It’s funny how the writing prompt from one of my Facebook groups ties in so well with the post I’ve been working with for the S. S. Lynx series. So, in taking advantage of the 5-22-16 prompt, “Tell about a time you (or your character) experienced a storm” here’s my response:
I’m tired now. The captain has been battling the storm now for quite some time. I think I can get to like the new contraptions under my keel, they are ever so much more efficient than the paddle wheels. At least, when battling the high seas. There was no drag, and I was able to power up, and up, and up over the monster waves that slammed into my bow.
There were a few times when I had to take one of the waves at an angle; they were just too tall and steep to go directly up the face. I’m sure by now the captain is wondering how we survived. I know my interpreter kept hammering questions at me, I just wasn’t able to answer immediately. Being an honest ship has a few draw backs. I can feel the crew thumping around below decks, probably making sure all the cargo remains secured. There were a few times I worried about some of the bulkier pieces coming loose. I hope everything is still secure. I don’t think I felt anything rumbling around in the holds, though with as rough as the seas were, I can’t –
Dingity, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding
Oh, dear. Seems my interpreter found something that broke. One moment, while I go through my parts to find out what happened.
Sorry about that. My interpreter was a little upset with me. He was worried that I was mad at him, because I didn’t answer him during the worst of the storm. I had to explain to him that I had been focused on assisting the captain to keep us keel-side down, rather than keel-side up. Capsizing is not an experience I want to have.
I at least managed to calm him down, and we are right side up again, though he did mention that we are not out of the storm yet. Have you ever heard of a storm that comes in pieces? I know I haven’t. And, I’ve been around this sea in one ship or another for many, many years. However, I have been warned to brace for another barrage of rough weather that is going to be worse than what we just came through. I hope the crew has the cargo tied down well. If they don’t this could get to be a less than pleasant trip.
I can feel the water against my hull changing, even as they work. Slapping and snarling at my bow, hissing and dragging at my sides. It is trying to turn me broadside to the waves. Though I would play in other circumstances, I do not wish to be caught broadside when the first of the monsters comes crashing over head. I fear for the safety of the crew, even now. Their thumping and trundling has gone quiet, but I did not feel them exit below deck for the middeck corridors. I do hope they are not having trouble with the cargo-oh-oh.
No, no, no! Oh, this is definitely not good. I groaned as loudly as I could in the lower decks while beating my speaker stick, trying to get my translator’s attention. I’m unbalanced. What ever the crew did, I’m too heavy on the port side, and the waves are coming from starboard! If we take even a mid-high wave, I cannot guarantee to stay topside up. And, no one seems to be listening.
I groan, and groan, and groan, and I clang, and clang, and clang.
No one responds. I finally feel the thump of the crew’s boots as they traipse up the rungs of the stairs back to the middeck. The only reason I have not tipped yet is because of how low the imbalance is. Oh, what did they move? What weighs so much that it has made me port side heavy? I continue to groan, following the crew into their cabins and decks. One, I can feel answers, though I cannot understand what they are saying. He pounds his soft flesh futilely against my sides. I can barely feel the soft “splat” of his impact, and there is no meaning in his actions. I clang my speaking stick hard enough on my skin that I feel like a wallowing bell, ringing throughout my entire frame, and my interpreter does not answer me.
I stop groaning for attention, though I continue to clang my speaking stick as hard as I can. Not difficult to do, now that the seas have become rough. I can feel the captain trying to turn my bow away from the waves, and I begin to resist. If we turn any further broadside, the heaving seas will have an easier time rolling me keel side up.
Where is my interpreter? The crew must get the cargo balanced before the monsters start. And, they do not have much time.
I finally hear a return clang. Oh, that is a relief. He starts to beat out his message, but I don’t give him time to finish. I start pounding out my own as quickly as I can. I do not know if my interpreter is near or far, but I know he heard it. As soon as I managed to get out “port heavy”, I felt his shoes thud out of the engine room, and through the crew quarters. Soon, more of the crew is thudding behind him, streaming down to the cargo decks. By then, I do not have any attention to spare – I am in a fight to the death with the captain. If you will forgive me, I must focus on keeping my crew alive.
Will. speak. after. storm. passed.