Port #WhatPegmanSaw

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They sat on the pebble shore, reflecting on what they had seen in the museum. It had been a shock to see the half section of the Mary Rose which their distant ancestor had sailed upon, looking so well persevered.

The wooden hull of the ship had dripped the protective water being sprayed a upon, making it easier to imagine the Mary Rose riding the sea waves.

They had seen items that their ancestor might have used on board and learned about the life he’d lead. They felt closer to him now then they did before.

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2019/07/06/portsmouth-hampshire-uk/ with thanks).

 

 

Melting #FlashFictionChallenge

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The wooden ship creaked as the ice finally broke away. The crew hung over the sides, eagerly watching the results. They had been trapped in the iceberg for three months now, surviving on half rations and whatever fish and birds they could catch.

The ship seemed to sink a little into the water and the first tiny waves lapped around the bow.

‘Shall we unfurl the sails, Captain?’ the first mate asked.

The Captain, who hadn’t been keen on this exploration trip to the Arctic, nodded.

The crew set to work quickly, finally feeling like they had been saved.

 

(Inspired by; https://carrotranch.com/2019/05/23/may-23-flash-fiction-challenge/ with thanks).

 

 

Gone

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I held the last photo of the ship, The Blue Royal, taken before it had sunk under stormy waves in my hands. You could barely make out the black shape of the ship against the grey sky and sea. The photo had been taken some distance away, on another ship, The Blue Princess, by a passenger wanting to capture the storm.

I knew the full history of both ships, not though interested but family history. My great aunt’s twin cousins, Lily and Rose, had been on board The Blue Royal on a cruise for their sixteenth birthday. The storm had hit the ship hard, capsized it and caused sixty-two people to drown. Twenty-eight bodies, including Lily and Rose’s were never found.

My great aunt had kept a keepsake box of them and now she’d gone, the box belonged to me. Inside were; letters, postcards, little china animals, a small china face doll, a bible and some small books. I felt a strange chill touching this stuff. I had never known these cousins.

Holding their items made me want to know more though. What had their lives and deaths been like?

I could only imagine.

Tall Ships #3LineTales

three line tales, week 126: a tall ship on the liffey at sunrise

It had been a close call but everyone had made it into the dock before darkness had fallen. Martin looked at the map again and realized that he hadn’t been wrong after all, the height of the bridge was labeled wrong. It was higher by a meter in real life then the little drawing said, thank God it wasn’t a meter lower or none of the tall ships would have got in, he thought, I’ll change it and then let whoever published this map know tomorrow.    

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/06/28/three-line-tales-week-126/ with thanks).

Pink Sunset #FirstLineFridays

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The crash of wave and snap of sail sung to Desi as the sun set on another day. She had only a few minutes of watching the ships arriving or leaving the harbour before mother called her back into the inn. She had a good view sat on a little hill above the harbour and now the lamps were being lit too.

Stopping the wind from making noise with her skirts, Desi listened as sails were taken in or let loose. The whipping sounds of ropes and flapping of cloth mixed in with the creaking and slapping sounds of the sea against the ships’ sides made her long to be down there.

Desi shut her eyes and let the rumble voices of the men wash over her. She couldn’t hear what they were saying but she could imagine them repeating instructions, talking about their travels or suggesting which inns to visit this evening.

How she longed to be amongst them, traveling to other lands and escaping her dull life. But it wasn’t to be. Women couldn’t be sailors and many believed it was bad luck for them to even step aboard. Still though, Desi clung to her dream and maybe one day she’d be sailing away from here never to return.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/first-line-friday-may-11th-2018/ with thanks).

Ghost Ship

214 10 October 15th 2017

Officer James had laughed off the stories about the ghost ship. Drunk sailors and ill tourists were always full of these kind of tales. That was until he was woken rudely from his sleep and hurried on to the deck by a junior officer. James looked over the side and saw bobbing on the calm waves the outline of an early 1900’s ship.

‘It’s the ghost ship!’ someone shouted.

‘I don’t believe it, binoculars!’ James snapped back.

A hand passed him them and James looked through. It was hard in the dim light, but the ship was glowing which made it easier. He couldn’t believe his eyes and though he tried not to believe it, the ghost ship was too hard to dismiss.

