So at terribleminds last week Chuck Wendig put forth a challenge linked a discussion of “killing genre”. We had three lists to pick something from. A subgenre, am element to include and a theme, motif or conflict. For added fun some folks, like myself, used a random number generator to pick each of our choices from each list. Funny thing is I was the first to post my random results but I’ll probably be one of the last to put in an entry. I’ve written this story in a true flash style over the last hour and don’t have much time for editing, hopefully it hasn’t come out too much of a mess. I’ll tell you what three things I got at the end of this post. For now, here’s the story:
The Scoundrel and The Soldier
The Faraday crashed into The Bell’s Revenge and the sound of wood rubbing on wood became an ever-present noise that ran like a current beneath the surface sounds of men shouting and discharging their Webleys and Lee-Enfields. With the crash the ships swayed and those close to the sides grabbed hold of any part of the ship they could. Captain Daniel Jones found himself momentarily dangling half over the starboard side gunwale of The Bell’s Revenge, and only his quick reaction to steady himself kept him for going over the side. Looking down upon the toy-like trees and ant-like people below he was thankful that was not the case.
Righting himself he turned with a smile to survey the battle. “Prepare to repel boarders!” he shouted as he drew his sword and pistol and rushed to port, throwing himself into the fray.
Captain Charity Vance watched the two crews engage from the vantage of the quarter-deck. Looking for her opposite, she saw him, as she suspected she would, joining the battle with a laugh and a whoop. Ever the child. Shouting in her ‘captain’s voice’ she warned her crew away. “Jones is mine! Shoot him down and I’ll toss you over myself!”
Daniel heard the familiar boom of a Charity Vance command, but didn’t bother looking for her. It sounded like she would get to him soon. Her order did distract two of her crew enough for him to dispose of them with a guard-assisted uppercut from his sword-holding hand to one and a whack across the temple with his sword’s pommel to the other. Finished with them he was about to set foot upon The Faraday when Charity Vance herself landed on the rail in front of him.
“Not one more step Daniel. I swore you’d never set foot on this deck again,” she said.
“It was never your deck’s I was interested in Charity. Love that fire though. I remember why I married you,” he said.
“I’ve never forgotten why I divorced you, pirate.”
Their swords met and the quick dance of blade and blade began. As always, the match was equal and the swords met and flicked away in an almost beautiful way.
“Haven’t you heard Charity? I’ve given up pirating. I decided to try being a rebel instead. And today I’m aiming for hero.”
“You’ll never be better than a lying scoundrel Jones.”
Clash and clang their blades continued the dance.
“I thought that’s what you liked about me? Still it’s hero today, just as soon as we’ve got away from you.”
“Running away? Sounds like a pirate, not a hero.”
“Not running away. Running to. The drills must be stopped Charity. If they set off a volcano…”
“I’ve heard your rebellion’s propaganda. Pseudo-science trash.”
“We’re not taking that chance. The dust clouds could change the world and blot out the sun! Forget flying, breathing may be lost to us all!”
Their blades met low and Daniel dropped his pistol to grab her arm. She struggled to pull away.
“What will you do about it Danny? You can’t stop the drill.”
“Stop it? Dear Charity, we’re not stopping it we’re blowing it up. I’ve barrels upon barrels filled with dynamite.”
Captain Charity Vance pulled away from Captain Daniel Jones and the sword fight resumed. Around them their crews fought as well, but this was the bout most likely to determine the larger battle. Charity’s more disciplined soldiers did seem to be getting the upper hand though when Daniel notice something even more worrying happening on The Faraday.
“Darling,” he said while continuing to fend off Charity’s steel.
“I am not your darling,” she said.
“I understand, but, still, darling some of your crew appear to be aiming a canon at my ship.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t blow you out of the sky?” she said with a smirk.
“No, no. I’m sure you would darling, but I did mention the barrels of dynamite, yes?”
The two captains each backed off at the same moment. Daniel spread his arms wide and gave his ex-wife his most innocent looking smile.
“Sweet lord!” Charity said and turned, leaping back to her decks and shouting orders to her crew to hold up and cease-fire. For their part Daniel’s crew took the opportunity given to cut the securing lines and free their ship.
“Get us out of here Jack!” Daniel called to his first mate and waved a salute to Charity as they quickly made way. His people had been prepared for the escape and his airship more nimble. There was no way for Charity to catch them now before they could drop their barrels and end the threat of the drills. She’d probably never believe he was a hero, but survival always had seemed more important to Daniel than image. Laughing, he put his second greatest love out of his mind and ran forward on the deck to get his crew prepared for the bombing. The wind whipped his hair back and he felt the exhilaration of freedom only a sky-pirate could really understand.
For the record, my three randomly chosen story pieces were: steam punk, divorce, climate change. Not the easiest mix, but I like what I came up with. I love comments and critiques about my writing. I also love engaging with other writers and readers. So please feel free to leave something below. Constructive criticism is welcome.
Also, if you liked this (or didn’t) and want more you can find a list of all my freely available fiction here.