Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Livewrite: Ferryman of the Damned

Anonymous submission
place where I was born
Mud puddles

The sound of pelting rain, it never failed to fall when it was most unwelcome. Curt tugged up his collar of his jacket in a gruff manner. Giving a heavy sigh, he ran through the streets of the coastal city of Davenport. The streets barren of anyone living that didn’t have to be out in the pouring rain, soon he would be out of this mess and back to his ship. The new goods had come so quickly from the seller, his crew had hardly set foot onto land before they were wanting to shove off again.

 His thoughts yanked back as he misstepped and sank ankle deep in mud. Falling forward, his right arm came into contact with another puddle as the mud oozed through his fingers. With a growl, Curt wrenched free his arm and foot. The rain making it no easy task and further soaking his clothing.

 “Great, juuuust great.” muttering as he shook off the muck. The squishing of his boot sounded just above the din of the rain falling. Home after warm home and inn he passed, tempting him with a place to hole up until this mess of wind and rain was over. But, duty called and he wasn’t getting paid to sit comfortably on his ass in a warm hut. After rounding yet another switchback in the streets, the port was in view, his ship, Mari Toth, bobbed in the waves.

Image result for public domain sargo sailing ship

A smirk crossed his face once he got closer to the warf inns and saloons. The sound of revelry whispered like a siren’s call. He could imagine his men trading slips and tokens for drinks and the touch of soft pleasures, oh how he desired that. A gust of wind whipped surf into his face as he looked up. One of the crew was looking over a soaked manifest near the ship. His expression sour, Curt knew instantly that this was not a job he wanted to be taking.  His crew were standing around with large eyes and the ship was strangely quiet enough to hear the small harbor ripples hit the side of the massive ship.

“Dirk, that expression says it all. What’s the issue?” He rasped out. His voice had cracked some time ago from a nasty habit of his, smoking meraweed. Always relaxing, but the coarseness of the smoke never failed to destroy one’s voice in the end. Not that he cared, it was one piece of life he could take pleasure in.

“Yous ain’t gunna like dis job, cap’n.” Dirk spat out and shook his head, shoving the manifest over to Curt. “We’s bringin’ da whole ting to Silvahpowaht.”

Snatching the manifest, his eyes scanned the sheet quickly. Mud running down the sheets and covering them in a thin layer of grime. Twenty-five goats, thirty sheep, sixteen barrels of fish. Not much of anything, he thought. Turning the page, Curt’s eyes grew wide.

“There’s no way.” His voice in disbelief.

“Oh, you’s bettah, cap’n. I din’ at fuist eithah, but it’s dere.” Dirk drawled out as he took back the manifest. "It took everyone plus the riggers delivahing the thing.  Yous caew be still in a bit of shock."

Letting out a deep sigh, Curt ran a hand through his rain-soaked hair. A chill ran through him, opposing the typical heat given off by the tropical climate they currently were in. Making his way up the gangplank, the boards clapping under his feet were sturdy as ever. Giving a quick rub over his eyes, he bent over the nearest barrel on the deck of the ship. He was many things, and had been called many more in his lifetime. Thief, crook, womanizer, ruffian, and even slaver at one time. But this was a whole new level that not even the slips to be won from a galleon would have swooned him over.  This cargo was too much, he had to see it for himself.

Before he even gained vision of it, he was making his way over to the hatch to go below deck. He knew this ship as well as he knew his own body. It was a machine and living thing. It breathed with the crew running about it and him at the helm. He knew every step of the creaking ship, every nail, every board. Grumbling, he made his way past another set of steps and went down one more set into the main cargo hold. The door was bolted and shut so no one but those with keys could get in, as he rummaged through his key ring, his hands shook. Nervousness about what was beyond this door filled him with dread. Even though Silverport was his original home, he rarely wanted to go back, and especially with this kind of cargo! What fool would sail into port with such a delicate and dangerous cargo?

“Apparently me,” his musing seemed to find him the right key. Sliding it into the keyhole, and swiftly turning it, his hands rested on the bolt. Giving out a heavy sigh, he resigned himself to looking inside. As the door opened, his fears were confirmed. It was true.

A large yellow eye stared at him from the floor, the beast was huge that it filled the entire hold. Curt slid inside and let the door swing ajar. Clutching his own chest, he put his back to the wall and slid down it to sit on the filthy floor. Tears mixed on his surf splashed face.

The blue dragon was muzzled and chained to the floor, it’s wings clipped to its side with chains and spikes alike. Scars ran all along it’s body, some old and some new. Blood dripped onto the deck that was covered in dirt, dragon’s blood was precious you know. It was pathetic looking, but broke his very soul. Grabbing his hat off his head, Curt slid it to his mouth and bit down hard, trying anything to keep from crying out in horror and misery of what crime he was about to commit against such a beast.

He was a slaver once more, ferryman of the damned.