A New Occupation

In Fiction on March 13, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Zanzibar sunset

A New Occupation

The algae bobbed in the water, deep crimson and ragged, as if the gore of the fighting—the blasted bits of men lost to the war—were riding in upon the tide. Damian spat and looked across the bay. Far afield, lit by the setting sun, men worked the rigging and walked the decks of the warships, readying them against the rising wind.

Tabor’s no war vessel, boy, so if you’d rather ship out with that lot, get yourself cut in half by cannon fire, now’s the time to choose.”

Damian turned to find a man watching him, bespectacled, with a scraggy beard and bulging paunch.

“Of course, you’re just as likely to get cut in half aboard our ship,” the man continued, “there just won’t be no enemies involved. You follow?” He smiled broadly and extended his hand. “Vasos Dekel, first mate. Come aboard and I’ll show you to your quarters. Unless you really have changed your mind.”

With that he laughed and strode off toward the end of the wharf. Ahead was a lone merchant vessel, a three-masted barque, shadowed and unrigged in its mooring.

Tabor,” Vasos explained. “Ninety-three feet with a displacement of 75 tons; 28 souls to her crew, after the three we lost last week. You’ll make it 29.”

Vasos led Damian up the gangway and down into the forecastle. The interior was dark and smelled of musk.

“She’s empty now,” he said. “Men are all ashore—‘cepting the captain—whoring and the like. You should do the same, when we’re done here. It’ll be long enough before you see a whore of any quality again.”

Damian stopped.

“I’ll have nothing to do with whores,” he said.

Vasos studied him a moment, a faint smile stretching his lips.

“I dare say you’ll make a queer sort of pirate, then,” he said. “What brings you to us, again? Did you say?”

Damian scowled.

“I didnt,” he said. “Nor will I.”

I’m back on the Trifecta wagon with this week’s post; the prompt, Time (as in, the appointed hour). Lots of good stories this week, so head on over to Trifecta and check them out.

Comments and criticism below will be given three cheers.

  1. Man, a “whore of any quality”? Distinctly not a career choice I want anything to do with! Great descriptions here.

  2. This is great. Excellent story. Really really good. My fave this week so far. I really like this, drew me in immediately and made me want to know more about this guy, what’s his secret and why is he getting in with a pirate ship? I want to know more.

  3. You’ve set Damian up well. I’m curious about what his story is and what led him to a pirate ship in the first place.

  4. The scene was beautifully set – I just wanted to read on.

  5. Ooo now I really wanna know his back story! (:

  6. Fantastic opening sentence. Great setup, I’d like to read on, really nice writing.

  7. You always do a very good job of taking us to places and times that we have never visited before and you do so believably. Your details al seem to ring true and your dialogue is always spot on. Another nice job and like everyone else you left me wanting more…

  8. Great writing! I am completely sucked in. Both characters are interesting to me, in different ways. I’d really like to read more.

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