Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Where She Belonged- Short Story.

I've written another short story.

Actually, in the last couple weeks I have written many. I am supposed to write something for school, a fiction story of 2,000 words, that somehow shows my "expertise" in a particular area. Well... I don't have a ton of expertise and I don't quite plan on being a "specialized writer" (one who makes an entire career of writing on a particular topic or genre.). I do tend to focus a lot of my writing on fantasy, and almost always aim towards young adults, but I am not against branching out of that particular area of literature.

So. The story. I have drafted many in hopes of coming up with something worth submitting to school and having graded, but none of them have been quite good enough for my liking. I began to take the "expertise" thing into consideration. I'm often told to write what I know...what do I know?! Well fantasy. Young Adult. I'm a passionate christian and could go down a nonfiction route with that. I am a musician and artist. I am the oldest of 8 kids, 7 adopted. I am (or was) a dancer. I make a lot of stuff. Those are all topics/genres I could comfortably write about/in.

As I thought about all those above mentioned thing one more area of personal interest came to mind: PIRATES.

If you haven't noticed yet, I have a bizarre infatuation with rogues and buccaneers. It is difficult to explain but...I love pirates. I'm not talking the movies, or Johnny Depp, I'm talking I am obsessed with actual, real-deal pirates. I own a costume and a cutlass. I have a entire shelf dedicated to books on pirates and their histories. I own an accurate dictionary of pirate-speak and ship terminology. It is fair to say I am a fanatic.

As I was flipping through my big notebook of writing ideas and whatnot I came across a messily drafted story about a Captain Magdalena Rossini that I had written probably like...4 years ago? It was a disaster, but out from that mess of badly written plot/dialogue I pulled a story idea. Magdalena came to life. And here is her (short)story:

By: Isabella Kiss

Your father was too a pirate!” he shouted at her.
“WAS NOT!” the little girl shouted back, her fists in tight, red balls, pumping up and down at her waist. She didn’t know what a pirate was, but she knew her father wasn’t one.
“He was! My mum said so; she saw him hanged!” he argued back
“My father was not hanged either, Nicholai! He was a gentleman of fortune and died at sea!”
“No, he was hanged, because he was a pirate. My mother was there! And she doesn’t lie like yours does.”
She could take him no longer. She grabbed hold of her dress, pulled it up around her ankles and ran home, straight into her mother’s arms.
“What is wrong, love?”
 She burst into tears. “Nicci was telling lies about Papa.”
Her mother stiffened.
“He called him a pirate and said he was hanged.”
Magdalena, shhhh…” She smoothed her daughter’s hair as she sorted her own thoughts.
“Papa was a gentleman of fortune, right Mama?”
Her mother said nothing as she lifted her girl’s head and wiped tears of her sticky and reddened face.
“I should have known someone would say something eventually…” she whispered softly to herself. “Dear, there are some things you must learn of your father and there is no point in me hiding them from you any longer.”

