Monday, March 3, 2014


Welcome back! I love the creativity and heart you all bring to your stories. It continually amazes me that each one of you begins with the same sentence and then takes it in an entirely unique direction. That said, this week, methinks the judge is fishin'....

If you need to read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Up to 500 words
2. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
3. Start with the given first sentence.
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Include Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
6. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST

Oh, and feel free to change pronouns, punctuation, tense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Mary MacFarlane also known as JM MacF. Check out her blog here. Read her winning tale from last week here!

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #35 is:

The sea, which had been glassy only an hour before, now raged with an unholy vengeance [upon the small ship].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Use at least one of the following words:




  1. My entry awaits your judgement. ;)

  2. @spcunningham,

    Special challenge accepted!

    453 words

    The sea, which had been glassy only an hour before, now raged with an unholy vengeance upon the small ship.

    Ector, god of the straits upon whose waves the ship now tossed, folded his arms where he sat above the largest of the storm clouds. He looked meaningfully at the goddess of protection following the little ship. She pretended not to notice.

    Instead, she turned her attention to the small ship, encircling it with her arms. She lifted it gently out of the water. The waves roiled beneath it, and the wind tore at the sails.

    She chanced a look up at Ector’s cloud. He stood from his throne in the clouds, and went to peer over the cloud’s edge. His tail rose behind him, and his eyes grew wide and his tail grew straight as he saw what the goddess was doing.

    “Stop it!” he shouted. “That’s not fair.”

    The goddess said nothing, just carried the ship slowly forward over the waves, eyeing Ector.

    “You’re cheeeeating,” he called. He ran back to the center of the cloud, and rummaged around inside it, returning to the edge to throw lightning bolts at the goddess and the small ship.

    One such bolt struck the mast of the ship, and the goddess turned, looking up at the cloud and Ector’s face peering over its edge. She set the little ship down and floated up to where he crouched. He stood, folding his arms again.

    “Okay, you’ve got my attention, Ector,” she said, lighting on the edge of the cloud. He breathed heavily once.

    “You’re making me look bad,” he said. “It’s already embarrassing to get assigned to a little strait out in the middle of nowhere, and then the one time I get a ship—a chance to actually act like a god, for once--you have to come along and ruin everything.”

    “Look, Ector. We broke up. I’ve moved on. I’m with the god of fertility now. You told me you were over it; you even wished us a happy marriage.”

    He tried to formulate an incisive riposte. “Humpf!” he said instead.

    “I know this isn’t about the ship.”

    “I don’t care about you and the god of futility—whatever he is. He’s self-centered.”


    “Don’t 'Ector' me,” he said. “Go protect your little ship. I’ll let them pass. But you owe me.”

    “Ector, you have to move on…”

    “Go!” he said. He pointed off the cloud, and went to sit, flummoxed, heavily on his cloud throne and stare off into space.

    The goddess of protection turned back to her ship. But the ship, it seemed, had passed out from under the storm cloud and vanished beyond the horizon.

  3. Wrath Of The Sea God

    The sea, which had been glassy only an hour before, now raged with an unholy vengeance upon the pirate ship. The wooden ship creaked and groaned fitfully as the storm battered her unmercifully. Crack! The mainmast snapped under the punishment. It groaned and toppled into the thrashing waves. The ship staggered as the mass of wood and canvas acted as a giant sea anchor. "Clear away that wreckage!" The Captain, Bloody Jenny Roberts bellowerd into the wind.

    "Aye, aye, madam." Lieutenant Devil Davys replied. "Step lively now men!" Hatchets flashed and thumped as the crew fiercely chopped away at the rigging and spars holding the sodden mass against the floundering ship.

    "Look portside Captain, look!" The helmsman Stumpy MacGurdle yelled. The ship sighed in relief as the tangle of dragging sails and wood was released.

