Other stories for this prompt

"Helluva storm, Joe," I say.

"Ayup," he says shakily, gazing out into the fog. His uniform is wet through and he's a-startin' to tremble. It won't be long before he can't hold on to the beam no more.

"Shore wish you ain't cut the riggin' there, Bob," says Dave. He's on the end, Dave is, hangin' tight to the canvas. A good gust o' wind gonna sweep him away.

"Oh yeah, everythin' be my fault," I complain. How was I to know? You tell me that. How was I to know the riggin' be the on'y way down?

"Too bad...

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Four men on the port were looking for a penny stuck in the sails. It was the 4th Annual Whale Hunting Organization of America's Penny Party. Hidden somewhere on the great masted ship was a penny and there was a great amount of backslapping and thumbs-upping to whoever found it. It was generally a nice evening, plenty of deep flavored drinks flowing. Gave everyone something to think of fondly, and drunken stories to recount through the long winter months ashore before the ships went out again toward Greenland, toward the Horn. The first year, the penny (different penny) was pinned...

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He'd escaped.

And not in the usual way.

Home from school at 7:30pm, another long day of detention for crimes uncommitted (who ever did anything really deserving detention – and when has detention been worse than the alternative. Questions he wrestled with with his head on his desk) – home long after sunset, he pressed his head against his pillow and cried.

The tears awoke the empathy of the waters in the room. His fishbowl grew stormy. A glass of water shuddered with tsunami. The poster of the ship on the wall erupted in gale and he could feel the lash...

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I clung to the mast as the sea tossed them from wave crest to furrow and back again. This was not what I'd thought it would be when I volunteered to document the tallship's maiden voyage.
The curse of the weatherman'd struck at the worst of times. The forecasters had confidently predicted firm winds but that the real storm would happen far south of the ship. They'd proudly proclaimed fair weather for the day's sailing with winds at our backs and sun overhead.
I wondered what they thought, staring at their radars and maps, tallying numbers, crunching data. Did their...

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The waves crashed into the enormous ship and smashed mightily into the sides, reducing them to no more than sodden firewood. Men clung to the sails and mast as the captain yelled, "Abandon ship! Abandon ship! Lord have mercy on us all!"

And the first few men who obeyed their captain were lost forever to the ferocious seas, pulled down by the weight of the ocean, by the fierceness of the waves as they rolled and rocked and never stopped moving. The rest were too afraid to leave the confines of what had been their home for these many long...

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All I could do was stare down at the text book and pretend that I was listening to the class going on around me. I just wanted to be free again. I flicked between the pages and the past documented in the battered book. I wonder if when those sailors set out that they even thought for a glimmer of a second that their whole adventure would be covered by a short paragraph in a 10th grade history book and a photo that barely even grasped what their lives were like and how tragic that journey was. I knew that...

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About the prompt

Originally displayed on:
September 08, 2010


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