The Edge

The deck of the vessel creaked and shuddered under Kali’s dirty bare feet. She curled her toes so that her nails left their sheathes and bit in to the wood. It would be harder for her to lose her feet that way. For now her balance would keep her well, but there was no telling when the craft might

<<Bawhoom>>

Amidst shrieking wood and bucking timbers the whole of the ship suddenly turned ninety degrees and Kali fell backward until her back struck the deck. She used the momentary anchor her feet gave her and pivoted to sink her hand claws as deeply as she could into the rough planks. She reset her feet so that she was like a mountain climber scaling a particularly difficult climb fitting hands and feel into tiny chinks int he wood, and made her slow way toward the deck house.

Once she gained the relative safety of the back wall of the little room she sat and took a moment to get her breath. She wasn’t a stranger to climbing in such a way, but the difficulty of a smooth surface had sapped her strength. Kali took a moment to look around and find what had happened to upset the vessel so badly. She found that at some point another vessel had caught on a but of rocky rubble and from then other vessels had just kept stacking up. A small island had formed out of their dessicated bodies and the Felwraith had caught the pile squarely with her bow. The force of their forward motion and the sudden stop had flipped the ship up on its nose and by all rights she should have tumbled all the way over. What had saved them both from overturning had been a thick length of cable that ran from one side of the cliffs to the other. The thing had been anchored so well that it had held, and was still holding, the Felwraith’s full weight.

The magically varying colors of the rushing river sluiced by the gently wavering hull and Kali sat entranced. Just how long could the wreckage and the cable work together to keep Kali and the wraith from completing their journey? Her eyes turned to focus ahead. There perhaps only six anchor chain lengths in front of them loomed their destination.

Kali had been a companion on the Felwraith since she was born. Her Captain had paid an incautious tavern whore for her unwanted child. In the weeks that had preceded her birth Kali’s mother had lived aboard the ship and had been forced in to the company of the ships fey. It was a rare ship that was able to actually catch a fey and once done it was usually even harder to keep the thing alive. But a ship that could successfully catch and hold a living specimen was said to have the best of luck and the swiftest of journeys.

Kali had her own beliefs about the whole thing. Somehow she felt that the fey should have to be willing to stay aboard the ship, and the companion should be just as willing to supply the creature with what it required. Kali had never had a choice. Since the moment she was born she had been bled every day, and that blood had been fed to the fey. By the time Kali was nine it had become a problem finding places on her body that were not already covered with small slice scars. Perhaps it was her island form that was more feline than human than had allowed them to treat her so callously, but she doubted it.

The ship shifted and settled slightly and a tiny raft made up of bits of the ruined boats below drifted loose bringing Kali back to herself. The edge beckoned. Soon they would break loose and again head there. It would be death and deconstruction for the ship, the fey, and the girl all three. There was the edge of the world and all the magic each of them contained would flow up into the sky with the colors while their flesh would drop with the dead water. It was something like a waterfall of life that went up, and its pale colorless reflection that plummeted out of sight.

Kali sat thinking and scratched her chin with her foot. The Captain had always yelled at her for that. Well the first Captain did. It took a little over ten years and eight successive Captains for the ships owner to finally decide to consign the vessel to Death’s Edge. He was sending the vessel as a ‘tribute’ to the gods to try and regain the favor he had lost when he had meshed the Felwraith into the abomination that it had become. Of course the vengeful little beast that had caused so many ventures to fail and its food source had to go, anything else would anger those gods further. She focused again on the waiting death and her inner poet showed its face.

“The doomed edge functions as whatever calm. Hmm.”

Kali pursed her lips and purred a little as she thought. Neither she nor the fey had chosen this. The ship offered a choice. She could take the cable and maybe find life, or she could stay aboard and surely find death. Life so far hadn’t been something to seek, but some nights the fey would whisper to himself and images would shimmer in the air.

She dug in her claws again and swung down and trough the window that would put her in the deck house. There the fey swung in his iron cage scowl set.

“Why aren’t we dead yet stinking cat?” he growled.

“Are your pictures real places?”

“Does it matter?”

She grinned then and with a flourish produced the key to his cage. She had learned lots of things in her years aboard the ship.

“It might.” She wheedled as hope dawned in the feys glittering eyes.

 

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This was done for a terribleminds challenge. This week was use a randomly generated sentence in 1000 words. My sentence was “The doomed edge functions as whatever calm.”

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One Response to “The Edge”

  1. I enjoyed the story; interesting imagery of the ship vaulted upright on an island of wrecks, the backward flowing waterfall of souls at its intended destruction. It was also insightful how you utilised the line; they are rather poetic in prose (I think why I enjoyed generating them).

    My only criticism were that I did notice a couple of typos. Provided I’m not using silly language (as I did last time) I find following my text through with screen narration weeds out a lot of issue; it’s far less a less forgiving reader than I. 🙂

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