The Creaking Ship

This short story is an entry into the Dangers on the High Seas Lore Contest.

And for ease, the word count is 5,060. With the epilogue, it is 5,548.

To any reader: Please feel free to leave feedback, even if you don't read though the entire story! If you manage to make it to the end, know I am appreciative of the time you took to read it.

The art in this post was created by me.

Hope you enjoy!


The Creaking Ship

An Anonymous Encounter

I stood alone on deck. The wind felt… wrong. It was as though a million hands tugged at my hair and clothing as it pushed past and filled the sails. The boat seemed to be going nowhere in spite of the wind. It just floated, on an indiscernible sea, that was still and empty.

So I closed my eyes, and thought of home.

All I could hear was the creaking of the ship.

Until an awful crack woke me from my sleep. Bleary-eyed, I shot up in a cold sweat and looked around.

“Only a barrel… Damn, that wos th’ tack fer today’s dinn’a.”

I rubbed my eyes and the cargo hold, along with a knocked-over barrel, came into view. Hard tack had spilled onto the wooden boards. “At least we will be there by tonight.” I slowly stepped down from my bunk and peered out of the porthole, blinking at the light. My tired mind caused my tongue to move through the words of the non-native language slowly. “How far do you think we are?”

“Still got five-er-so ‘ours.” The chair beneath the Old Sailor creaked as he lifted his boots and sat them atop the knocked-over barrel. He certainly didn’t seem to be bothered by the spilled hard tack, and in fact was enjoying his new footrest. “We’ll be docked by late t’night.”

I closed my eyes, listening to the sounds of the boat. “I’ve never been to Siren’s Shore.”

“Nah? Well, I think ye’ll like it. Say y’can still ‘ear th’ songs a'them ladies on th’ wind.”

I opened my eyes and looked over to the Sailor. “So, there really are Sirens?”

He let out a hearty laugh. “No, no, no. Story goes, back in th’times a’the Deranged King, they filled their boats wit’ women bards an’ drew out th’ enemy wit’ their song. Th’Arbor’s people attacked while they wos distracted, an’ we took back th’ land.”

I let out a small hum in interest and began to swing open the porthole. I paused a moment and listened. I took in the sounds of the waves breaking on the hull. The wind cooled my face, but it took no songs with it as it reached into the porthole.

I shook my head and closed the window again. “I am not sure I believe those sorts of stories.”

“Nah? Ladies said t’ be keepin’ those lands safe even in death.”


The Old Sailor shrugged then tilted his hat to cover his face, leaning back in his chair.

I stared out the window. A bit of fog began to roll in. I rubbed my eyes again, and went to sit on the edge of my bunk. The rocking of the boat and soon the snoring of the Old Sailor began to lull me back to sleep. It was not long before I drifted off again, slumped against my pillow. At some point the Sailor stopped snoring.

All I could hear was the creaking of the ship.

And then I was awake again, in the same cold sweat as before. It hadn’t been long judging by the shadows cast upon the wooden boards. The sun was setting and the fog had settled upon the water. I looked over to the chair and the barrel. The Old Sailor was gone. He was probably on deck, and I should be too.

So, I ascended the stairs, each old board creaking under my weight. When I stepped out on deck, my lungs filled with salt and fog.

“Well, Princess,” uttered a deckhand with a smug smile as she approached. “Good to see you’re finally awake.”

I huffed in amusement.. The rest of the deck was rather quiet, as the day crew had been dismissed for the evening, and were in the galley or headed for their quarters. I leaned against the mast. I could hear the flag that bore Vornair’s knot flapping about in the wind. I looked to the water.

“Still havin’ those dreams?”

I nodded, eyes sticking to the water that was slowly darkening beneath the sunset.

“I think it’s a bad omen. Like this fog. Somethin’ just don’t seem right. That crazy Ol’ Mann tell ya anythin’?”

I shook my head. “Nothing more than some old myths.”

“Mm… well if he isn’t worried, I ‘spose I shouldn’t be neither.”

