He sat on the low stool in the barn, hands flying like quicksilver as he milked the cow. His one stiff leg was stretched out before him. 

I peeked around the barn door. He sensed my presence. “What is it, boy?” 

“Can we go down to the bay to watch for boats?” 

Without looking up my father spoke:

“I’ve left that life behind me, along with my leg. Go help your mother with breakfast.” 

I watched him silently as I wiped my sniffly nose on my sleeve. He swiveled on the stool as fast as his wooden leg would allow. Raising his eye patch he growled menacingly.

ARGH! Dammit boy! Don’t be making me angry or you’ll be walking the plank to yer watery grave!” 

I jumped back, giggling. I couldn’t help myself.

“Can we go down to the bay tomorrow?”

He sighed in exasperation. “We’ll see; I’ve chores to finish first.”

“But tomorrow is Sunday and the boats will be coming in.” I dared to suggest.

My father became quiet. He rubbed his leg where the wood met his stump. I knew he was thinking back to that dreadful day when his boat was attacked by the marauders aboard the Crooked Star and he was left for dead. He washed ashore where my grandfather found him and carried him home for my mother to nurse.

“Sunday’s a good day to go pirate hunting, boy!”

And he thought again of the Crooked Star.

NAR © 2023

39 thoughts on “SILK SAILS”

    1. I grew up on pirate movies – dashing Errol Flynn crossing swords with villainous Basil Rathbone and winning the heart of the gorgeous Olivia de Havilland in “Captain Blood”. Now I get to write about pirates. How great is that!? 🏴‍☠️

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great father/son interaction in this one, Nancy.The father’s memories, the son’s dreams. The bond. Favourite phrase: ‘…as I wiped my sniffly nose on my sleeve’. What little boy – or girl – hasn’t done that?
    Now all I have to do is write my own story! I’d use as an excuse that I’ve been helping that other champion of the Unicorn Challenge get his book ready for publication on Amazon, but somehow he managed to post a story here as well. So that’s that excuse foiled! 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you liked this one, Jenne! I’m really enjoying writing these tiny stories for the Unicorn Challenge; it’s not easy trying to be profound and succinct at the same time.
      I loved that line about the nose wipe, too, one of the little touches that makes this story so real for me.
      Ha! He does have a way of beating everyone to the punch! I’m six hours behind …. that’s my excuse! 😉


  2. How the past lives on.

    The boy may remember the names and the places from the tales his father tells him. Most likely he’ll be able to re-tell them to his friends and they will be engaged by the adventure as was he.

    The magic, (if there is such a thing), is the emotion clinging to his father’s words. Like the barnacles and kelp on the hull of the vessel in the story, their effect is not immediately obvious.

    Quite the story of the influence of the past on the present (and future), from father to son.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We really never know what somewhat else is thinking. But we can imagine.
    I like your story and read it several times and each time I found myself adding to it and imagining what had happened.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sweet piece. Sunday tomorrow so I’ll see if one of the grandkids is up for some pirate hunting.
    Sorry, can’t resist an old joke.
    ‘Hey, old pirate, where’s your buccaneers?’
    ‘Under me buccan ‘at.’

    Liked by 2 people

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