Today on Drabble Wednesday we’re hoisting the mainsail and taking to the oceans. I have pirates, sea creatures and ghost ships steering a course through my drabbles, and, as an extra treat, some flash fiction. So read on and breathe in the salt air…
Beware the Kraken
“Be that a storm, Capt’n?”
The sailor at the helm pointed to the ominous, inky shadow gathering on the horizon.
Captain Kenyon peered with his spyglass. “That’s no storm, that’s a ship. That’s the Kraken! Increase the speed, Mr. Anders! ‘Tis pirates a‘coming!” To the rest of the crew he shouted, “Full sail! Man your stations!”
Mr. Anders obeyed posthaste, but asked, “The Kraken? Ain’t she but a myth?”
“Nay. She’s half ship, half-beast, and all pirate. We’d all best pray.”
Running fast, the Captain held out hope. Until a tentacle whipped across the sea foam and snagged the rudder.
Welcome to Skull Island
The rain lashed the sails, and above Toby’s head the lightning cracked the sky. He heard waves pound against the ship’s wooden sides as the Obsidian Blade cut through the waters. Then footsteps sounded, even through the storm; the heavy tread of Captain Walsh’s boots.
“A wild night for a homecoming, eh lad?”
Toby longed to turn his head and spit in the Captain’s eye, but tied as he was to the figurehead he could only stare from the vessel’s bow towards the craggy rocks ahead. He shivered at his view, the looming spectre of the pirate’s stronghold, Skull Island.
Ghosts of the Sea Moon
The moon blended into the obsidian sky, a luminescent silver veneer striding across the horizon. Its grace swayed and suspended on shifting ethereal clouds, and its children stars gathered close in a bright, shimmering embrace. To the melancholy sailor on deck it seemed the lunar object to be the ship’s destination, the full sail and choppy wake speeding the vessel to the heavens.
“She’s a sight, the Sea Moon. Once a year, she looms this vast and grand above us, beckoning home her seafaring brood. But she’d swallow us whole if we let it her.”
The sailor flinched, the captain’s voice abrupt and loud in his ear. No warning the man gave to his presence, for the ship’s master had a step quiet as a cat’s paw.
“Do you really think it would swallow the ship, sir?”
“Aye, in a fashion. Not the moon itself mind you, but the celestial magic spilling into the air and sea. And it could do worse, if we miscalculate the bearings. It’s tricky work navigating these moonbeam waters, and the otherworldly rifts.” Then the captain smiled, and clapped a hand on the sailor’s shoulder. “But not to worry, lad, I've been doing this run a long, long time, and I never floundered my ship in the hoary moon mist yet. I’ll get you home.”
“Home.” The sailor let the word flop on his tongue, its taste bitter. “Home is far behind this ship, back on shore with a weeping widow, who barely had time to be a bride.”
“Aye, lad. I’m sorry for what you've lost, and the hardship of your death. I hope you take some comfort in the fact I plucked your spirit from the deep, before the sea demons feasted on your soul. Moreover, be glad you finally accepted your fate. Some never leave this ship, vainly hoping to find a way back to the living.” A fleeting frown crossed his lips, and then pivoted back to his customarily, wry smile. “Besides, my lad, you’ll see your widow bride again one day, in the afterlife you’re seeking, and there’ll be people that went before waiting for you. So be cheered.”
The sailor said nothing, simply turned his face to the imposing moon, as the ship of ghosts sailed toward his last port of call.