All Things Come to an End

2 11 2010

These are the final words of Dr. Ernest Jackson,

I Have been snapped back to reality. I know not the forces which pulled me out, but I can only be grateful for their aid. I awoke this morning, and I felt as if i could see clearer than ever before. I felt as if I could lead these men to freedom, and take them away from this prison of ice. Salvation, it seems, came at a time at which I thought it no longer possible.

We are leaving the ship. What few men remain have collected the frozen corpses of their comrades and buried them in the deep snow. We have salvaged everything we can from the ship to build sledges. We will push and ride until we can go no further. We have collected stones from the Galley to construct a Cairn at our last resting place, should it come to that. There is nothing left for us here. We must leave, though we know not which way is which. The stars have been gone from our sight for what seems to have been eons. With the sun giving no hints as to where she set and rises, we must pick a heading, and travel as true as possible. May whatever forces  at work here give us haste. May they have mercy on our souls, and lead us to anything that could mean our salvation. Having never wronged the spirits of this land, it is the least we ask for. Bring us home.

I have said my final farewell to Sir John Franklin. After reading my previous entries it became clear to me that I was addressing him as a man would a dog, and I wish to leave my final entry with words that befit such a great man. I dressed him as best as I could. As his limbs were as rocks, i could only drape his best coat over his shoulders. I placed his ceremonial sword leaning against his shoulder. His finest hat, I lay upon his head. His breathing continued all the while. I gathered blankets and sailcloth, and place it around his legs and feet. I took my own scarf and wound it round his blue and white neck. He looked the picture of magnificence. I lit an oil lamp, and hung it next to the opening through which Sir John Franklin gazed, as to give him a reminder that there is indeed some light left in this world.

I hope that one day his soul returns, and that he may finally rest in peace. If I leave this forsaken land alive, or if perish along the way, my promise to you Sir John Franklin, is that I will return for you. I will find your ship, and I will find you. Then, together, we will search the nether for your wandering soul. This is my most solemn vow.

Farewell.

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Without a Name

2 11 2010

1867,

The months have become unidentifiable to me. My last entry states February, but the more I think about it, the more I come back to the conclusion that we have no way of telling time in this place. My sense of order cannot be correct. I am not even certain if we have left the year 1866 behind us, or if we are indeed still within its bounds. At each reprisal of my previous writings, the more I want to scratch out the dates and write DATE UNKNOWN.

The men that are left alive look old… very old. The aging process seems accelerated here. It is either that, or once again, my grip of time is lost altogether. We could very well have been here for years and I would not know it. Our food and fuel stores seem to never run dry, but we never seem to have enough to feed us all properly. We are slowly, but most certainly, wasting away. One by one the men are losing their lives. They, some say, are the lucky ones. They get to escape this place and be within better walls, where green fields and sunshine reigns forever. I cannot bear to think of such a sight, for when I do my chest aches with such pain that I could swear there were daggers there, not hope.

Franklin is still alive. I wander into his cabin now and again, but I do not dare approach him anymore. I can see the mist escaping from his lips, and the slow rise and fall of his chest. He is indeed alive, but he is not with us. His hands have turned to pure ice, and I am sure the rest of his body will follow. I stand sometimes, on the edge of his cabin, staring for hours into his cold and lifeless eyes. They lay fixed on the white abyss that is the horror outside the ships hull. His face is locked in the saddest of all stares. I feel as if he is sobbing on the inside, crying out for his soul to return home. He wishes to find only the road back home, yet he can only find emptiness. Nothing can be done for a lost soul in this barren and unrelenting land.





Locked for Eternity

2 11 2010

February 1867,

I imagine that we have entered a new month. I cannot say for sure, as I have already discussed, but I feel it somewhere in me that we are slowly pulling away from the biting cold. More men have died. I have stopped counting. This is not because the number is so great, but because each and every time i feel no regret. I myself am becoming hard-hearted and steeled towards the plight of these men. I try to fight it… but darkness seems to be my only love in these truly forgotten times.

Why, after all our great accomplishments, must we leave this world with a whimper? Is there no love for lost men? What of us timeless travellers and explorers who boldly went where no man or angel dared to tread before? Perhaps we are damned for our courage and bravery, which overstepped the bounds to which heaven would alllow us to soar. Perhaps we indeed are Demi-Gods, and have incurred the jealousy of the higher beings of our world. That is, if they exist at all.

