April 2013 Writing Contest- Pirate Theme


PirateIt’s that time again for another monthly writing contest.  This time we are going with a pirate theme! Get out your thinking caps and come up with a story that takes us all on an adventure.

You will have until April 28th at 7pm (EDT) to submit your entry. On the evening of April 29th, I will announce the finalists for the contest. There are typically three, but if more than ten entries are submitted, I may allow four.  Several judges will be helping me select the finalists, but the ultimate decision of who makes it through the first round is my decision.  After the finalists have been announced, all eight judges will have two days to vote for the stories they believe are the best via private email to me. I won’t participate in the second round unless a tie-breaker is needed.  The results of the voting will be posted on the evening of May 1st, along with the winning story.

*As a reminder, the first and second place winners will each receive a prize.  First place will receive a $20 Amazon gift card, and the runner-up will get a $10 Amazon gift card.  Both will receive them after the winners are announced on May 1st. First place contestants (who are authors) are also eligible to have their book cover advertised on the front page of this blog.

Now, here are the stipulations and rules.  Follow them closely or you will be disqualified!

Stipulations

1) The theme is pirates.  Your story should revolve around them in some kind of confrontation or adventure (modern, futuristic, or historical).

2) The following words must be included in the story (they can be made plural or the tense changed as needed):

a) Thunder

b) Gold

c) Rum (must appear at least three times)

d) Sail

e) Key

f) Pistol

g) Fire

3) Word count requirement: 700-1500 words

*Note- Be sure to proofread your story before posting.  Make sure it is broken up into easy to read paragraphs (approximately 3-5 sentences each).  You must have a title as well.  These elements work in your favor during the selection process.

General Rules:

1) No extreme language. Light profanity is acceptable.

2) Making me laugh will gain you favor in my selection, though it isn’t a requirement. All genres of writing are welcome (if you are erotica, try to keep it mild unless stipulations call for it to be otherwise).

3) Post your story in the comments section of this post. Do not email it to me.

4) Ensure you include your name (even if it is only a first name or nickname) and a title for the story. Neither of these go toward word-count.

5) Anyone who has won a prize in any of the last three months is not eligible for a finalist position. They can submit a story if they wish, just for fun, but they cannot win.

6) Any story submission posted here can be posted elsewhere AFTER the competition is over. The only thing I ask is that you put a disclaimer saying that it was written for a contest on this blog (a link back here would be nice).

7) Must be your original writing that has never been published or posted elsewhere prior to this.

8)You are allowed one edit where you can amend one sentence in your story after it is posted.  Contact me prior to the contest closing date/time and specify exactly what it is you want changed.  The judges will be watching these stories closely as they come in so I would recommend you request changes as soon as possible if you have them.

9) Anyone may enter the contest  but must be able to receive an Amazon gift card from an Amazon site that is in English (they are not transferable).  I will convert US currency to the currency of the Amazon country site requested, based on current exchange rates.

10) Finalists will be chosen by several judges and me.  Winner and runner-up will be decided by a panel of eight anonymous judges where I will only cast a vote if there is a tie.  Each judge’s top selection will be awarded one full point.  A half of a point will be awarded for their second choice.  Voting totals (without the judges names) are announced along with the winners.

——————————————————————————

That is everything you need to know.  Come back on the evening of April 29th to see which finalists have been selected.   Judges (all of which were chosen for their impartiality) will be given two full days to decide on which stories they believe are the best, but everyone is welcome to leave comments encouraging their favorites. On Wednesday evening, May 1st, I will announce the winner and runner-up.  They will both receive their Amazon gift cards via email that day.   Good luck!

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~ by Suzie on April 13, 2013.

