Captain wants to see you

Written in response to: Start your story with a character saying “Listen, …”... view prompt

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Adventure Drama Fantasy

Trigger warning: mentions of severe violence, death and trauma


‘’Listen, Sally, for the last time, I don’t want to talk about it. ‘’

‘’Please? Pretty, pretty, please with a cherry on top?’’

‘’No, leave me alone!’’

‘’Oh, come on! Just one story. One little story about the Keld and I’ll leave you alone, I promise!’’


It was late afternoon, and both the ship, Never not once, and its passengers were barely moving through the vast blue sea. The sun was high in the sky and to the voyagers it felt as though they were sailing through the Sahara Desert instead of the Pacific Ocean.

Only two of the five-member crew were up on deck, their names Sally and Peter. Everyone else had gone below to lay down; Captain Battersea with a migraine, Anno the cabin boy for his afternoon nap and Polly because he’d eaten too many salty crackers and drank too little water, resulting in severe dehydration.

‘’No, I’m not telling you about…it,’’ Peter muttered, laying flat on his back so he could stare directly at the sun. His skin was burning but he needed something to distract him from his thoughts and so far, that was the only thing he found worked.

That and twelve-year-old Sally’s annoying chattering, but somehow, he found it more bearable to fry in the sun than to listen to her high-pitched ramblings.

‘’Stop laying in the sun like that,’’ Sally said, kicking him from where she sat in her hammock. ‘’Come sit here in the shade. You’re gonna look like a lobster when you get up again.’’


‘’You could get skin cancer.’’


‘’Battersea will get mad at you.’’

‘’She’s already mad at me.’’

‘’No, she’s not.’’

‘’Yeah, she is,’’ Peter didn’t sit up, but he balled his fists slightly. ‘’She doesn’t want me here and you know that.’’

‘’No? What is your problem?’’ Sally muttered, contemplating whacking him in the face with her crusty purple notebook but deciding against it. She sighs. ‘’Battersea’s not mad you’re here. If she were, you’d have been thrown overboard ages ago. She’s just …. tired. Running a ship like this, singlehandedly, is exhausting. ‘’

‘’Then why does she do it? What’s the point of sailing around, rescuing and helping pathetic orphans no one gives a duck about anyway?’’

Sally stiffens and her throat makes a squeaky noise. For a moment, Peter thinks she might cry and he himself stiffens, unsure of what to do.

But then Sally shakes herself and does whack him with her book, nearly falling out of her hammock in the process.

‘’At least stop staring at the sun like that,’’ she said. ’’You’ll go blind if you don’t.’’

‘’Damn,’’ Peter mumbled, running his hand through his dirty black-brown hair then over the scar slicing through his left eye. ‘’ That’d be a pity.’’

A silence follows.

‘’Come on, Peter,’’ Sally sat up, deciding to try again. ‘’Why won’t you just tell me about the Keld?’’

‘’I already told you, I don’t want to,’’ Peter shrugged, swinging his legs over the edge of Never not once. His legs didn't nearly reach the water, but it felt good to swing them around a bit.

‘’But why not?’’ Sally persisted.

''Because I don't want to.''

''But why though? If I were rescued from a place as cool as the Keld, I’d be telling every second person about it. I might even write a book about it. I wouldn’t ever shut up. I would- ‘’

Peter snapped.

’Shut up! ‘’

Peter sat bolt upright, hands squeezed over his ears, eyes shut tightly. ‘’Shut up shut up shut up! Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?’’

Sally's blue eyes widen and her hands go to her mouth.

‘’Peter, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to- ‘’

‘’No, you don’t! You don’t know anything!’’

‘’Peter, I’m sorry! I was just curious; I’m barely ever allowed off this ship so-

‘’So, you want to? You really want to know what the Keld is like? You think it’d be cool to have been rescued from there?! Fine, then: you can have the memories of my own ducking dad holding a knife over my head! You can have the blood of monsters on my hands! You can have my scars! You can have the screams of my siblings echoing in my head at night because I sure as cuss. Don’t. Want. Them!’’

Sally flinched, her eyes wide and wet.

‘’Go on! Trade places with me!’’ Peter’s stomach was twisting, angry

tears threatening to spill from his eyes as well. He hadn’t meant to burst out like this, but his head was swirling with things he didn’t want to remember and emotions he didn’t want to feel, and he didn’t know how to make them stop. He squeezed his eyes tighter, trying to block it out.

‘’You can trade places with me! Do it! Trade places with me and I can get out of this hellhole called myself.’’

‘’Peter, I- ‘’

‘’Shut up! shut up, shut up!’’

‘’What’s going on?’’

A small voice had joined the conversation and Peter jerked his head sideways. When he squinted, he could about make out the shape of a small, tan boy with messy hazel hair standing in the doorway to Battersea’s cabin. His striking grey blue eyes lingered on Peter’s hunched, stiff form for a moment, then darted towards Sally, curled into a little, shaking ball in her hammock.


Anno had his grey stuffed rabbit clutched in his short arms, and his thumb in his mouth, biting at the cuticles.

‘’What’s going on here?’’


Sally spoke up first and when she did, Peter could hear her voice wobble slightly.

‘’Listen, Anno, why don’t you go back to your cabin? You haven’t quite been sleeping enough, you’re going to be tired tomorrow, dear. And I’m sure Polly will be wondering where you went-‘’

‘’Polly’s sleeping,’’ Anno said flatly, his eyes narrowing slightly when he lifted a finger to point at Peter. ‘’And you woke me up.’’

‘’Sorry, Anno,’’ Sally said, getting up from her hammock. She put her hands on his shoulders and her eyes find Peter's. ‘’Let’s go back to nap, shall we?’’

But Anno shook his head, still not having taken his eyes of Peter. To the black-haired boy if felt as though Anno’s eyes were boring into his skull.

‘’Captian wants to see you.’’

November 06, 2021 13:13

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1 comment

Mila Van Niekerk
13:20 Nov 06, 2021

HELLOOOOOO THERE!! I'm so happy I finally posted this kjhqerkghjdkjhrasgjkfg 🌈There will probably be more stories with these characters in this universe 💅The origin of this idea is actually an imaginary game me and my cousins play 🐠Who's your favorite character so far? 💖Random BUT: please don't ship Sally and Peter. Sally is twelve and Peter is fifteen. Besides, Peter's love interest may be introduced in later stories 🏃‍♀️This comment is so choppy ehhhhhh ✌Constructive critism is GREATLY APPRECIATED; I know it's not exactly a masterpiece an...


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