Category Archives: Interludes

Interlude: I Saw Three Ships

Friday eve I met with a Hodgepodge gang of writers for a an evening of dining, no whining, and writing. We ate waffles, with their accompany of sides. We also went around and talked about our individual projects, and brainstormed trouble spots in a few of the stories. We then tried a writing prompt based on a photo. My story did not flow as well this time. I stared at the blank page trying desperately to summon…something. Finally, a combination of things happened. I thought of the Christmas song “I Saw Three Ships”, I remembered a line from a book “It’s always two hundred years in the stories”, and then in my head I heard the voice of a nine-year old Irish boy. In these prompts I have been experimenting with different view points and styles that I have wanted to try, but haven’t in my previous writings. I will resume the research posts after this, but first, here is the picture, and my short story in its entirety.

Dream with me.  Once again. by anndr

Every year I watched and waited for the ships to come sailing in. Me mam told me all about them growing up. No one knows exactly where the ships come from, or why they only visit our planet once every two hundred years. They travel in fleets, bringing wealth, magic dust, and books filled with stories from the other realms. But, most of all they bring hope. It is said that they are angels, sent to give us help when it is most needed. That is why I am sitting on the docks in the middle of winter. I’ve never known a year so filled with trouble. The crops were bad this year, many have lost their jobs, and are starving. The worst of it though, is ma da left mam and me. I don’t know where he went, Mam won’t tell me. She says I’m too young yet. I’m not sure what that means. Adults are always hiding things. When I grow up I’m gonna tell ma kids everythin’. Mam says that he will come back one day. I asked her when, and she sighed and told me for heaven’s sake not to ask her any more questions. So, I asked her again.

“When the ships come in”, she replied. I don’t know why she said like she doesna believe it’s goin’ to ‘appen. But, she’s an adult, they have so much sense echoing in their heads, they sometimes don’t have room for belief. I believed that they ships would come. They always come when our world needs hope the most.

So, here I am, sitting on the docks…but, I guess I’ve already said that. I guess I should explain instead that the docks I’m sitting on aren’t like the docks on earth. Or, what I have heard of them from the elder’s stories. We don’t travel on the sea anymore; the whales did not like it. They said we over crowded them. They threatened to start a war, but by that time our Governor had already decreed that we were to take to the skies. Our people built the long wooden docks on the edges of cliffs, so that our air crafts would have plenty of room to float, and would not hurt the other. The wood is smooth and cold beneath me. I can feel it through the thin fabric of ma breeks. A strong wind blows over my face. I close my eyes, and breathe deeply. I feel the cold air opening my lungs. I hold out my arms, and pretend that I am a crew member on one of The Ships sailing in.

“Matthias, ye’ll catch yer death if ye stay out here.”

I turned to see Lucille ambling towards me. Lucille is one o’ ma best friends, even if she is a girl. She turned twelve last week, and thinks she knows everythin’. I would never admit it to her, but I don’t really mind her knowing things. She tells me all sorts of things that the adults never want to.

“I don’t mind if I do. I want to see the Ships”.

“It isna possible for you ta know that The Ships are comin’ today” she stated as a matter- of- fact.

“It is to! I looked up the last date that The Ships were here, and it is exactly 200 years ago today.” I stubbornly fixed my eyes on the horizon. She sighed, and sat down beside me. She hated being wrong.

“How long are we going to sit out here? It’s cold”

“Then go away! I’m staying til the ships come!”

“You don’t have to be so touchy about it”, she huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. Girls! Why did they have to be so annoyin’?

We were out there for ages and ages. My fingers turned blue, and my teeth chattered. Finally, I gave up hope, and bowed my head.

“Let’s go! They arena comin’”

“Wait! Look on the horizon! What is that?”

At first it was a glimmer, which turned into vague shapes. Which turned into a fleet! The Ships had come!

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Interlude: Writing Prompt with Erin!

Here is a short story based on the following photo.

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Oxygen. Yes, oxygen that is the thing I need. I feel the need for it burning my lungs. It’s dark, and I can feel the current pulling me along. Which way was up again? I can feel my limbs moving, striving to desperately find the surface. A seed of panic starts in my stomach and slowing grows until I feel it paralyzing every limb. Not yet I pleaded to the darkness, I need more time. Don’t take me yet.  Consciousness is slowing slipping away. I can feel it on the edges. How strange it is to feel one’s consciousness slipping, and yet still be so aware of what is happening. My mind presented facts to me coldly, plainly, sharply.

My limbs are growing tired, and they resist my minds incessant order to move. The water feels thick and heavy, alternately warm and cold. One last reach, and my hand has broken the surface. Hope renews my energy and I double my efforts.

The first gasping breath is almost painful to my tired lungs. The second was better. I wipe the water from my eyes, and try to catch a glimpse of my surroundings before another wave crashes down on me. I cough, and lift my eyes to the grey sky. The clouds are a dark ominous green, with veins of yellow and black coursing through them. Lightning strikes and highlights their color. The wind picks up and beats relentless at my face and hair. I was thankful, not for the first time that I had cut it before setting out on this mission. Everything about this weather bade me unwelcome. Maybe it was a mistake to have come, but to have turned the council down would have been a worse fate.

Anya, don’t let them take me!

I pulled myself into a ball as the young voice echoed through my mind. Oh Natalia!  She was only six. What could the Betrayer want with such a one?

That isn’t who he was after, you know it isn’t. He wants what you stole. A life for a life, the debt has not been paid.

I tried to shut the voice out of my thoughts; I had to get to safety. I had no time for the demons in my head.

I turned in a slow circle, gasping when I saw what was before me.

It was a castle made entirely out of black metal. Smoke plumed from one of the many turrets in a manner that suggested it had always done so and that it could not be bothered to change now. The windows were dark and were framed by metal twisted in an ancient pattern. Marble stairs led from the shore to its iron gates. They were open in a silent dare to enter.

Tired as I was, I had to get out of there. I was too exposed and vulnerable in the ocean. Taking a deep breath, I dove beneath the surface, and struggled to move my aching body in the direction of the castle.

Move with the current, not against I floated a moment, trying to judge which direction it was moving. Once found, it was only a matter of moving with it, and focus on holding my breath and then letting it out in moderated increments. My feet strike land, and I surface.