Young Ned stood over the dead narwhal’s body, harpoon in hand, searching the foaming swells for his foe. He wiped the salt rime off his face with the long flowing sleeves of his once white shirt. His sister, Ruth, had sewn it for him before this adventure began, and he missed her dearly.
But, more than homesickness straddled his reserves. He had a monster to vanquish, a fiend from the depths, one that he knew only he could slay. He was quite shirty about it all; the narwhal, an innocent victim of the cruel vagaries of the deep blue. It had swam besides the ship for two and a half days, and he and his shipmates had quickly grew fond of their wayside companion.
A grasping set of tentacles had broken the surface of the roiling sea waters. The narwhal struggled amidst the crushing coils, as a sharp maw out of hell ripped open the amiable creatures’ side. Young Ned was pleased that his harpoon was the one that sent the fiend of the deep back down under. Lowering the rowboat, The Return’s captain, a man of ruddy face no matter the weather, called over the side of his beloved vessel.
“There is nothing ye can do for the poor thing, Ned me lad. Let it be. Don’t want to be stirring up the beast that did this.”
But Young Ned, with the help of Second Mate Meigs, lowered the craft until it gently floated alongside The Return‘s companion. The narwhal floated on the top of the sea, but was lilting towards Davey Jones, fading fast. Meigs steadied the small craft as best he could while Young Ned reached over and placed a hand on the one-tooth unicorn of the sea. The Arctic water was cold as it splashed on his skin, but Young Ned felt this connection was worth it.
“I’ve never seen anything like it in these waters, Ned. It was huge, like a Kraken coming alive out of legend,” SM Meigs said, a tinge of fear lacing his voice as he espied the waters surrounding them.
“Hafgufa,” Young Ned said quietly, as the narwhal slowly slipped under, it’s ivory horn reaching for the sky.
“What was that?”
“Hafgufa, along the same line of a Kraken, but…I’ve seen these monsters before, in other seas, and heard the tales of many others. This one this particular one…I have seen before. Did you notice the long scar near its razor sharp maw?”
“Aye,” said SM Meigs.
Young Ned stood, holding onto the harpoon he took before boarding the short boat. The brisk wind whipped his tawny hair around him as he stared into the waters. He spoke quietly, but Meigs heard every word:
“My father, Old Ned, put that scar there. It was over ten years ago, but the story is still alive today as if it just happened. My father and his men manned The Örvar-Oddr, a mighty fishing vessel, proud in always bringing in hearty catches. Until one period where fishing was like a drought of the fields. There were sightings of land rising out of the sea, then floating down and away. It was the Hafgufa, its nose sticking out of the water, which was mistaken for two massive rocks rising from the sea.
The disappearance of another fine ship, The Blackwood, with all hands aboard, sent rippling waves among the fishing ships. Old Ned moved his crew into action when all other captains stayed ashore, fear replacing the blood in their veins. Fear or alcohol, all one and the same.”
“Ned, you’re my best mate, but…I am not wanting to stay out here like this. Finish the tale, but aboard The Return. Please.”
Young Ned nodded after a moment, and the two made their way to starboard side in silence.
They were attaching the ropes that had waited for them when the water broke around them. A long sucker placed tentacle wrapped itself around SM Meigs chest, lifting him into the air and plunging down into the waters. Young Ned did not hesitate:
He dove into the briny foam of Meigs passing, harpoon in hand.
to be continued…
****************************NEWS AND INFO*********************************
~Damyanti Biswas, on Amlokiblogs, is hosting an article I wrote: Writing In A Shared World. I owe a lot to Damyanti, and I hope you not only read, and comment on, my article, but become a fan of her writing. I know I am.
~The Rule of Three Blogfest-2011 Edition is now closed. We have launched its own webpage: Welcome to Renaissance. We hosts have a lot of fun things going on, the most important one: May 2012 will see the next REN3 Blogfest!!!! Details to be rolled out in the months to come.
My first reviewer on Amazon had this to say:
A startling dark story that propels the reader along in a journey through the psyche of a burn victim. Exceptionally well-drawn characters, vivid description, and seamless writing make this story a pleasure to read. However, it was the Poe-like plot twist that made it great. If you appreciate a dark tale that leaves your jaw hanging open, then this well-crafted short read is for you.
I just can’t stop thinking about that ending! A Highly Recommended 5 Star Story.