The captain of the tanker stood at the bow. Watched the storm with occasional twinges of despair, perhaps resignation, but no fear. He knew what waited inside the curtain of the storm. He knew that the demon would wait for him inside the torrents depths, and he also knew that he could not run, could not hide. Because he knew, just knew, that the demon would catch him all the same. To the old captain it seemed like years since his wife had died, when in actual fact it had been barely two weeks. Celebrating a tenth anniversary since they had gotten married, Ustari, his beloved had walked to the cliff edge to admire the stunning view into the sinking sun, nothing but the peaceful sea for miles. The wind picked up in those few seconds, and the cliffs seemingly trustworthy structure collapsed from under her. Even as Trever screamed out her name and rushed to the edge, Ustari was gone from his sight, without a sound, but the sudden gasp of shock that came from her lips and the horrible sound of her tunic fluttering in the wind as she fell. Trever didn’t call the coast guard to those secluded cliffs, didn’t believe in the point. In his years of captaincy, very few had ever fallen from the tankers he commanded. None were ever found, and he knew, though he tried to deny it to the brink of tears, that Ustari was gone. A day later he told Ustari’s parents what had happened. They went through the same stages that Trever had. Denial, then despair, then anger, fiery passionate rage. Ustari’s mother beat him, hit him, calling him all manner of befouling names. He took the punishment, just as he had from himself the previous night, and then the old woman collapsed in his arms, hugging and sobbing in equal measure, as the final despair set in, and her father simply sat, bowed over, hands on his wet face. The next day, Trever went to the church. Without the priests knowledge he made a small shrine- Pots of flowers around a large smooth rock, with Trever chiselled Ustari, trusted and trusting, cared for and caring, loved by one and all. ‘We’ll be together soon, my love. My years are fading away as it is.’ Something ignited in his head and soul, telling Trever that him and Ustari already were together, and always would be, that some part of her was with him now. It was at that moment Trever changed his name. Trever Ustari now stood up from his wife’s grave, ready to pass by the years and be by her side once more. Although the clouds above did not dim, a darker pallour seemed to fall on the graveyard as Trever Ustari saw the man staring at him. Except it wasn’t a man. The things hair twisted in the air of its own accord, and the skin tone of it’s body, covered by little except for twisting leather robes from its waist down, was a dark, sickly colour, unlike any man me had ever encountered, black or white. It was a demon, Trever Ustari realised. And he’s come for me. The dark pallour of the graveyard seemed to emate from the thing as it toyed with what looked like big ancient coins in its hand, drops of blood dripping from them like they were some foul sacrifice. Six coins in all he twiddled between his fingers. The demon continued to stare for another few moments, and Trever Ustari suddenly felt very vulnerable, like everything around him had turned hostile to him, and the world itself was about to cave in on him and send him screaming to the next life. You are next a voice echoed in his head. I have my masters payment, and I will meet you spiralling in the ruins of civilisation. As destiny itself and powers that be have decreed, you will die betrayed, Trever Ustari. The voice whispered like a snake hissed, every word coiled like it was ready to strike at him. And then it was like the demon had never existed. The pallour had gone, and all the captain was looking at now was a happy family- father, mother and son putting flowers by a grave side. Trever Ustari did not sleep that night. He walked through the darkness of that village where his wife had lived before he had come. Only now he could not go to a bed to sleep for fear of murderers in the night, could not go to a public house for a drink for fear of poison. Even as he walked he couldn’t help but watch the ground below him, couldn’t help but look for cracks that could result in huge rents that would drag him into the earth until he died of suffocation. He breathed shallowly, unable to relax or find comfort in the death that, to him, seemed to be staring at him from every direction. He was already walking past the pub a sixth or seventh time that night when an old friend stepped out of the big oak door in front of him, smiling. Trever Ustari stopped on the spot, suddenly afraid that his friend had come for his life, paid the same money as the demon in the graveyard- ‘I’ve been looking for you everywhere.’ Patrick said in his gruff tone. ‘Your dammed to be crew couldn’t tell me where ya was, so I had to end up calling everywhere I knew you might be. Damn lucky I found yeh…why you out this late? I needed talk with yeh, and you’ll be damn cold out here anyway, stupid danm sod…’ Patrick took him into the bar, where they sat on the battered but comfy stools at the bar itself. ‘Larger for him! And a Whisky fer me, if yer willing!’ Patrick bellowed unnecessarily loud to the barman a matter of feet away, who took his time despite the bellowing. And despite the bellowing, Trever Ustari was thankful to be talking to Patrick again. He had been part deaf still when they had met all those years ago, back at home, and Patrick had protected him. Nowadays it could be called ‘good cop, bad cop’ friendship, but Trever knew Patrick had both sides of the coin in him alone. Patrick was his most trusted friend. When your time comes, everything you trust will turn against you or fall into oblivion and leave you behind. That I swear on my coin and self. The demon was back again, taking the barman’s place, only now the bar was gone, everything was gone, Trever Ustari and the Demon were alone in the midst of a terrible storm, ruin and wreckage flung around like they were being sucked in to the ocean. Suddenly Trever Ustari was angry, not afraid. ‘Why wont you leave me alone?!’ He roared through the howling and shrieking of the wind. Because my powers have paid for your final misfortune. And they pay my currency. The demon rolled another one of those blood drenched coins though its fingers. You are their plaything now, and there is but naught you can so to suspend the sentence, for betrayal of all things has existed long before man ever thought of a word for it, long before man ever existed, and it will never be defeated. ‘Leave me alone!- Trever Ustari was back in the bar again, with the barman, with Patrick, without his wife. Suddenly daggers tore through his heart. The demon had killed her too hadn’t it? The cliff, solid and reliable, had betrayed her to her death. And the demon had collected on its payment. The thought of the sudden wind that tore across the cliff as she fell, and the torrent where he had just faced the demon, made his gut wrench. Patrick, having not noticed any of this, picked up his recently acquired whiskey. Trever did the same, noticing the need to get to reality. ‘I have a proposition for yeh.’ Patrick said, glugging down a few mouthfuls of the bottles contents. The proposition was simple really. Trever would be captain of another ship, a small fast one, carrying light supplies, going across the seas to deliver more goods. Only this time the ship was going home. He and Patrick would be home, would ‘catch a little freedom’ as Patrick said, before getting back in time for Trever to resume normal business, captaining tankers across the seas, doing what he always did. Until the day he died. Trever accepted. He knew he had to get away from this place, the place where the demon haunted him so. Over the next days up to the voyage he was tormented by the demon hiding in dark alleyways, the slightest scattering of the wind catching his full notice as he thought he would be swept up into the maelstrom again. But nothing. One time only he saw the demon, and it simply stared at him with cold, hungering eyes, before once again vanishing like it was never there. Trevor still watched the ground, listened keenly for anyone rushing up behind him, but now he slept, in a single bed, Patrick a mere door away. And the demon did not come, did not show him the money, and did not taunt him. It was like the demon had sensed it had lost somehow, or was backing off and waiting for another moment to strike. The night of boarding the tanker came. Trever Ustari inspected the crew, checking their eyes for the signs of mal-intent. One of the crew was thrown off the voyage by Patrick, after Trever smelt the overly powerful stench of an alcoholic on him. The voyage left, and Trever sat in the room that controlled the ship. He had discovered its name, which he could not see as he had climbed aboard the ship. The Tyrebaal, it was called. That name struck a chord with Trever Ustari- that name was strangely ominous, disturbing. There was something about it that was wrong. It happened on the second night, as they within six hours or so of their final destination. There was no turning back now- they had crossed the point of no return around a half hour ago, the time when they would not have enough fuel to turn back, and had no choice but to look ahead. Trever Ustari had just started the night shift. Patrick had agreed to take day shifts, so that Trever could get some rest, reasoning that Trever was in his words ‘a better night-traveller than all the ghosts of this world.’ As he heared the laughter, Trever knew he had made a grave mistake. The demon was with him again. Laughing not out of joy, or happiness, but sheer cruelty. The dark pallour with it too, suddenly everything around him, weather monitors, radar, radio, even the helm. All looked useless. Trever could do nothing but stare. That vulnerable feeling, the despair, all he thought he had left behind with Ustari’s parents. Now they were back, and Trever had no where to run. Oh, so foolish The demon cackled, its hair crackling like it was filled with electicity. So foolish of a man to trust his feelings when, in actual fact, all I had to do was wait to get you where I wanted you. This ship is my ship, fool, and it will guide you to your death just as Ustari was guided to hers by trust. Many better than you have tried to escape me. All tried to escape the knife. It ended in their backs all the same. ‘No…’ Trever choked, feeling the urge to throw up, which swiftly turned into a demand. The floor of the helm-room was splattered with the fish and chips the ship cook had cooked for him that day. Oh yes, foolish man. It was quite simple really. The person who finds the apple pleasing will always be drawn to its sweet outside, not knowing until the apple is finished what poisons it has. Such it was with you sweet Wife, who died because of that view that had always mesmerised her, had always…pleased her… ‘Barstard…’ Trever said, before retching again, on his knees before the demon. And now you, desiring escape, to a place which pleased you, you placed yourself on the Tyrebaal. A ship which will betray you and everyone on this ship to their watery grave. ‘No…I wont let you’ Trever got up before the demon, defiant. ‘I will beat you.’ So they always say. And you know what the best bit is? The fact that you are so close of course. You’ll be able to taste freedom…before the water enters your lungs instead. ‘NOO!’ The demon was gone. The vomit was gone. It was again just the helm-room. But Trever screamed just the same. He clenched his eyes shut and pounded at the wheel in front of him, the wheel that would avail him nothing. ‘Stop it, danm you, stop it, yer idiot!’ Patrick pushed back Trever into the captains seat, sweating like he had run all the way for his room to the helm room. ‘A mighty storms brewing!’ Patrick roared over the rain that was pattering down on the helm-rooms ceiling window. ‘We have to turn!’ Trever rushed over to the weather monitor. The storm was huge. Like a barrier between them and freedom, it was slowly going to shift across their route of escape. ‘It’s moving east with the wind!’ Patrick roared again, and began to turn the wheel left to propel them north-west, through where the storm would leave and opening. Trever snatched the wheel from him and began to turn it right, so the ship went straight on a collision course with the terrible storm, lightning flashing in its innards every few seconds. ‘What are ya damn doing!’ ‘Trust me!’ Patrick sat back in the chair and watched the storm on the horizon, fear crossing his brow, as the Tyrebaal took them into the depths of the storm. It turned out not. The winds shifted as they approached, turning the storm back the way it had come. They would have caught the full brunt of the storm if they had north-west. As it was they breezed past it in the night. And Trever knew. And he knew the demon knew. There was, however, a problem. They were short on fuel, and would be out six miles short of his home port. Trever took the news well, considering he knew it was inevitable. ‘you placed yourself on the Tyrebaal. A ship which will betray you and everyone on this ship to their watery grave.’ Then a bit of luck. They came across an oil rig as they were within five miles or so of running out of fuel. The rig’s tiny lights gave the tiniest beacon of hope- and the sun, which was to rise soon, would possibly allow them their escape. ‘Drop the anchor, I’ll go and see if they can lend us a tow boat of some kind.’ Patrick had said, before setting off in a lifeboat, rowing towards the rig with some of the crew mates. Trever watched on from the bow of the small ship, hoping on hope. Ten minutes later, Trever Ustari the captain of the tanker Tyrebaal stood at the bow. Watched the storm with occasional twinges of despair, perhaps resignation, but no fear. He knew what waited inside the curtain of the storm. He knew that the demon would wait for him inside the torrents depths, and he also knew that he could not run, could not hide. Because he knew, just knew, that the demon would catch him all the same. It had already caught Patrick, he knew with hatred in his heart. And his companions. And the oil rig. Its sturdy metal structures, designed to hold against storms sent by god himself, had fallen asunder as the storm picked it apart, consigning the people inside to the bottom of the sea. And it would take the crew of the Tyrebaal too, a ship, which Trever realised with a fury, would send them all to hell. He would not let it. He would defy the demon. Minutes later, leaving the Tyrebaal behind, The old captain began to row into the storm. Technically the captain was not old at just thirty-eight, but the days gone past had withered him to the bone, to the point that he knew, he relied even, on the demon killing him, weather torn apart by the forces of the storm or shredded by the things unnatural clawed hands. The storm seemed to open up before him, giving him a way into its innards, and Trever rowed through. He didn’t despair anymore, there were no tears. He would see Ustari soon. He trusted in it, you could say. He met the demon in the middle of the storm. It smiled at him, why did it smile? Probably because he knew it had utter dominance over him. He looked up into those eyes, the eyes that hungered for his death. He ignored the hostile forces all around him, forces that were just waiting to tear him apart. The ruins of the oil rig swirled within it, staining the storms with black il and rented metal. … and I will meet you spiralling in the ruins of civilisation… ‘Kill me then.’ Trever Ustari croaked. ‘I tire of this world, and I long for the next. So obliterate me with your tempest.’ The demons eyes widened in shock, and then it screamed. Trever confused continued to watch the demon high above, waiting for it to end him. NO, I CANNOT! TAKE YOUR PAYMENT BACK! The demon shrieked into the sky No- I-I will find a way…I will! The demon screamed an unearthly scream as it’s eyes turned hollow, and it began to turn to ash, and then it was naught but ash flung in all directions by the storm. And then even the storm ceased. It slowed and faded before dropping back into the sea, droplets landing on Trevor and his small lifeboat. Another voice came to Trevor now, a voice full of happiness. The demon you speak of had only betrayal as its weapon, for that is all that it had ever known. So for you to want to die at its hands, to rely on it for that, it was unacceptable. It was Ustari’s voice. Sweet as it had been in life, so caring. You saved us all, imprisoned by his ways. You banished the demon. It masters could not tolerate failure- they had, after all, paid him his blood money. It was sweet heavenly bliss hearing her voice again. Now sleep, Trever Ustari, your friends are coming. We will be together when your time comes, no sooner, and nothing will change that. I promise you. As Trever fell asleep, he had the vague incline that the ship he was sailing in so short a time ago wouldn’t be called the Tyrebaal anymore. It seemed like its name would vanish along with the demon which had plotted his death, and replaced with what the ship really was. Trevors ship rolled past, crew readying a rowing boat to get him. The name on the side had changed. It now said The trusted.