Friday, 17 January 2014

Flash Fiction: Dog Star Peacock

So I've got the writing monkey stuck to my back again and boy is she bossy; not content with my improved efforts at writing my own stories she now demands I try a Chuck Wendig Flash Fiction challenge. To stop her scratching my face off or eating my ear, here's my first 2014, 1000 word story. It was another pick two random numbers to come up with a title and I got:

15:Dog Star

13: Peacock

Okaaaaaay… Bit random but I like a challenge. Hope you enjoy!

Dog Star Peacock

Thursday 28 August 1725

The winds are gone and the men are restless. These damned seas are silent. A fight broke out over the water rationing so I instructed my second Mr. Ealing to store what we have left in my cabin. I have the only keys. Those responsible for the fight were flogged in front of the others. One man, who killed another in the brawl, was thrown overboard; I will not have murderers on my ship.

Friday 29 August 1725

It is unclear how much longer we can continue. A week gone by and barely 5 knots done. Mr. Nibbens, on night watch in the nest, reported seeing a light on the horizon but there is no land here. I’ve removed him from watch duty. The men have started telling each other tales of some pirate known as “Dog Star” to lift their spirits. From what I recall he is known mainly for leading lost ships to fortune and glory by seeing the stars no matter the weather. A myth no doubt or else greatly exaggerated. I have told Mr. Ealing to discipline any man wasting his time on stories.

Saturday 30 August 1725

The light Mr. Nibbens reported has been seen by all and is shining through my cabin window. It’s an odd blue glow coming from a Western bearing, cascading over everything it touches. I have instructed the men to oars, winds be damned; if this is land we need it. One of the men jumped ship today, screaming about sirens. He was drowned before we could reach him. Please Lord let this light be your kind hand guiding us to salvation.

Sunday 31st August 1725

We came across an uncharted small island where the light was coming from. The light stopped as soon as the watch cried land. We reached land mid-afternoon and of all the things to find we came across a lone woman. She names herself Henrietta Peacock, marooned there a week ago by pirates. She wept and the men all agreed she would be travelling with us, despite the known ill-luck women bring to ships. Even I must admit this woman is a vision; raven black hair and a dark tanned complexion around the brightest green eyes I’ve ever seen. She directed us to food and water. Restocked, we plan to set sail tomorrow morning. I have no doubt the Lord himself has sent us this angel to lead us home.

Wednesday 3rd September

The weather has improved markedly and the change in the men is clear. Mr. Ealing and I have entertained our guest as much as we can but she asks to remain by the bow, looking at the figurehead or at sea. It’s as though she’s looking for something. I have witnessed some of the men speaking with her and they seem well pleased. I must confess to being surprised at their politeness; this crew were not of my picking and so far they have been rough and rude at every turn. But the change in them is a relief; we may make it back to port in time for our delivery.

Sunday 7th September

I am perturbed. Though orders are being filled I sense the men are not themselves. They have grown quiet and too polite. Mr. Ealing believes I am imaging things. I suspect our beautiful guest has something to do with it. She has an unnatural way of looking at you in the dark, long past the hour a woman should have retired. Her eyes have a glow I do not like.

Monday 8th September

I have become certain that Miss. Peacock (if that is even her name) is not what she says she is. Today I saw her talking to deck hands and walking among them as though she was one of their own. Despite my protests she has started assisting the cook Mr. Tawson. He assured me a woman’s touch was just the thing our meals needed. But my insides twist with a deadly certainty; this woman is unnatural. I have seen her speaking to the sea as though it can hear her - and it responds! Our way became clearer upon her words. It is against God to tolerate a witch. We are only five days from port; she will be in chains before we get there.

Wednesday 10th September

I write this from the life boat, headed to port, minus my crew and ship. Yesterday in the early morning I was awoken by four crewmen storming my room. They bound my arms behind my back and covered my head with a bag. Once I was on deck it was removed and of all people there was our very own Miss. Peacock, smirking at me. She offended my eyes by being dressed as a man, with a sword by her side. She said my services were no longer needed. I replied she needed a beating and was met with cries of “we’ll kill you first” from the crew. They were all bewitched by her. I stated as much and was struck by none other than Mr. Ealing. He said the crew were no longer under my command and would follow Captain “Dog Star” Peacock where she chose. The audacity of the woman; to wear that moniker for her own benefit.

The men were calling for my death, but Miss. Peacock refused. She ordered them to place me in a boat and send me on my way, unbound and unarmed. As the boat was lowered she threw down my logbook and pen and ink, saying she looked forward to the new legend I would write. Is there anything worse than a deluded, arrogant woman? I hope to reach land in a day or two, with the favourable winds that have moved me on far faster than I had hoped. Then we will see how much longer this “Dog Star” can run from justice.

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