A Captain's Smile
He sits in the boat. A small one, but his pride. His wife next to him, he casts his net over the side and leans back. He feels his wife's hands in his beard and smiles. Today would be a good day. He felt it, felt they'd get a good catch, then back home, prepare the fish, salt the rest, eat, sleep. Aye, he knew it would be a good day. The sun was high in the sky and The Captain was happy.
The Captain awakens to a scream. His wife. He jolts up and feels something slam into the back of his head. His small boat rocks as he lies on the floor. His wife screams again, yet the captain is already preparing to get up. Feet fall around him, and he plots the path of each man on the boat. 4 men, 1 big guy, three more easy to take care of. The one who his him is moving closer. Steps. One, two, three. The Captain takes the legs out from underneath him and connects his fist to the man's jaw as he rises. Dead or unconscious. The Big guy has his wife - unconscious, but the two others are in his way. The red mist begins to fall, as the men begin to turn. The Captain is on them in seconds, one down, unconscious, launched free of the boat, the other stands there, mouth open, eyes glazed over, hand half-reaching for the knife in his belt. The captain bats the hand away and takes the knife. He whirls and cuts the man's throat, pushing him over the side. The big guy has stopped moving. The Captain turns and sees what has played out. The big guy has a gun, a flintlock pistol, with the barrel under his wife's chin. He finally speaks. "Take another step, aye, and she dies". The captain struggles against the red mist. It hovers there, at the edges of his vision, whispering to him. He takes a step, barely realising. The big guy holds the gun still. He's already pulled back the hammer. "Not one more, my friend. Let her go, I'll kill her and you next. Another step would be a bad idea." He speaks. The Captain is doubtful, he growls his resentment at the statement, and takes another step. His entire life falls down around him. A gunshot, and the red mist falls.
His mind is clearing. Faster this time, faster than ever before. He begins to see properly again, he sees without the bloodlust, finally, aye. But what he sees is broken. Four more corpses spill out of the Harrier's boat, the big man lays still, his face and chest in tatters. But another corpse adorns the boat. His wife's body, bled dry by the lack of a jaw. The Captain croaks, his vision cloaked in red no more. He sees her truly, and turns away. His hands bloody once again, after all these years, and now his wife gone. Once again, a thought floats into his head. O Discordia!. He feels tears inside, but they do not reach his eyes. He can cry no more. He tilts his head back and roars to the sky for all he's lost. "O Discordia!"
He pushes the bodies on his boat over the side and retrieves his knife from the big guy's neck. He wipes the blood away with his shirt and washes it in the sea. He kneels by his wife and finds the least bloody part of her hair. He cuts a small part off - there isn't that much without blood. He stays by her for the last time... He would kiss her goodbye but he no longer can. He leaves the Harrier's boat for the first time and steps behind the helm of his own. He leaves the scene where he ended eight men's lives in less than as many minutes with nought but a few hairs of his wife. That day was going to be a good day, he would have got a good catch, gone home, he would have cooked his wife fish while she plotted their next finishing destination, they would have eaten, they would discuss life, love, and solved all of the problems of the world over dinner, he would have salted the fish while she read a book and they would have laid together. But this did not come to pass. Now his wife lays with eight men, none of them moving, on some boat in the sea, while he sails away with nothing. His life has been destroyed, yet he knows not why. But aye, if there was reason behind he will find out. The Captain can feel the wind blowing as he steers his boat for home. Although he is alone, The Captain smiles.
A Captain's Smile