From The Ship of Silence
(In Love with the Wind and Other Stories)
Frequented: The waters near Seahaven
Belonged to: Captain Ferrars
The mist billowed, and around the point sailed a fully rigged ship.
Red was on holiday, but rather than participate in organised activities, she preferred exploring alone.
She often saw another loner; a boy she referred to in her thoughts as Beachboy. When she first saw the sailing ship, she spoke to Beachboy for the firsttime.
She gazed at the fairytale sight for a full ten seconds before it turned and sailed back out to sea.
She glanced at Beachboy, expecting him to be rapt as well, but he was bending over a piece of flotsam.
‘Look!’ she called, and pointed.
He jumped as her voice shattered the misty quiet, then turned to follow the direction of her pointing. He watched for a second, then went back to his fossicking.
‘Can’t you see it?’ she insisted.
Beachboy lifted one shoulder. ‘O’ course. She comes on the morning fog, an’ leaves on the ebb.’ Clearly, he wasn’t interested in the magical sailing ship, so Red left him and headed back towards the village.
Red mentioned the ship to Rillie, one of the organisers. Rillie had an explanation, of sorts.
‘Rillie, have you seen a sailing ship?’
Rillie blinked. ‘Why do you ask?’
‘I saw one today,’ said Red, ‘and someone said it was often here.’ She described the ship and Rillie forced a smile.
‘That’s the Ship of Silence. Our local ghostly galleon, you know.’
‘I didn’t know,’ said Red.
‘It’s an old story,’ said Rillie. ‘It’s supposed to be an East Indiaman ship whose captain was disgraced. The story goes that he’s cursed to sail forever. He tries to land, but must always turn back on the ebbing tide.’
Red found other people who had heard of the Ship of Silence, but no one knew much more about it than Rillie. Red went back to interview Beachboy.
‘That ship,’ said Red, ‘the Ship of Silence.’
‘What about it?’
‘Do you know who’s doing it and what they’re trying to prove?’
‘Cap’n Ferrars is trying to land,’ said Beachboy with a shrug. ‘He’s cursed, see, and won’t never set foot ashore because o’ his disgrace.’
‘That’s the story,’ said Red. ‘But what’s it really about?’
‘You daft or something?’ asked Beachboy. ‘I just tell ee what it’s about. Cap’n Ferrars...’
Red, a persistent girl, wanted a better look at the magical ship. When she managed to get on board, she wasn’t impressed.
Now she was actually on the deck, she could see it wasn’t really so magically beautiful. ‘Grubby’ was more the word...