    She glanced over and was completely flummoxed by the sight of a merman breasting the water beside the ship. Long tendrils the color of seaweed formed his hair. Glistening silver scales covered his body.His eyes were huge black whirlpools sucking her in. He was impressively muscled with a massive chest, narrow waist, and a magnificent finned tail. He cupped his hands to his mouth and boomed out in a strong bass voice. "Ahoy, Wind Surfer, Follow me and I'll leads you to a safe harbour."

    "What shoukd we do Captain?"

    "Follow him of course, if he wanted us to sink all he'd have to do is wait for us to break up."

    "Aye, aye, madam." He expertly spun the large wheel.

    "Land ho!" The lookout shouted several desperate hours later. A large volcanic island loomed out of the pouring rain. They followed the merman around to the far side where the bulk of the mountain provided a modicum of shelter for the battered ship.

    "can you tell us what's going on?" Bloody Jenny asked the merman anxiously.

    "The Emperor of Vontoile ordered his fleet to set sail without making the proper offerings to Oceana." He said.

    "Stupid fool!" She spat over the side. "Oceana won't be satisfied until each ship of his flotilla lies at the bottom of the sea."

    "Truth. You might as well settle in for the duration."

    "Thank you. What's your name?"

    "Sea Strider."

    "How can we repay you?"

    "I like the taste of your wine, could I have a bottle?"

    "Done, in fact you can have two! Mister Stevyns the Morcale '69 and the Bourneir '77."

    The wine was bundled into a net and carefully lowered over the side. He strapped it around his chest. "Nice doing business with you. Farewell." With a flip of his tail he disappeared beneath the water.

    "Captain those were your two best bottles of wine." Stevyns protested.

    "It was well worth it Mister Stevyns, well worth it." Jenny told her concerned steward.

    "Three cheers for the Captain!" Devil Davys shouted.

    "Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!" Her grateful crew chanted.

    498 Words
    Special Challenge Accepted

  4. The Interview

    The sea, which had been glassy only an hour before, now raged with an unholy vengeance, threatening to overturn the world. Ed’s hands gripped the arms of the chair, his eyes pressed closed, as he struggled to breath. The violence of the storm was overwhelming, a raging inferno that threatened to obliterate everything.

    Sweat bonding his shirt to his back Ed struggled to keep the nausea from rising. Yet he knew he couldn’t prolong this any longer, taking a breath Ed reopened his eyes.

    The job centre assessment office was still staring at him, her face seemingly unmoved by Ed’s panic attack. Dabbing a handkerchief at the corners of his mouth, Ed raised his other hand in apology. She barely acknowledged it, shuffling pieces of paper impatiently, Ed’s life apparently, before returning her attention back to him. He now understood how a butterfly on a pin must feel.

    ‘Once again Mr Clarke, it is not my intention to ‘flummox you intentionally’ as you put it, my role is to get you working, to help you contribute to society.’

    Ed nodded tentatively, the taste of brine in his mouth making him wince.

    ‘So to repeat the point I have already made, your benefits are to be put on hold due to the fact that we have deemed you capable of working. ‘

    ‘But my cancer … ’

    ‘Is not a factor in our assessment, Mr Clarke I’m sure you are more than aware that there are others out there right now working with far more debilitating conditions than your ailment. Now I have an interview opportunity here, zero-contract, in a supermarket, stacking shelves etc.’

    She pushed across a piece of paper, Ed squinted, his eyes refusing to co-operate.

    ‘Uh, I don’t think I can, my treatment … the weakness …’

    Her displeasure was evident in the way she snatched the paper back, returning it to the drawer under her desk. She clapped her hands together, brushing them against each other as if she had caught something from him.

    ‘Then I’m sorry to say it Mr Clarke, I have to deem that you are refusing our assistance, therefore you’ve left me no option but to sanction your remaining benefits. I hereby officially advise you that you will receive no payments for the next six weeks. You of course have the right to appeal.’

    She was already turning, the red number above her desk turning to green. Ed was dismissed. The storm was roaring back into life, waves crashing backwards and forwards within his skull. How was he to live? He had no money. No food.

