Friday, June 17, 2011

The Dark Lady's Captain

Fog scrapes the streets of San Francisco. I hide in the pier's fog northwest of Ghirardelli Square. Footsteps clomp in the shadows, quick, two-stepped things, out of sync. I flinch and approach the waterfront. The fog is thick like a suffocating pillow.

A triple-masted boat, something out of yore, bobs in the harbor. A skeletal figure curls its bone fingers. I shiver, but the footsteps near. No place to hide, I board the boat. The skeleton's wrist so thin it reminds me of the girl in the park. An unnatural beauty that needed to be bleached.

The wood creaks. The skeleton disappears inside the cabin. Buildings float past, fragments of images as if the city was the cloud and not the fog. The skeleton's cabin is labelled "J. Ripper".

Bony hands erupt through the door, shards of timber falling around me like my victim's blood. I'm pulled in. I land a punch in the ribs, bones break. My back screams as I'm slammed against a bed.

"I've earned a rest. You've earned the captaincy." The skeleton drops his tricorne hat on me.

Outside the window, the tide pulls our ship away. "My lambs."

"No more." The skeleton fades.


  1. Poetic justice, there! Well done, matey!

  2. chilling story, but I guess he deserves it.

    also: "The fog thick . . ." feels like it is missing an "is"

  3. @FAR & @Craig, glad y'all enjoyed.

    @Sonia, I'm not sure I'd wish this sentence on one, but your right he deserves it. Thanks for catching the is... I must have tried too hard to get this down to 200 words.

  4. Eerie and surreal, Aidan, leaving it entirely neat and still one of the shortest #fridayflashes of the entire week.

  5. Eerie is right. Looks like the narrator is "It" now!

  6. Arrr!
    Very sharp. The speaking skeleton seems wise, depsite not have any guts... yes, I tried a 3rd grader joke.

  7. Very ominous piece. The skeleton pursuing him is very fitting.

  8. One way to pass on a job title, I suppose. Very creepy.

  9. @John, just like a good glass of whiskey.

    @Mazzz, yep, one game of tag to stay away from.

    @Cambron, LOL, a wisdom earned over more than a hundred years.

    @Lara, yes, to borrow Cambron's attempt at humor, beware the skeleton's in your closet (or sometimes boat).

    @Icy, most of us hopefully never have to worry about this promotion.

  10. Very cool -- I liked the mix of historical and sort of semi-mythological. Great atmosphere, and -- as usual from you -- a very satisfying piece of a bigger story. Particularly liked that sinister, 'My Lambs.'