Friday, July 10, 2020

An Encounter at Sea [185]

"So, we meet again," the sunburnt man said to the seal that circled his boat.

"You think that's the same one?" another man, equally scorched by the sun, asked the first.

"Aye, I think he is. In fact, I think he's our salvation. Follow him and we're sure to find land in this fog."

"Land! Aye, skipper. It's been too long since I've seen land."

"Months, at least." He moved the cap of one of the small barrels a smidgen. "And a fortnight since we were on the boat. Land will come not a moment too soon. We've only a few day's water left."

The second man thought on this a moment before adjusting the craft to better follow the seal's movements.

"It was good of them to give us some provisions," he said as his eyes moved from the barrels to the makeshift oar-and-shirt sail the two had rigged. "I wish they'd given us a sail though."

"I'm not sure." The first man took his time with his words as he followed the seal with his eyes. "It would have been more honorable for me to die in the fighting. Now there'll be a court marshal, an indictment, and I'll likely lose rank. No more Commodore White. Maybe not even Captain White."

"Well, you'll always be skipper to me sir. You saved a lot of good men's lives by not fighting to the death."

"Aye, and it'll be the end of my career."

"There's more to life than a career."

Both men sat in silence as they chewed on the thought. Then the second man saw something poking through the mist.

"Skipper! God's salvation! A church steeple dead ahead!"

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