“To your knees, man!” she shouted, cutlass in one hand, pistol grasped firmly in the other.
He looked at the woman in defiance. He wouldn’t kneel to a pirate, regardless of unfortunate circumstances such as the one he had found himself in. A short while ago he was sailing his merchant route, and now he was captive on the deck of a brigantine flying pirate’s colours. And the pirate standing before him was well armed and about to kill him.
“Do you need me to say it again, or do you not care if you see a tomorrow? KNEEL!
“I will not kneel before a pirate, nor will I kneel before a woman, no matter how many guns she is holding.”
“Then you will kneel before Captain Maggi.”
He looked at her and spat on the ground on which his feet still stood. “I don’t care who you say you are. You will shortly be boarding my ship and thereafter be tried in London for piracy.”
“Firstly, you are on my ship, in my possession. Do you really think I will just change the course of my plans and get on yours? Secondly, yes, you do think that, because you clearly haven’t heard of me. Captain Magdalena Rossini, pleased to meet you and now well pleased to kill you.” she said cunningly, shaking his hand with the gun still in hers.
He pulled his hand back. “Rossini?” He looked at her for a moment, saying nothing else but the question painted on his face.
“So you have heard of me?”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re a bloody pirate, Rossini. You’ve admitted it and now I am taking you hostage on a return voyage to England, where you will hang, as people like yourself often do.”
“We went over this already.” she said, her eyes glistening. She slid her cutlass back into its place at her side.
He seized the opportunity and grabbed her arms, but she didn’t fight back. She was at advantage in cunning and probably strength as well.
“Come, Ms. Rossini, you shall be held upon my ship.”
“I’m sorry, I’m afraid you no longer have a ship.”
He looked at her, even more disgusted. “Of course I…” but he stopped mid-phrase.
“I’m right, as usual. While you stood here, refusing to surrender and calling me names, my crew took both your men and your ship.”
He stared dumbfounded. They had. His boat no longer flew his flag, but hers.
A haughty smirk painted her dark face. “Now that all you have is mine, do you want to surrender, or shall I just kill you. Well, unless of course you’d rather swim back to England.”
He fell to his knees. “Some friend you are…” he mumbled, as he looked up into her eyes.
“What did you say?” she demanded, pulling out her knife and pricking his neck with it.
“Don’t say you don’t know me. Or have you really fallen that far from your past, Maggi?”
She looked at him, suddenly seeing him for the first time. “Get off my ship.” she said, her mind apparently changed.
“Off! Go back to your ship, back to your England and away from me or I will surely kill you.”
“Just say my name, Maggi and I’ll be gone.”
“I don’t know your name, man.” she spat angrily. Her chest was rising and falling with heavy breaths; her knuckles whitened around her knife, still pointed at his throat.
“Say it, Maggi. You might be a thief, maybe even a killer, but you aren’t a good liar.”
“OFF MY SHIP! OFF, OFF, OFF!” she shouted, forcing him up against the side. A fine trickle of red was making its path down his neck and dripping onto his white shirt.
“Eight letters. All I ask.”
 “You have a choice to make: you either get off my ship now, or I’ll stab you through your throat with this point.”
“You play a rogue, Maggi, but we both know you couldn’t kill me.”
She now had him bending backwards over the starboard side. She leaned in close to his face, glaring coldly into his still familiar blue eyes.
“I play a rogue very well, thank you.”
“Say it.”
“N.I.C.H....” she removed her knife and placed both her hands on his chest. “…O.L.A…I.”
He toppled over backwards into the sea below them.
She watched him fall into the water and pretended for a moment not to care. Casually she slid the blade that had once been her father’s back into her belt and walked away. But after a weak pause she turned on her boot heels and was back peering down at the floundering man in the water aside her ship.
“Nicholai, Nicholai, Nicholai...” she whispered to herself. “Swim ‘round the other side!” she shouted down at him
He didn’t respond. He was splashing a great deal, but still afloat. She threw her jacket, cutlass, pistol, knife, and belt strung with trinkets onto the deck with a clattering thud. She left out a heaving sigh and balanced on the edge before neatly diving in after him.
While she was under the water he laughed to himself. He couldn’t help it. “What was that you said?” he asked, as her wet head broke through the surface.
’Swim ‘round the other side.’ I could have hoisted you up with the tow rope. And I know you heard me…”
“Well yes, that is what I thought I heard, but was confused. I seem to recall you telling me to get off your ship? Thank you for making the trip down here to clarify your words to me, though they still leave me confused.”
“I could leave you here to freeze and am about to. Do you want help or not?”
“From a pirate?”
“Yes, from a pirate. A bloody woman pirate. A thief, a killer, a rogue of all sorts. Now c’mon.” She began swimming. They reached a rope hanging over the side.
“I am far too weak to climb that now.”
“Then die. I couldn’t care.” she said, taking the rope in her hands.
“You could.”
She let out an annoyed huff. “You disgust me, Nicholai.”
He wrapped his arms around her waist, still laughing to himself as she steadily began to climb.
They hoisted themselves up onto the deck and panted.
“Oh be quiet. You did nothing.” she snapped, pulling her long hair from her eyes.
He couldn’t help but smile. Pirate or not, she hadn’t changed. From their childhood, to when she ran away, to that very moment, he loved her and he always would.
She glared at him. “Stop staring already.” She pulled her jacket over her drenched clothes and held it tightly around herself.
“What has the world done to you, to make a bell like yourself ring so darkly? What has happened to you, Maggi, to make you like this?”
“Nothing. I was born to a pirate to be a pirate. It was my fate and my dream.”
“There was no fate of yours that could have been as cruel to me and no dream as bad as this. Why did you leave?”
“My fate doesn’t concern yours. I left because there was nothing else for me but this.”
He looked at her and saw the girl he had once played and laughed with. “There was so much more for you.”
“No. That life had nothing for me. This is who I need to be.”
“WRONG! I loved you, Maggi and I still do. Why, why, why did you leave that?”
She said nothing. She was remembering.

