Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
This Sunday’s prompt is: Murky
Introduction: Sunday Scribbles Writing Prompts
Stories: Sunday Scribbles Short Stories
A couple of months ago I read a humourous post over at Bollywood Manor, where the author challenged writers to write a story based on the three words he provided. My words were:
Potentially. Exquisite. Murkiness.
I had fun trying to fit these words into a story, although ‘murkiness’ gave me more trouble than the other two.* You’re getting pirates today. I blame Netflix and too much time at the beach!
*Wordpress spell check also insists murkiness is not a word. It lies!
Onto the story!
Freya crouched behind the bushes at the outskirts of her family home and crept towards the house. Cloaked in her dark Navy uniform, she ignored the bright lights and raucous laughter from inside and took careful steps towards the balcony that surrounded the back of the house. As the sea came into view she thought she heard the floorboards creak, and she cursed and plastered herself against the peeled painted wall of the house.
When no angry shouts filtered through the windows, and the ancient wooden door remained shut, her shoulders sagged. Her tense silence was for nothing. She was undetected, for now. She measured her next steps with even more care and continued towards the back of the balcony, where she paused to take in the view. Fog rolled in over the sea and shrouded the dock in mystery, but despite the murkiness the ocean was as exquisite as she remembered.
As she squinted to try to spot the end of the dock a childhood memory danced across her mind and prompted a smile. Not much had changed since the days she’d led her brother on missions to protect the neighbours boats from imaginary pirates, aside from her deteriorated relationship with her family. Her own fault, for going against her parents wishes. She’d chased dreams of a future in the Navy. Dreams that’d come true, potentially. If she passed training.
No. There was no question. She had to pass. To captain a ship with more finesse than her own captain, who’d led an assault against pirates and gotten most of their crew killed. Her brush with death was why she was here, where she hadn’t dared tread in thirteen years. She wanted her parents to know she was doing it. If they still refused to support her at least she’d have closure.
She clasped the pendant around her neck, an old medal from her father’s navy days, and took one last glance at the sea before she spun around and strode up to the back door. This, home, meant everything, and she hoped her parents would give her somewhere to come home to.
Fist raised to knock, she was taken by surprise when the door was flung open and three bearded men in loose shirts strode out. The cutlasses hanging from their belts caught her attention, and she frowned. Her parents would never keep the company of pirates…
She was about to push past them and investigate when they strode through her as if she didn’t exist. She gasped, but not one of them turned. They hadn’t heard her. They hadn’t seen her. They’d walked right through her as if she were nothing, and an unpleasant feeling twisted in her gut. ‘What happened to me?’
She didn’t have much time to wonder. Another man, far more handsome than his companions with his long leather coat and hooped earring in his right ear, appeared in the doorway. His hearty voice boomed across the balcony. ‘Ten years, boys!’
Freya leapt to one side to avoid the unpleasantness of her non-existence as the man strode onto the balcony. His cutlass gleamed in the moonlight as he passed by her instead of through her. What was going on? Had she died on her last mission? Why were pirates at her house?
‘Aye!’ one of the pirates yelled. ‘To Captain James, the most villainous pirate on the seven seas!’
The motley crew of pirates clinked together weathered bottles and downed the contents. Footsteps sounded in the doorway behind them and a hand appeared on the captain’s shoulder, attached to a man nearly identical to Captain James. Freya blinked. They could easily be twins.
‘My brother,’ the man said with pride, ‘Who didn’t hesitate to run his cutlass through man, woman, and child to secure us the most profitable outpost on the coast.’
‘Well, I wouldn’t go that far,’ James replied with a wry laugh.
One of his crew gestured to the rickety house. ‘Story goes you skewered the family that lived here mercilessly.’
James smirked. ‘Aye, that I did. But it wasn’t without hesitation. I stopped to let them pray first.’
Freya’s eyes narrowed, and she flew forward to clutch Captain James by the collar. Her fingers went right through the thick material, but he frowned and brushed at his chest as if he’d felt something. Freya frowned. If she could just get her hands on him she could make him pay.
‘Breezy tonight,’ James said, and Freya swore his eyes lingered where she stood for a few seconds before he nodded towards the docks. ‘Perfect time to set sail.’
‘Aye Captain!’ his men replied.
They filtered off the balcony and along the thin wooden jetty, their laughter echoing around her. Freya didn’t hesitate. She tore after them to join them on their ship, which sat flying skull and crossbones where her family’s private ship used to. Pirates. Pirates who’d killed her family.
Freya stood at the bow of the ship and gazed out over the murky fog surrounding the harbour, deep in thought. If she could stand here without falling through the deck, she could learn to touch another person again. She had no choice but to try. Revenge must be her unfinished businesses, and the only way to end this ghostly existence was to get it. Captain James had stolen her chances of going home. For that? She’d make sure he never saw his again.
Thanks for reading!
I’m toying with the idea of a writing sequel next week, from the pirate captain’s point of view, but I’ll see where my muse takes me next!
Why not write a short story or poem based on a prompt?
The prompts for May are:
One word not enough? I post expanded prompts weekly on Pinterest:
‘A murky fog crept over the beach. The heat of summer faded, but still they walked towards the sea…’
If you use one of the prompts, feel free to share your story links below.
Feeling creative? I also run a weekly hashtag game on Twitter, #sunscribbles, where you can share one-off lines or quotes from a #WIP around the weekly prompt!
See you next week!