16 Responses to “April 2013 Writing Contest- Pirate Theme”

  1. A Rum Sailor Tale
    by Blackbear*
     
    A rum sailor war he, who signed on ta sail on the Golden Thunder. Two months out, as they sailed through the keys, they war attacked by pirates. Fir his part, he fired his pistol true, an’ killed a boardin’ buccaneer. Searching the pirate, the only thing he found of value war a bottle of Barbados rum. When the fight war over he found a secluded corner, an’ enjoyed the rum. He meant to write a lot more words, but the rum got the better of ‘im …
     
    * No relation to Blackbeard

  2. As a special treat, here is a second story to disqualify:
     
    Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum
     
    Pooh, the Disney Edition*
     
    “Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me” repeated, seeming endlessly, punctuated by the sound of fake pistol fire, as they sailed along the submerged tracks. Normally Adrian wasn’t one for slow rides like Pirates of the Caribbean, but the dim light was the key that let him pull out his hidden bottle of Bacardi Gold Rum and take a swig. Disney rides always went better with rum. The rum was settling into his veins as the ride ended. “Let’s do Big Thunder Mountain next,” roared his companion, Brent.
     
    * Pooh, of course, prefers mead …

  3. Pirates, Pistols and Dead-in Jobs

    Jill rushed through the mall but slowed down a tad when she almost knocked a toddler over in her panic to reach Chips and Fish Ahoy. She couldn’t imagine what had her best friend so upset. Over the phone there had been a longwinded rant about pirates, booty and gold. Heather was usually a very calm person, a little ditzy, but calm.

