The old man knew that death would be upon him soon, he felt it through to the very core of his desiccated bones.
For days, the only sounds had been the gentle lapping of the sea against the creaking side of his small dilapidated wooden boat.
He was alone in the endless ocean underneath a scorching and relentless sun.
Three days earlier, there had been a monumental storm like nothing he had ever seen before, it had come from nowhere and lasted only moments but it had left his battered craft broken and lost.
As a child, he had learned to read the signs of the sea and had grown to know its changing moods but this storm had come like the rage of his long dead wife. It had been violent and swift and had left nothing but devastation in its wake, nothing but an eerie restless silence.
His father had been the first to take him out to sea, always careful not to venture too far from their small island and always respecting the weather. In the intervening years he had lost more than an uncle or two and now he was sure he would join them in the afterlife soon.
The storm had taken everything; there was no bottle to quench his thirst and no food to feed his swollen belly.
He knew what remained of his small fishing boat would eventually wash up on some distant god forsaken shore and he even dared to hope that his remains would be buried beneath some far-off soil. A fate he vastly preferred to becoming a meal for the languid sharks which waited below.
His thirst was incredible but he knew better than to drink the sea water. That way lay madness.
With his old pale eyes he scanned the distant horizon, more out of habit than of hope.
No birds circled above and no ships were on that line marking where the sea and sky kissed, he was alone in the world.
He felt abandoned by all of creation, left to fight a silent battle against the inevitable. He knew that he must eventually surrender to the end and that his final surrender would be soon.
In his heart he knew that there would be no rescue.
The Sun had done its days work and was finally beginning its slow decent in the west. Looking up he saw the many points of light like scattered sand on a black cloth begin their familiar fade into view.
The gods had finally decided to give him one final show, a perfect sunset and a sky so full of stars, so perfectly beautiful, as to make a man weep.
Weep with tears he no longer had.
Above him, a billion points of light and a sliver of crescent moon ready to rise and make their slow procession across the heavens. With some effort, He twisted and lay back the small wooden boat creaking with his every movement.
The pain of moving was worth the view, the Sun had gone and was now replaced with the crimson’s and purples of natures perfect palette.
A shooting star moved like the countless he had seen in the previous night then it curved. A trick of the light and nothing more, It had a greenish blue tinge to it when it broke into smaller parts sending smaller stars out into the night; The colour of a ducks egg.
He must have been seeing things when he thought he saw the star slowing.
The sky was still except for the tiny splinters arching their way through the night but it was the largest splinter that held the old man transfixed. A desperate idea formed in his mind.
Maybe this was an angel, finally coming to get him to take him from this plane of existence onto somewhere better.
And then the shooting star changed direction once more leaving sparks in its wake.
If this was the Angel of death then it was in a hurry.
The point of light silently spiralled through firmament.
The fisherman was transfixed, his thirst and hunger were gone. Then, like the sound of a distant volcano there was a noise so loud and sudden that it deafened him.
It was clear that the falling star above him was getting larger and was also heading straight for him.
This was to be the end.
The brilliant ball of burning fire ball had a green tinge to its edges as it fell and then it hit the ocean just ahead of the man and his stricken boat. It sent a powerful wave outwards disturbing the pond like ocean.
For a moment the small wooden craft was dwarfed by a burning hulk of metal and glass, every surface covered in green hissing cracks.
Then the wave hit the Boat and the old man gave in to the darkness.
He had expected oblivion to lie on the other side of the darkness but instead he felt the warm morning sun on his face and the sound of gulls.
Sea birds could only mean one thing. He was close to land.
With colossal effort he opened his eyes and saw a rocky shore with bejewelled towers and lush green trees beyond.
He was safe.
Through some miracle, he was home and today he was going to live.