“I do not like it myself much either, but I am not going to sit here and worry over some bad dreams. I have to earn my keep. That Old Sailor is not going to let me be a passenger for free. It was already kind of him to give me passage and a bed for taking watch at odd hours.” I gave her a playful nudge with my elbow. “Do you have your sword ready? Maybe we can stab some of those bad omens if we see them crawling up the side of the boat.”

She snorted. “Yeah, sure. And what do bad omens look like?”

“I do not know. I always thought they looked like spiders.”

“Maybe they look like ravens. Mm…”

I smirked, and returned my attention to the water.

“So… I never asked. I don’t like makin’ other people’s business mine, but… what do you plan on doing in Vornair when we dock?”

My smirk faded as I pondered the question, considering a variety of answers. “...Find myself? I want to start some sort of adventure.”

She snorted yet again. “How very cliché of you. A traveler, searchin’ for themselves! ” She shook her head, some amusement still on her face. “Ever think, maybe your adventure’s already started?”

I shrugged. “Perhaps, though… home was small. The people were very dry… and I could not stay in that house. I needed to leave. I want a whole new start. No adventure would happen there. And what better way to adventure than beginning anew in another kingdom?”

She wagged a finger at me. “Ah, so you’re runnin’!” She crossed her arms, and after glancing over me, she stared out at the water. “You’ll miss it, you know.”

“I will miss what? Home?”

She nodded. “Stars know I do. I’ve spent nearly the last month at sea, and the last years in other duchies’ ports. I sail to lots of ports in Vornair… but I’ve yet to sail to the one I call home.”

“You do not go back?”

She tilted her head, still staring at the water. “I don’t have the time these days. There’s always… something I’ve got to do.”

“…Is it the time or the desire you lack?”

She waved me off. “You don’t know nothin’ about me, Traveler.”

I gave a small smile. “Perhaps not. But you learn a few things after a few weeks of being stuck on the same ship together, no?”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah.”

“I wonder what you have learned about me, without my direct mentioning.”

She looked me up and down, shifting her weight to take a better look at me. Her eyes narrowed as she inspected. “Well, Dras traveler runnin’ from home, lookin’ for somethin’, eh? Yourself, I guess. Maybe adventure, like some sort’a walkin,’ livin’ storybook character. You speak better Neran than most Neran. Probably because you read a lot. You dress too nicely to be a sailor… But you do good work. You don’t mind sleepin’ in the cargo hold. And apparently you like your Dryas Elk steak heavily peppered.”

“All astute observations.”

She beamed proudly, before tugging on my sleeve. “You really should get outta these hoity-toity clothes, though. Salt and water out here’s bad for em. ‘Sides, Old Mann already named you an Honorary Sailor for the rest of the trip. Might as well look the part!”

I let out a huff of amusement. “We are almost to Siren’s Shore now anyhow. It seems a little too late for that.”

“Bah, you’re no fun.” She took her uniform cap and placed it on my head. “At least wear that ‘til we dock. I gotta have some sort of entertainment on this ol’ cargo boat.”

I straightened out the hat and considered. “...Alright, alright. I will wear it until we dock.”

“Good! Now you’re really a sailor.”

I began to respond, but a shout cut me off. “Oi, Deckhand!”

She stood up a little straighter, as did I, and she turned to watch one of the other crewmenn approach.

He spoke at a normal volume once he was nearer. “I need you to mop the cargo hold. Then you’re off ‘til we dock. Apparently one of the hard tack barrels spilled over, and the Old Mann didn’t bother mentioning it. Found it just now when I was making the rounds.”

She nodded. “‘Bout three hours ‘til dock?”

“Aye. Water’s been pretty damn smooth, though that fog isn’t making for easy sailing.” He clapped his hand on my shoulder. “But that’s where our extra watchman comes in.”

I gave him a polite smile and nodded.

“Looks to be dressed the part too finally, eh?” He motioned to the hat on my head.

The deckhand grinned. “You have me to thank for that! Gave up my own hat, too.”

“Heh. Yes. I will be returning it once we have docked, though,” I made sure to clarify.

“Ah, well. It’s been nice having another set of hands and eyes around here. Anyhow, you both set for the evening?”

The deckhand and I nodded to the other crewmann.

“Then let’s get to it.”