    The storm raged now, yet Ed had to focus. His fingers flexed around the old service revolver in his coat pocket. Lifting it out it surprised Ed how alien it felt, disconnected.

    Her eyes opposite him shone with panic as he pressed the gun to his temple. Yet Ed was lost within the storm, barely able to discern the screaming over the waves.

    Then the thunder roared.

    500 words
    Special Challenge Accepted

  5. From The Depths Of The Irish Sea

    The sea, which had been glassy only an hour before, now raged with an unholy vengeance upon the ship. The Captain stood at the gunwale with the discovered girl clutched to his side. Every hit the ship took sprayed them with water.

    “Please, I meant no harm,” the girl said.

    “What’s yer name?”


    “You are the cause of this storm Binne. You upset Lir. The God of the Sea does not appreciate women in his waters.” He nuzzled his face into her hair. “We will surely perish with you aboard.” The Captain’s tongue trailed up her neck. Binne whimpered. “You’re in the sea’s hands now,” he breathed into her ear.

    The Captain picked her up by the waist and Binne looked at him with a flummoxed expression. Terror replaced her confusion when he tossed her overboard without hesitation.

    Binne struggled against the angry sea as she tried to stay afloat but when a menacing wave crashed down upon her the fight was over. It pushed her into the sea and she never made it to the surface again.

    When the last of Binne’s life escaped, the sea reached up and claimed her. As she descended, the embrace transformed into a hand, an arm, a body. Into Lir.

    He swam further into the ocean’s depths where his castle sat, away from mankind. Once they were in his chambers he laid her onto his bed. Lir pushed Binne’s flaming hair from her pale face and studied her.

    He laid his lips upon hers ever so gently. The chaste kiss grew wanton as he breathed life into her lungs.

    When the kiss ended Binne’s eyes fluttered open.

    “Surely I am in heaven for I have not laid my eyes on any man so handsome as you.”

    A smile adorned Lir’s face. “I am already charmed by you, little daonna.”

    Binne, unsure why a man would call her little human, opened her mouth to ask but stopped when she noticed there was something slightly off about him. His skin was tinged blue, as if made of water, and his hair moved like that of a living creature. And to stare upon his features brought tears to her eyes, for she never saw something so beautiful.

    “Who are you?” Binne whispered.

    “Lir, God of the Sea.”

    “You are not very big for a god,” she riposted.

    Lir’s boisterous laugh echoed throughout the sea.

    “My size may be altered. A benefit to being a dia.”

    “Where are we now?”

    “You are in my palace. My baile.” Lir leaned toward Binne, eyes focused on her lips. Kissing her again was all that he could think about.

    “I do not understand.”

    “I gave you back the life you lost.” Lir’s hand stroked Binne’s cheek. “I saved you and now you are mine. My bride you shall be.”

    Their lips met again and she fell entranced under his spell.

    And it was until the end of time.

    489 Words
    Challenge accepted

  6. Not Quite Undercover

    The sea, which had been glassy only an hour before, now raged with an unholy vengeance upon the small ship. Onboard, Captain Mathias Tennant awaited a signal he was becoming increasingly convinced he would never receive. He should have known better than to entrust a mission of such dire consequence to an operative with precious little field experience…a female operative at that. In the six years since the war had begun he had never lost an undercover agent and she would, most certainly, not be the one to tarnish his record.

    He beached the skiff, turning it about to face the sea. Having been blessed with a keen sense of direction, he had no doubt he was within a mile of the fishing village that had been her objective.

    Patchy clouds scuttled across the sky making for tenuous, but sufficient, illumination. He found no sign at the makeshift camp she had set up and so he turned toward the village. He had gone, scarcely, a few hundred further yards before he heard sounds of a scuffle. Hoarse, muted cries and the clash of blades left no doubt.

