I am the king of the "wanna-be's"..the writers who struggle and never quite get there...

Short Stories

Ship of Ghost Webs

The cold and the morning fog passed reluctantly from the earth revealing a ship in my cove. It was not a big ship as ships go. Maybe some would have called it a boat but I liked the thought that it was a ship.

A ship meant it had some mystery to it. Where a boat…well a boat is not mysterious. It is simply…a  boat…locally owned and probably just some people fishing or maybe the wild group from up the coast sneaking down to where honest church going folks lived decent lives and doing their drinking and whoring and challenging the words of God.

She was beautiful, sleek, and lay low in the water with a shiny wooden hull and three masts.  She reminded me of the old clippers ships that ran the oceans just before the ugly iron boats took control of the seas.

 Her were still up but there was little wind so she bobbed like a ghost ship dancing it the morning mist waiting for her crew to awaken. She lay silent like there wasn’t anyone aboard her. I rubbed my eyes wondering if a strange mirage had played tricks on my mind.

I waited for her to wake up…to hear the sound of the crew…to hear the ships bells, but no sound came from her.

 I walked back to my small house overlooking the cove and made coffee. I checked on her throughout the day wondering if she were real or a mirage or part of a dream that would drift back into the sky.

She lay in the cove all day with nary a sound except the waves lapping against her hull. Strangely no one came to ask me if I knew anything about her or what might have happened to her crew. I felt that she was my ship…for some reason...she belonged to me.

In the late afternoon I rowed out to see if she was in fact crewless, but I wanted to touch her and confirm that she was real and not a mirage of the sea. Everyone has read stories of ghost ships or heard old sea dogs spinning their tales of haunted ships filled with pirates waiting to avenge their gruesome deaths.

 Maybe she was filled with angry ghosts waiting for someone to board her and then take revenge on the poor sole that was so foolish climb aboard her. Maybe she was a trap like a spider's web knowing that someone, anyone, maybe an old fool like me would board her only to get his throat slit.

I shivered when I touched her wood but it was not the shiver of fear or cold. It was the shiver of excitement…the same excitement that I felt the first time I touched the naked body of a woman.

I climbed the rope ladder and put my feet on a spotless teak deck. There was not a hint of grime or water or even the sea mist on her deck. I felt the need to remove my shoes so as not to mar her beauty.

I walked every foot of her upper deck. I felt like I was in a library where people were reading and studying and wanting total silence. I walked the ship and down in to the captain's quarters. It looked like no one had ever boarded her before. The Captain’s log was blank. I continued through the ship to the cook’s galley and the crew’s quarters and again I found a ship that looked like it had just been launched and was waiting for a new owner.

I touched her here and there like a man on a honeymoon and each touch, each feel, filled me with awe and wonderment. I left her bobbing in the water but watched her into the late night when once again the fog pulled its protective blanket over her fabulous body.

I went to bed thinking she would still be there in the morning, but when the fog lifted she was gone. Was she a ghost ship? Were the souls of the murdered pirates waiting to cut my throat?

If so, why didn’t they?

Maybe they felt the love I had for their home.

Possibly…I don’t know…or maybe the ship wasn’t really there.

But then again, maybe…just maybe…it was a ghost web sent by …oh I don’t know…maybe God…sent to surprise that party boat…

I hope so.

gs batty/Oct 2015

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