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The Tower at Sea (1 Viewer)

jj1027

Senior Member
Well, I was bored and listening to an instrumental version of Ghost Love Score by Nightwish, and this is what sprang forth from my keyboard. Give it a read, but I may not write any more of this. Still, I feel that I at least made an honest attempted at replicating the Gothic style of literature.

The Tower at Sea
Account of the final voyage of the Marry Ellan, recorded February 1842, John Holliday, 34.
‘Twas on a night as dark as I have seen in my life, amidst a storm as strong as the sea could bring to us, that I first laid eyes on it. That long dead tower, rising so majestically from the tumult all around us, centuries old, yet strong against that mighty tempest. To see it had given me a hope that my boat, old even by that time so long ago, my ferry us home safely, though such was not the fate for three in out number, who were swept from the deck by wind and waves, the Marry Ellan nonetheless did return to port, and with it came stories that none would believe. Yet, for all that I saw on the ill fated voyage, the thing which resounds within my being the loudest shall ever be that mournful tower, rising up from the blackened waters to touch the storm torn skies.

Thirteen years and some months ago was when we set out, 32 strong young men, every one of us in his prime and wanting for an adventure at sea, set out to sail. We had our sights set upon an island, many miles south, that many a man had told us was not there. Being young, foolhardy, and so thoroughly convinced of the foolishness of those more advanced in their years, we few men set to sea upon a boat of mine, the Marry Ellan, which in size could hold us, our supplies, and little else besides. We had food and drink, the latter being mostly the stronger sort, enough for the journey there, figuring we could easily enough restock our stores when we came upon the island. I can not say how many on old sea hand told us of our obvious foolhardiness, but we boys at play had no time for the old seadogs.

I, being the one in possession of a vessel, was deemed the leader of our little crew, and took my title with just the proper amount of overblown pride. I let all know full well how no living being in heaven or earth could put any fear in me. I suppose, now looking back, that god above had seen fit to take that as a challenge, one which he no doubt has most surely won. But, in that time, I reveled in my unopposed position as captain. With this infectious sense of confidence possessing us, we set out across the sea, aiming our craft to the south.
 

Glass Pencil

Senior Member
There are a few grammatical errors that make it a bit hard to understand the intent (mainly in the first paragraph.) but given the small sample I feel I would read more.
 

bysharonnelson

Senior Member
It is a great beginning. Something I love about that style of writing is that it is written in a way so obviously different from what we read now that it forces us to slow down and really take in the story. When it is done well it really stirs the imagination. I can picture these 32 men setting out on an adventure on their tiny boat, the sun on their backs, and billowing sails. Well done.
 

jj1027

Senior Member
Thank you both for the comments. I have decided to give this a bi more, and hopefully can make it into a half decent short story in the least. This is probably the most fun I've had writing a story in some time. I have another paragraph already, but I think I'll post again once I get another 500 words. I just hope I can keep up with my own style all the way through.
 

bysharonnelson

Senior Member
I commend you. I don't think I could even write a paragraph in that style. I do enjoy reading it though its part of the reason I so love the classics.
 

jj1027

Senior Member
For many days, the sea was kind to we young sailors, and our spirits soared like the sky above us, so eternally blue and cloudless. I, for my part, spent most days lazing about upon the deck, hanging upon the rails and looking out upon the gorgeous blue of the sea. When occasion arose and the mood struck me, I might bark an order or two at my crewmen, and watch as they cleaned the deck, or fetched a round of drinks. ‘Twas a leisurely existence, and one I would have liked to get used to. Alas, this was not to be. For even while the sea is calm, the fancies of men are forever in a tumult.

Joseph Taylor, ever my loyal friend, and a man among my crew, was a fellow who forever abhorred stagnation, even in the very best of times. He had this in common with many among our number, and I do suspect that for the most of them this is why the y chose to go to sea at all. I, who had sailed upon the sea to fish on a rare occasion before, was under fewer illusions then my fellows, and was prepared for the long periods of calm, even to the point of enjoying them. Joseph would have none of this, and would stir up trouble when he could, much to the detriment of our journey. Be it starting brawls in the galley, or dumping a crewmate’s clothes to the waves, his merry making seemed harmless enough. At least at the start of things.

I have heard it said that boredom gives birth to all human sins, and it was certainly true in this case. We had been at sea for what I guess would be over a week, and my fellows and I had fallen into a happy sort of routine for each day. Why the sun was high and the sky was blue, we would for the most part still sleep drunkenly, or else stumble into the galley for a bite to eat. With afternoon came the cleaning, which always would take up the least our time, and as the sky turned black we sailor took to food and drink, and made a proper ruckus the like of which you’d not see on the shores. It was a good life, and one we all could take to. That is, all except Joseph Taylor.

