Pain Isn’t Fear

Pain isn’t fear.

“Join me on the adventure of a lifetime,” captain had said. Hah. What may have started out as a journey to adventure had dissolved into a full-scale mutiny within days of setting off from the port.

Rolf had gone to his cabin below deck early last night due to a splitting headache that had pounded all thought out of his mind and filled it, instead, with a dull, throbbing pain.

After what felt like only seconds of sleep Rolf opened his bloodshot eyes to the firm grasp of a filthy, grime encrusted hand smelling of rum on his nightshirt before another hand came down and punched him in the gut.

A spasm of pain echoed throughout his body from his already bruising stomach as another fist slammed into him knocking all breath out of his lungs. Choking for breath, Rolf writhed in his hammock and tried to cry out but couldn’t manage to find the breath to do so.

The world erupted as fists rained down pain that decimated Rolf’s body as a volcano erupts magma that decimates the surrounding area. The fists were relentlessly destroying his cocooned, soft form. Rolf couldn’t say how much time had passed. Whether it had only been ten seconds or ten minutes, life was suffering.

Then, miraculously, the beating halted. An evil smile over a grizzly red beard swam into Rolf’s watery vision. The big burly man attached to the beard leered at Rolf as he helplessly shook because of the pain of his bruises and then was pained because he was shaking from the pain of his bruises. Rolf swallowed his pain as he looked the behemoth of Ar-Rann in the eye. He took a deep breath to collect himself before he rasped out wheezily: “You’ll hang for this Rollo.”

“Somehow I don’t think so first mate,” sneered Rollo to his cronies. “You and that shit-for-brains captain are going to go overboard.”

Pain isn’t fear.

Rolf had been beaten many times before, never like this maybe, but no sailor worth their salt would call him a novice to pain. He had not felt fear during the whole beating because if they wanted to kill him he knew that they could have done so by some easy, sure proof method such as cutting his throat or shooting him in the head while he slept.  

Rolf’s eyes widened in true fear for the first time and in response, Rollo’s narrowed in excited anticipation as he watched Rolf’s face intently even as he spoke to his goons surrounding the hammock, “Send this whelp into the abyss.”

Panic rose in Rolf’s chest as he considered the idea that he would soon be on the other side of the hull of the boat. The former boss of this savage mutineer looked into the flushed, excitement of that hateful face than spat at it. “You will kill me here like a man!” Rolf shouts as Rollo gives a cry of outrage and draws the large war-axe strapped across his back.

Rolf is not the sort of man that would go meekly into that cold, consuming void. He smiled and closed his eyes as the ax descended. An angry foe makes for a good, quick death. Not anything like that cold abyss which will swallow a man whole and prevent him from returning to his comfortable, oxygenated realm. Rolf was ready for the pain to end even if he wasn’t ready for whatever came next. But why was the pain still there?

He waited a few more seconds then slowly opened his eyes and felt his mouth drop in shock at the scene of carnage before his eyes. There was blood covering the walls of his cabin and the dead bodies-well-they must have been bodies but now there was just a mess of limbs, torsos, and heads on the floor. A lone, slender woman stared into Rolf’s eyes before collapsing onto a bended knee. A blossom of red bloomed out from her white blouse, staining it further by the second as she looked unshakingly into Rolf’s eye and gave him the gift and the burden of her last words, “Pain isn’t fear.” She sunk to both knees and collapsed onto her lifeblood with a final request on her dying lips.”Save the boy.”

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