“Aye, aye!” The deckhand gave the other crewmann and I a playful salute, then marched off.

The other crewmann nodded to me, and similarly went off to do his duties.

I turned to look back over the water. It was strangely smooth for it being open seas, at least I thought. Still, I crossed my arms over my chest and watched the thickening fog, while a lookout took up her place in the Crow’s Nest. I could hear her making her way to the top, then it fell silent once she had situated herself. Moments ago the air was filled with chatter. But now, it just felt empty.

All I could hear was the creaking of the ship.

Then I heard the water lapping at the side of the boat now and again. It was as though the air was now occupied by that fog, which kept the ship from the rest of the open sea. I remembered my dreams, and began to feel uneasy. In fact, I thought I saw something flick across the bow of the boat in the fog. I gripped the hilt of my sword and stepped forth to investigate.

Only a spider crawling along the rail.

I huffed in mild amusement, before relaxing and leaning against the mast again. Occasionally I heard the lookout shift around, or the movement and muffled conversation below deck. Once or twice someone came to adjust the sails or double-check the ropes. With the sun setting, I took up my lantern hanging from a nail in the mast, and lit it.

The sun had fully set by the time I heard the deckhand again. “Oi, g’night traveler!” she called, as she emerged from the cargo hold and headed towards the crew’s quarters. She raised her mop up in some form of wave.

“Goodnight, deckhand!” I called back, raising my lantern in return.

The quiet settled in again. I heard some movement from the lookout, then approached the rail to get a better look at the water. My lantern’s reflection glimmered back at me. Its light helped me see a little further into the water, through the fog made it difficult to see much more than a few ships’ lengths ahead of the bow.

As I looked, I did see something… strange. I squinted, then rubbed my eyes. Surely it was just my lantern, or maybe another spider’s movement flickering in the light. I focused again, ahead of the boat, but what I saw had no source near me. There was a soft green glow out on the water. It couldn’t have been the fog reflecting my lantern light back.

I took a few steps backward and looked around, anywhere else, for some confirmation that I hadn’t fallen asleep on deck, that I wasn’t in a dream. I tried to blink the glow away, but it wouldn’t disappear, as much as I wanted it to. Perhaps it was the glow of Siren’s Shore? Perhaps we were simply nearing the dock.

Then, out of the pale glow, I began to make out the silhouette of a sail. The masts seemed to materialize, and then I saw the bow slice through the fog. It was far too dark to tell if the vessel flew any pirate’s symbol, especially with the glow obscuring my vision. It slowly but steadily headed straight for our ship.

Suddenly the wind picked up, like hands pulling at my clothing. Our sails swelled like a pair of lungs about to hold their breath. The cargo ship seemed to creak in protest as it was pushed closer to the unknown vessel. The once smooth water started to become restless, rocking our boat in a way that felt like it was pleading, tugging at us to turn back. The fog thinned, as though it suddenly wished to flee the scene.

Though, onward we sailed, and nearer we drew.

A white light flashed on what I could make out as the deck of the unknown vessel. Cannon fire. I heard the cannonball plunge into the depths a quarter ship’s length away, but I saw nothing.

I jumped at the sound of the lookout’s bell as she warned us of the approaching vessel. Part of me was glad she had seen it too—that what I saw before me was no result of madness. The other part of me was simply terrified.

“Pirates!” The lookout called as she pounded down the ladder, then began loading a cannon.

It was not long before the other members of the crew were out on deck. They buzzed about me, falling into well-rehearsed movements. I, however, stared out at the glow like a moth to a light, unable to pull away from its beckoning. That is, until I felt a hand on my arm.

“Oi, you just gonna stand there, Traveler? Here.” The deckhand handed me her sheathed sword. It was no marvel of blacksmithing, but it was a good, solid blade from what I could tell by its weight. Certainly better than my pocketed dagger. “I’m hopin’ you won’t need this, but take it just in case. Why don’t you go get the Old Mann? Think that damn dog’s still asleep.”

I blinked a few times, trying to pull myself out of the haze I found myself in, and pry my eyes from the approaching vessel. I nodded slowly, the sheathed blade being pushed into my open hand.