 

(Insipre by: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2017/10/15/sunday-photo-fiction-october-15th-2017/ with thanks).

The Lost Temple

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When he discovered the temple he didn’t know what to think. His mind raced with the usual thoughts; it can’t be, someone already knows about this place, it’s not new. But then as he looked more and more, shinning his torch along the walls, his head cleared of such thoughts and he began to realise what he had uncovered.

He swim deeper, forgetting the weight of the scuba diving equipment and the crushing sea water. He studied the drawings on the wall and his heart leaped. There was no doubt what he had found now. The urge to go on grew and he had to know what was the other side of the temple, but his watch was beeping and he had to leave.

He turned around and swim as fast as he could back to the surface. Breaking through the waves, he searched for the ship and found he had come up way short. He paddled over, the air tank feeling like it was trying to hold him back. Reaching the ship, he waited till he was aboard till he announced his news.

‘It is Atlantis!’ he gasped, ‘we’ve found it!’

Opal Tide (Part 2)

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Lori closed the door against the raging wind and paused to get her breath back. She turned on the hallway light and dropped her keys into the plastic bowl. Behind her Jink shook himself then began padding away.

‘Wait. Stop!’ Lori shouted as she spun around, ‘heel.’

Jink whinged, but turned around and came to stand in front of her.

‘Good dog,’ she spoke, giving him a pat then snagging his towel from the coat hook.

She rubbed him dry, clipped off his lead and waved him away. Jink wandered down the hallway and into the kitchen as Lori began sorting herself out. She unzipped and took off her coat first. Hanging it up, she dug the gloves out and laid them to dry. She took off her boots next then decided she was too wet and cold to remain in her clothes.

Going up the narrow staircase, she went to the first room at the top and changed into fleece PJ’s and slippers. Coming down again, she heard Jink scratching around his basket which was under the stairs. She went to check on him then remembered the object she had found on the beach.

Lori pulled the ring out of her pocket and took it into the kitchen. Hitting the lights, she walked to the counter and clicked on the kettle. She went to the sink and running the tap, washed the ring. The sand fell off, collecting in the metal sink before the water flushed it away. She removed the ring and looked at it. The sliver band was topped with a patterned setting which held a large opal. The crystal was speckled light blue and green though it was reflecting red and orange from the kitchen. Lori inspected it closely but couldn’t see anything else.

She dried the ring on some paper towel as the kettle boiled. Placing the set opal on the kitchen window sill, she made a cup of tea. A rumbled of thunder made her jump and Lori laughed at herself. Holding her mug, she listened to the wind and rain rattling against the back door and window. Lightening forked across the sky and before it could fade another bolt struck.

‘Wow, that’s a really big storm. Looks close too,’ Lori said.

Blowing on her tea, she picked up the ring and walked into the living room. She checked on Jink as she walked past. The black lab had curled into his basket and was staring to snooze. Shaking her head and wondering how he could switch from sheer panic to relax so quickly, she switched on the living room light and sat down on the sofa. The curtains were open and she could see the rain beating against the glass.

‘Glad we got back when we did,’ she uttered, ‘I’d so not like to be outside right now. Hope there’s no one out there on a boat.’

She placed her mug and the ring down on the coffee table then grabbed the TV control. Pressing the on button, her eyes dropped to the ring and she picked it up. The news came up on the screen, but her attention was diverted. Lori rocked the ring slowly and watched the opal changing colour as it reflected the different light in the room.

She hummed and slipped it onto the second finger of her left hand. The ring fit her perfectly. Pulling a face, she held it up and looked at it as the opal glowed on her finger. She went to take it off and found with a small twist and a tug, it easily slipped off. She placed it back on to the coffee table and picked up her mug of tea.

Her eyes flickered up to the TV screen and of a few seconds she watched a summary of the daily news. Feeling drawn to the ring, she looked down at it again. She took a sip of her tea then deciding why not, put her mug down and slide the ring on again. It felt strangely comfortable and as if she had always worn it.

Shrugging, she settled back on the sofa and drank her tea. Her thoughts drifted and soon she wasn’t paying attention to anything. She thought about her walk along the beach. The sand was soft under her bare feet and the sea gently rolling close by. Sometimes, the white tip of the wave would reach her and she would feel the coldness of the sea. A warm breeze played with the long white skirt of the dress she wore and her fingers would occasionally bunch up the cotton fabric to keep it from blowing up.