Her father had been hanged. He had been hanged because he was a pirate. Nothing was the same anymore. Everything she had thought she had known about herself and her father, Vincent Rossini, had been a lie. The lies from her mother were supposed to protect her, though on the day she learned the truth they only hurt. But yet, when she heard it for the first time she felt more like herself than she ever had. That day she learned who she was and who she would be. She was a pirate’s daughter and she would follow in his footsteps. Footsteps that lead her to the sea. 

Years passed, but she couldn’t take the thoughts of sailing vessels and the oceans salty air from her head. She was a quiet little girl on the outside, but inside of her there was a rogue fighting its way to the surface.  It escaped when she was twelve.
She took her father’s knife, initialed V.R., and ran. There began what some would say was her downfall, but she thought of it as her rise. She dressed as a boy and stowed away on a merchant ship. So much lying, and then more lying. She switched crews at harbours and jumped ships at ports. She continued to do so until she found the vessel she searched for; one with men who called themselves gentlemen of fortune, such as her father had: pirates.
It didn’t take them long to realize she wasn’t a Vincent at all, but a young woman. But she was a young woman born to a man whose name they more then just recognized. The fire that has burned in her father was a flame in her, and so she had stayed on with them, woman but pirate. She had gained their honor and their respect. She now had her own ship and her own crew. She had gained the notoriety she had longed for. She was Captain Maggi, not ever trusted but always feared. She had gained what she had for so long wanted. Her home was with the sea, amongst ruffians and thieves like herself. It was where she belonged. 

“Why did you leave me? I’ve searched for you this whole time. You ran, but I ran after you, and Maggi, if you choose to keep running, so will I. Although…I seem to no longer possess a ship…” said the man, standing dripping wet next to her on the deck.
She looked at him. Though she hadn’t seen him in years, he was very much the same Nicci she had once known. He still wore the same look on his face as he watched hers.
He slowly put his arms around her, and couldn’t help but smile as she willingly fell into his wet embrace.
She smiled too. She didn’t have to run anymore, for she had no where else she wanted to go. She finally knew what she wanted; she had found where she really belonged. At last.

 So...honest opinions? I like it, but I cannot tell if I like it enough. Maybe I am just partial to anything to do with piracy? And I feel like a lot of it is dialogue...maybe too much? I'd really appreciate your thoughts. What did you think!?


Amie said...

Aside from the part where I almost got caught reading at my desk at work, I loved it!

It totally caught my attention and the plot was very interesting. I especially liked the hopping back and forth between time periods.

Ellie said...

Well, i'm 14 so i couldn't give you an experienced writers oppinion. :) i agree with Amie, the hopping back and forth between time periods was really cool, you have to pay attention to what you're reading when stories are like that. in my oppinion that's one of the most important things when writing, grabbing the readers attention, that's what i think about when writing. :)
sorry for the rediculously long comment!

Anonymous said...

This is so good. I really enjoyed it, and I don't think there was too much dialogue. Also, I have to make my music major comment, did you know that the name Rossini is also the name of a famous Italian opera and instrumental composer who worked in England? The End


Isabella Kiss said...

Thanks guys for the encouragement! I like long comments!!

Amie, glad you liked the way I structured it. I wasn't sure if it was followable...

Ellie, reader's opinions are just as (if not more so) important than writer's opinions. Thanks!

Hedge, WHOA. No, didn't know that. I did know Rossini was a super Italian name, and in the original manuscript I explained why the Italian pirate dude ended up in England but had to cut it out in order to keep with in word length constraints. It had nothing to do with musicians but... that is cool anyway!

out of the frame said...

It's great! I love it. the first jump from past to present confused me for a couple of sentences but then I got it - that could just be me being tired and not a problem with your story but I thought I'd say anyway! I love the way it's written, it's very attention grabbing and it's easy to imagine all the action going on.

Sarah Louise Upjohn said...

I was just going to read a little bit and come back to it since it's so long. But screw you with your captivating writing, it's after 11pm and I'm still awake because you made me want to know how it ended. GOSH.

At first the switching of time periods, the heavy dialogue, and lack of names/descriptions was confusing. But I realized that all of that was the reason I couldn't stop reading. I had to figure out what was going on.

Also, Bella writes about romantic things? What? Who are you?


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