A set of short stories that I am now writing as firstly, little exercises of writing, and secondly, as a series of short stories that are connected. I'm not sure of what rating they should have. Perhaps PG, but its not overly gory or anything like that. It is in third person, as it is my favorite style of reading and writing, and I think best allows the reader to become enveloped in the story. Hope you enjoy it
The Lost Boat - Blue and Black Chronicles Story One
'Hold on, Will!' Edward cried, knuckles white as he gripped the sides of the small wooden boat.
'I am holding on!' his crewmate snarled in response. The older man barely managed to keep onto both oars when the next wave came. This one was smaller than the last but it still had the strength to hurl the boat into the air.
Edward braced himself for the inevitable impact. When the moment came, he scowled as a shiver of pain ran up his spine. If this perilous voyage was going to continue any longer, he was sure his back would never recover. It simply hurt too much. Indeed, he half-wondered if he'd cracked a bone or two. It wouldn't be the first time he'd borne such an injury. When he was a lad, he had suffered a broken shoulder from a tumble out of a tree. But he couldn't be sure if the pain he felt then could compare with what he felt now.
'We're not going to survive this!' he growled when they suffered the wrath of yet another big wave. 'This storm is going to kill us!'
'Just keep a lookout and shut up!' Will shouted. Wind blasted his wet grey hair about. He spat water out before he added, 'So long as we stay in the boat, the weather will soon leave us and our ship will be able find us!'
'You can't believe that!' Edward exclaimed miserably. 'We've been dragged by the ocean for half a day and we've seen nothing but water! Trust me,' he added sharply, 'the GreyMajesty is gone. The Captain probably thinks we're dead!'
He stared despondently at the black evening sky above. Rain hammered his thick limbs like arrows, wind howled in his ears and his clothes were soaked through. He longed for a hot meal and a fire, but more than anything, he wanted to go home to his wife. He had only gone to work on the GreyMajesty galley to get some money for their little boy, but with the way things were presently, he doubted he would ever see either of them again.
'Careful!' Will warned him, his brown eyes narrowing so that his wrinkled face creased like ancient paper. 'We've got a big one coming up!'
Edward didn't see the wave come as much as he felt it. Indeed, it was almost as if they flew for a time before they landed onto the water once more.
The landing caused Edward to feel more pain. He grimaced and muttered a curse at the dark clouds above. As if the sky mocked him in return, he spotted a flock of birds soaring under the blanket of blackness, seemingly oblivious to the weather. He sighed then. How he wished he could fly like them.
'Will this ever stop?' he asked dejectedly, now facing his crewmate.
Will only shook his head. 'This next one will probably take us if we don't get our balance right, and-' His words were cut off when a massive wave pulled the boat under the water. For a few seconds, they remained submerged before luck had them back on the surface.
'Are you all right?' Will asked, shivering.
Edward heaved a sigh. 'I'll be all right when the Stars see us home.'
'Now that's strange,' Will said, eyeing something behind Edward.
Edward turned to see what it was. Far in the distance, he saw a shadow of movement that slipped across the water. It had to be a ship. Could it be that the GreyMajesty had found them?
'It's not ours,' Will said, seemingly aware of Edward's thoughts. He paused. 'Actually, I'm not sure what it is.'
'Can we concentrate on surviving?' Edward groaned. He looked at the water and was shocked to see that the waves were calming down. Even the rain appeared to be slowing. 'Maybe it's going to be over,' he muttered hopefully.
They had to endure another handful of incensed waves before his words rang true. Then it was as if a hand had put out a candle. The rain stopped, the wind faded into whispers and the ocean had become as serene as it was able.
Relief filled Edward and he allowed a smile to spread across his face. 'Okay, you were right. Now, if we can find the GreyMajesty, we'll be fine.'
But Will wasn't paying attention.
'Will?' Edward called him. 'Will, what's wrong?'
The older man put a finger over his lips. 'There's something not right here.' He turned his head into the direction of where the vessel had been. 'They should have hailed us by now.'
Edward shifted around to get a better look. It was hard to see much of anything, what with the state of the cloudy sky and the sea's grim reflection of it. But he managed to make out some details. He saw that it was a galley, a longboat with around forty oars spread out as if they were halfway through rowing but for some reason they had stopped. Silhouettes of her crew could be seen across her decks. Some of which were working on the galley's single mast that boasted a large square white flag. Red symbols were etched into its material, but in the evening's grim darkness, Edward couldn't make out what they were.