    The moment Jill finally had the restaurant in sight, the movie theater located next door began emptying of patrons. Instead of everyone moving on and out of the way most of them stopped to chat in large groups as if none of them had anything better to do than hang around in the mall hallways for the rest of the evening. She had to shove her way through the crowd to finally reach the doors of the fish restaurant.
    She pushed through the double doors but stopped in the entryway long enough to search for Heather. It would have been easier if the place hadn’t been decorated to resemble a tropical island. Ferns were hanging from the ceiling throughout the entire place and if that wasn’t bad enough they were also in planters behind each booth.
    When she finally located her petite friend, she was waving like a manic from behind a potted plant. To stop Heather from creating so much unwanted attention Lisa hurried over and slid into the booth with her. Lisa settled into the hard bench and immediately checked out the Chips and Fish Ahoy cashier. “So that’s the guy you think looks like a pirate?”
    Both Jill and Heather look over toward the medium height college age kid working behind the fast food counter. His most outstanding attribute was his teeth. They were so white that if the lights in the restaurant had gone out for any reason the place would have still had enough light to eat by.
    Heather sighed loudly and rested her chin cupped between her palms. “Isn’t he adorable?”
    Jill squinted to study the guy again. Maybe her contacts need cleaning because while she had to admit he was cute, she just couldn’t picture the clean cut blonde as a pirate. “Exactly which pirate do you think this fire-cracker looks like?”
    Heather fluttered both hands in the air as if swatting away flying bugs. She finally choked out, “Remember that movie we saw last summer?” In her quest to think her eyes rolled so far upward the only thing visible now were the whites of them.
    It was hard for Jill to admit but her best friend wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. “You might want to narrow the selection down for me a tad. We saw several movies last summer.”
    Jill crossed her arms across her chest and waited as Heather tapped out an entire song with the heels of her shoes. It might have been annoying if it hadn’t been such a lively tune.
    Finally, after several minutes of tapping and thinking, Heather slapped a hand onto the table top. “It was called Fire, Rum and the Gold Pistol or maybe it was called Gold Rum, Thunder and the Pistol on Fire.” She wiggled her fingers in the air like she was conducting an orchestra and nodded so hard her hair actually fell out of its ponytail holder.
    To forestall any more of Heather’s unfruitful and lengthy thought processes, Jill nodded as if she knew which movie her friend was talking even though she didn’t have a clue. “The one with the sail boat. Wasn’t it stranded somewhere near Key West with a trunk of gold or something? Maybe it was just a trunk of skulls.”
    That statement only made Heather furrow her brows again. That was never a good sign. They had been good friends since first grade so Jill was well aware of the fact that if her friend tried too hard to dig any information out of that tiny brain of hers they could very well be there all night. Jill waved a hand in front of Heather’s face to get her attention. “It really doesn’t matter. If you think the dude looks like a pirate that good enough for me. You should go up there and ask him his name. You’re not going to make any headway with him sitting over here behind this potted fern.”
    A look of horror crossed Heather’s face. “My mom would never let me date a pirate.”
    Jill blinked and stared opened mouth at her friend. She finally shook the cobwebs out her head and stuttered. “But he’s really not a pirate. He’s working the lunch hour shift at Chips and Fish Ahoy. Your mom would be thrilled to pieces for you to finally be dating a guy with a job. I don’t even think she would mind very much that he smells like fish and hush puppies.”
    Heather waved her arms and hands in the air as if she was directing an orchestral. “I can’t take him home. My mom would have to install a new alarm system and she wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.”
    Jill just knew she was going to regret asking but she had to anyway. “Why?”
    It was then everything went to hell in a handbag. Heather stood and said of the top of her lungs. “Because he’s a pirate!”
    Every eye in the fast food joint turned in their direction. Jill smiled and waved at a little boy with a French fry hanging out of his mouth. She was now thoroughly mortified. She stood and hissed through clenched teeth. “Will you sit down? You’re making a spectacle out of yourself.”
    She almost had Heather talked into sitting down again when her friend pushed her backwards and shouted. “Don’t you see? He’s working the cash register. He’s going to steal them blind. I have to go get help!”
    All Jill could do at that point was watch Heather run from the restaurant. Jill took refuge behind the potted fern as Heather pushed through the double doors and sped out of sight.
    She stayed there hiding not knowing if she should hide there until the place shut down for the night or is she should wait and try to discreetly sneak out as soon as the coast was clear again. She was so busy pretending to be invisible she didn’t notice when the clean-cut blonde slid into the seat in front of her.
    “Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum, Matey.” He was smiling so broadly his blue eyes had all but disappeared into a series of deep laugh lines.
    All Jill could say to that was, “My friend thinks you’re a pirate and she’s gone to get the police.”
    He grinned and winked devilishly. “I get that a lot.” He stood and offered his arm. “I’m off work for the night and there’s a new movie starting in twenty minutes. You want to go with me? I’ll buy you popcorn.”
    She stood and took the offered arm. “The movie with pirates, pistols and rum?”
    He grinned. “That’s the one.”
    Lisa nodded toward the door. “Let’s get out of here before the police show up.”
    They only made it a couple of steps before Heather returned with a mall cop in tow. Lisa nudged the not-pirate toward the ladies restroom and when he wasn’t moving fast enough she shoved him through the door.
    The moment the door closed behind them the blonde cashier waggled his eyebrows at her. “Does this mean that I’m going to get lucky?”
    Lisa stared at him without answering. She opened the door again just a little and took a quick peep around the edge of it to check to see if the coast was clear or not. All she could see through the tiny crack was the back of the cop’s hat so she quickly closed the door again. She leaned on it and studied the good looking guy standing in front of her. “What’s your name, Skippy?”
    He offered his hand for her to shake as if they were at a business meeting or someplace formal instead of a dirty ladies room. “It’s Jack. Jack Sparrow, but you can call me, Hook.”

  4. “A Piratey Potion”
    Charity Parkerson
    961 words

    Thunder rumbled in the distance, warning of the upcoming storm. Randall stared out of the front window of his shop, Cruz Apothecary, watching as his fellow business owners scrambled to haul their sidewalk fare indoors.
    In New Orleans, it was impossible to predict the pop-up thunderstorms that accompanied the heat of the summer. Personally, he loved the sounds and smells of such a storm, but then again, as a wizard, he didn’t sell his goods outdoors.
    A flash of lightning lit up the sky, followed closely by a loud pop, almost as if someone had fired a pistol. The street plunged into darkness as the electricity failed against nature’s fury.
    With a sigh, Randall lit a few candles and gave up any hope of doing business today. The fire danced above the wax sticks and bounced off the rainbow-colored bottles that lined the shelves, causing a twinkling light display to play upon the walls.
    Randall allowed his mind to empty of all thought as he stared at the show. It wasn’t often that he was able to become one with his surroundings.
    The bell jingled above the door, pulling him from his meditation, and his breath caught in his throat at the first sight of the beautiful woman.
    Dressed in a yellow sundress that fell to her knees was a soaked red-haired goddess. The wet material hugged her every generous curve. She fought to close the umbrella that had only managed to keep her hair dry and nothing else. With a growl of frustration, she tossed it to the side.
    “Bloody thing,” she cursed, glowering at the still open umbrella, and causing him to smile.
    Her smooth foreign accent rolled over his skin. He couldn’t place the origin, but he loved it.