Franklin is a shell. His breathing is shallow, and his eyes are white due to his unblinking lids which sit fixed in place. His once handsome face is gaunt, and his once dashing hair is stringy and flat. Back arched, and slumped in his Captains chair, the once great Sir John Franklin sits staring into the nether. It is an old saying that when you stare into an abyss, the abyss stares back. I can only imagine the horrors that Franklin must be seeing in that icy void. I have stopped bringing him food and water now for over a week, and somehow he still lives. I had stopped supplying him because he had completely stopped eating and drinking. I do not believe that he has the strength to perform such a feat now, even if he so desired. It appears as if his soul has left his body behind, and his poor and wretched body cannot die without a soul to give up. He is in a deadlock for eternity. His spirit will wander the earth for all time while his body, cold and still, will remain forever in this nightmarish hell.

I remember speculating on God’s abandonment of the once good Captain. I have come to the conclusion that not only has God abandoned Franklin, but he has abandoned the earth.





Faceless

2 11 2010

January 1867,

It’s been too long since I last wrote. I find the calming effects of putting my thoughts on paper to be essential. When I am forced to miss several days due to an outward food expedition, or for endless hours spent in the cabin treating the crew, I tend to lose pieces of my mind to the twisting cold. Things are stable, but slowly degrading. All we do is wait for the summer months to arrive. Even when that does happen, though, there is no guarantee we will be free of our icy chains.

Sir Franklin continues his descent in to what I have come to believe is madness. His mind is all but gone. None of the crew are allowed near his quarters, save for me. I bring him food every morning and night, and freshly boiled water when available. He stares out a tiny hole in the fortifications of his portholes.  I plead with him every time to cover it up, and to return to his duties as Captain. Each time, he only stares further into the abyss that is the Frozen Ocean before him. Perhaps he is trying to find a way to defeat this faceless terror… yet, somehow, he is becoming the very thing that he is fighting.

If there is a God, he must surely have abandoned our Captain.





Time Slips

28 10 2010

January 1867, (for the purposes of chronology I will assume this)

It has been what I imagine to be 2 weeks since my last entry. I cannot say for certain, for the days have begun to meld and morph into one another without so much as an indication. We have lost four men since. Our crew is down to 99 souls, myself and Sir Franklin included. We have completely abandoned the Erebus and we have all taken refuge on the Terror in an effort to share warmth and consolidate resources. Everything useful was salvaged from the other vessel, and now she lays like a forgotten skeleton in the ice two hundred meters away.

The issues of cold and damp have become less of a problem since the move. We have turned this ship into a veritable castle. If you were to gaze upon it now, you may think you were looking at a massive monster of wood and canvas. There is no semblance of a sleek hull, only nailed wooden panels everywhere, sealing off holes with canvas, and double covering problem areas. We may be turning this ship into a coffin of gigantic proportions.

Sir Franklin continues to remain in his cabin, rarely leaving. Our visits have slowed considerably, as he simply doesn’t respond to my questions. I feel as if his essence is slipping away from him. Perhaps he is being lost bit by bit into the nether. For my sake, and for the sake of every man here, i pray that this is not what is happening.





Hell Freeze

28 10 2010

December 1846,

Another one of the crew has succumbed to the elements. Although it pains me beyond words to lose another man, it is a blessing in disguise. His clothing, his belongings, the materials used for his bunk, can all be divided amongst the remaining living to create warmer clothing, and help insulate the ships against the weather. We have estimated that it is dropping to temperatures well below sixty degrees centigrade. Truly, only hell-spawn could survive such temperatures forever.

SIr Franklin is always thinking in his cabin. With very little to do whilst we are trapped here, he spends most of his time contemplating the issues that will arise once we are free from these chains, if we ever leave this world alive. He has become more distant than he used to be. our talks have become less active. Longer are the silences and more eye contact is made with the  tiny bits of smouldering coal in the stove than with one another. He speaks as if he knows something is about to happen, but cannot say what it is. I often wonder if he is well, but I dare not ask.





Documentation is Important

28 10 2010

December 1846,

To my dread we have been locked in ice. As the only physician aboard these vessels, it is my daunting task to take measure of the wellbeing of every man-jack who sailed to this god forsaken land. Cold numbs the senses and steels the heart, but in a way that can be of no benefit. The men, in addition to scurvy, dysentery, and frostbite, are suffering from severe depression. It is my belief that this has stemmed from the extreme boredom which besets us all. Alone amongst only the ice and sky, is a solitary existence indeed.

My relationship with Sir Franklin has bloomed due to my constant reports. After speaking about the health and condition of the crew, we often speak for hours in his cabin. I have come to know him quite well, and he has come to know me. We share dreams of adventure and knowledge. A true leader of men, he has a child-like wonderment for our immense world. The last uncharted vestiges that lay before us are “one of the last adventures this tiring earth can offer” as Franklin said. Is this adventure worth our lives? It is a question that we have discussed many times. We often wonder, if indeed we do perish, if we will live on in some form or another, either on earth or in the heavens above. We have even hoped that somehow we might return to the land, the air, and the sea and be one with our love. Only God can know that, though