My friend, or so he once had been, had come to despise the predictable quality to life on the Marry Ellan, and soon that discontent became a resentment for me, as her captain. Though me and my fellows would never have dreamed such a thing were possible, Joseph Taylor was making plans against me. Though no clouds had yet bared their dark heads before our path, a storm was brewing in the mind of my very dearest fellow. More hazardous still, was the fact that I had no way to know it was coming, and could not imagine the violence it would bring when it broke. The peace we had enjoyed thus far was nearly at an end, and we danced drunkenly into the night, completely without suspicion.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________
just a little bit more for you all, and I have more on the way. I am happy with this piece so far, and while I am sure the style will prevent publication, I must say it is very fun to write. A likable throwaway, but becoming a personal favorite.
 

bysharonnelson

Senior Member
I recently found a book for free (on Smashwords I think) called Pirpires of the Cacaobean: Curse of the Peanut Butter Cup. It is sort of a parody of an old pirate romance book. It is only the first volume but I would have paid the standard .99 for it after reading a sample. It is not by any means the standard affair but it is humorous and quite fun to read so I would easily buy the second volume and I am waiting for it to be released. So you never know what is going to catch on, if you write it do it because you love it then just see where it takes you from there. Just put it out there for people to read and see what kind of response you get.
 

jj1027

Senior Member
Sounds like an interesting story. Thinking about what you said, I guess you're right. I am glad that you seem to like this story as much as I do, and I really hope I can see it to fulfillment. I feel that the high seas adventure is as lush a ground for creative writing as any, yet lately ignored, despite the increased popularity of pirates. I feel that writing a fun seaborne adventure tale is just the challenge I need.
 

mockingbird

Senior Member
Marvelously done JJ in Poe style. A few errors such as then instead of than, and perhaps shortening the sentences - a tad overlong in places. You repeated upon in a matter of 6 words - perhaps - most days lazing about upon the deck, casting a weary gaze across the wide expanse of briny blue beyond. Apart from that it's a good style. Perhaps you might feel inclined to read Eternal chap 1 recently posted it is also Gothic, but more modernist in nature as it is set in Modernist paris. Well done. Look forward to more.
 

jj1027

Senior Member
For a few days more, my fellows and I enjoyed the languid existence I have described, unaware of a growing number of dissenters among our ranks. Joseph was a sly man of sharp tongue, and turned my friends back on me for some time before he was near ready to make his move, all without alerting me in the slightest. For we who had taken a liking to our carefree if predictable life, there was at first no sign of trouble save for the odd absence we may notice concerning the conspirators. Through the drink induced fog that filled so much of our days, we could see not a thing out of place, and all was right with the world. It was only later that we could see our own folly.

It had been a week and three day, I would guess, since we had left port, that the first signs of trouble reared their head. ‘twas, for the most part, in the way he would speak, but also in the shifting of his eyes. At all times Joseph and I would talk for hours, laugh like children, and never have a real fight. This was not so now. He looked at me with hard eyes, and would not speak unless I pressed him. I supposed the long days at sea had been trying on his mood. I was still blind by youth’s foolishness. Luckily for their poor captain, the others were faster to see his ruse for what it was. In coming days, sev3eral of my fellows came to me , warily warning me of the foulness that was in the air, I, for the most part, took it all rather lightly.

The air took a strange sort of weight aboard the Marry Ellan from then on, and I alone had not been effected. I drank hardily into the night while my crewmen eyed each other like wolves. None were trusting or free spirited by I, eternally the fool. I was playing into Joseph’s hands, never for a moment realizing it. I never was a match for him in matters of the mind, and this was no different. In a matter of days, he had turned my fellows on each other, and the once peaceful atmosphere was thick and tense, with me the last to see it.
 

The Jaded

Senior Member
I do like what you've got so far. The constant self-deprecation is a nice touch, and if my sampling is any indication it's reasonably accurate to the gothic style you're using.

The second installment reminded me of parts of "Billy Budd", by Melville. You've got a different style, of course (Melville tends to make paragraph-sentences and practically forces you to read aloud), but the archaic sentence structures paired with content of subterfuge immediately produced the reminder for me.

