desperate passage

Avatar Author: wilw I'm just this guy, you know? Read Bio

June, 1875

The Inscrutable rocked gently in the harbor. Ropes creaked and strained, as gray water and cold rain splashed against the hull. Her captain looked across the rail at the hopeful few who had made it past the barricades, and now waited on the dock. Smoke, gunfire, and the stench of death blew off the mountains behind them and toward the sea.

The passage was deadly. Pirates, disease, and the sea itself threatened all who attempted it. But those who hoped to flee the island knew that Inscrutable had made it a dozen times this year alone, and that was as close to guaranteed safety as they would get.

The first mate, a burly man called Boah, joined him. “We have room for 20, Captain Leer. Maybe 30, depending on how many are children.”

“Get 50, but take the desperate ones last,” he paused and smiled, “and charge them double.”

Boah nodded, walked down the ramp, and selected his passengers. It didn’t take long.

As he walked back to the ship, he was stopped by a tall, pale man.

“Passage. Please.”

View this story's details


Comments (9 so far!)

Average Reader Rating

  1. Avatar wilw

    I kind of cheated and wrote a sequel to this already, but I hope that each part works on its own, and provides very different turning points for other writers who want to explore this world a little bit more.

  2. Avatar Melia

    It’s not cheating :) It’s just “going with the muse.” Nice to see you back Wil. I love the names you chose for the characters so far, unusual yet completely fitting.

  3. Avatar dkscully

    I love the mood and atmosphere you’ve created here.

    Also, there are some good jumping off points both forwards and backwards.

    I know what you mean about writing sequels to your own stuff feeling like cheating, though!

  4. Avatar wordwill

    You love to start on the verge of a voyage, don’t you?

  5. Avatar ALRO613 (LoA)

    This one can really set the tone for a dark voyage.
    The ship’s moniker is very appropriate.

  6. Avatar NinjaChicken

    Nice, concise, great descriptions & a cool-fun read. Loved this line:

    “Get 50, but take the desperate ones last,” he paused and smiled, “and charge them double.”

    Nice job!

  7. Avatar Valerie

    Intriguing :)

  8. Avatar nachtwolfe

    aahh, the little wheels have indeed start to turn in my mind for a sequel for this piece wil. great atmosphere – let me see where my muse will go with this one :) – he can be very unpredictable :)

  9. Ahfl_icon THX 0477

    Boy, that’s a lot of comments. Dastardly turn there with the double-charging the desperate ones. I like how it changes the captain from savior to opportunist without a lot of undue fanfare.

This story's tags are