Ship Breakers

“Why’d you bring me here?”

Julianne stood with her back to her husband, mesmerized at the spectacle. Such vast variations in scale disoriented her. Like tiny ants overwhelming a locust, thousands of scrawny, brown men climbed onto and scurried about steel leviathans. And like the ants, proceeded to take their host apart, a chunk of steel here, a capstan there.

“I thought it would interest you,” her husband replied. “There is no place like it in the world. Aging vessels come here from around the globe to die and be reduced to scrap.”

“It’s sad. Is that why you brought me here? To dispose of me?”

“Julianne … Okay, maybe we have run our course. Perhaps you should go home, start the proceedings.”

“Why bother?”

She watched the men return in the deepening twilight. She stepped out onto the rust-stained sand to where the red surf foamed around her ankles. She shed her dress and under things and knelt before the incoming human tide. Her husband’s frantic calls were muted by the workers’ murmurings.

He watched them engulf her and move on. A search found no trace of her.

Days later a western woman was observed aboard a dhow under sail.

© 2013 R.E. Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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