This morning, the sea was back, dark and ominous. I sat on a stony embankment and watched it, smelling salt on the cold breeze. I feel like my experiences are too real, too consistent, merely to be the product of a mind stretched to breaking point by the mal. But then, maybe that's what all mad people think. It must seem real to them, I suppose. If I'm not mad, if what I'm seeing is really happening, or is my brain's interpretation of something that's happening, then the forces at work here are stronger and stranger than I ever imagined.
At midday, I walked away from the beach and ate half a mouthful of food, washed down with a sip of water. I stared away from the impossible sea while I ate and drank, as if the sight of it might poison me. When I turned back, the sea was gone. I walked to my stony embankment, my meagre food burning in my stomach. I kept it down; I need the nutrients. The huge, empty crater leered up at me, and I felt dizzy, as if I might fall in, though I was yards away. The hours disappeared as I pondered the crater, and wondered whether it was my grip on the world that was disappearing, or the world's grip on The Sick Land.
As dusk fell, I turned away and trudged back to my bag to sleep. I knew I shouldn't look back, but I turned my head anyway. The sea was there, and the sound of the waves, so soothing before, scratched at my thoughts.