Friday Fictioneers : A mournful song of home

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast

PHOTO PROMPT © Jennifer Pendergast


 

Moonlight broke into a thousand bright strips on the rolling ocean. The lamps had been lit, the smell of burning whale oil mixing with pipe tobacco and brine. From somewhere came the rasp of a squeeze box, a mournful song of home.

‘Do we have a heading, Mr Harrison?’ Captain Nash looked flushed even in the dim light, the smell of brandy seeping from him. A good man, if not a sober one.

Harrison stared down at the compass, broken in the storm. He shook his head.

Nash nodded and lumbered away. ‘Mr Guinea! Extra grog ration for every man.’

 


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the pic and write a story. See here to join in and to read the other tales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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59 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : A mournful song of home

  1. I saw the connection to the picture in the wheel. I loved the sensuous detail of sight and smell, I especially loved the idea of strips of moonlight. I wonder if you could make that stronger by a metaphor like quilting or tapestry. You know “the moon wove a quilt of silver strips on the rolling sea”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Perhaps your right, Neil, but I was struggling with the 100 word limit as it was! Nice metaphor for another tale though. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

      Like

  2. Reminds me of the line of dialogue delivered in the 2003 film “Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Peril by Mr. Gibbs (played by Keven McNally):

    “Aye, the compass doesn’t point North. But we’re not trying to find North, are we?”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Louise. Yes, it was much longer to begin with – got quite carried away with the sea and the smells and sounds … Maybe for another prompt 🙂 Thanks for reading

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A mini series would be good, like the Night Manager or similar. Do you have a potential role for Tom Hiddleston, because you would get a lot of extra viewers that way? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Another vote for loving that first line. And the others too. I’m still not sure what the statue in the photo is supposed to be of, but compass works for me. Now the sailors will have to do it the old fashioned way: by the stars. Hope at least one of them knows how! At the very least, any sailor should be able to steer by the sun. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true, Joy. I tried to include a reference to ‘dead reckoning’ or some other frame of navigational reference, but quite honestly I’m not entirely sure how sailors did that and knew it would ring false if I tried to write it! Too much maths involved for me 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind comment my dear

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  4. ‘Squeeze box’ is another English term I wouldn’t know without song lyrics…The Who…you and those pipes, this week. It’s good.

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    1. Ha! Yes, squeeze box is a good one, so much more working man and British than an accordian, a much more complicated instrument I believe. Those sailors and their shanties … Cheers Bill

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  5. I’ve been watching Mutiny on TV, a recreation of the arduous voyage made across the South Pacific by Captain and men loyal to him after they were cast adrift by the mutineers.

    This little piece reminded me of the series, and of how in extremis just little treats can raise the morale of the rest of the crew.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that was on TV and was thinking that Bligh couldn’t have been that bad a captain to get all of those men across the ocean and not lose a soul. Mind, I had heard he wasn’t as bad as he was made out by the standards of the day. You’re right, treats are all the more important when everything else is going wrong. Thanks so much Chris

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  6. I saw the connection right away, but then I love historic tales of the sea. I really liked this tale. Reminded me of Julian Stockwin’s novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sandra. I do like putting the reader in the place – some might say too much ‘showing’ and not enough ‘telling’ for a short piece. But engaging the senses is what it’s a ll about for me – making people feel things. Thanks so much 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much Michael. It was interesting to write, quite a different atmosphere to some other pieces I’ve written, that intriguing feeling of isolation. Thanks for reading

      Like

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