    Coming over a low rise he saw her. Dressed in high boots, homespun shirt and patched galligaskins, she was, nevertheless, quite obviously a woman. Beset by a pair of attackers, she was holding her own, if barely. He winced as her clumsy riposte left little doubt the saber she wielded was a much longer and heavier blade than she was accustomed to using. Unwilling to trust to her swordcraft, as soon as he was close enough to feel confident of his marksmanship, he fired his pistol. He had to thank divine providence when the man’s head exploded and he dropped lifeless to the sand.

    So embroiled was the second man with his opponent he spared no thought for his partner. Instead, he redoubled his efforts to finish off the young woman. Tennant broke into a dead run, drawing a long knife as he ran. He feared she would not last long enough for him to reach her in time.

    As if sensing the same thing, she made a desperate play to turn the tide of the battle in her flavor. Reaching to the laces of her tunic, she ripped the cheap cloth away, exposing undeniable proof of her femininity. It had the desired effect and her attacker was sufficiently flummoxed to provide her the momentary opening she so-desperately needed. She lunged, burying her blade in the man’s chest and bore him down to the ground. He died quickly.

    Flopping down next to the body, she fought to catch her breath. Making no effort to cover her nakedness, she glanced up as Tennant arrived and favored him with a saucy grin. “Here now, don’t suppose you have a spare shirt with you, Cap’n?”

    Doffing his coat, he handed it over with a smile. He had a feeling this particular operative might just have what it took to become a very efficient agent after all.

    500 words Challenge accepted x 3 @klingorengi

  7. The sea, which had been glassy only an hour before, now raged with an unholy vengeance upon the tall ship. The sky was it’s partner, billowing clouds inking down upon them.

    'Clinging frost tonight, Papa’s bones will be aching.' Jon thought.

    “Thirty-five fathoms,” the usual sounding was called.

    The Edinburough was heaved back and forth. Waves crashing against it’s hull. Sails whipping uncontrollably in the shifting winds. Webs of rope holding cargo onto the deck loosed their grip. Barrels fell, spinning across the worn deck.

    'The boys will be on the quay, to check their knots and secure the boats. To feel the wind and the spray until their dreams of sailing are sparked and they wander home to dry beds to continue them.'

    “Only Thirty fathoms.”

    The crew raced to secure the billowing canvas. Ropes could not slip away from so many hands, calloused and strong. Men who fought to bring their ship safely over the sea. Chilled to the bone, their last meal long since spent, sleep put off to work through the storm. Barrels recaptured. Lines were replaced. Enduring through the storm.

    'Mother will not wash the pot. She will leave the broth to flavor tomorrow’s scraps. Their fire is small, December nights still growing darker. Spring still a long time away.'

    “Twenty Fathoms.”

    The captain’s voice thundered through the storm, which every man obeyed. His face worn like leather watched over the work that experience knew to be necessary.

    'At the dawn the men will walk the shore, search the tide. They will check their boats. See what the storm has done.'

    “Fisher. You’re from Greten?”

    “Aye, Captain. Right close, we fish these waters.”

    “Where is the lighthouse?”

    “Not seen it yet? It be only a mile from shore.”

    “We should have. Find it. Take watch for the land.”

    Jon Fisher’s boots sloshed as he crossed the ship and climbed to the highest point he could. He stood, pelted with rain and panting. Biting at a thumbnail, as flummoxed as the Captain, he watched the horizon. It was too close. He could almost make out a peak in the distance. A flash of lightening gave a glimpse of land and the lighthouse silhouette. The silent bacon stood as black and deadly as the rocks of the sea.

    'I know this place.'

    “I know this place. We’re running aground.”*

    The Captain’s steeled voice still boomed, lost amongst the shouts of rending timbers. The crew’s equilibrium dissolved, the Edinburough’s planks divided. The sea devoured.

    'Lord of rocks and tide and sky,
    Heed our call, hark to our cry!
    Bread by the bag, beef by the cask,
    Food for poor hearts is all we ask.'*

    word count 446
    Special Challenge Accepted

    *Lines taken directly from Show of Hands' song Tall Ships.
    The entire piece directly inspired by the song.