John hated the sea, he loathed every aspect of it. From the taste of brine lingering in the air to how the blues, greens and whites mixed together when the waves washed onto the beach.
He hated the cold and dreaded bobbing around like a cork during a storm. John detested being constantly in fear of drowning or worse, freezing to death while clinging onto some scrap of flotsam. It gnawed at him while on patrol and festered during shore leave. How might a sailor get away from the sea?
Was this penance for sins committed in a former life? John had endured the cold of the North Atlantic seeping into his bones. He even ate the same swill served day-in and day-out. For what? The privilege of standing on bridge watch for hours on end? All the while he wondered if there was a threat lurking beneath the waves. One that would rise like the Kraken and send them to their watery graves? At the end of his watch he would often hide from the world in his bunk, staring up at the deckhead and wonder what level of hell he was on.
Fortune had favoured the crew thus far, although scars remained of the horrors they witnessed. John would never forget the odour of burning bunker oil on the ocean. The sound of a ship's keel buckling after a torpedo found its mark.
Worst were the sounds of seamen pleading for help when John knew there was nothing to be done. The risks were great and their never-ending thirst for revenge meant they could never resist dropping one more depth-charge. Perhaps they had gotten lucky and punished their enemies for the lives they reaped? John felt a chill move up his spine when he remembered how the plumes of water erupted from the sea, those which left him invariably drenched.
The sea gave no quarter; it stole the lives of anyone who failed to respect her. When victory was finally declared, he did not celebrate, instead John mourned those taken by this Angel of Death.
After the war, John returned home, feeling both defeated and dejected. It was not until the Nuremberg trials began that he found his true calling.
He watched all footage he could find and read any related article. He discovered a new type of weapon being deployed against the enemy. John learned how words and a gavel sentenced men to death more readily than the hundreds of depth charges.
These soldiers who led the charge were not sea captains, infantry advancing on a trench with bayonets affixed, nor pilots flying a bombing run over Berlin, but prosecutors. Not everyone was sentenced to death, some were locked up for life while others were acquitted. In the back of his mind, John wondered if they could have all been sentenced to death if he had been the prosecutor.
So John earned a degree in law then passed the Bar. As a barrister, he would walk the righteous path of sending the guilty to the gallows or perhaps defend those in need no matter their guilt. However, the idea of living off the avails of setting the guilty free made his skin crawl. Even sinners deserved to be well represented true, but could he live with himself? So without much thought John accepted a post as a prosecutor.
Honestly, he did not even know how to find this place on the map. It was nestled somewhere along a main railway lines, hidden away in a valley surrounded by tall foreboding mountains. The man he spoke with, a Clerk of the Court also mentioned the solace, the intrinsic beauty found amongst the fauna and flora.
All John could think of, was how far removed he would be from the sea. Even if it rained forty days and forty nights, the waters would be well out of reach! Was there a better way to describe paradise?
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