Wednesday, June 7, 2017

On a Gemstone Sea

[Note: This is a narrative snippet.  It does not have a full narrative arc.  It's a rewrite of a few paragraphs of Stephen Crane's story "The Open Boat," but I hadn't read the story at that point, only the few paragraphs I was working with, so some aspects to it don't align with the original story.]

            Jonathan leaned hard against his brother as they each carved into the dark waters with their oars.  The sheer masonry of the wave served to lock his eyes to its majesty, but in truth there was little else to see.  It seemed that the ocean had had enough of the men.  They were Mongols, ready to steal its jade.  The boat lilted, tumbling over the wall.  A new barrier followed.
            The next snarling crest spit in their faces.  Norbert grunted.  “We’re gonna have to start bailing this ding out if this swell don’t calm the hell down.”
            The cook shot him a dirty glance.  He exchanged a phrase with the correspondent.  Something about stations and houses of some sort.
Jonathan huffed, hoping that the sea would start huffing with him.  He knew it wouldn’t.  There had been two Danish fellows on his first brig, tall whips of men.  When the ship had stopped to restore provisions they would race each other up and down the streets of the little coastal towns.  They made Jonathan exhausted just to watch them.  The sea almost reminded him of them, except that at night the sea didn’t stop, whereas those Danes had been suckers for a good supper and bottle of gin.
By the looks of the sun drooping on the horizon it was far past supper time.  The cook’s stomach growled.  His hadn’t swelled up yet.  There was no time for the hunger anyway.  Jonathan raised his oar, bit down into the water one more time.
The sun gained ground up the dome of the sky, and he laughed.  It was dawn, not dusk.  The sea was a bed of emeralds, streaked with streams of topaz.  Foam poured forth from the gem field, snow in June.