Lori made her way across the beach, enjoying the heat from the golden sun in a too blue sky. She glanced up, but due to the combination it hurt to look directly upwards. Sighing and breathing in a deep breath of fresh sea salt air, she shut her eyes for a moment. Opening them again, the scene around had changed.

A wooden ship was rocking under her. Three large white bellowing sails rose on huge masts above her and there was a flag top of them. She tried to make it out, but the wind was whipping it around too much. Turning about, she saw a small deck with a large wheel behind her. Pulling a face, Lori went to walk up the small staircase, but a splash of cold water stopped her.

Lori snapped open her eyes and her living room came into focus with Jink before her. The dog’s tongue was hanging out and he licked it across her face. Crying out, Lori shoved him away and sat up. She wiped her face and made loud disgusted noises. Jink barked and with a sigh she rubbed his ears.

‘That dream was weird,’ she started, ‘I was on the beach then a ship.’

Jink barked, interrupting her.

‘You want food, huh?’

He barked again and Lori got up off the sofa.

 

To Be Continued…

Opal Tide (Part 1)

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Lori stopped and looked down at the dark yellow sand where Jink’s tennis ball had rolled to. She picked it up and the black Labrador began barking excitedly. He pawed at the sand as if he was digging a hole then stopped and stared at her. Lori threw the ball, watched it fly against the darkening sky and land with a thud a few feet away. Jink pelted after it, leaving rushed paw prints in the sand.

Staring out across the grey ocean in the distance, Lori looked for the lighthouse. The white tower and red bricked light keeper’s house next door where behind her, balanced on the only cliff top to be found on this stretch of the coast. Her hands went to her stomach and she thought about all the work waiting for her back there. Breathing deeply, she decided to walk further along the empty beach.

The sea rolled about to her right, white topped waves thundering powerfully. The second sign of stormy weather to come, she thought. With her boots sinking into the soft sand, she followed Jink’s paw prints and whistled for him to come back. He paused, looked at her with the sand coated ball in his mouth then turned away and began shaking his head about. The ball dropped from his mouth and the dog scrambled after it.

‘Jink! Come on!’ Lori called.

She walked over, pulling back a loose strand of her dark brown hair with a gloved hand. She tucked it back under her woollen hat as the wind suddenly picked up. She shut her eyes as sand whipped around her and pressed her hands down her long wool skirt. Lori heard Jink barking and looked around for him. The black lab was bouncing back to her, ball nowhere to be seen.

The wind and sand died down enough for her to clear her throat and question him, ‘where’s you ball? Go find it!’

Jink barked, jumped up at her and covered everything in damp sand. Tutting, Lori caught his front paws and swung them away from her. His lolling, sand covered tongue tried to lick her hands, but she avoided it and carried on walking.

‘Where’s your ball?’ she repeated and pointed across the beach, ‘go get it, Jink! Go on!’

He shot off and tumbled into the sand a couple of feet ahead of her. She saw him snatch something up then race away. Lori went over and paused. There was something in the sand at her feet. She bent, thinking it nothing more than a shell or a piece of rubbish. As her gloved fingers closed over it, she felt a fat drop of rain on the back of her neck. Straightening quickly, she called the dog back to her and looked down at her palm. Amongst the sand was a sliver ring.

She put it in her pocket and turned about, calling Jink again. The lab bounded passed her, did a sharp twist and came trotting over. He dropped the ball at her feet then sat down, his tail sweeping about in the sand.

‘No more now. Home time,’ she told him firmly.

Lori kicked the ball. Jink picked it up and walked just ahead of her. She hugged into her long coat, feeling the cold wind seeping in. The rain began falling heavily causing her to pulled up her hood and hold the edges tightly with her fingers. The sea roared loudly in her ears and she stole some quick glances over to it. The huge waves were coming in fast and crashing into the beach.

She picked up her pace into a jog and aimed diagonally along the sand. Far in the distance, a white beam of light shone out. Lori looked up and saw the lighthouse light had come on. The light was circling the sea, beach and coastline. A ship’s bell rang somewhere and she all most paused to look for it but a clap of thunder moved her on.

