He shoves his feet into boots and slings the pack over his shoulder. A jellyfish shaped key chain dangles from the zipper.
Pavel (thinking): Run. Run.
The thought seems to fill the space around him. He’s only allowed one thing to worry about. He seizes the oar and pulls his paddleboard into his arms.
Pavel (thinking): Run. Run. RUN!
The word is splayed across the walls and trampled under his feet as he runs from his own home. It is completely dark now, and absolutely empty. There’s nothing left for the ghosts to hunt for, here. Even the lantern feels impossibly small and useless against his back.
Pavel (thinking): RUN! Run… And don’t look back.
He runs headlong into the water. It’s full of ghosts, their faces peering out at him from every drop of ocean, but he only stares straight ahead and cries. The light parts the way for him. He clambers onto the board and plunges the oar into the water. Heads, glowing pale blue and purple, poke out of the water, watching, and parting gradually as he glides forward into deeper waters. Finally, Pavel collapses to his knees. He clings to the oar, shuts his eyes tight, and sobs into the deck. The ghosts rise up around him, reaching, grasping, moaning. He cowers, but continues on without a pause. The lantern shines, too bright for this dark, shadow world of the ocean at night.