This weeks prompt, “Sweat beaded on her forehead and she took a shuddering breath. She was so close to being done forever.”
“I hate sea travel!” shouted Shen her voice carried away by the screaming wind.
A large wave washed over the bow and she pulled on the rope trying to keep her feet under her. Everyone on deck was busy trying to keep the ship upright in the tumultuous sea.
Shen kept telling herself that once she was on dry land again she would never, ever get on another ship as long as she lived.
Donagull, the ship’s commander, was barking orders and everyone was working hard to do what she was demanding but they were farmers and school teachers not sailors. With the exception of the Ru’een who knew how to handle a ship of this size, most Ikan never sailed anywhere in their lives. They had signed onto this trip with the hope of being able to build a new life in the far wide country of the north continent, if it existed at all.
Another wave washed over them and Donagull screamed another order she couldn’t hear. They had been battling the storm all night. It was like a living beast trying to destroy their tiny ship. The waves seemed to be coming from every direction at once. Shen felt like she had swallowed half the ocean but she kept pulling on the ropes with all her might, hoping her raw and swollen hands could hold on.
Wasn’t there a proverb about a storm not being able to last more than a night? Shen hoped it was true. She couldn’t remember ever being so tired.
Shen thought it must be almost dawn but she couldn’t see anything in the howling darkness. Shen thought about all the people she and her sisters had talked into going on this voyage. She felt responsible for them all.
The ship rocked and lurched in the wind. Shen’s stomach was doing much the same thing. She pulled on the ropes as much as she could manage but she was at the end of her strength. If only the sun would rise and the wind stop and it would all be over.
She just wanted to go below and lay down beside her mate Nost. She wondered if he had been able to sleep through this turmoil. Was he frightened? Was he warm and dry? She had promised him an adventure and a new life. She wondered what he thought about that now.
As the sun began to come up the wind at last died down. They storm was over and they could relax. Donagull thanked everyone for their hard work and told everyone to go below and get dry. Gratefully Shen stowed away the ropes and headed down the ladder.
Once down below she checked on Nost and changed into some dry clothing. She laid down with a deep sigh and Nost gathered her into his arms and pushed her damp hair back.
“Are you alright?” she asked. “Was it horrible?”
“I don’t think I had as bad a time as you did. Look at your poor hands.”
“I’m alright. I just need to sleep.” Shen closed her eyes and began to drift off.
Suddenly she heard a cry from topside. “Land! I see land!”