She stared at me a moment in confusion, before the other crewmann from before shouted an order to her. She gave a short nod to me, then ran off to tend to her duties.

I rubbed my head. Suddenly, I remembered the hat I still had on, pulled it off of my head, folded it with my free hand against my chest, and tucked it into my pocket. I then fastened the sheathed sword around my waist, then dashed off to the captain’s quarters, trying to shake the fear-induced trance-like feelings clouding my mind.

I knocked as loudly as it could manage on the wooden door to the captain’s quarters. No response. Again, another set of knocks. Nothing.

“Brace!” I heard shouted from a few of the crewmann, and I held onto the door frame. Another cannonball, and a large splash only a few mann’s strides away. The boat sustained no damage.

I knocked yet again, fervently. No movement from within the quarters. Not even a little stirring. I shook my head, grabbed the door handle, and pushed my way into the unlocked quarters. Surely, this was one time the Old Mann would understand the interruption… if he had been there. But the room was empty.

I scrambled, looking around for any sign of him being there. I hurriedly pulled the sheets back on his bed. Nothing. There was no one. I touched the unlit wicks on the candles in the sconces and on his desk. Cold. He hadn’t been here in some time.

I started to search for any sort of sign, any hint to where he may have gone. There was paper after paper on his desk. It was what one might expect from a cargo ship: transaction records, merchant lists, long lists of inventory and check-ins. I found a small leather journal of his musings, and pocketed it in hopes we could use it later to see if it had any clues to his whereabouts.

His drawers were filled with nothing out of the ordinary, only writing supplies, navigation utensils, and a flask fit for a sailor. Apparently he was a fan of rum.

Then, I heard a number of thunks. Our cannons were firing. I started to go through whatever I could find, though soon found myself off-balance and on the floor. I could not tell if the waves were rocking the boat or if we had taken a hit. Either way, I was not going to find the captain here. I pushed myself up, then dashed back on deck to report what I had found.

“Deckhand!” I called, running over to her as she seemed to be helping with loading the cannons. “He is gone,” I huffed, out of breath in part from the frantic searching and running, and in part from fear.

She double-blinked at me, cannonball in hands. “Excuse me?” she asked with strain in her voice from the cannonball’s weight.

“I… I said he is gone. His room is empty.”

She cursed under her breath. “Go tell the First Mate. The one that always shouts at me. Little busy.”

I nodded, and a few more bangs sounded. I watched our cannonballs soar through the air a moment, before my eyes fell again to the green glow of the much closer vessel.

“Go!” She shouted again.

I rested a hand on my forehead, then began looking for the other crewmann from before. I searched, jogging to various parts of the ship, holding onto rails and bracing myself on walls as the waves and near-misses rocked our ship. Though, just as the captain, he was nowhere to be found.

In fact, now that I was looking, there seemed to be quite a few people missing. The crew was thin. I rubbed my eyes, though they kept pulling towards that soft green glow in the distance. The haze began to fill my mind again.

I pushed through and went again to the deckhand. She was handing tools to another crewmann when I tugged at her sleeve. “He is gone. They are both gone. Look around.”

She stopped to stare at me, then slowly started to do as I had asked. I saw the panic begin to settle on her face as she counted the crew, stopped, then started again. “We’re… we’re missin’ 5 or so menn.”

I nodded.

“How? Where in the hell could they’ve gone to?”

I shook my head, not knowing how to answer.

A string of curses left her lips, and she slammed a hand down on the rail. “Damned pirates must’ve snuck onto—”

A cannonball. The port side of the boat, opposite to where we were, took damage. The railing guarding that side splintered. Wood rained on deck. The rail tumbled into the water. A large crashing of waves. The impact knocked a few to the ground, myself and the deckhand included.

The deckhand scrambled up to assess the damage, and I was not far behind her. The ship was not taking on water, but we would have to be careful not to be tossed off that side of the boat with the raging waves and incoming cannonfire. Still… I peered closer. Aside from the physical damage, there was no trace of an actual cannonball. None that I could see left embedded, nor any trace of metal against the broken wood. Perhaps it had hit the rail in such a way it simply sunk once it pushed through the wood?

