The spray leaves patterns on the planked deck. He stands–alert and fearful, yes, but also intrigued–before the captain, whose back is to him. While he watches the seawater dry in salty whorls, the pirate watches out over the bow, the horizon tilting as the ship comes about.
His captain, he thinks, for that is now the case. The Siren isn’t known for mercy on these seas. Only hours ago he watched sixty souls drowned or slaughtered by her crew. Why he was spared and brought aboard is a mystery to him, but he feels oddly grateful.
For the moment, his life belongs to the whims of a pirate.
“Sink it,” comes the growled order, carried back on the wind. The bullion and provisions from the packet are aboard.
He does not turn when the guns fire. The sound of the ocean swallowing the vessel is both quieter than he expects and thunderous in his ears.
“Permission to speak, sir,” he asks respectfully. He is unarmed, alone, a dead man walking. But he is a scientist, a scholar, and curiosity has the best of him.
The captain turns. He is disappointed by the ill-fitting belt and coat. Gone are his illusions of a dashing figure. He searches the face deeply shaded from the fearsome sun; the captain’s features are only just visible under the broad brim of a hat. A nod. Permission.
“Why am I spared?”
With motions made more deliberate by the pitch and roll of the deck beneath, the captain unbuckles the belt, unbuttons the coat. As the air catches the opened cloth, the pirate lifts the hat away.
A riot of vermillion curls, eyes like the sea at Dover. An eighth month pregnancy.
She speaks then, a voice rough with worry and command.
“I have need of a physician.”
Flash Fiction can be fun and a real challenge. This week focus on the words and the strength of each to contribute to your story. Write a 300 word piece using the following word for inspiration: LIFE.