    “Are you in need of shelter from the rain?”
    At his question, she smoothed down the front of her dress as if attempting to remove invisible wrinkles, and only managed to draw his gaze to her hardened nipples. Tearing his eyes away, he made a valiant attempt to look her in the face.
    “No, actually, I’m looking for a potion. I’m Rowena, by the way,” she added as she moved to shake his hand.
    Randall found himself mesmerized by the way her lips shaped each accented word, and he tugged the lapels of his white lab coat closed with one hand to keep from embarrassing himself as he shook her outstretched hand with the other.
    “I’m sorry. What did you say you were looking for?”
    Her green eyes flashed with humor at his question as if she knew the effect she was having on him. “You know; a tonic, a brew, a remedy,” she expounded.
    “Ah, well,” he said, clearing his throat. “You’ve come to the right place,” he answered, releasing her hand. “What concoction do you seek?” Randall asked, making his way over the laden shelves. “I have everything from pain relievers to protective spells.”
    “Pirate removal,” she answered with a decisive nod.
    “You wish to remove a pirate?” Randall asked, sounding like an idiot even to his own ears.
    Rowena’s curly hair bounced and her dangling gold earrings moved in time with her head as she nodded. “Um-hmm, that’s what I said.”
    “As in Blackbeard, sails unfurling, yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum?” Randall acted out his question with a bent elbow robot dance that ended with him standing like the captain on the front of his favorite brand of rum.
    Rowena followed his motions with her eyes as if patiently waiting for his mind to catch up with the situation.
    “Exactly,” she agreed. “I’m talking the whole ‘Where has all the rum gone?’, ‘scurvy dogs,’ and ‘argh,’” she said, ending with her finger curved like a hook.
    Realizing that he was still standing like he had a little captain in him, he dropped his foot and shrugged. “Sure, I have a spell for that, but you’d need a witch or wizard to perform it for you.”
    Randall took pride in his ability to spot another magical creature from a hundred feet away and he knew that this woman was no witch.
    “Tell me what I need and let me worry about acquiring a spellcaster.”
    Pushing his glasses up his nose, Randall inspected the woman closer. There was something about her. She wasn’t a witch but neither was she mortal. It was a puzzle.
    “Let’s see,” he said, relenting. “Some acorn oil and Goldenseal for protection and luck,” he mused aloud as he collected the bottles and searched for more. “Monkswood to redirect your enemy and a lemon for cleansing.”
    With all the items needed to perform the spell gathered in his arms, he headed toward the register. “Would you like a lime today also, to bring peace of mind?” he asked over his shoulder.
    “No. I have everything that I need right here,” she answered, snagging the back of his coat. With a tiny nod of her head, Randall found himself moving through the realms. The smell of the sea and the taste of saltwater hit him before his vision cleared. Even with those details against him, he still held out hope that it wasn’t true, but when his feet touched the unsteady deck of an Argosy, he knew his worst fears were true. It seemed he was to be the final key in ridding Rowena of her troublesome pirate, he realized as the bright red coat, shiny black shoes, and silvery hook came into his line of vision. At least she had the decency to blush as he turned his accusing eyes her way.
    “You could have, at the very least, allowed me to chop this lemon before expecting me to fight a damn pirate,” Randall growled under his breath.

  5. You opened the door for a sequel, Suzie, so I thought I’d write one for fun.
    (Everyone likes a sequel, right?)

    A Tavern In Nassau
    Paul Venderley

    The room was dark, and smelled of the sea, and smoke, and vomit.

    It seemed to Kirk that a brilliant shaft of light slammed open a door at the far end of the room, until the silhouette of a small boy shouted: “The Maiden’s Revenge is in port!”

    From behind a different door, a low voice like far-off thunder repeated the name of the ship.

    “Yes, sir!” replied the silhouette. “Just now!”

    A blubbery man with hair as greasy as his grey apron and brown pants limped into the room. “Get to Rosalie’s and see what girls she’s got to send our way!” he ordered. “Be sure to get Carmen for Captain Roberts.” The silhouette darted off.

    “Bean!” A small, disheveled boy popped up from behind the bar. “We’ll need more rum. And bacon. And eggs.”

    The boy dropped back behind the bar. The fat man limped across the rough wooden floor, stoked the fire, and surveyed the room. Kirk immediately focused on a splinter lodged in his palm, attempting to make himself as inconspicuous as possible.

    “Oy! Who are you?”

    “Me? Um, Kirk.”

    “How’d you get in my tavern?”

    “Oh! Well…” Kirk waited a moment for an acceptable answer to come to him. “I — don’t — know.”

    The innkeeper strode to Kirk’s table. “Don’t know?” he thundered. “Have you been in my rum?”

    “No, no!” Kirk protested. “No rum.”

    Kirk endured the man’s withering glare as best he could.

    “You a minstrel, then?”

    “Huh?”

    “The lads’ll like a jolly tune to drink to. What songs do you know?”

    “Um…” It occurred to Kirk that explaining he was not a minstrel would cause more trouble than being a poor one. He sang:
    “Just… sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip.”

    The innkeeper grunted. “You’ll do. But I warn you. Last minstrel who played poorly for these lads found himself on the wrong end of a pistol.”

    “I’m afraid I can’t take the job.”

    “Don’t back out because of what the master says,” said Bean, appearing next to Kirk with a tankard of cider.

    “It’s not that, it’s… my — instrument — broke.”

    “Is that all?” the fat man roared. He pulled a key from his apron and tossed it to Bean, who used it to open a trunk behind Kirk’s bench. From it, Bean removed a worn, weathered fiddle with a stained and slightly bent neck, and handed it to Kirk.

    “You just happen to have an extra fiddle lying around?”

    Bean shrugged. “It was the last minstrel’s.”

    The door blew open to reveal the silhouette of a tall, lanky man. He stepped into the room, found a table in a corner, and sank into the chair beside it. Bean appeared next to the table with a tankard. The man grasped it, softly sighing: “That’s a lad.”

    He had long, brown hair made dark from oil and gunpowder, and frosted with grey like the salt foam that limned his faded brown coat. A pale scar lanced down his right cheek, cutting through his uneven beard. His coat was tattered like a sail after a storm. Kirk could see the hilt of a dagger poking out from a coat pocket. A pistol hung from a sash on his belt.

    The man caught Kirk studying him.

    “Got a new minstrel, do you, innkeep?” he called out.

    “Just came in today, Captain,” the innkeeper replied.

    The captain tossed a gold coin Kirk’s way, then placed the pistol to the left of the tankard. “All right. Play.”

    Kirk picked up the fiddle and adjusted the strings, trying to remember the violin lessons his parents had made him take. He hummed a few notes to himself, drew the bow across the strings, and prayed.

    Whether the captain liked the tune or not, Kirk couldn’t tell, for a group of sailors arrived like a summer squall. Instantly the captain’s demeanor shifted. He shouted to these men, joking and encouraging them to grab rum for themselves, ordering food from the innkeeper. A group of women burst in shortly after, shrieking with laughter as the men caught them in their arms and swung them around.

    Kirk adjusted the fiddle on his shoulder and scoured his memory for a new song to sing.

    “Yo ho, yo ho…” he began.

