Daring, Danger, Drink and Disaster…
An Excerpt from Steam Punk writer D.L. Narrol’s book:
Late September 1910 Captain Colin Limmerick stood by the gunnel of his vessel. The ship’s two steam pipes blew off excess as the one sail caught the chilled wind off the Irish Sea. He cranked away at the reel to bring in the latest catch. He put his bulging biceps to work as he pumped away at drawing the catch into the hold of the ship. The captain’s first mate, Eddy, stood behind him as he watched the tall, robust captain put his muscles to work. The fish made it into the hold, while the captain stared at the sea.
“Captain?” Eddy asked.
The captain gazed at the sea, as if he were in a trance. He winced with panic when he saw several people splashing about in the water. He reached for his bottle of whiskey, which sat on the planked floor of the deck. He took a few swigs and continued to stare. People squirmed and gasped for air as they slowly sank below the captivating waves. Their screams became less and less until only a few remained afloat.
“Captain? Are yaz feelin’ alright?” Eddy asked.
The last of the victims kept repeating the same phrase in Gaelic.
“Long live our Lord! And, long live Ireland.”
The captain bit his lip with horror as he watched each one of them sink into the frigid sea.
“Captain! Captain Colin! Are yaz feelin’ ill, or what?”
Colin turned to his first mate. “Oh, God!”
Eddy stepped closer to him. “What is it that ya see out there?”
Colin appeared horrified. “Oh, God! Sweet Christ!” He took the whiskey bottle and placed it against his lips. He started to drink profusely, while he focused on Eddy. He gazed at his first mate with penetrating eyes. Eddy noticed a tear run down his captain’s cheek.
“Oh, sakes, captain, yar cryin’? What’s wrong?” Eddy pulled the whiskey bottle from his captain’s hands. “Imagine a big strong man like yarself is cryin’. Ya got every wench chasin’ after yaz. The crew goes on about how much they wished they had yar good looks and brains. Can’t believe a man with so much to offer is cryin’.”
Colin looked at Eddy with his lips parted. He unbuttoned his jacket. He pulled his tartan scarf from his broad neck and unbuttoned his shirt. Eddy could see his bare chest and stomach.
“Look at me.”
Eddy noticed a deep scar on Colin’s belly. “Oh, God! Captain, what happened?”
Colin examined his wound for the umpteenth time. He ran his large hands over bumpy aftermath of skin.
“What happened, ye ask, Ed? A sword did this to me.”
“Oh, good Lord. What kinda mess did yaz get yarself into? Since when ya play with swords?”
“Since lately, I suppose.”
“Are ya cryin’ ’bout the wound, or are yaz in pain from it?”
“It does still cause me pain, so it does. Rosa stitched it up.”
“Rosa? She’s no medical doctor. Isn’t she an archeologist?”
“That she is, but there wasn’t a physician around. I’m not cryin’ ’bout me wound, but tell me somethin’, Ed? Are there people drowin’ in the sea just now?”
Eddy slowly turned his head. He squinted his eyes as he scanned the water.
“I’m not seein’ them, captain.”
Colin turned to his first mate. “What ye mean?”
Eddy sighed with frustration. “I’m confiscatin’ yar whiskey. Ya really gotta cut down, don’t ya think?”
Colin buttoned his shirt. “Cut down? So, ye think I’m a lush, do ye?”
“Think? I know. We’s all gotta cut down, don’t ya think?”
Timmy in the wheelhouse climbed down to the deck to where his captain was talking to the first mate.
Colin tipped his tweed cap at his crewmember. “Timmy.”
“Gotta message from me wench for ya, captain.”
“How is Deidre these days?” Colin asked.
“She says she’s dyin’ to see yaz again, captain. I think she’s in love with yaz.”
Eddy placed his hand on Timmy’s shoulder. “Be a good lad ‘n leave us be for now. Yar captain has run into a problem, eh?”
Timmy sprinted to the galley. Eddy chuckled.
Colin sat on the ledge of the deck. “I know ye don’t know what me work is like at the university, but… ”
“Ya never tell me anythin’ ’bout yar research. Yaz always been very secretive ’bout it.”
“I’m a fishin’ captain and PhD candidate at the London University; strange combination, isn’t it? But ye know, Ed, I was the one with the high grades in school. Here I am a simple man, a fisherman at that. Yet I always had that crave for research and higher education. But I’ve noticed the other PhD candidates like Rosa came from wealth. Did ye know her father was a professor? Same with Amoli’s father.”
“Of course, captain, those that go to university don’t come from workin’ class people like us, eh?” Eddy nudged Colin’s arm.
“So, why would I bore the first mate of me ship with me university bunk?”
“I’ve known yaz since ya was a wee lad on yar uncle’s ship. Nothin’ ya have ever said to me was ever borin’.”
“Yer too kind, Ed. Can ye give me back me whiskey bottle now?”
Eddy handed it back to his captain.
Colin took a few swigs. “Don’t want ye to repeat any of this.”
“Captain, ya know ya have me word.”
“I’ve been travelin’ to past times in history, so I have.”
Eddy grabbed Colin’s whiskey bottle and took a large gulp. “Time travel?”