Thursday, June 18, 2009

Aquaphobia

Prompt: Include this line in your story – “Your character closed his/her eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped”

This story will appear next week as part 3 of "The Fishing Trip" in our ongoing online adventure series of The Astonishing Adventures of Captain Juan - co-written with Paul Anderson and Jodi Cleghorn. Check it out if you want some background on the scene played out below.

Bruno sat sullenly in the tiny boat, gripping one of the oars and threatened to crush it with the force of his resentment. Matthews sweat soaked shirt stuck to his back as he balanced inside the sway of the vassal and extended his hand up towards Ruby as she clambered down the slimy rope ladder. Her hand shook as she took his and gave a grim smile, her eyes flicking between the hostile glares of the other two crew members.

Bruno and Pietro began pulling long strokes with their huge shoulders as soon as the pair settled into place. Ruby had opted to hitch her skirt high and leave her shoes behind and sat uncertainly in the middle of the boat as the water sloshed about her.

“Pat the fish won’t you Bruno!”
“Make sure you name one after me!”
“Give one a kiss Pietro!”
The mocking cries of their shipmates followed them as they sped toward the small rocky outcrop; the only indication there was a coral reef lurking below.

Brunos dark face imploded with further anger as the jeers reached his ears. He expended his emotions on getting the small boat away from the ship as fast as he could; wishing with every stroke he was aboard lighting the fuses to the home-made bombs Calisto had spent all night preparing.

The teasing shouts soon turned to delighted whoops as the first one exploded. Peitro and Bruno exchanged a wistful look as they imagined the others collecting the floating fish and preparing them for drying and salting on deck.

Bruno grunted. “Saves us having fish guts in our fingernails.”
“Might have been an improvement on your smell”
Bruno put the oar down and launched a misaimed kick at Pietro, his mood darkening again.
“If you don’t mind, I am sure the Captain wants us back in one piece.”
Mathew glared at both rowers. Ruby clutched the sides of the boat as it rocked and fearfully looked at the water lapping about the edges.
“Not much further now signora.” Matthew patted her tense hand.

Although not perfectly flat, the tiny ripples on the surface only intensified the beauty of the wonders which began to rise up underneath them.

“Let us float about here, but not too close to the rocks over there Bruno.”

Bruno grunted again and kept the oar dipped in the water, waving it slightly to shuffle them about.

Matthew brushed his hand down Rubys arm and attempted to free the fingers still gripped to the side of the boat. “Lean over and watch the fish. You promised the Captain you’d write about it.”

Rubys ashen face peered hesitantly over the side, the sheen of fear begotten sweat beading with that of the heat.

She marveled at the spiky coral, waving tendrils of seaweeds, fish peeping in and out and began to relax with the rhythmic bobbing of the boat.

“Its beautiful. I would never have imagined.”

“You can swim can’t you Signora?”

“In streams and small ponds, but never anywhere as vast as this. I fear I will be swallowed up.”

“Never a truer word spoken Singora."Bruno nodded, "Tis Godless to be swimming. We were never meant to.”

“In that case.” Matthew stripped off his shirt and slid into the clear waters, grinning at the shocked faces of Bruno and Pietro.

He lifted a dripping hand towards Rubys chalky face. “Come on in – you’ll see the fish and the coral much better from here.”

Ruby looked at the stormy face of Bruno and the incredulous look Peitro gave her and then down at her dress.

“Its not like I aint seen it before”. Bruno sniffed. “I’ll turn me head if you want to act all prissy. Once you’re in the water no-one can see anything anyway.” Bruno slapped Peitro and they both turned toward the ship.

Ruby looked down at Matthew; terrified and entranced.

“Jump! Come in and see the fish in their world. ….I won’t look either” as he turned about.

Ruby looked at the back of Brunos head towards the ship.

“I doubt the captain has his spy glass lookin at you if that’s what you’re thinking.” Hawking again Bruno spat as far as he could into the distance between them.

She flung her dress off , closed her eyes, took a deep breath and jumped. After the initial shock of the temperature of the water, she giggled with delight as she luxuriated with the freedom of the buoyant water about her naked body.

“Ruby, over here!” Matthew sprayed droplets of water as his arm raised out of the water gesturing wildly.

They watched a large school of fish thread their way around the coloured coral.

“Thank you Matthew, this is a truly a gift from the goddess herself.”

A deep boom reverberated inside their chests as it pulsed through the water.

“I’m glad I’m not in the water closer to the ship. Poor fish. They’ll have killed a lot with that one.”

Indiscriminate shouts rose from the ships direction.

Another boom shattered the scene.

A flurry of oars as Bruno kicked Pietro awake. “Get into the boat we have to get back to the ship, its under attack.”

Matthews tall, lean figure slid easily into the boat. Bruno plucked Ruby out of the water with one arm and set her unceremoniously into the boat. She shook with both fear and the cold as a slight wind wove lazily around her. “Attack? By what?”

Brunos face set into a grim line as he pulled the oars in quick succession.

“Pirates.”

10 comments:

James Ashelford said...

You deliver a great hook at the end of the piece with the attack. It works well after the calm of the rest of the scene.

What I liked most, though, was the signora's simple joy at swimming. I suppose I'm just a sucker for that sort of scene.

My own humble submission:

http://eclecticchair.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/fiction-friday-reyes-angel/

William said...

Always enjoy your writing! Mine is here: http://thanihaveeverdone.blogspot.com/

anandserpi said...

(Bruno grunted. “Saves us having fish guts in our fingernails.”
“Might have been an improvement on your smell”)

my fave line! Very cool story. Looking forward to read the rest of it.

check mine :

http://anandserpi.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/clarks-secret-identity/

jabblog said...

Most unexpected ending and very topical.

gigidiaz said...

The fish under the fingernails is fabulous!
I loved it.

Here's mine!

http://gigidiaz.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/finally/

dan powell said...

Pirates!!!! Great cliffhanger after and suitably charged after the sedate nature of the swim.

thirteenthdimension said...

Nice work. I liked that they were concerned about the fish that were killed with the first explosion near the ship. Good cliffhanger, too.

strattonm said...

Good stuff and great fun. The sheer joy of swimming was wonderful to read.

kajoemanis said...

as always, I loved how you wrote things descriptively but not boring!
The story paces are written smoothly and it gave me a hit as I approached the end of the story: a pirate attack.

Readers can read mine:
http://tyuditha.wordpress.com

Uncle Tee said...

Very nice. I like the charactors and the scene.

Mine:

http://uncleteebooks.blogspot.com/2009/06/fiction-friday-june-19-2009.html