Jink barked and rushed back towards her. Lori nearly tripped over him and her own feet.

‘It’s okay, Jink,’ she shouted above the wind.

He barked again and kept it up as he ran alongside of her. Lori fixed her eyes on the lighthouse and headed straight for it. A streak of lightening lit up the growing black sky and the sea seemed to boom in response. Aware of the ever approaching waves, Lori went towards the safety of some small dunes. The wind was thrashing the marram grass making the spikey blades more deadly.

Jink ploughed into them, before she could stop him then shot again, yelping in pain.

‘It’s okay. You’re all right,’ she shouted and reached down to pat him.

The wind blew sand up into her face and crying out Lori stumbled backwards. She fell heavily on the edge of a dune, her right arm colliding with some marram grass. She went to rub her eyes, but remembered she was wearing gloves as she felt the material brush her cheek. Tugging a glove off, she rubbed both her eyes and felt grains of sand against her skin.

A rumble of thunder echoed overhead and Jink threw himself at her. He slammed in her stomach and chest, sending Lori sprawled across the sand. He hoovered over her, licking her face with a rough, sandy tongue. Lori tried to push him away as she struggled to breath with pain shooting around her lungs.

The black lab whimpered loudly and didn’t get the hint to give her some room. A flash of lightening lit up the fear in his eyes and his tail curling between his legs. He nuzzled Lori, who grabbed his red collar and used it to pull herself up with.

Letting go, Lori tugged off her other glove then wiped her face on the hood of her coat. She pulled herself upwards, pocking her gloves and pulling out Jink’s lead. Clipping it on, they walked steadily across the rest of the beach. Lori found the stone steps out of familiarity and began climbing them. Jink scampered up alongside her then at the top, took the lead and followed the path to the lighthouse.

They passed the white electric and gas outbuilding then turned upwards towards the main house. Lori let go of Jink’s led and feeling freedom, the dog rushed up to the door and began barking. She ran after him and on reaching the door, put her hands into her pocket for her keys. Panic prickled her as she didn’t feel them. Did I lose then on the beach? Lori thought, No, there they are. Pulling them out, she fumbled with the lock then swung the door open.

To Be Continued…

The Dream Island

‘Come find me when you wake up,’ she whispered with a smile playing across her lips.

I didn’t have time dwell on her words as my eyes closed and I feel into a deep sleep. Colours swirled before me, dancing to a song I couldn’t hear.  My breathing steadied and felt my fingers releasing their grip on the soft sheets I was laying on.

Waking in the weak predawn light, I couldn’t recall any of the dreams I had had and it was almost like I’d never had a dream in my whole life. A loud rushing echoed in my ears and I eased myself up, I saw the sea stretching out to the horizon in front of me. Confused, I watched the white crested waves hitting the beach, whilst my fingers clutched at the sand grains.

I felt for my pistol and knife, but found nothing other than the rough shirt and black trousers covering me. I glanced down and saw I was wearing my well-worn leather boots. Boots I had taken off the night before as I’d gotten into bed. I pulled the right foot up and inspected the boot just to double check. It looked too much like my own for it not to be. Letting my foot drop back to the sand, I looked closer around.

The beach looked like any beach this far south, with its golden sand and clear blue sea. There was a scattering of palm trees marking the edges of some kind of jungle. I listened, but heard no call of animals or the wind. Turning back, I watched the sun raising and tried to recall what had happened.

The ship had docked and we had been granted some shore leave. It had been evening time when we had arrived and I had tripped through the small town, still feeling the swaying ship under my feet as my boots tapped on the cobblestones. There had been in an inn. My first taste of real food and beer since we had left the last harbour, the blazing fire on my back. Laughter, old tales and songs filling the air. Women. A soft bed under me, a warm body on top of me, whispering voice in my ear, ‘How do you like it, Captain?’ The pleasures of the night, waves of satisfaction, tiredness and guilt. Pulling the blanket over us and falling asleep. Her leaning into me and whispering, ‘Come find me when you wake up.’

I shake my head and push sand covered fingers through my hair and beard. Licking the inside of my dry mouth and then my cracked lips, I glance around and decide I need to find water. Standing up, I’m shaky and sand falls off me as another wave crashes across the beach. Stumbling, I make it into the shadow of a palm tree and keep going.