The Boat

 The boat sailed hard through the chopping waters of a heavy moon. I’d buried the tip of my hook into the grain of the wheel and sailed on point. I’m growing attached to this thing, in more ways than one.

The boy said nothing for nautical miles. He just watched the blazing volcanoes of Carcass, vanishing beneath the horizon into the black.

Then it was silent, the waves had subsided, and I could practically hear him breathing slower, he spoke.

“Are you gonna kill me?” He seemed pretty resigned to the notion. Like he’d come to peace with it.

“No.”

“But later. You’re keeping me to kill me later.”

Kid. I’m not gonna kill you. Not unless you earn it. So, pipe your shit down.

“No”

He takes a heavy breath for a disparaged sigh, as he hung onto the mast.

“Where we goin?”

“We’re just goin’, kid”

He took more survey of me and the boat.

“The boat’s stolen?”

“No. It’s acquired, just as they acquired it.”

“Maybe they didn’t.”

“There’s not a swingin’ dick on that island that deserves to live. Murderers, slavers, bottom feeders and addicts. One big seeping infected sore on the planet. The people that go there are condemned there. And I have no clue how you’ve managed to survive for more than sixty seconds.”

“I can fight.”

“Not the same kid.”

“It’s Peter.”

“Whatever.”

“Who are you? Just Captain? The strong, silent type?”

“James”

“Cool.”

“My father named me after captain James T. Kirk of the U.S.S. Enterprise.”

“…What?”

“Star Trek. Television show.”

“Oh. No shit. We had a television. We couldn’t get it on, cause of no electricity or anything, but… That’s pretty cool.”

“He thought so.”

“Better than being named after a rabbit.”

“It’s served you well this far.”

He thought on it for a second and dug up more questions.

“It’s cool, you knew your dad.”

“You’re striking out, Kid. My father was verifiable. And he only showed up after the bombs hit. He was a dick.”

“My dad just got killed one day. I was 2. He made knives, and one day someone found our camp and they slit his throat with his own sword. I have it still.

“But I grew up with my sister and mom, and eventually she found a man that promised to take her to New Zealand. So we all rushed over to the boat and he brought is right to that island. Carcass. I mean why do they call it that?” Peter rattled to his abrupt conclusion.

“I don’t know.”

“Yes you do. You’re hard core.” He said

“Not long ago, some survivors came across the island. And the first thing they saw was a giant ship, like a cruise ship, crashed into the island. Maybe a quarter of the passengers were still alive, and they were drying the meat of the dead passengers, so as not to waste it. Like a natural conclusion.” I said, still bewildered by it.

“And it was. The island had active volcanoes and there wasn’t much growing.”

“Now, if you want to land there, you gotta bring a carcass. Lotta mouths to feed.” I said.

“Yeah. That’s what I heard. Caster killed my mother and they took her. Caster was the guy. He sold my sister and tried to sell me.”

“You ran?” I asked

“I killed him. With this.”

Peter draws a thin shimmering blade from his unnoticeable scabbard laced to his back. It empowers him. He relives the moment and imagines what his dad would say. How proud he was. The perfect weight in the contoured grip made it feel like a part of him. He imagined, for a moment, that he was the last hope.

“Well done.” I said

Something falls in the hull of the ship. As I was heading down, she emerged with a Glock, cocked and more than ready to fire.

Wendy, darling. You’re winning me over.

“Why the fuck did you steal my boat?” Wendy demanded.

“How could this possibly be your boat, Wendy.” I asked

“It belongs to Adam, and he’s with me, ipso facto, my fucking boat.”

“You work fast.”

“Fuck you. I survive.” she said

“Where’s Adam?”

“Down there, knocked out.”

“Tried to steal third on the first date?” I said

“Ha. Ha.”

“Well then. Welcome aboard, Wendy. Keep your gun.”

“You’re fuckin deaf, then.” She said

“I can sail the ship, I can dodge a bullet, and I could kill you all if I need to. So I am your Captain.”

She held the gun firm. The girl knew how to shoot. I saw that already. But she couldn’t sail.

She kept the sights on me for an eternity. It was awkward for a while.

And then Adam woke up.

That’s when it got a whole hell of a lot more awkward.

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