Solitude does things to you. It strips you down, peels away the layers that a healthy social life builds up over the years. Leaves you naked. Animal. Fractured and confused, you are a beast imprisoned by your own thoughts—your inner voice, becoming more delusional as time passes, divided into billions of grating seconds, desperate, almost screaming to get out of your head.

Imaginary companions come and go. Men with heads like fish shout at you, prod you to find patterns in the sound of the waves, the threads in your blanket. Others come with promises of help on their lips—bearing guns and swords, and perfect breasts.

Figments run amok.

It must have been the shock from the explosion that shook Yumi loose. One moment she was leaning against the hull with the detonator, the next she was a bad dream. In my mind she was simply short-circuited, or by-passed with a sudden, more sensible patch of neurons. No doubt the real version was locked in some safe room with her brother and the rest of the crew. But the sword wielding, bloodthirsty, imaginary Yumi—who I could still taste on my lips—was lost.

I pulled her “note” from my pocket and turned it over in my bloody hand. Just a corner torn from the calendar in my room. I let it fall.

In front of me the hole in the floor of the Nisshin Maru belched cold ocean water.

Panicked voices shouted from the floor above.

I adjusted the regulator and bit down. I dove into the Pacific. Alone.