Feb 15, 2015


This one has been sitting in my drafts for too long.

The air stung his cheeks as they sailed through the night, the dark brilliance of midnight hues dancing around him as he stared ahead.  Muscles began to strain as he hung from the rigging in silence, waiting to catch the sound that had stopped him in his descent.  The hull continued to creak beneath its load, the night crews muttering below, signalling between the other ships in the convoy.  Yet his gut persisted, there was something wrong here.


Turning to face the birds-eye below the rigging jerked with his movement, struggling to keep his foothold he glared at the interruption, nervous frustration seeping through.

"What is it?" he hissed.

The girl merely glared back, folding her arms in displeasure at his response.  Cocking her head to the side "What the hell are you doing?  You look like a gull arse up in the ropes." She sneered.

Sensing she was not about to leave him in peace he swung from the rigging, dropping the few feet to land beside her, unable to keep the smugness from showing on his face.  "Arse up hey Bridget?"

She shoved him away, smothering a smile as he pretended to flail backwards over the edge of the nest.  "What were you looking for then?" she prodded, leaning against the mast.  "Trying your luck with the Sirens again?"

"Well we all know you're the deadliest Siren out here Bridge" he teased, tousling her scarlet hair before becoming serious.  "I heard something.”

He watched her straighten, the ghost of a smile disappearing.  "You shouldn't joke like that Rufus." she said sternly.

Unable to commit to a carefree charade he returned to staring out at the wistful night.  She still watched him, shivering against the mast as they waited in silence. "You should head below Bridge, it gets cold around the Rocs..." A high pitched whistle wavered through the air, similar to what he had heard before, but this time louder, the feeling more urgent as he tried to pinpoint its familiarity.

"Get down now!" he yelled, dragging Bridget low into the nest as cracking wood echoed from below.  Shouts rose in chaos as the ship swayed under the impact, tilting to its side the crew cry out struggling to keep it upright.  Frozen in shock from the jolt their stomachs fall as they start slipping in the nest.  Eyes wide Rufus reaches for her shaking hands, grabbing the winch from his belt instead as another whistle sounded.

"Don't let go" he spoke coarsely finding his voice, hooking her to the wrought iron hoop.  A deafening crack tore through the mast under an explosion of splinters, catapulting him from their wooden bunker.  Scraping through the rigging he fought for a hold as it lurched treacherously beneath him, the ship moaning as it threatened to roll under the onslaught.  Looking down people were caught between securing themselves and attempting to steer the ship, but the mountainous silhouette emerging from the night was making both of those options redundant.  Everything tipped from controlled panic to tempering fear as the dark ship loomed like an abyss sinking its iron talons into their hull.  A dark swarm erupted, flooding onto the deck as ropes righted their ship and locked it down.

He could hear Bridget scream his name as the shattered mast faltered under the weight, tangled in the netting he felt it slip from his grasp, he looked over to her, struggling to release the winch and reach for him as the beam collapsed.

For now,
night awaits sleep.
from sjp
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