About a month ago, my muse came to me, slapped my chest with this and told me to write it as it comes- no more, no less. Then she laughed evilly over her shoulder as she split the scene.
Since then, she has shit three more ‘scenes’ to write, without giving me the slightest clue what it smells like, or which neighbor is going to get the first whiff. ‘Just write and quit complaining’ she says every time. Once, she wagged her finger at me in a stern warning, ‘No notes, no rearranging, and no trying to figure it all out. Just write it and go on about pitiful existence.’
Sometimes I think I would get more pleasure from wringing her fucking neck than firing her— as if I could do either.
Why am I calling it Progressive Fiction? Only because I have no idea where it is going, other than forward.
Check in every Sunday night at look for the latest scene. Please….Please let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.
Tale Of The Sea Muse
I was bathed in heat.
There was a buzzing noise overwhelming a cacophony of random, yet vaguely familiar sounds- rustling of ripped fabric, creaking of beaten boards, slapping of water, cries of distant gulls. Wet salt attacked my nostrils. The taste of something acerbic coated my tongue. A crusty stream dried on my cheek. My head felt like a barrel of last night’s rum.
My eyes slowly opened against the bright assault. Squinting, I could see almost nothing but blurs of the wheel, tangled rope, broken kegs, the jagged end of a gaff, the shadow of a freed boom moving like a pendulum over the fore deck.
The Sea Muse had survived, I was reasonable, but what about her? I could lose the ship, I could lose myself, but I couldn’t bear to lose Erin. She was more than my everything.
Erin was my destiny.
I slowly, and painfully, stood on the drying planks. Gripping the rail, I began to take inventory of my possibilities. My spittle was tainted crimson- my inner cheek knew the source. Pain seared from my right ankle, causing me to choke back a soul shattering scream- it was broken. My hand discovered an albatross egg at he hairline of my forehead.
Maybe less than reasonable, but alive.
A quick look revealed that other than flotsam and jetsam strewn about the deck, the Muse had lost her main— ripped and flapping in what little wind there was –but the other two sails seemed intact. Over the rail, I could see the calm sea water striking the hull at about the right waterline. The mighty Muse made it through the storm.
Wincing in pain, I began to move about the deck against a transparent blue sky that held the inferno of a blazing yellow smudge at mid- morning height. Where was Erin? By Neptune’s grace, I hope the storm didn’t push her into Davey Jones’ Locker.
In a shirt and breeches that were all but completely sun dried, I started scrambling about the deck, finding hand holds where I could, and began a frantic search. A few moments into the expedition, I saw a leg and the hem of her blue dress. Pulling a piece of broken gaff and the attached shred of sail away to free her, my heart was filled with heavy barnacles- I thought she had perished.
Then I saw her chest heave, breasts pushing against the leather string designed to keep the deep neck of her garment closed just enough to expose her ample cleavage.
The curls of her soft, raven hair were matted near the crown of her head. My hand felt the spot and found a knot under a drying gash, she didn’t flinch, which meant she was either in a deep sleep, or unconscious.
But more important- Erin was alive.
We had survived yet another tempest, and the Sea Muse was proving to be quite a guardian angel. She had taken us across seas of glass and held us together through storms as volcanic as the devil’s breath. She was the stage where our hearts worked a love so powerful the nymphs trembled in jealousy.
As the sun grew long the day before, we saw dark, forbidding clouds with flaming under bellies begin to stand defiantly along our westward path. She was at the helm, my arm around her waist as her head rested against my chest.
“My turn?” Her eyes were pleading impishly up at me.
“Aye!” I felt a great smile stretch across my lightly bearded face. She had guided the Sea Muse through two other storms with a natural ability unmatched by any old salt I have sailed with.
I trusted Erin with my ship, my life, my heart- my everything.
We laughed at the early rain and didn’t seem to notice how it grew heavier with a subtle crescendo. Not until the sudden, shocking blast of wind that proclaimed it wasn’t going anywhere soon.
Lightning came furious, thunder split the air like Vulcan’s mighty hammer striking an anvil. Ozone burned heavy in my nose as I held tight to her- nearly asking if she wanted me to take the wheel- but the gritty determination on her face and the glowing coals in her eyes made me shirk from the proposal.
Satan unleashed his horde upon us as the storm grew intensely violent. Her knuckles grew white— not from fear —from bravely gripping the wheel as she tried to tack us away from the evil onslaught. I grew prouder of her with every thunder clap.
CRACK! The sound of a hefty chunk of oak being snapped like a toothpick. As I turned to see the torn main, I was struck and instantly covered in black nothingness.
I quickly moved her to a more comfortable position, then hobbled around the ship in a tortured fury of activity aimed at bringing our trek back on course. First, I fashioned a small shelter near the helm. Using pieces of the torn main sail I was able to make a tent like sun shelter. Then I struggled to pick her up and carry her body to the sunscreen, but eventually made it— in spite of the screaming ankle.
Limping down the stairs, I found that very little of the sea had washed below decks, thus saving our treasure- her sketches and my poetry. There was also an undamaged cask of fresh water. I grabbed one of my shirts, and using the knife still hanging on my waist, cut it into several strips.
Toting the cask, a cup, a pillow, and the strips of material to the helm, I began earnestly patching the three of us together. Taking one of the strips, I dipped it in the water and wiped her face clean. Then I filled the cup halfway, held her head and poured water past her lips. Afterwards, I laid her had back on the pillow and went looking for something to use a splint.
I found staves from a broken keg and tied two of them tight against my ankle.
Climbing the mast of the main, I pried loose the broken and torn pieces of the sail, letting them fall to the deck. The Muse was going to need as little wind resistance as possibly in front of her remaining sails.
By the time I made it back to the helm, the sun felt less a foe and more inviting, but my heart was still heavy as Erin hadn’t come to..
Before righting the course on a westerly track, I leaned down and kissed her forehead- whispering my ultimate devotion as my lips withdrew.
Taking the wheel for the first time in over a day, I brought the Muse around to best use the slight breeze in an attempt at getting us headed towards land, somewhere over the horizon.
“Lover!” A raspy, exclamation welled up from the temporary shelter.