Also, as an occasional Nightwish listener myself, I appreciate the origins of the story.
 

jj1027

Senior Member
Not read Melville's work, but I think now I will have to. As far as self depreciation, a lot of Gothic works have the main character speaking of a time long in the past, when they were young and reckless. That is where it tends to come from. Another thing I did was look back to my reading of gothic literature, and recall that a good few works, at least two by Poe that jump to mind, are stories set upon the waters. This was a regular theme for contemporaries, and those who came before as well, as such, my subject material was easy to choose.

Also, yaye nightwish listeners! You are now one of three people I know, myself included, who know who they are. The other is my girlfriend.
 

fcbkid15

Senior Member
Wow, well done jj1027. You seemed to capture that kind of gothic time period/language. It was also pretty interesting. Although you said you probably won't, it makes me wanna find out what happens next. So, good job.
 

jj1027

Senior Member
So yes, remember when I said I likely wouldn't continue this? Scratch that. This story is fun to write, seems to get decent feedback, and grips my attention firmly while giving me an excuse to listen to Nightwish. I will be seeing it to completion, but I am not sure how long it will be.

The act itself came in the earlier hours of the night. I had been with those few fellows still so inclined, drinking in the Galley of the ship, when from upon the deck game a great noise, at first a loud sound like a hammer blow, then a scream, followed by general ruckus. My partners each leapt to the knife block, and armed themselves before quitting the galley, while I myself took a bit of time to stumble forth up the stairs and into the awful scene above. What I saw was a hideous brawl beyond words. About the deck was a great red mess, and here and there a body slumped by the rails. Amidst the uproar stood Joseph, holding a pistol, surrounded by a small group of those men I once called my friends.

For several moments, I was not able to except the scene as true. How ridiculous it was, to see my friends, all crudely armed with spare anchors, lengths of wood, and the like, so vehemently rending and beating each other. I was unable to make any sort of sound, which is just as well, as I cannot say if I would have laughed or screamed. My disbelief came to it’s end, however, as a shot rang out through the din, and whizzed with speed to the right of my ear. I knew then to scream, and to stumble back upon the door, staring forward at Joseph, who raised his gun for a second shot. I dashed to the rtight and looked for cover, only to slip upon the slick blood that coated the deck. All about, my men fought and screamed, all taking on ghastly cuts and bruises. Already a number of them had been laid down, dead or dying, with wounds too gruesome to behold. I tried to struggle to my feet, but one man, his name escapes me, bore down on me, wielding a anchor in two hands, as if it were a club.

Without a thought, I sent up a leg, and dealt a blow to his stomach, sending him off balance. He stumbled, then fell, the anchor twisting in his grip. It flew, and caught the leg of another sailor, who at that time was engaged in a battle with Joseph. With a sickening snap, the fellow’s leg gave way, and he fell to a knee. I saw, as I struggled to my feet, a smile grace the face of my old friend. Tried to look away as he held the man down and placed the pistol to his forehead, but I was fixated. With that familiar hammer blow sound, the trigger was pulled, and the man hit the deck with a muted thud, his skull, blood, and other various minutia painted the deck. In a moment, all other sound and color vanished from my view. I saw only the fiend who had once been my friend, Joseph Taylor. The demon was laughing.

There is, for every man, a limit of torment which he may endure. Beyond this limit, no being may retain his sanity. Seeing what was now before me, I felt then that my limit had been reached. Reason and rationality . At that moment, took their leave of me. I rose, hardly aware of my actions, and flung myself into the fray, toward Joseph. He saw me coming, I could tell, as he took aim, and put a bullet in my left shoulder. I grunted in pain, but inertia carried me forward. I slammed into Joseph, and wrestled him against the railing. With my right arm I struggled for his weapon, while with my whole body I tried to throw him over. I had nearly won, but my adversary threw a knee into my ribs, and took advantage of me. He threw me to the ground, and put the pistol to my head. Thought, in that moment, that I would most certainly die. I closed my eyes, and waited for the end to come. It never did. Instead a shout rang out, from The demon before me, in words I scarcely heard through a painful haze.

“My fellows,” he shouted the crewmen, who I heard now had ceased to battle. “We have won the day!” A cheer went up as he spoke, and disgust formed in my gut.”Let us act not as beasts. Take these poor, lowly excuses for men, and lock them away in the galley. We have no need for bloodshed among friends. Make no mistake, these fine boys we killed here were, and remain our friends. We worry on these matters later, but now, my lads, gather them and lock them up!” In that moment, I and my few remaining fellows were seized, and found ourselves locked away.
 
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