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The Captain and his Beast

short story

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Riisiing Moon

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Posted Jul 27 2012 - 04:41 PM

Crk-crk-crk."Captain!"His stare is one of vengeance, of both fire and frost. The shipmate pauses, hesitates, breathes sharply and forgets to breathe again. The Captain does not recall his name...had he known it to begin with? The face looks familiar, but all these men are faceless. There is the Captain, the Sea, and Them."What's your name, son?" The Captain's voice is hollow. The night shrouds its source, and in the blackness the words are almost tangible--the shipmate's fingers tingle as he feels them dance across his palm."Jer'ya, sir."The Captain smiles. The gesture is somehow haunting beneath his hood, as is every movement of the man. The shipmate stifles a shiver.The air grows ever more frigid."Son, why are we at sea?""Uh...uhm." The words sounded like a test that he was doomed to fail. He would answer obliviously and the Captain would chuckle sarcastically, endowing him with that archaic wisdom he reeked of.The tone, though...the Captain sounded lost, genuinely lost. He honestly didn't know the answer....the shipmate sensed a vulnerability there. The Captain seemed naked, bare, childish. Innocent, even.A tear fell from the shipmate's eye."Because we're looking for something."The Captain laughed, that hollow sense of knowing again. The innocence was a faded dream. "Some greater drive, like love, or fulfillment, perhaps?"The shipmate nodded numbly."Don't be such a dreamer, Jer'ya. We're looking for a thing that killed my brother. There is no fulfillment at sea, boy." The Captain's lips were as dry as his words.The shipmate grimaced in the dark. He'd screwed up again."What'd you come here for?"The shipmate blinked twice. He'd forgotten..."Oh yeah. Another dead...morale's low, sir. The men are barely eating. It's a vicious cycle out here."Thunder cracked. The sound was near.The Captain seemed to move, but the shipmate couldn't tell where in the shadows. And then he wasn't there. The shipmate reeled around. The Captain was pacing vigorously back and forth, back and forth, muttering madly."Ittookanotheritkilledhe'sdeadIwillkillititwilldiemotheryou'llbeproudmotherdon'tworryI'llkillitfatherwillbeproudanddarlingI'llbewithyouandbrotherandohheavensthiswillnotdothisisnotrightthiswillnotdo--""S-sir?"The Captain twitched violently. His eyes were aflame, and he saw the Sea in them...the Sea in its ancient calm, the Sea in its wickedness, the Sea in its unflagging isolation, in its permanence. The Sea in its depth."Let me see the body.""Uhm, sir, we found no body."The Sea in its silence.The Captain said nothing...for a moment he seemed dead but walking. The shipmate waited an eternity for the rain to finally loose upon the world, to shatter this quiet.The Captain said nothing."Captain, the body is missing."Crk-crk-crk.The Captain twitched again, and almost soundlessly his blade was at the ready. The steel flashed as swiftly as a distant light. The Moon? Lightning? No thunder was heard...still this silence reigned supreme."C-Captain? What's wrong...what's...that noise?" Sweat poured in place of the imminent storm. Heat from within and frost upon his lips, he felt dying. The world converged upon the shipmate, but the Captain was at its center.The Captain sprinted lithely--youthfully, even--to the boat's edge, and peered over with an aggression he should've been far too old for. How old was the Captain anyways?Crk-crk-crk.The night's silence tangible in the shadows, shattered only by the moon's ghostly light.That light was...wrong.The roar was supreme. Chaos broke from its chains from within the shipmate, and he felt himself immersed in a pain so ultimate he forgot himself entirely. His skin simply ceased to feel, and the numbness was so deep he slipped into his own mind. He lost himself, and when he found himself he was gazing down at his own corpse.The creature burst forth from the Sea, from the Captain's eyes, in a writhing mass incomprehensible to the mortal. The Captain's shriek of unholy vengeance was silenced by the night, and by the bellow that deafened the world. The Captain wielded his blade madly in a display of the humane foolishness that leads man to both victory and horror, and cast himself into the Sea.Even as the world unfolds, the Rising Moon watches with all-seeing eyes.
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#2 Offline Legolover-361

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Posted Jul 27 2012 - 04:53 PM

Jer'ya's reasons for coming so urgently to the Captain in the beginning of the story are unclear, but otherwise the story was fantastic. I especially enjoy your writing style: You describe things, but you don't go overboard with flowery metaphors, you use only as much description as you need to.Great job, Rising Moon, and welcome back!
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#3 Offline Zarayna

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Posted Jul 29 2012 - 03:53 PM

While I liked the writing style, the overall plot didn't really appeal to me. If I had to pinpoint it, I would give the 'too sudden/no backstory' argument. Other than that, this was a fairly good story. I want to see more of your work again.And welcome back.