    “Oh, I wouldn’t be singing that if I were you,” said a familiar voice at his elbow.

    “I was wondering when you’d show,” Kirk said.

    “And I was wondering when you’d try to leave this place,” Ferguson replied.

    “Why not?”

    “You, with a tenuous grasp on what a tune might be, playing at being a minstel in a room full of pirates?”

    “No. Why not sing that song?”

    “You find pirates on the high seas. Not on land.”

    “But you just said they were…”

    “Listen, Yank. You get in trouble for privateering nowadays. To acknowledge their deeds will condemn you, and them, of acts treasonous to the Crown. You’d be hung in a fortnight if they didn’t slit your throat here and now.”

    “What? Where am I?”

    “Nassau. Inn called the ‘Little Feller.'”

    “I wanted to go to the Bahamas for Spring Break!”

    The leprechaun shrugged. “It’s Spring.”

    “Is that the only doggerel you know, minstrel?” shouted the captain. “I’d not given you a guinea just to hear one song.”

    “Right!” Kirk plucked some other strings on the fiddle. “Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest…”

    “Really?” groaned Ferguson. “They haven’t come here to be reminded of work.”

    “And what do you suggest I sing?”

    “Play ‘Spanish Ladies!” shouted someone.

    “I’m afraid I don’t know how.” The room erupted into shocked laughter. A well-rouged raven-haired woman sitting on the captain’s lap shouted: “I could teach you how to play a Spanish lady!”

    More laughter, save from the captain, who had fixed Kirk with a steely gaze. His fingers played over the barrel of his pistol.

    A song jumped into Kirk’s mind:
    “There is a tale that the island people tell,
    Don’t know if it’s true but I love it so well.”

    “You know what I think?” Kirk said to Ferguson after limping through a set of Jimmy Buffet songs. He continued playing the fiddle – a violin fingering exercise he’d detested as a kid. “I think those shoes of yours bound you to me.”

    He nodded at the brown, curling loafers that he’d once swapped with Ferguson in Dublin. “I think you have to follow the shoes’ Path because you’re wearing them again. And somehow, that Path coincides with wherever I go. That’s why you’re here.”

    “That’s almost as amusing as your playing,” Ferguson replied.

    “Really? Then why are you here? I’m not going to trade shoes again, if that’s what you’re after.”

    “Tch. It’s likely the only way you’ll get home.”

    “You could send me back home.”

    The leprechaun laughed. “I’ll not be granting that wish.”

    Kirk concentrated on a tricky part of his fingering. “You owe me a wish, don’t you?”

    “How do you figure?”

    “My last wish was to go to the Bahamas in Spring Break. You sent me to the wrong time. You didn’t grant my wish. You owe me!”

    “The wish I granted was to send you to Dublin.”

    “Then how did I get here?”

    “Minstrel!” the captain’s sharp tone cut through the noise of his crew. “A good minstrel might play a song his audience can sing along to. You enjoy singing, don’t you, lads?”

    The lads muttered and coughed in assent. Kirk plucked at the fiddle’s strings nervously.

    “I better not die before you grant me that wish,” he whispered.

    With a soft sigh, Ferguson raised his crooked stick to touch the fiddle’s bridge. The fiddle sprang to life, and Kirk found words coming from his throat:
    “I’ve got a coat and a nobby, nobby coat
    I’ve got a coat a-seen a lot of rough weather
    For the sides are near wore out and the back is flying about
    And the lining’s looking out for better weather.”

    The sailors brightened, and sang:
    “Here’s to the grog, boys, the jolly, jolly grog
    Here’s to the rum and tobacco
    I’ve a-spent all my tin with the lassies drinking gin
    And to cross the briny ocean I must wander.”

    Kirk spent the night playing sea songs and shanties, wheeling the pirates through laughter and sorrow. Even Ferguson appeared to enjoy himself, occasionally lending his surprisingly sweet voice in counterpoint to Kirk’s flat baritone. They played early into the morning, until the pirates were either upstairs with their escorts or lay snoring on the common room’s tables.

