Man Adrift: A Short Story

Man Adrift: A Short Story

Even warm memories couldn't rid him of the chill seeping into his core.

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His eyes opened to the forbidding gray of an overcast sky, the burn of salt and dehydration on his lips. Gentle winds caressed his matted hair. As he began to come to, he realized he was adrift on open waters, rough-hewn wood pressed against his back. He did not know who he was or how he had gotten there.

Heaving himself onto his side, he realized he was in some makeshift boat. There was a small cloth bag in the corner with a waterskin inside it. He reached for it hastily, before remembering that this was likely his only source of drinking water. Hesitantly, he took two sips and replaced it.

Other memories began to return, too. Light laughter under sparkling chandeliers, the tinkling of wine glasses and china plates. The churning in his stomach as the ship rocked on rough waves. The feeling of Emily's skin under his hands as she fell into him, unsteady on her stilettoes. "I must not have gotten my sea legs yet." She had grinned up at him, eyes alight with mischief.

The warmth of the memories slightly alleviated the chill he was beginning to feel. His coat had been thoroughly soaked and offered little comfort. Without any instruments, he had no means of telling where he was. Not that a compass or sextant would have done him much good. He had been a banker, not a sailor. Another gust of wind came, its cold fingers reaching through to his bones.

Another remembrance assailed him, then. A bitter wind, carrying smoke and screams as passengers scrambled for the lifeboats. Emily, her hair whipped into a loose frenzy as she was bundled away with a few of the others. His own cold hand, clenched around a drawstring bag as he was lowered into the swirling black void of the sea.

The chill that rocked him now had nothing to do with the winds. There had been five people to a boat. Where had all the others gone?

A particularly fierce wave set his boat rocking, and he grabbed the sides for support. His flailing foot struck a single oar. He scrabbled for it, atrophied muscles aching. A slight throbbing began to make itself known, a persistent rhythm pounding against the inside of his skull.

He could hardly see through the thick sheets of rain that came hurtling down. The oilskin could only hold out for so long, and he had cast it off to begin bailing water from his boat. But he could swear that the shadowy mass had not been there before.

Something bumped against the underside of his boat and he let out a croak, too parched to scream. Something beat wetly against the hull. Again it struck, this time harder. Whether he was feeling nauseous from fear or seasickness he did not know.

The horror that had settled like a dark cloud over his mind escalated into a full-on panic when a pair of tentacles flopped over the edge, their pustulant flesh covered in wickedly curved black barbs that left pale gashes on the sides of the boat. Another two came over the other side, effectively securing the wooden vessel in place.

If he had been rational, he would have no doubt realized that his pitiful oar stood little chance against some horrific monstrosity whose limbs were longer than his entire boat. As it was, the terror had overtaken all capacity for rational thought and he lashed out, striking the tentacles with wet, leathery slaps. The tentacles seemed to recoil for a moment, one of them slipping below the dark waters again. With renewed adrenaline coursing through his veins, he began beating back the other with vigor.

His frenzied exertions were halted when six more barbed limbs came shooting out of the water and snatched away the oar. In a matter of seconds, all that remained of his one weapon was a handful of splinters adrift on the open sea.

His eyes were wet, salt crystals lashed on his face. There was no hope, no way out. He opened his arms and succumbed to the dark void opening over his head. There was a flash of lightning, and then the waters were still.

Nothing remained but a few broken planks, adrift on open and unforgiving seas.

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A Revival: Greek And Roman Impact On The Renaissance

How Renaissance artists departed from the Gothic style
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Just as the Romans were often known as Greek imitators, the artists of the Renaissance took a big interest in ancient Greek and Roman art. Therefore, the Renaissance came to be known as an era of revival, one in which the influence of Greek and Roman art was seen in both art and architecture. Pieces such as the Palazzo Rucellai, David, and Birth of Venus are all noted for being composed of both Greek and Roman elements and styles.

The Palazzo Rucellai stands as a landmark Renaissance palace, designed in 1446 by well-known Italian architects Leon Battista Alberti and Bernardo Rossellino. The humanistic influence of the 15th century is noted in its composition, but most importantly, the structural elements of ancient Rome are incorporated within the structure. The Roman-like arches, pilasters, and entablatures give the impression of strength. The pilasters are composed of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders which are reminiscent of the Colosseum. Just as the pilasters of the Colosseum are used for a decorative purpose, the ones of the Palazzo Rucellai also depart from simply providing structural support.

The David sculpture was created by the notorious Donatello. Donatello was known for his studies of Greek and Roman art, which allowed for him to make a connection between the classical world and the Renaissance. The Greek formula for contrapposto is noted in this sculpture, as his weight appears to be mostly on the right foot while the left leg seems to be more relaxed. The Greek influence is also demonstrated as David is fully nude, which departs from the clothed Biblical figures of the Gothic era and instead resonates Greek conventions. Just as the Greek Kritios Boy is described as “the first beautiful nude in art,” the bronze David was the first freestanding nude of the Renaissance.

The Birth of Venus, created by Sandro Botticelli, also appears to carry Greek and Roman influences into the Renaissance era in which it was constructed. Just like the Roman marble Aphrodite of Menophantos, the Birth of Venus employs the Capitoline Venus pose in which Venus covers her breasts with her right arm and her groin with her left arm. An obvious allusion to Roman art is the use of the Roman goddess Venus as the subject of the painting. The use of classical subject matter is strategical as it appeals to the rich Florentines who patronized such pieces.

The Renaissance is known as the “rebirth” or “revival” of Greek and Roman styles and conventions. Such Greek and Roman influences are well noted in the Italian-made pieces such as The Palazzo Rucellai, which can be compared to the Colosseum, David, which can be compared to the Kritios Boy, and The Birth of Venus, which can be compared to the Aphrodite of Menophantos. It is this revival that is credited with helping European artists and architects depart from Gothic styles, among others, while bringing back notorious Greek and Roman ones.

Cover Image Credit: Artble

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Miscommunication: A Poem

I am not a robot, I'm just not heartbroken over you.

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what's done is done

whether it be in love and war

we can not redo the past

it doesn't sting as much as i hoped

and the pain never really comes

i don't cry like you think i would

after being told, "i never loved you."

i don't chase you like you hoped

and i don't leave heartbroken voicemails

i don't go out to clubs to mask the pain

that never truly came

but every now and then, i'm reminded of you

with the scent of pine trees and irish spring

but what i soon came to realize was

your words hurt you more than you thought

and it was really me, "who never loved you."

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