Hard to Port

Sometimes it is not the length of the journey, but the direction.

Cog.Kieler_Hansekogge_2007.wiki.ALTERED

Photo credit: Vollwert BIT (altered)



As the sailors bustled about, snapping down the sail, Jallen kept her eyes locked on the building on shore.  Home.  Or it had been, until today.

So familiar, this act.  She had stood on deck in this harbor countless times.  Heading up the coast for peppers and spices.  Heading down the coast for pine nuts.  With her parents and brother.  Then just her parents.  Then just her father.

He stood at their front door, on the dock.  Watching, vigilantly, ensuring all was well.  He didn’t wave.  He wasn’t a waver.

But now she was heading west, out to sea.  Over the horizon, far and farther, to a land she’d once thought was make-believe.

They pulled anchor.  A soft lurch—nothing really, as though it were not important at all, leaving—and they were away.

Beside her, the captain raised his hand to his heart in salute.  Jallen followed his gaze to her father, watched him nod.

The captain touched her shoulder, timidly, gently.

She nodded, blinked away tears, looked west.

They had a good wind.



**Note that “hard to port” means to turn the tiller toward the port (left) side of the ship, so that you actually move toward starboard (right) — that is, you turn away from port.


See the next story, Unstoppable Waves, for the father’s perspective.


This is my entry for this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.  Thanks as always to Priceless Joy for organizing this wonderful challenge!   The inspiring photo prompt is shown below – thanks to Louise of The Storyteller’s Abode! Click here to read the many wonderful stories written on this prompt by other boggers — and submit your own!

wpid-photo-20150928070236744.Louise



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21 thoughts on “Hard to Port

  1. Beautiful piece, again. There’s a hint of mystery here – what happened to her brother and her mother, did they leave, too, or did they die and that’s why she has to leave now? Or is it more to do with the captain? It reads like the beginning of an adventure and I’d read on 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! A little more of the mystery is revealed in the next story I just posted. But to clarify first, the daughter isn’t a child. I didn’t thing about people maybe interpreting it that way, hm… Now I wish I’d added something that clarified. Well, the next story helps clarify that, I hope.

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  2. A lot of unercurrents woven into this story, Joy, and I can see why you want to expand with stories from other viewpoints. What happened to her mother and brother, for instance? In this episode, you have created an intriguing ‘leaving home’ scene, and I love the use of the nautical terms.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks! The only thing I had to work at was tying the first and last (ish) lines together across stories. I started that with the second story and committed to it before knowing how (whether!) it was going to work with the third one. But I was able to figure something out, whew.

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