It was the night after the lotus eaters' island, and the crewmen were discussing the calmness of the sea. Most were pleasantly surprised, a few suspicious. I hadn't noticed it much myself, too preoccupied with resting. Luckily the men were still too influenced by the lotus plant to complain about leaving what they called "the most righteous place in the world, man". I assumed it was also the plant talking when they claimed to have seen a light coming from distant rocks.
By then I wanted nothing more than to close my eyes and escape reality. Sleep began to envelop me, and I had almost been dreaming when I was awakened by my men's shaking and yells. "Odysseus, look there to the rocks!" If only one of my men had insisted, I might not have investigated. I stared for minutes, unimpressed, until a bright blue light shot out. It seemed to scan the sky, and in a moment encased our ship and drew us toward it. Immediately the water stirred and lashed at us, soaking us all. I yelled at the men to row, away from the beam's grip. We had little success, and soon we were mere yards from the rocks.
"Row to the cave!" I commanded, taking a seat near the oars and gripping one tightly. It was not long before our combined efforts finally let us break away as we sailed into the mouth of the dark cave. We didn't celebrate for long. Our hands now resting, the ship began to move by itself through the cave. No sooner than it happened did we realize that a dip was nearby, and we plunged down, deep in darkness. We could not row anywhere, as doing so without visibility might have doomed us all. Soon, however, a small light began to show ahead. We were not quick to rejoice, knowing from experience the dangers it might hold.
A small island of rocks became visible to us, an opening in the high ceiling of the cave showing light of the coming morning.
"Do you think that's gold?" questioned one of my crew. Our eyes fixated on what must have been a chest, standing by itself on the rock island. I told the men to tie the ship to a rock jutting out, and once we were out I went to see for myself. My hand was almost at the lock when a new voice startled me.
"I wouldn't do that, mate. It's not the kind of treasure you'd like." I saw a figure out of the corner of my eye, a man coming out of the darkness. He had on strange attire, consisting of tan pants, a long brown and buttoned coat, and a belt with sheaths for swords and black, oddly-shaped metal tubes. He had light facial hair. His brown hair hung in thick tubes, and he wore faded brown cloth on his head with a coin dangling down. He walked with a sort of sway and stumble that led me to think he had been drinking too much wine.
"Who are you, stranger? Where does your accent come from? Who made your clothes?" I demanded. The stranger merely smiled boyishly. He took a hand from behind his back to reveal that he held a metal tube in his hand, inscriptions on its sides.
"I feel that since I have the gun," he waved the tube, "and this is my cave, I should be the one asking the questions. Savvy? Now, where are you from and why are you here, and who made your dreadful skirts?" I was dumbstruck, for surely even a foreigner would know the rules of hospitality.
"Stranger, we were pulled in by the rocks and made our escape here," I declared, not giving away anything he could use against us.
"Ah, you too? The water must have been easy, my friends. It swallowed up my ship. Well, boat, I guess I should say; the Pear is temporarily out of my reach. Tell me, dress-adorned sailors, where am I?"
I had no clue as to what he was talking about, and it must have shown on my face. He shrugged casually. "Yes, well." A silence sat between us. His semi-droopy eyes blankly drifted to my left.
Then, suddenly and wide-eyed, he shouted with what I believe he thought was authority: "Alright, mates! There's nothing for you here! Sail left, your boat can survive the dip! Here's no treasure that's of use to you, and you are all outnumbered!" My crew looked to each other and surveyed the seemingly empty cave. We stood in silence. Dripping water echoed off the walls. The man rolled his eyes, flicking out the wrist with the tube, explaining, "Well obviously they're not going to show themselves for risk of revealing their superior fighting skills and wonderful, magical weapons." The crew was too confused to question anything. "Let's move!" he growled. "Away from my cave!" When my crew hadn't budged, he glanced up impatiently and quietly added, "Please."
He looked at us, and managed a half-baked grin. I nodded to my men to row to the left as he had instructed before, and soon we came across a long fall. Our ship landed intact. The current led us to the ocean, perhaps the gods finally on our side, and we sailed on. I have convinced myself that the delusion came from my crew. Their breathing had released leftover lotus fumes. The fumes were invisible, I am sure. Yes.