The deckhand did not give me a chance to think about it, as she pulled me along. “We need all the help we can get now that we’re missin’ crew.” She gestured to a pair of other crewmenn. “You two, search the hold for any stowaways or anyone else that shouldn’t be here.”

The two saluted and sprinted off to go do just that.

“The rest of us, stay together, and keep an eye on each other. Don’t need to lose more of you. Let’s go!” she shouted to me and the others on deck.

I did as instructed. The remaining crew buzzed. Rehearsed motions, each working like parts of a machine. Thunk. Another one of our cannons fired. This time, a direct hit.

A cheer rose from the crew, though that happiness did not last long. There was little indication of damage on the unknown vessel, in spite of whole lot of us having seen our cannonball hit the vessel directly. A few of us rushed to the bow to take a better look. The lookout pulled out her spyglass. I leaned over the rail to look closer.

“It… didn’t hit?” The lookout sounded as confused as the rest of us felt.

“Bah, keep goin’!” The deckhand shouted. We did not have much choice otherwise.

Rehearsed motions once again. Rushing, loading, clunk. Loaded cannon. “Fire!” Thunk.

Again, it happened, and I watched our cannonball hit the vessel, even closer now. But it did not even waiver. It only beckoned. The green light drew me in. I leaned over the bow’s rail again, staring. I could hear their laughter. I could hear their men laughing at our worthless cannonballs. They laughed at our missing crew. They laughed at me.

The wind blew by again, though this time it felt like it originated from the ship, working as arms to sweep me in closer. I moved closer to it, to the light. Over the railing, closer to the laughter. I peered down at the water, and the light glimmered at me. Its reflection stared into my soul. I could hear the intensifying laughter and creaking, as the vessel drew closer still.

I saw a face in the the water, green in the light’s reflection. The Old Mann.

Then another. The missing First Mate.

Then another, and another. Two more after that.

And then the pair that had been sent to check the hold.

They stared up at me in horrible terror. They pleaded with me to join them, to accept the fate and find release in the cold depths, to be submerged in beautiful emerald light. I dangled my leg out over the edge.

Then, there was a hand on my collar. I gagged and coughed as the hand pulled me back over the rail.

“What the hell are you doin’?”

I opened my mouth but couldn’t find words. I closed my eyes and held my head in my hands, trying to force the haze out of my mind.

The deckhand took me by the shoulders and shook me.

Rushing, loading, clunk. Loaded cannon. Ready to fire once more. But neither the deckhand nor I were paying attention.

“I…” my tongue groggily worked through the words. “I saw them… in the water… The Old Mann… The First Mate…” I shook my head. “These are not pirates.”

Thunk. The deep pop and bang from our cannon sounded, and I watched yet another cannonball pass through the vessel, as though it did not even exist. We were so close now, the eerie light danced with the shadows it birthed across our deck, mocking our terror with its casual delight.

My bleary gaze wandered its way back to the deckhand, and our eyes locked. The glaze in her eyes spoke. She thought we were going to die. She probably thought that from the very second our cannonballs did nothing. But what was she to do? What were any of us to do, other than keep loading the cannons and praying the vessel would disappear?

Distant cannonfire. Crashing, crunching, creaking. A cannonball breached the hull. Worried shouting, and the deckhand’s eyes pulled from mine as she dashed below deck to inspect the damage. I did not know what to do, so I followed her.

There was a hole in the hull, a near perfect circle where the water began pouring in, but again no trace of any cannonball. It was as though they were firing air at us, and yet the damage was undeniably real.

The deckhand let out another string of curses, ran to shout more instructions to the crew, then pounded back down the stairs. She handed me a bucket, and she frantically began to bail out the ship.

I, however, stood still, my ankles cold from the sea water, holding the bucket and staring at her attempting what would ultimately be a fruitless endeavor.

Footsteps overhead, clunk. Loaded cannon. “Fire!” Thunk.

Most of our shots were hits with how close the vessel was now, as were theirs. Another cannonball-less breach in our hull, water pouring in. I still stood there, and I could not help but look out the porthole at our deaths. I hesitantly stepped closer, my boots sloshing with water, and swung open the very same porthole from earlier in the day, and watched. The unknown vessel was now parallel to ours, and I could see onto their deck without a spyglass.

