I didn't expect my weekend to start with a man washing up on the shore.
My best friend Jericka and I were sitting on Stewart beach enjoying the relative peace of the environment, aside from the tourists and screaming seagulls. We grew up together and considered each other as sisters. We stood up for each other as kids. We could have moved away after graduation, but our mutual love of the water kept us here. Jericka loved to surf, and I inherited my father's old deck boat that I spent time maintaining, upgrading, and restoring. Where else but Galveston were you only a short walk to a beach?
I had been half-watching something ebb and flow towards the shore for several moments, more interested in the story of Jericka's terrible date when I realized it was a person.
"Oh shit!" I exclaimed, jumping out of my beach chair. "Lifeguard!" I yelled, waving my arms wildly as I raced to the body.
Whoever it was, washed up on the shore just as I got to the edge of the water. I dropped to my knees and checked for signs of life.
"He's alive," I said as Jericka made it to my side. "Chest sounds clear, faint but steady pulse and heartbeat."
"What on earth…" She said, looking at the person.
The man was dressed in a unique naval uniform that looked brand new. He was ghastly pale, as though he had never seen the sunlight. There were the remains of a bloody wound tearing through his clothes. I checked the wound and found nothing but a healed scar.
"Do you think he's a cosplayer or something?" I asked.
"The sea must have spat him back up," Jericka said.
"What do you mean?"
"My nana always told me stories about pirates who got involved with our culture. Told me stories about the East India Trading Company and how it trafficked our people. 'The sea has her secrets,' she would always tell me."
The man began to breathe quicker, nearly hyperventilating before he opened his eyes. They focused on us, confusion clouding them.
"Where am I?" He rasped.
"Galveston," I answered.
The word held no meaning to the man.
"Texas?" Jericka added.
He weakly shook his head before falling unconscious once more.
"We've got to get him to the hospital," I said as lifeguards and paramedics arrived.
They carefully maneuvered him on a stretcher as an ambulance pulled up on the sand.
"I'm the one that found him," I said to one of the medics.
"Ma'am, you prolly need to come with us then, in case you need to answer some questions," I nodded and hopped in the back of the ambulance before the strange man.
"I'll call you!" I said to Jericka before the doors closed.
At the hospital, I was allocated to the waiting room. I spent that time Googling everything I could about the East India Trading Company and pirates. I believed in the supernatural, but I wasn't quite ready to think that some guy from the 17 whatevers had washed up in Galveston, Texas, even if his costume was a dead ringer for the actual ones.
Sometime later, a friendly-looking doctor came looking for me. "Hello, I'm Dr. Greg Stambaugh, but please call me Dr. Greg. I'm head of the emergency department. Are you the one who found our John Doe?"
I nodded, "Yes, that's me."
"He's currently stable. We could find no signs of physical trauma. You said he just washed up on the shore?"
"Yeah, maybe he was on a boat somewhere?"
Dr. Greg shrugged, "It's likely. We're going to keep him for a few days just for observation while the police investigate and to get some fluids in him. This man has seemingly been through something traumatic. I expect him to be unconscious until tomorrow at the earliest, while his mind and body sort it all out. You're welcome to visit him in the morning."
I nodded, I wanted to crack this mystery.