Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ships at sea

Another writing exercise. Man, I'm rusty.

"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board."(2) And as Gent watched the harbour he wished with all of his heart, not for the treasure that may or may not be on board one of the ships, but to be aboard the ship himself.

'If only they would take me. Not likely. The Screit men who owned all of the shipping companies here would never hire a barbarian like me.' Gent could taste the bitterness. This colony was beautiful but there was a price to be paid. Marma never seemed to notice, she was just glad to be away from the constant filthy human traffic of Allorin. The transporter that brought them had been filled with the Screit upper class. The caste system had technically been abolished a century ago; but out here, so far from the up and coming capital, old bloodlines still ran true. And the upper class all looked related to Gent. Their pinched noses always suggested foul surroundings... like they were born to be the snooty aristocrats that they grew up to be.

'I wonder if there are any uninhabited places on this world... All I've seen so far are established Screit communities or overrun tourist hot spots. Or maybe I could join a farming community and live among the lowest Difeen... where I belong.'

He slung the string of Haitun over his shoulder and made his way past the other fisherman his footsteps loud on the hollow metal tubes that made up the swaying dock. Trying to ignore the open stares at his foreign features. He looked up and saw Sewl rising in the west, and quickened his step. Marma would be ready to go to market and would want the fish to sell. Most of the fishing done on Screitla was highly comercialized, but the Haitun were so soft bodied that the large, broad casting nets of the big fishing boats tore them beyond hope. And so, until an applied scientist solved the problem, independent fishermen still were in demand by the wealthiest of the city. They considered line-caught fish a delecacy left-over from a simpler time. It didn't pay well, but it helped.

"Hurry UP! GENT!!" The stars climb high!"

"I'm coming Marma!"

He ran up the stairs, Marma was waiting for him. He handed her the string.

"Good catch today?" Marma didn't have very much imagination... he could just see the days stretching out before them...the same questions again and again week after week.

"Yes Marma, and before you ask, no I didn't see anyone we know on the way."

Marma laughed her sweet laugh. "Ok, ok. I'll be back in a little while. Here." She handed him one of the fish,"It is a good catch."

Gent took the fish eagerly. He was hungry, and it wasn't very often he got to taste his own catch.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." Marma smiled, "I'll be back."

Gent cleaned the fish carefully, not losing any of the precious, tender meat. He carefully placed it in a pan with a tiny amount of yerthia, his favorite of the local herbs that Marma tended in their window. He cooked it for only a moment or two and then put it on a plate and knelt at the table. He ate half and saved the rest for Marma, and then left the flat before she could get back and make him eat the rest. She was so thin, but he knew that she would want him to eat it, if he was there. Older sisters were like that. But he also knew that she wouldn't let the delicate fish go bad by leaving it for him to eat that night.

The Haitun wouldn't be biting anymore and the docks should be pretty empty by now.

2. Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston, 1937

No comments: