” His hands crossed in front and downcastness befell over him like a shroud, while Reil just gawked at him between conflicting decisions that were bashing onto one another for finality.
Nevertheless, it was hard for him, it always was since his days of devastation upon his naivity.
The reason for it being hard was, in a simplified way, that he just didn’t want to burden anyone with his issues, especially someone for whom he cared about.
He always tried to resolve what was given to him for unwilling consumption without pulling others into the same hole. It was out of selflessness that had the exact form of hidden selfishness due to the moto for self-preservation by not showing weakness to others, no matter who.
Yet with his actions he was causing unintentional harm which was evident upon his friend’s self. He couldn’t understand why there had to be a conundrum of contradiction within everything which always was like a double-edged sword that you couldn’t holster any way and anyhow.
His blood boiled harder under the coolness of the jungle and the bitterness in his mouth got him to spit out the ship, as if casting out a tumor-large.
They were here because they had worked together. They were here because they had expressed loyalty and trust. Reil had been shown another way, from the one he had taken, to be the only and truly working way, as he had been given hope for something more.
And how was his mind reacting? By keeping the old and defensive mechanism of protectiveness that was needed for his success on the streets and life itself as it had shown. Rooting out such an old habit, it was like breaking his legs and trying to walk again…
“You know… I’m not going to change, right? At least not soon…” Reil said with a hesitant mutter. “We both know change is slow, gradual. Takes a lot of time. Like in your case…” Tristan looked away for that one moment.
“But look how far you’ve come. Both of us. Together.” Reil sighed and sat close, his hand reaching behind and pulling his friend’s shoulder. Both now gazed at the foamy waters in the distance below, while the dock from hence they had been was amiss to their eyes and gone into the journey-sailed.
“Sorry… I stepped over the line,” Tristan murmured.
“You should do it more often!” Reil piped up and moved away as joviality managed to find a way in through the silty dam to a friendly chuckle. Reil’s back relaxed onto the steel and moist wall behind him, and he sighed into the view before him that would slowly change from trees of different shades, or houses of different positions and forms.
“Uhm… what are you going to do if this works out?” Tristan asked after some time bathed in the song of the ship’s engine and bubbling of water. It wasn’t expected but it was actually engaging as to what he was really going to do if this… no… after this successfully passed, unless the ship headed towards somewhere else with a turn.
And because nothing was coming up, he decided to buy himself some precious time and not seem ridiculous.
“Back at ya,” Reil countered with a grin that got Tristan to snort in annoyance and to lean the same way onto the cold surface, with his neck relaxing into dreamy rest. It was rather amusing with the glistening ruby in front his neck in combination with his longer features, it made him look rather… curious to the eyes that glanced.
“Probably move out to somewhere in Luynie… somewhere clean, safe and glamorous?” Tristan said. Even if both their lives were tied to that area of Larrylon, even if somehow its grayness and destabilization were making one retch inside in disgust, there was this other side that the mind called… Home. But Luynie, a place like the one described? A bit far-fetched.
“Not a bad idea, Tris. But it ain’t gonna be easy, prices and all. Tax income forms, employment… the moment they find out where you’re from, criminal convictions, being… we both know.”
He was waiting for Tristan’s disappointment of his crazy idea but nothing was coming, more like more was incoming as the young man rubbed his hands.
“Yea… well I could use a hand… maybe we cooooould… share expenses? Yea?” Tristan finished starry-eyed, and with great anticipation that had leaked through his light voice. Surprise was not a word fit for here, as a chuckle made way through Reil’s nose.
Distractions aside, the offer got him a bit overexcited, which led to an alarming impossibility of containing himself, as if what they had to do was already done, and they were bathing in success.
“Ehh… I don’t know, Tris… I’ve actually fantasized of living away from everyone, without people around me. In the wild with the commodities of today… kinda envy those guys at podunks,” he tried to dodge as to make Tristan forget about it.
A tip he had been given in the near past had made him go out the city and into the Wildlands as to find an abandoned house with profitable equipment inside. The trip he did with some helping hands had left in him this sense of freedom and great attachment to the wilderness as it lacked the noise of civilization.
It lacked the suffocation of the many people all around. What it didn’t lack was green, blue and… this relief? Maybe his primal side wanted this, this what was taken from him, from all mankind. The imposition of civilization and brainwashing of the modern age, the brainwashing conducted by the government’s systems and ways of established-structural life.
“Oh… okay…” the disappointed face moved down and Reil believed that it was over, that it was finished. And then Tristan’s vigor returned, ”Can I help you find this place, Reil?” Reil was confused to this suggestion and the intensity of the words that struck, but instead of letting control waver in silence he smiled and stroked Tristan’s shoulder.
“That wouuuld mean… more time with me. More corruption!” he wheezed through a playful smile at Tristan who scoffed disapprovingly and shot him a look that was actually full of mischief. But the sight was short-lived as Reil’s hand was grabbed and twisted in a motion that brought the unsuspecting young man to ouch loudly.
“I’ll survive, heh,” Tristan whispered and released the hold of pain. Reil’s scowl observed the reddened wrist, throwing a side glance of disapproval, yet he couldn’t see fault in this playful demeanor.
He could get used to this…
The rain kept falling. The ship endured on its course that seemed to be exactly where both motivated men wanted it to be. The sailors minded their own business definitely from the hate of the foul smell that was coming from the front of the big container.
The trees towered high and the animals in the swamps sang their songs of different uses in wait to the insects that’d fall prey in trodden places of danger amidst more hidden secrets, which were obscured by vegetation and green.
In between all this were the suited youngsters whose goals and ambitions boiled furiously under the slumbering trees, a boil of great atmosphere and infinite excitement.
Who would’ve thought so many things could happen on one unconventional…