    “What now?” Kirk asked Ferguson.

    “Make your wish,” the leprechaun grunted.

    “I can wish for anything? Even to be sent home?”

    “Aye.”

    “And what will keep you from following me? Plaguing me with another ill-worded wish?”

    The leprechaun smiled. “You can wish to send me away. I’ll never bother you again.”

    Kirk eyed the blood-stained neck of the innkeeper’s fiddle.

    “No. That won’t do.” He stared into the tankard Bean had brought him. Ferguson coughed impatiently, tapping his stick on the table.

    “OK. Here’s my wish. Whatever befalls me, falls upon you threefold.”

    “What?”

    “Oh, I think that’s simple enough. You don’t have to send me anywhere. You still can, I won’t mind. But if something bad happens to me, you get it, too. Three times over.”

    “That won’t get you home.”

    “No,” Kirk agreed. “It won’t.”

    “That’s your wish, then?”

    Kirk repeated his wish, carefully. “Whatever befalls me is visited upon you and your family three times over.”

    “You added to it!”

    Kirk shrugged. “You let me.”

    He crossed the room and opened the door. A light fog covered muddy streets.

    “Fine. You have your wish,” Ferguson said. “A lot of good it will do you. What’s your next move?”

    “Perhaps I’ll seek out Captain Roberts.”

    “You’re planning on becoming a pirate?” Ferguson asked.

    “Why not? Adventure, gold, women…” Kirk replied. “Ever been seasick, Ferguson?”

    “I’m going to have to tag along to keep our skins intact, aren’t I?”

    Kirk smiled and stepped into the fog. “Fergie,” he said.

    The leprechaun followed. “Don’t you say it.”

    “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”

