The sky is the colour of midnight and the ocean is black, reflecting the amber light of our lanterns that are swinging quietly in the rigging. From my lookout point high up over the deck, I see diamonds dancing together in the heavens. I can see the Bear, the Serpent, the Leopard and the Lyre, and there, far away, over the Western horizon, is a great glittering jewel of a star that guards the gateway to Tartarus. Is it just me, or is it staring back at us? I shiver and the hairs on my arms rise up, even though the night is balmy and still.
The scent of sea salt and tobacco hangs in the air. I lower my eyes to the deck below me, illuminated by the golden lamplight. It is deserted apart from Sinbad on the poop deck, leaning back in his chair with his feet propped up on the ship's wheel. His hands are behind his head and his cap covers his eyes, so I would have thought he was asleep, except for the fact that he's whistling softly. The lovely melody is floating up to me on the soft sea breeze that rustles my short hair about my face. I smile blissfully as I lean back against the mast. I'm stretched out along the yard-arm, with a cinnamon-scented cigarette that I took from Rat's mouth once he'd drifted off in one hand, a stout bottle of lemon rum swinging in my hand. I'm dizzy and sleepy from the alcohol.
Rat is curled up in the crow's nest above me. If I go there'll be no one keeping look-out because he's passed out drunk, but the concept doesn't seem important enough right now. No one can harm us. The Siren and her crew are invincible. Myself especially. I am invincible, invulnerable, untouchable. All are such beautiful words. Invincible, invulnerable, untouchable . . . I roll them over my tongue. This is what we are. So, not considering the consequences of a moment's drunken carelessness, I swing myself down through the rigging, and land unsteadily beside my Captain. He looks up and smiles, reaching out to pull me close and plant a chaste kiss on my cheek.
"Reporting for duty, sir," I giggle in a stage whisper, and I find my lips pressed against his in a way that is messy and rushed, but still sweeter than molasses. He stands and pulls me towards the cabin door, as uncaring as I am that we are leaving the ship vulnerable from all sides. We are a tiny gem of amber, hovering in an ocean world of unknown mystery and danger. But the night is young and morning is far away; and I am here, contented and peaceful, with the Captain's arms around me. Anyway, I think, as we drift away. No one can harm us. We're invincible.