Thursday, 26 September 2013

Landing dock
A picture says a thousand words. Write them.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a critique about this picture. Write something about this picture.
Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

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“Alanna!” her father shouted. “Incoming!”
“I KNOW!” she shouted at him before she muttered under her breath, “You can hear the thing coming a mile away.” The airship was running hard and loud; if necessary they could be almost silent.
Smaller airships were sent to the other platform; theirs was for larger ones but there were few of them these days because of the war and how dangerous the skies were now. She knew this ship. It was the Bennu and she knew the captain of this one, too. Cheeky bugger. Always flirted with her. Offered to fly her away from all this; as if she could ever leave? Her father depended on her.
“Alanna?” a voice called from the rigging over the side as the airship approached.
“Evelyn?” She was the second in command of the ship.
“You got a first aid kit? Our supplies are depleted.”
She caught the mooring rope and tied the airship off. The rear line was in her father’s capable hands. “Hang on.” She ran to grab the first aid kit before she clambered up the rope that was dropped over the side and aboard the ship. Normally she would have asked permission first, but she was in a hurry today.
“Who’s hurt?” She almost didn’t want to ask.
“It’s Peter. Gut wound.” She paused as she swung down to the deck. “It’s bad and we don’t have time to wait around for him to heal.”
They had already dragged him out of the cabin. He lay on the deck looking smaller than he usually did. She rushed over and leaned into his face. When he didn’t acknowledge her, she knew he was very ill.
She hurried over to the side and looked for her father. He was negotiating the mooring fee with the purser. With some kind of extra sense, he glanced towards her. His face asked the question.
“H-he’s hurt,” she said.
Her father patted the shoulder of the purser and moved quickly towards her. “What do you want to do?” He looked up at her, trusting in her decision.
“Can he stay here?”
He sighed. They both knew what harbouring a fugitive meant. “Evelyn?” he asked.
“We can be back in three weeks.”
“He’ll die being out of the air for three weeks,” Alanna said.
“He’s close enough to the sky, here.” Evelyn jigged her head at the windmill sails. “Almost there.”
“E-evie?” Peter croaked. Alanna thought he was mostly unconscious. He was just raving. She put her hand on his forehead. He was fevered.
“I know,” Evelyn said. She looked just as concerned as Alanna did.
“Get him inside,” her father said. Crew leapt to help carry him.
She stripped him down, bathed him, and blanched at the scars on his wiry body. His shirt stuck to the angry wound. She cleaned it and stitched it while he was passed out and then painted it in honey, just as her mother had taught her.
It looked like a sword slash to her; across the stomach. He was lucky to be alive and not holding his spilled guts in his hands. She covered it with a clean bandage and mopped his brow with cool water infused with herbs. Her stash would need replenishing. She had tried to grow them in tubs on the platform but the weather was too erratic.
She fed him broth when he could manage to swallow it.
On the third day his fever broke and he fell into a much more restful sleep. She felt confident enough to leave him alone and check in on her father.
“I got young Tim to help out.”
“The boy from the village?”
“He doesn’t know we have a guest?”
“No, he believes you have taken to your bed.”
“It is occupied.”
“Yes.” He frowned. He still wasn’t happy about it. “Is he ...?”
“He’s on the mend. Asleep now.”
“Good. The sooner we see the Bennu’s sails, the better.”
She didn’t agree. She wasn’t sure what to hope for.
That night, as she fed him his broth, his grey eyes were heavy upon her. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing.” She fed him another spoonful.
“I can feed myself, you know.”
“I know.”
“But I like you to do it.” He almost had his rascally gleam back.
The next mouthful, he licked the spoon. His tongue darting out of his mouth to touch it.
“Stop it,” she groused at him.
“Tell me.”
“I’m worried.”
“Ask me anything. I’ll be honest with you.”
“My half sister.”
“Oh.” And after she had thought for some seconds. “Oh.”
“Honest,” he repeated.
“Right. Thank you.”
A spoonful.
“The war?”
“We are not winning... but we are not losing, either.”
“What will change that?”
“I am not sure.”
Another spoonful. He studied her.
The next spoonful, he touched her arm; brushing his fingers very gently down her skin.
She sighed.
“Alanna,” he whispered.
“Don’t. You’ll just heal and leave.”
“Come with me.”
“I can’t.”
“You could if you wanted to.”
“As what?”
“My wife, if you wished it. My partner if you do not.”
“You mean that?”
“I am no airman.”
“You could be; you are halfway there.”
She chuckled. “That’s what Evie said.”
“Please, Alanna. I can’t make you co-captain, that’s up to the crew, but you could be my partner in other ways.”
“You’d share your spoils with me?”
His face twisted. “Yes,” he chewed out.
She smiled at him. He was a pirate at heart.
“Because I adore you,” he added. “It kills me every time I fly away and leave you. All the treasures in the world mean nothing compared to you.”
“You really mean that.”
“Why didn’t you tell me before?”
“Oh, but I did. Just not out loud.”
She thought about it. He always had gifts for her. Silk scarves from far off lands, perfumes from the Orient, small carved animals that he swore he had seen running below the airship. Even the honey she had slathered on his wound had been a gift from him.
He seemed to understand that she wasn’t completely convinced. “I nearly died. I don’t want to waste another day doing what is seemly; I want to do what is right.”
He reached out and took the bowl out of her hand.
She still held the spoon. She clung to it.
“Alanna?” he whispered. “I need an answer.”
He tried to sit up and groaned with the effort.
“Stop it! You’ll rip the stitches.”
“After you put so much effort into stitching me up.”
“Yes, so don’t wreck it.”
He fell back on the pillows, breathing hard with the effort.
She touched his face; her hand cradling in against his jaw. He leaned into her hand. His eyes... they were pleading with her.
“Yes,” she whispered.
He smiled at her but he was so exhausted, he passed out.
She pulled the blanket up and tucked it in around him, brushing his hair out of his face. He was still a rascal and a pirate, but he was her pirate. She knew that now.
© AM Gray 2013

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