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Friday, 3 December 2010

Calypso (short story)

Hey guys, how’s it going?
This is a very old story, and with old I mean practically prehistoric. Judging by the font and style of the original, I must have written it somewhere in my early to mid teens. I was going through some of my older files the other day, files I managed to save from my previous computer (which crashed, taking a lot of files with it into oblivion), and found a real treasure vault worth of ‘blogable’ stories. Unfortunately, I secured most of them with two passwords (Yes, I’m paranoid...) and of course, I forgot the password. Nice and clever. Anyway, in those days I wrote a lot but I hardly finished anything because at the time, I didn’t write short stories. Things were either novels are poems and there was nothing in between. Writers among you will know how few ideas actually make it into novels. All of the stories from that time are very short, unfinished and in Dutch, so it is going to take some time to brew some sort of ending for them and translate them into English. I have to polish them a little too. Do take into consideration that these are the fruits of a youthful mind, so don’t judge too harshly. They’re not perfect, but I hope you’ll like them. I’m glad that after so much time, I can share them with the world after all. Especially since I don’t have much energy to come up with something new at the moment, so I have something to fall back on to keep providing fresh posts. Let me know what you think!
All best wishes,
Stories Inc.


She heard the rushing of the sea and the gentle splashing of the waves against the wooden boards of the ship. So melodic. Like a lullaby. In her imagination, she could clearly see the bow proudly cleaving through the water. The pressure of the rocking motion squeezed her stomach, but she was used to it. Unlike Dave and Tommy. Their father’s disapproving look stalked the pair of silhouettes hanging over the side. He shook his head.
She knew it hurt him that each of his sons hated the sea. Landlubbers, he called them. And they were. She on the other hand loved that big blue splendour gliding by. After all, her brothers could not say they were born on a ship, amidst the raging no man’s land, like herself. Slight parental miscalculation...
Sometimes she’d climb up the ledge of the front and spread her arms, as in Titanic, and pretend she could fly. Every now and then, a dolphin would jump up playfully and track the ship, making it’s cheerful cries. Like a child laughing. She adored those moments, here, all of them together, sailing the open seas and watching the sunset over the water. Lovely.
She came up the stairs from the hold and noticed a small spot in the distance. As it came closer, she realized it was a small speedboat heading towards them. The local police. Policia.
“Dad, we’ve got company.” Dave called out in between hurls.
Dad hastily prepared to meet the visitors. He was the only one in the family who spoke the local language well enough. She herself only knew a few words, but could usually not make much sense of what was being said. Pretty logical, the way they really rattled along around here.
“Cally, go get your mother.”
Her mother was busy cleaning up after her brothers again in the hold.
“Mum, some men from the police are here to talk to dad. He said to call you.”
“Stay here, Cally, I’ll be right back. It’s always the same thing, every darn trip. When will they finally get this land properly organised?”
Her dad came to the stairs. She could already hear the engine. They would soon board the ship.
“Mary, get a bottle of our best wine ready. And something to eat.” It was his experience that all of the locals were much easier to handle if you pampered them a little.
“Be a good girl, Cally, and guard our stuff, will you?”
“Sure.” It was a commonly known fact that the policia in this parts was rather grabby when it came to property. They did not get much supervision way outback.
Her father welcomed the strangers to his ship as if they were long last friends. The men spoke their rapid unintelligible dialect and her father replied. She could clearly hear a nervous tone in his voice. Even though she couldn’t make out what they were saying, it was obvious things were escalating from the way they were shouting. She heard her father say something about vino and the voices lowered for a minute. Then the sound of breaking glass broke the silence. The shouting recommenced, now her father was yelling too. Footsteps came her way.
Quickly she covered their stash with sheets. They came downstairs. Her father tried to stop them, but they pushed him away and descended, quickly followed by the desperate man trying to reason with them. Soon the whole family and the heavily armed officers were gathered in the hold. Her mother signalled and she ran to her, held and protected from the greedy eyes. It was known what immoral things they did in these waters. The tales were widely told.
It wasn’t long for they uncovered the neatly packaged powders and weeds. They had a nose for these things. Sweat began dripping down her father’s face. They could lock you up for life for this, we all knew. And that was as good as death sentence in these jails.
“What’s this?” They asked dad. All of us knew, they especially. Were they trying to intimidate us?
“Herbs.” He replied.
A slap resonated through the very bowels of ship. Dad was shocked, angry, it was clear, but he did not react. He knew he would be risking our lives if he did.
They ripped open a few of the goods, blabbering among themselves. Dad made a step to intervene, but one of the cops raised a club in a warning gesture. He gave up and waiting, watching them with a heavy heart.
The eldest of the group tasted and turned towards him, making a few threatening steps trying to stare my father down. They were nearly face to face when he finally opened his mouth to give the verdict. They did love to display power.
“This is good stuff.” He said – I could understand that much – and smiled a greasy smile, flashing a whole set of brownish rotten away teeth. A sigh of relief. They just wanted their cut.
“You could sell this anywhere. There’s a pretty good market for it up north. Just go to the taverna rosso and say Guanez sent you.”
“I’ll do that, thank you.” He handed the officer a stack of money.
He briefly ran his hand over the bills with routine fingers to make an estimation of the value.
“We will expect more when you return.”
Dad nodded. All of them were glad it was over. Nothing compares to the release that ran through them each time they watched another speedboat disappear without anyone being harmed.
“I don’t like bringing the children into this. It is bound to go wrong some time, Donald, you know it is. We’ve just been lucky.”
“Mary, just one more won’t hurt. It’s the last, I promise.”
She was silent. That’s what he said every time.


  1. Nice twist. I really thought they were simply fishermen until the reveal, painting some gray on what could have easily been a tale of black vs. white.

  2. Hey, welcome back, Green. I added the ending later, I dn't know where wanted to go with it orginally, but I do like how it turned out. Thank you for commenting.

  3. I was thrown off by the use of short sentences for emphasis, it does't seem to be in your style. E.g,
    "So melodic. Like a lullaby. "
    "...making it’s cheerful cries. Like a child laughing. "
    Effective, but I'm not certain it's kosher.

    Is this going to be continued? It feels like it has the potential to be continued, though keeping it as it is has a great impact, too.

  4. I see. I came from having extremely long sentences originally (I'm talking paragraph-length) and had a lot of critique on that, so I've tried to break them down into smaller parts. I thought the smaller, the better - it worked for Twilight - but I guess I'm still kind of trying to find a balance...

    I thought it matched better with this characters disposition, she is rather young, dreamy and playful, still has that hint of childish pleasure. But it really isn't that much an element of my style per se, I'm just establishing when to use which 'strategy' for whom.

    I'm not planning on continuing it now, but who knows, I might take it up again one day when I have the inspiration :) I'mtrying to keep the number of series at a minimum, one at a time is hard enough :D

    Thank you for commenting!


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