Edited by Zarayna: The Quiet Light, Jul 29 2012 - 03:54 PM.

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#4 Offline Velox

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Posted Sep 14 2012 - 09:09 PM

First off, I'm really sorry for not replying to this sooner. I don't really have a good excuse, either, unfortunately, except laziness. But, as promised, here I am! I must say, this was quite the enjoyable story. Right off the bat you captured my attention, and kept it throughout the story. The way the words flowed together just made it a very enjoyable and gripping story. The setting, too, helped in that regard. I wish we could know more, but as a short story, it was great. It tells enough to not make the reader confused, but leaves enough out to have a lingering sense of mystery to go with the exciting ending.Running off that tangent, I really liked the last line. Mostly because of your username, I guess, so I thought it was cool how you featured that in the story, whether it was supposed to be a story about "you" or not. The strongest part of this story, though, was simply the diction and description. Both were quite well done. The sailor's thoughts were very well portrayed, and I enjoyed reading it from a "nobody's" standpoint. Then you have the Captain, a very interesting character in himself. Again, I'd like to see more of him, but it works. The dialogue was also well-done, something that I see many writers struggle with to make accurate. And the description of how they say things, too, was great, seeing the viewpoint of the sailor and what he thought/saw when the Captain spoke. Overall the descriptions and writing style were all very good, which allowed for the very fast-paced story to keep my attention, keep me in suspense, and most importantly, allow me to not feel confused at anything because of lack of description, while not slowing down the pace of the story at all (except once). Which, amusingly, is my only criticism. There were two times when I thought that the pacing was interrupted:

There is the Captain, the Sea, and Them.

Maybe it's just me, but I thought there could have been a bigger pause before "and Them" -- maybe: "There is the Captain, the Sea. And Them."? You kind of want it to be Captain, Sea.........and Them, I think. Just that little change, to me, changes a lot. No longer are the Captain, Sea, and Them in the same category. Rather, the Captain is now more connected to the Sea than to "Them." He and the Sea are almost one, distant from Them. See what I mean? The last thing is:


Unfortunately, this had the opposite effect. While it was meant to seem like he is talking extremely quickly (and that is obvious that he is), what really happened was that I ended up reading it slowly, trying to see what it said, and it slowed down the fast-paced story. The simple solution for this, I think, is to use punctuation, just to break it up slightly. Add a period here-and-there and it will allow the reader to read it easier. I know that will somewhat lessen the effect you wanted it to have on the reader, as you wanted this whole thing to be said extremely quickly, but that's something that's hard to do while writing, because the reader has to, well, -read- it. =P Other than that, I really don't have anything else to say, and nothing more to critique. It was a very well-written story, and welcome back! It's nice to read a story by you again; I hope you stick around. =]Posted Image

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"As a writer you ask yourself to dream while awake." ~ Aimee Bender

#5 Offline Zaxvo

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Posted Feb 18 2013 - 11:21 AM

Hey, it's Zaxvo from the SSCC! Your story has randomly been selected for a free review!So, for starters, I really enjoyed this. The setting as excellent, you set up the backstory magnificently, and I love the parallels to Moby Dick. The characters are wonderfully written and overall it's quite good.My only issues with the story are in the ending. Well, to be precise, I only have one complaint, and that is that the ending is too ambiguous. I'm referring tot he last three paragraphs, beginning with "That light was...wrong." That's not to say I would have liked it to be explained completely, but I've read that ending many times and I still don't really understand what happens. Perhaps I'm the only one, but it really doesn't make any sense to me, grammatically or semantically.For example: How does one gaze down at one's OWN corpse? And how does the creature burst forth from both the sea and the Captain's eyes, only for the Captain to cast himself into the sea? Does he throw himself into his own eyes? How does that work? I understand the Captain's probably dead, but what happened to the beast?So you can see that it has left me with a great many questions that it seems like you were trying to answer, but for some reason couldn't.Other than that, this is wonderfully written, and I look forward to seeing more of your work.
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