On Thursday, Gerard hung a picture on the wall that put Mikey somewhat on edge. It was a painting, likely an old one by the look of it, depicting a little ship floating across a dark sea. It wasn’t particularly creepy for any outward reason; Mikey just didn’t really like it.
According to Gerard, it depicted the “Doldrums”, the area at sea where the prevailing winds were calm. The way he described it, doldrums sounded like a time of rest.
However, Mikey knew the truth of it. The doldrums were a sailor’s worst nightmare. The low pressure zone would make the weather unpredictable. Sometimes the wind wouldn’t pick up at all, stranding them for days, even weeks. And other times it would cause unruly storms that they would have to battle in attempts to stay on course.
Every time he looked at the painting, the young rebel felt like he was there, back in time hundreds of years, on the little ship.
He could just picture the crew, waiting with baited breath for the wind to pick up and send them on their merry way. For days, weeks they waited, each day driving them a little bit more insane. The hot sun would beat down on their red, sweat covered faces and they would attempt to drink away their fears. Yet, no amount of rum could make up for the horrible lack of wind.
And then, one fateful day, clouds would roll in, bringing a bit of a breeze with them. The crew would scramble to their feet, set the sails, and pray that they started moving soon.
The old, creaking ship would eventually begin a steady crawl across the water, bringing relief to the wary crew.
However, the wind wasn’t the only thing the clouds brought. The skies would go dark and then came rain that would pour down in sheets, thunder that would deafen, and lightening that would blind. The sea would turn black and the crew would battle the raging seas, some of them getting pulled overboard by violent waves.
Eventually, day would come, the clouds would disappear, the rain and thunder retreating with them. The now welcome sun would appear a light breeze along with it, letting the poor beaten crew and their ship rest a bit.
However, the breeze would often disappear, and the dead stillness would once again fall upon the sea. Once again, the crew would have to wait for the next violent storm to bring about another breeze. Each time, they hoped this was the storm that would get them back on track, or at least leave them with a manageable breeze.
Until then, they would have to wait and hope that their food supply didn’t run out.