My eyes flicked over the other ship, hoping to catch any glimpse of the ones sending us to the depths. Their sails and flags bore an old symbol… one I’d only seen in books. Something from the time of the Deranged King. Though aside from the flags flailing in the wind, there was no other movement. There were barrels and cannons, crates and rope, an anchor and lanterns. But there were no people.

I rubbed my eyes. Perhaps they were all below, preparing to board our ship? But a few more minutes filled with smoke, water, and cannonfire revealed that there was no one on the ship at all. Not a single soul, nor a single spark. The eerie green light from the other vessel continued to dance upon our ship, laughing at my confusion in the way it leaped across my face.

I closed my eyes, the water now at my knees. There were ghostly shouts and laughs coming from the other vessel, bangs and clunks from cannons, heavy and frantic footfalls, crashing waves threatening to pull us under, but I pushed that all away. I wanted to die feeling peace. So I listened for what I knew. It wasn’t long.

All I could hear was the creaking of the ship.

But something else was there this time, something that lulled me into the peace I so desperately sought: a breeze carrying a beautiful song. It was not the same wind from the unknown vessel that violently pulled at my clothing and delivered shouts and laughs of terrible men. It was different. It found its way through the breaches in the hull and caressed my forehead and hair, as a mother would her precious child, and brought along with it the voices of a chorus of women. Their words were not words, but the song was safety. It was home.

I heard it now. I wish I could have told the Old Mann. I wish he could have heard it. The Sirens were real.

I felt a hand on my shoulder. I did not have to open my eyes to know it was the deckhand, offering a silent and gentle apology for something not even her fault, as the water swallowed our legs. She had done her best to save us. I rested my hand over hers in a wordless thank you, for her bravery and what she had done.

There were no more footfalls above us. No more shouts. No more clunks, loaded cannons, thunks, or bangs. Even the laughter on the other vessel had stopped.

There was only creaking. Only the wind. Only the song. Only the cold water, lapping at our waists. My eyes closed, I thought of home.

Then, there was blackness. We just floated, in an indiscernible sea, that was still and empty.

But finally, by some miracle, I resurfaced.

I started coughing with tight lungs as I gasped for air. I could make out the sky again through bleary vision. Morning’s first light embraced my drenched form, the beautiful pink of day prying me from the fading purple of the abhorrent night. I was alive, and best of all, out of that empty sea, away from the green light and the laughter. I could feel the sand sticking to me, welcoming me back.

I pushed myself up slowly into a seated position, then involuntarily began expelling salt and sea from my lungs and stomach. I wiped my mouth, trying to ignore the taste.

When my vision returned to normal, I realized where I was. I had washed up on the beaches just outside of Siren’s Shore.

I began to stand up, but my hands were balled tightly into fists. I unfurled them, and found in one of my hands the deckhand’s crumpled, torn hat—the very same one that was supposed to be in my now empty pocket. It was miraculously dry. I patted my pockets. The Old Mann’s journal was still there, also miraculously dry. Somehow everything in my pockets managed to not only stay in them, but did not have a spot of water on them. Even the deckhand's sword that was still around my waist was dry.

I scrambled up a little faster, wobbled a little as I tried to find my legs once again, then looked around. There was no sign of the deckhand, nor any of the other crew members. I saw no wreckage from our ship, and aside from the items on my person, there were no other signs of the night that had passed. The whole ordeal could have been some nightmare, if I was not so sure otherwise.

I clung to the hat and began to trudge my way to Siren’s Shore.


I am still unsure of what happened that night. I do not think I will ever be sure, but I will never forget what happened… nor will I forget the deckhand.

After I found shelter and new clothing, I reported what had happened to the authorities. If it weren’t for the Old Mann’s journal I handed over to them, and the missing ship and crew, I’m not sure they would have believed me. I am still not sure they do entirely. Still, they took my missing persons reports and story. I pray that they find something someday. I pray that the Sirens bring the crew back.

Not long after, I began looking for answers. I wanted so desperately to make sense of it all, though after these years of searching, I do not think I was ever meant to know. I found one answer to the long list of questions in my mind. I found what home was to the deckhand.