  6. Hell’s Fire by Kristin Bush
    Word Count 1174

    Navigating the sands is a hard task indeed. The endless golden desert, billowing glow of the hot sun reflected off the sand, and the wind storms are the least of me worries. But as I gaze past the bridge, into the ever coming unknown, for a moment… I am free.
    “Hard turn Right! Decker, a hand here ma’boy” And there goes me moment… A round of “Aye, Aye” goes up across the ship while I hall tail to the helm. Damned boulders are few and far, but they are a blasted pain in the ass. I grip the worn spokes and force them left, watching the bow of the ship shift right lifting and lowering over the dunes of Trifecta, the Dead Mans Dunes.
    These dunes are the dead mans for a reason, none but murderers and thieves travel here by ship. Then, its only escape death or to dare it. Feeling the grin take me face over, I cant help but think the bugger can try, but Death may never take me. Nor any man, while sailing this particular ship.
    Readjusting me slitted eye covers to better see, I take notice there be no boulder. Nor Spinning worm. Nor a damn pit of sinkers sand. Looking to the compass, I take in the change of direction. What the Hell? “Captain, where in the seven levels of Hell are you taking us?” Not giving me a second look, because he knows I can not march up to his craggy ass and threaten his attention, I grip the spokes harder and wait. The old man can’t avoid me forever and he knows it.
    There be only one destination, by port or dock, we could be headed and its not somewhere I ever thought to set eyes on again. Somewhere I never want to set me eyes again. The thought alone dredges up the memory of sweet smelling blossom, overpowered by the poison of black smoke from factories blighting the city. Hearing a babe’s laughter and the ghost of soft grass on me feet as me and me young sister run through the fields is a pain lacerating through the dried up organ that used to be me heart.
    Once the Sling Blade settles in her new direction, she cuts through the sand like her namesake. The worn maroon sails ripple and snap into place as the wind pulls her onward and I release my white knuckled grip on the helm. Reaching for a flask of rum, I make way to Captain Addon. Me boots beat the deck like thunder and I feel eyes settle on my person.
    “Addon, a word… In private.” I bite the words. With out seeking reply, I turn on me heel and thunder the way toward the captains quarters. If a man can call a five by eight rats hole, stinking of rum and piss a quarters.
    Pushing through the door, one that needs no key, I see the familiar stained cover tossed aside on the maroon feather stuffed mattress. A barrel at its side to be the table has empty bottles tossed aside and a half rotten apple rolling from lip to lip. A trunk in the far corner, likely full of gold and other booty, sits below the only true treasure Addon holds displayed on the wall. His late son’s pistol.
    I raise me eye cover over the rag on me head so he can see the full fury on me face. Hearing the swish thump of Addon’s walk I turn just as he shut the door. Ready for battle, I brace meself for answers.
    “Why?” Near silence, just the muffled noise of a crew working ship, a dog scrabbling across deck and his breath forced through the grog blossom on his face. He raises his own covering and I see one cloudy eye and one blazing amber. One, two, three minutes pass with nothing.
    I stare into his eyeball, the one he see’s with, and watch the play of emotion on his face. Coming to a decision, he reaches into his pocket and pull’s out a sheaf of paper. Handing it in my direction, I just stand there wanting to hear the words. Hear him speak his treachery aloud.
    “Decker, take it and then give me that look. Take it and read and I’ll hear you thank me later, boy.” Thats it? The carouser thinks booty will take me back to Traledod? I look at the parchment, the leather tie keeping them together.
    Instead of seeing worn dirty paper, I see a group of men dressed in black. Feel the grip of me sisters tiny fingers slipping through me own. Smell’s assault me, burnt flesh at the fore, turing me innards to deck splinters and piercing through me naval.
    Shaking the memory away be like shaking the infernal sand and hoping for water. I’ll not be getting any water but I can dust the sand from me fingers regardless. With shaking fingers, I pull the knotted tie, careful not to lose the wrappings. Reading through the parrot scratches makes me eyes ache, but read it I do.
    Softly, so quiet as to be a whisper, only one word can leave me weather damaged lips. Word be not the right thing to describe the importance of it, no dare even it be a prayer. “Sarafina.”
    Wobbling on me legs like the untried youth I was when Addon found me, I stagger back to the bed. The rolling sway of Sling Blade, once a comfort, has me feeling like I’m in a cage swaying over Hell’s inferno. And I had thought me mentor, a man closer to be a father than me Captain would take me back for booty alone. Blimey, but all the gold, rum and wenches in the world could never compare to a treasure such as this.
    And here I hold the map to it in me hand, as if it were nothing I ever wished for and everything I ever dared to hope for since boyhood. Or better yet the end of it. “You’ve found me sister?”
    “Aye, I’ve found your sister.” Raising his hand to the swath of fabric covering his head, he pulls it off slowly, and I know this is real. But still, I can hardly believe it, we gave up looking long ago. Assuming she died in the fire with all the rest, I buried the hope of finding her deep down as the mating nest of a spinning worm and kept it there.
    Until now. Holding the greatest treasure map in all the sands, seas, lands and skies I solidify me determination. A single minded goal, made ready by the twelve years of pirating with the most feared and revered. This time, we sail to Traledod, to me home, me beginning.
    This time… The Deadsteel will not be facing a boy of eleven. No, and God above help them. This time I will save what remains of me family, and rain Hell’s Fire while I’m at it.
    This should be fun.

    • This is my very first story posted online! Thanks for the opportunity, it was fun to try. I can see I have some kinks to work out. When I pasted the story here it was all spaced and such, so be gentle, I’m new at this and working with a program not Microsoft I am totally unfamiliar with. Thanks again! 🙂

      • Hey, Kristin. Thanks for participating! Don’t worry about formatting. WordPress can be rather wonky, but yours looks fine. I’ve seen some that really didn’t come out well.

  7. I think some where in the future I might have a famous author for a Daughter-in-law.I think you did a good job.

  8. […] a couple of other entries that did not qualify, but are worth checking out.  You can see them here.  Thanks to everyone who submitted their stories.  The following contestants are the ones who are […]

  9. […] their gift cards in their email.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  We had some awesome entries this month that certainly made this competition a nice […]

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