Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Opening to Longboat

After sending this around to various magazines without success, I'm entering it into the L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Contest.  Haven't done that in awhile.  Not to toot my own horn, but I last entered in 2005 with a YA fantasy piece and it made it all the way to the semi-finals.  Huzzah!  This is a dark fantasy/horror piece entitled "Longboat."  I'm just posting the opening few paragraphs (about 240 words) here for your amusement.  :)

Two glittering specks hover over the bow of my longboat, like moonlight reflecting in dark glass.  I tell myself they are dim stars, or the fizzling lamplight from the sinking brigantine some fifty yards ahead.  I can almost believe it.  Until they blink.

Those flecks are not stars.  They are not candlelight reflected on the water.  They are the wet and watchful eyes of whatever monster brought us to this lightless world.  I am the only one left alive.


Yesterday morning—at least I think it was yesterday—I awoke heaving my guts into the ocean, watching slimy green threads connect my mouth to the water through watering eyes.  The retching held me captive for several minutes, my gut clenched so tight I could not even draw breath.  When my stomach finally released me, I collapsed against the hull and sucked in great lungfuls of the clean salt air.  The cold Atlantic wind blew over my flushed cheeks and eyelids, relieving my nausea for a time but doing little to ease the terrific pounding in my head or remove the sour taste of vomit and absinthe from my tongue.

I didn’t have to open my eyes to know I was no longer aboard the Raven.  I was in the longboat.  Again.  I had only the dimmest recollection of breaking into the liquor shipment with the third mate and punching the quartermaster in the mouth when he tried to take it from us.  Damn.

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