Welcome to Sunday Scribbles!
This is the second short story I’ve written this month, and it’s so nice to be writing again 😀 This one’s based on the #sunscribbles Twitter prompt, Message, and the images below. Enjoy!
Message in a Bottle:
Never, in a lifetime of piracy, did Lazurus expect he’d be running away from danger. Every day of his life, from the moment he’d taken his first breath to the night he’d killed his brother, he’d been a fighter, a survivor. A man who’d sooner cut off his own hand than be called a coward.
Now, though? Now was different. He had something more than his life to lose. A reason to run.
He clutched the scroll to his chest as he fled the destroyed barracks. It wouldn’t ensure his own survival, but it was still worth running for. For Flint, who shone a light on all his transgressions and forgave even the most unholy, Lazurus would run to the end of the world.
Flint commanded the war ship Anastasia and saw the good in even the most loathsome of creatures, (especially the Kraken in the harbour, with whom he always shared his lunch!). It was chance that brought them together, a clash of wits over his brother’s corpse, and destiny which led them to meet again in a tavern, Flint off-duty and recovering from a critical injury.
Three hands of poker was all it took. Even with the spells Lazurus slipped into the deck, Flint won, and his dark sense of humour and excellent taste in wine made Lazurus consider giving up life under the Black Flag. After their first night together, a month later when the winds of fate blew them together again, his consideration turned serious.
Flint had a hold on his heart, and helping him achieve his goal of a fair and just world for all became his number one preoccupation, to the point his crew turned on him and stranded him on an island colonised by the very people Flint, and himself, he supposed, opposed.
He muttered a string of familiar syllables and flung a hand out behind him. The bushes either side of the dirt track stretched and grew, obscuring his escape. For now, at least, until his pursuers brought out the dogs. He had to get away, fast. Because if they caught him? They would shoot him, no questions asked.
His chest heaved as he forced his weary legs to pick up the pace, bemoaning days at sea where weeks went by without the need to jog, let alone run as if your life depended on it. If, no when, he made it out of this alive, he’d join Flint’s training sessions. They were brutal, but at least he’d have a better chance of survival the next time he ran into trouble like this.
The shoreline emerged ahead, crystal waters reflecting moonlight, and he breathed a sigh of relief and longing. If he could just reach it, he’d be able to outrun them. Except… No!
The longboats were gone, and even his ship, once proudly reaching for the moon and flying skull and crossbones, was missing. A piece of debris floated ashore and hit his boot. He bent to pick it up. No, not missing, sunk. His crew, it seemed, had paid for their treachery.
His eyes slipped closed, but he didn’t shed a tear. They’d been questioning his decisions ever since he’d run his brother through, and even more so recently. The real problem was how to get a message to Flint with his ship a wreck at the bottom of the ocean.
He strode along the shore, boots sloshing in the water to leave no scent for the dogs to follow, and ducked inside a small cave. Pausing to lean against a rocky wall, he sipped the last of the ale he’d pilfered from the barracks and frowned at the empty bottle. Perhaps… Yes.
A message in a bottle. The only thing they’d never notice, or think to intercept. It was his only option. He unrolled the scroll and scribbled a hasty addendum to the bottom.
When you’re safe, come find me. I’m stranded on Kilaria.
He rolled the parchment up tight, slipped it into the bottle, plugged the bottle with the cork, and flung it as far as he could into the churning seas. A few whispered words later, it glowed amethyst and changed course against the current, homing in on wherever Flint was right now. Lazurus hoped he got the message before the assault on the fortress tore him to pieces.
He settled against the cave wall, and with a wave of his hand he sealed it off from the beach. Message, warning, sent, he did the only thing he could do whilst awaiting rescue, and a chance to fight back. He pillowed his head on his arms and slept.
Thanks for reading!
In line with my Nano July resolution I’m writing whatever I want to. This is the result 🙂 I adore pirates and magic and feel like this deserves a sequel, with a happy ending of course!
Share lines with #sunscribbles every week on Twitter, or write a short story based on the prompt and share a blog link.
Next week? June updates and July plans 🙂