The deckhand’s home was a small fishing port. Her parents were old and kind, and they cried when I brought them a copy of the missing persons report recounting the tale. I returned her hat and sword to them, though they insisted I keep the sword. It now sits in gleaming glory upon my mantle, in my small cottage outside of Siren’s Shore. Sometimes I threaten the ravens that like to pillage my vegetables with it, or the spiders that I find in an unused cupboard. But most of the time I sit and gaze upon it in thought.

The deckhand was right. My adventure had already begun. Perhaps the old cargo ship’s noises, the salty sea spray, and cool air were all trying to tell me that the very day I first stepped onto that boat. Every voyage can be an adventure. In fact, it often is, and I learned far more from that journey than I ever cared to.

She was also right about home. I learned the importance of it, but I also learned the importance of leaving it. To wander is a joy and a terror. Without wandering, I would have few stories to tell. But without home, I would be lost at sea.

I often think of moving, perhaps inland or to the capital to make a new home, but a part of me is worried that the day I do is the day the Sirens will lay the deckhand on the beaches not far from my cottage. I also cannot find the peace that I do in the Sirens’ domain. If I am quiet, some nights I can hear their song—the very same that was safety. The same that is now home.

Though other nights, when the sky darkens and I look out on the horizon, I think that sometimes I can still see the green light beckoning to me…

…and all I can hear is the creaking of that ship.

Author's Note

This story has been adapted from a transcript taken from a set of missing persons reports in the Siren’s Shore archives. Little is known about what exactly happened to the S.S. Packsford and her crew. This witness’s story and the journal of the missing captain is all the information that local enforcement has been able to gather on the case.

Rumors in Siren's Shore tell of the ghostly vessel still sailing to this day. Old superstitious sailors and seafarers advise not flying flags that bare Vornair's knot when passing through the area outside of Siren's Shore, as they believe the unknown vessel to be the return of one of the Deranged King's fleet, seeking revenge on the good people of the Arbor, and any that ally with them. Some believers in the tale even fly their flags at half mast in the area, in remembrance of the S.S. Packsford and her crew.

Other crews have taken to singing songs of praise to the Sirens when passing that portion of the route, in hopes that if they do run into trouble, the Sirens will guide them safely to dock.

Whether the tale is true or not, the local authorities always advise caution, as the seas are harsh and often filled with pirates, potentially harmful sea creatures, and dangerous weather conditions.

This story is dedicated to the S.S. Packsford and her crew.

2/28/2018 3:23:14 PM #1

I enjoyed that very much Elsy. You are very talented, was really creepy, in a good way! Gives the reader a case of the heebie jeebies. BRAVO!

2/28/2018 7:29:37 PM #2

Posted By Sandor at 09:23 AM - Wed Feb 28 2018

I enjoyed that very much Elsy. You are very talented, was really creepy, in a good way! Gives the reader a case of the heebie jeebies. BRAVO!

Thanks so much, and thanks for reading through it all! Glad you enjoyed it! ^-^

3/1/2018 12:05:32 AM #3

Wow...Simply amazing! You have a true talent at writing, and I hope that you continue to do so, and that I am lucky enough to be able to read it!

3/1/2018 12:41:27 AM #4

Very impressive!

3/1/2018 1:43:01 AM #5

Great entry! You did not make the decision easy!

3/1/2018 9:27:07 AM #6

Posted By Daemon_Redwyne at 6:05 PM - Wed Feb 28 2018

Wow...Simply amazing! You have a true talent at writing, and I hope that you continue to do so, and that I am lucky enough to be able to read it!

Thanks so much! I'll definitely be sure to post more stories as I think of them and have the time to write them. Thanks for hosting the contest!

Posted By ScarletteTaygen at 6:41 PM - Wed Feb 28 2018

Very impressive!

Thank you!

Posted By CaptainSeli at 7:43 PM - Wed Feb 28 2018

Great entry! You did not make the decision easy!

Thanks! Excited to see the results. Definitely a lot of good stories that came out of the contest. ^-^

9/4/2019 5:16:35 AM #7

Had to come back and read this again. Truly a great piece of work!