'Maybe they're Eight Faction folk,' he suggested. 'You know what they're like.'
'I don't think so,' Will disagreed.
By this time, the sea had settled into a near stillness and so Edward took advantage. With a weary heave that caused his back to scream, he got to his feet and scanned the flag of the galley once again. This time he was able to deduce what those symbols were but he wasn't sure if he believed what he was seeing.
'Is that a boot and star?' he asked carefully. He rubbed his back with one hand and propped himself up with the other.
'I think so,' Will concurred.
'But that's a flag for Hallavan,' Edward pointed out. Hallavan had been renamed to Hajeska over two hundred and fifty years ago. To see a ship bearing a boot and star rather than Hallavan's hammer and star was like looking at a ghost of the past.
'Yes it is,' Will agreed.
'But what does that mean?'
There was a pause. 'It means we shouldn't be here,' Will replied warily. 'Why don't you sit down and help me row? We might be able to get some distance away from it if I start now.'
'Wait! This might be the Stars giving us a chance. If we have a look, we might find food on that ship or at least something that might help us,' Edward protested. 'After all, we won't last on this little boat forever.'
Will took a breath. 'We'll have a look then,' he conceded. He didn't sound too happy about the idea.
As they grew closer to the vessel, Edward began to make out more details of the ship. Overall, the vessel looked to be in good shape and the people on the deck seemed to be working her well, except… not one of them moved. At first, Edward wondered if his eyes played tricks on him but then he realized his error. Clearly, a ship as old as Hallavan's name could not hold its crew for so long. So then he expected to see skeletons aboard but even that proved to be false when he saw one near the galley's bow.
'Frozen,' Will finished his sentence for him. 'All of them are covered in ice.'
Edward sat back onto the boat. 'It isn't that cold though.'
'No, it isn't,' Will agreed grimly. 'Well, not that cold."
There was a splash nearby. Edward moved around the boat to inspect it but he saw nothing. 'What was that?' he muttered, scanning the water's surface.
Will shrugged his shoulders. 'Maybe it's a fish?'
There was another splash. This one was closer.
'I can't see anything,' Edward grumbled. He leaned back and groaned at the pain he felt at the base of his spine. 'Should we try and catch it?'
Will sighed. 'What with? And even if we did catch it, how would we cook it?'
'Maybe there will be something on the galley we can use,' Edward suggested. He heard another splash of water. Then another. And one more. 'There must be a few of them.'
There was a clatter and Edward turned to find out what was really happening. He frowned then picked up the broken frozen bird that had fallen from the sky. The bulk of its form was iced over and hard, even where its legs and wings had snapped off and shattered like bits of glass across the boat.
'Will, what's happening?' Edward asked his crewmate, as he stared at the broken bird with trepidation. When the man didn't respond, Edward moved over to him and presented the bird. 'Look at it, its frozen solid!' He looked up at the sky, fearing more birds would fall.
Still, there was no response. Panicking, Edward looked down and put his hand onto the man's shoulder. 'Answer me then!' he shouted, shaking the man. The movement broke Will's arm clean off. Will didn't so much as make a sound.
Horrified, Edward dropped the arm and the bird, and jumped back. Both frozen pieces of flesh shattered upon impact.
'Will?' Edward cried. 'Will!'
As if to taunt him, the galley drifted past and her crew was presented in their icy splendor. Each one was frozen in place. Some seemed to be stuck in poses of horror as if they knew what had happened to them in their final moments and others looked to be oblivious.
As quickly as he could, Edward scanned his surroundings, hoping to find something that could explain this terrifying phenomenon and perhaps a way to avoid it. However, all he could see was a relentless ocean, a dark sky of clouds and statues of men who stared at him accusingly. Even Will's eyes seemed to shine with hatred when Edward looked into them.
It was then when he felt a tingling sensation in his fingers. He lifted his hands up to see what was wrong. He gasped. Ice traveled over his fingers and spread across his hands and up his arms. Screaming, he tried to brush the ice off but that only caused two fingers to break off. He tried to move his legs, hoping that he might evade his fate if he jumped into the water but he couldn't move. The ice had spread through his legs too and now it was closing around his chest. He squealed a shrill cry as he stared up to the sky, begging the Stars for mercy. The last sight he saw was of a frozen bird heading right for him.