Short chapter, but there's a longer one coming tomorrow my friends.
There was a fearsome storm that evening, and once I'd resigned myself to my situation enough to move from the typewriter to the hearth, I was able to sit comfortably with my Melville, my back pleasantly warmed, pausing every few lines as a flash of lightning shone across my face. In those flashes, when I found my eyes wandering between the twin panes as I so often did, the dock across the channel was illuminated. A long, brassy structure, jutting out into the hardness of the sea with all the stubbornness of tree roots through pavement. And at the end, the red light cut through the maw of the storm, seeming never to flicker, falter, or be set upon by nature as my poor cottage was. Strongly built though my cottage seemed to be, the bones creaked in the storm. Even Jesus' wise builder must have felt the fear of the ocean dweller at some point. The little house was buffeted by the changing winds, the sudden redirection of masses of raindrops coming with the frightening slap of an emptied bucket.
I became antsy in the storm, unable to focus on the madman's search for the whale, I walked to the front of the house, to my bedroom, the room furthest from the ocean, perhaps thinking it would be quieter there, affording more sanity. My bed seemed a solitary rowboat upon an endless ocean and I found no comfort for my anxiety there. There was nothing to do but grin and bear it, to lean into the situation. I returned to the living room and once more stood in front of the great windows. The scarred grooves of the floor beneath my stockinged feet, I looked out into the blackness, and when a flash of lightning came, something caught my eye. A speck of blue, barely discernible from the nighttime, very near the glowing red light of my landlord's dock. Could it be that this was the man I spied on my walk home? The man of the blue coat and walking stick, standing on Mr. Blud's dock: was he Mr. Blud? In mere moments I had convinced myself that this must be the case and that my enigmatic landlord with the odd cycloptic manservant was standing at the end of his dock in the middle of a gale.
What could compel a man to do such a thing? He was liable to get himself swept away and drowned. This was not a sunbathing shoreline on which he built his property, as I was sure he must have known, but an unforgiving and rocky landscape giving way only to the equally cruel waters below. Yet here he stood, arms crossed behind his back, stoic against the onslaught. I could not see him and yet I knew he stood this way. A speck of blue, nothing more, but the rest supplied with ease by my restless imagination, having no reliable outlet in my typewriter these days. Arms crossed, eyes open and unblinking against the icy wind. Thick, seafaring boots planted firmly on the dock. He was waiting for something. Standing with patience...waiting for what? Nothing. No ships came so close to the rocky outcropping. Nothing to wait for but