Posted by: Phil Anderson | June 30, 2013

Forbidden – Part Two

Part Two of my short story. (Part one can be found here.)

boat

Forbidden

by Philip Anderson

It was the middle of summer, and the day was hot. Prumo and Maelo had removed their shirts, and their skin glistened with sweat. Castella wore a sleeveless tunic and leggings, perfect for working at sea in the hot sun, but not appropriate for public. Even Pregio’s curly hair was limp and hung into his eyes.

When it was finally time for a meal break, Castella unbundled flatbread sandwiches while Prumo took the lid off the water barrel. “Boys! Which one of you was supposed to refill the fresh water?”

“It was Maelo’s turn,” Pregio answered quickly. “I did it last time.”

“I didn’t check it,” Maelo admitted, “but there should have been enough. Pregio must have filled it only halfway the time before.”

“I filled it all the way,” Pregio argued. “We’re supposed to do that every time. It’s not my fault.”

Maelo shoved his younger brother. “You’re not so perfect. What about the time you used the salt bucket to fill the fresh water!”

Pregio pushed back. “That was an accident, and I was seven years. It was a long time ago. Why do you keep bringing it up?”

“Boys, that’s enough!” Castella raised her voice to get their attention. They stopped yelling, but kept needling and shoving each other.

“Looks like we’ll have to head home early today,” Prumo said ruefully. He glanced at the pile of fish they had already caught. “And we were doing so well.”

“We could get fresh water on the island,” Castella suggested, gesturing toward Sapota with a suntanned arm.

“But it’s forbidden,” Pregio blurted again.

Maelo slapped the back of his brother’s curly head and muttered, “Pilot fish.”

Rather than lose a half-day’s good fishing, Prumo agreed to go to the island for water. They sailed Jardino cautiously through sharp rocks that would have grounded a larger ship, and moored it to some outcroppings where they could scramble ashore.

Reclothed and encumbered with a few empty water pouches apiece, they clambered over the stones and boulders and soon reached the shaded edge of the forest. Prumo led the way into the trees, seeking out the clearest path through the trackless undergrowth. Maelo and Pregio teased each other mercilessly, and when they were done with that they bickered relentlessly. Castella finally separated her sons by walking between them, and forbade them from making a single noise.

As they were thus marching along silently, Prumo suddenly stopped, his expression wary.

Maelo broke the silence imposed by his mother. “What—”

“Shh!” his father shushed him. Then he whispered, “I thought I heard voices.”

The others listened and heard them, too. Deep, rough voices filtering faintly through the trees. Prumo hesitated, but Castella crept forward and led the way, edging toward the sound.

“We’re not even supposed to be here,” Pregio squeaked softly. Maelo backhanded his shoulder and then waved a fist under his brother’s nose with a fierce scowl that told him to be quiet. They followed silently behind their parents.

Castella stopped behind a hedge of bushes along the side of a clearing. Peering through the thick leaves, the family saw a large campsite with a few hammocks strung between trees and some canvas tents. There were about twenty men, most of them sleeping but a few squabbling loudly around a fire pit.

“The boat’s been careened and we’ve gathered plenty of supplies,” one of them was saying. “What else are we waiting for?”

“We’re waiting for Karsoro to give the word,” another one replied. “As soon as he does, we’ll be back out to sea.”

“It better be soon,” the first man said. “I’m getting tired of nothing but fruit and water.”

Prumo and Castella backed away from the clearing and pulled their sons along with them. No one spoke until they were well away from the camp and on their way back to where they had tied up their boat.

“I thought we were going to get water,” Maelo said.

“We need to get away from here as quickly as possible,” Prumo replied.

“Who were those men?” Pregio asked, his voice wavering.

“I don’t know for sure,” Prumo began, “but—”

“They’re pirates,” Castella interrupted. “They’re waiting for orders from Karsoro the marauder. And Overlord Dolpus must be in league with them.”

“The overlord?” Prumo asked, his eyebrows raised in surprise. “What makes you say that?”

“Why do you think he won’t let anyone come near this island? He’s protecting them. Hiding them.”

“The overlord wouldn’t do that,” Pregio protested. “He’s our leader. He’s supposed to take care of us.”

“He’s only taking care of himself,” Maelo exclaimed. Then, of his parents he asked, “What do we do now?”

“We mind our own business,” Prumo stated firmly. “We stay away from the pirates, and we avoid Dolpus.”

To be concluded.

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Responses

  1. […] there’s no good place to break it. If you haven’t already, you should read Part One and Part Two […]

  2. […] should do so now, since this week’s post has lots of spoilers. You can find it here: Part One, Part Two, Part […]

  3. […] – Part 1, Part 2, Part […]

  4. […] be continued next week. Please comment and let me know what you think so […]


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