FFF: Harbor Lights
Trying out a new feature here at PP.net. It probably won’t be weekly, but I’m hoping it’ll give me an excuse to step away from the WIP each week and flex my creative muscle.
That’s right b*tches, PP is doing FLASHfictionFRIDAY. I’m hanging out with the cool kids. At last! Wheee!
Tonight I just went to Mangle.CA and got a bunch of random images from LiveJournal. The first one I saw struck me as something I could run with. I think this link should take you to a lovely nighttime photo of many boats in a harbor which are apparently Croatian (or so Google Translate of the blog tells me). Its such a beautiful shot (and in that associated blog post there are MANY other images of picturesque towns and lagoons in (so they say) Croatia, I just can’t help but close my eyes, crank up the music and see what comes out in the next 20 minutes.
Aaaaand away we go!
Nikos pulled a knee to his chest and wrapped his arms around it. Below, in the harbor, he could see the whole island had turned out for the party. Dinghies, skiffs, fishing scows, pleasure barges and rafts. Even Gazeborea’s yacht was there. Those uppity bastards, just showing off in that big old thing. Fuck…, he thought, furrowing his brow.
They bobbed gently on the tide, all lined up with luminous white paper lanterns swaying from twine draped between the vessels. He had read a story once where glowing, floating etherial balls called will o’ wisps had danced and frolicked and sucked the life right out of some adventurers, nearly killing him.
Nikos wished fervently that those damned tacky lanterns were really soul-slurping gloves of unlight that would slowly, torturously murder every single one of those two-faced jerks down on the water. Not all of them, he supposed, for his mother was there, and his cousin, Jemmy. But pretty much everyone else. How dare they sit around down there? Drinking and eating and dancing and fucking? How dare they?
“They haven’t forgotten, Nik,” a familiar voice from behind him said. He stared out across the water, shifting only slightly on his perch to make room. Stubbornly, even as she slipped her arm around his waist and lay her head upon his shoulder, Nikos refused to acknowledge her. “They’re saying good-bye the only way we know how. What would you prefer? Keening wails and cutting widows’ weals?”
“A few tears and a genuine sense of sorrow, at least. For Heaven’s Sake, I know he was not exactly well-loved around here, but do they have to be so- so bloody happy about it?”
She cleared her throat and failed to answer. Nikos did not blame her for falling silent. There was no answer that would have made him happy anyway. If she admitted that people were somewhat pleased that Gabor was dead, he would have grumbled and pushed her away. And if she stroked his wounded pride and coddled him by agreeing with him, he would have been called her insincere and offered to take off his boots so she could lick them without hurting her back.
Ruminating on her wisdom in the face of his juvenile reaction, Nikos smiled inwardly. She got him. Always had. She understood his moods: manic, maniac, somber, or black. She laughed at his jokes and celebrated his victories, no matter how small or large. She never made him feel self-conscious about his back hair and when she looked at him with those big, brown doe eyes… he knew that she truly did love him.
Nikos felt unworthy.
Without a word, he slipped his arm around her and pulled her close. The warmth of her affection was tangible in the cool, moonlit air. Maybe he would never be important, or wealthy or famous. Maybe his name would not be recorded in the annals of history as a hero and a traitor like his brother, Gabor. Maybe he would only ever be Nikos Burdavara, fish shack cook.
But he could strive to be better.
He could work to be worthy of her love.
He would do.
“I’m sorry,” Nikos murmured, kissing the top of her head as they sat side-by-side on the edge of the cliff. “Want to grab a bite and head home?”
Shafeela nodded and he helped her to her feet.
“There’s nothing you could have done,” she said as the gravel crunched beneath their shoes. The moon was nearly full and shone bright from its nest in the cloudy night sky. “You’re not your brother.”
They walked in silence for a few peaceful strides. At length, she broke in again. “I love you, Nik, that’s all. I hate seeing how you beat yourself up like this. Just- Just know that Gabe’s mistakes were just that, mistakes. He never meant to cause… you know…”
Shafeela squeezed his hand, wrapping both of hers around one of his. “Stop brooding, my love. It will all work out. C’mon, I’m starving. Let’s race!”
Well that sucked.
As usual, I took myself off on some crazy tangent and then sort of sputtered out. O’well. It took me like, an hour of concentrated effort to get this eked out tonight. C’est la vie. Its 700 words more than I had written this week before tonight.
What do you think?
Should I keep torturing myself this way each Friday?
Should I start a-new or try to find out where Nikos & Shafeela are headed? What Gabor’s traitorous deed was? Why they’re having a funeral-slash-boat party?
Love & Rainbows,