history, Uncategorized, writing

Shipwreck … and WIPpet Wednesday

I must confess, I’ve done very little writing this past week, what with Thanksgiving and a visit from my daughter, her kids, and my mother-in-law. And then there’s the agonizing pain in my back from all the work I did at Thanksgiving. Also, I will get back to posting travel things soon … ish. I promise!

So, once again it’s Wednesday, which means I am providing you with a snippet of my work in progress (thus, WIPpet), a challenge hosted by K.L. Schwengel. Basically, you post a snippet of your current project which in some way relates to the date. Here’s what happened on this day in 1872.

Having left New York on Nov. 5, the brigantine Mary Celeste was found adrift off Portugal with everyone aboard mysteriously missing.

Read more: This Day in History: December 5 | Infoplease.com

The subject of this snippet is shipwreck. Once again, it is from my Dark Ages adventure:

The storm came on quickly. In the morning, the sun shone brightly from between scattered clouds. By noon thick dark clouds clotted the sky and wind buffeted the sails and waves with equal fretfulness. When a hard, cold rain began to fall, the captain sent the passengers below deck, his normally wide, easy expression grim and tight.
Justus stayed above deck, soaked by freezing rain and increasingly nauseous from the plunge and dip of the tiny craft amidst the roiling insanity of water everywhere. When a particularly fearsome wave nearly rolled the ship over, he heard terrified cries rising from the hold. As soon as the ship righted itself enough for him to walk instead of crawl, he rushed below to check on the welfare of the others.
A fetid blast of warm air, foul with the stench of vomit, met him when he opened the door and descended the ladder. Everyone was crowded to one side, as were the tumble of their sleeping mats and food baskets and miscellaneous belongings, driven there by the rolling of the ship. Many of the passengers wept and prayed aloud, including both of Richende’s maids and several of Justus’s hardened soldiers. At another time, in a safe place, he might have teased his men for their fearfulness. But here, now, he understood it far too well.

Comments, reactions, impressions, constructive criticisms – all are treasured, should you choose to provide them. Visit my fellow WIPpet participants here:


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8 thoughts on “Shipwreck … and WIPpet Wednesday”

  1. I love this bit, “A fetid blast of warm air, foul with the stench of vomit, ” I actually wrinkled my nose and backed away from the monitor. Very vivid. And now you’ve totally piqued my interest about the Mary Celeste and what happened to her crew/passengers.

    1. LOL – glad to hear that I grossed you out. 🙂 I am rather interested in finding out what happened to the Mary Celeste, too! Too busy to take the time to see, though. I seem to remember some sad pop song that talked about it? Maybe that was another wreck. There are, sadly, too many of them!

      1. You may mean Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, which was about a steamer on the Great Lakes (Superior, I think). It was pretty popular in the 70s. There are also a lot of other folk songs about shipwrecks. As you say, there are way too many of them.

        Makes me wonder about the future songs of space travel… It’s actually surprising that we have so few fatalities to mourn in the history of this fairly new exploration.

        As for the WIPpet… You do realize, Xina, I’m becoming as fond of Justus as Richende seems to have become in your last week’s submission. He’s impressive.

  2. A storm at sea does not sound like fun to me. What a nifty way to relate your WIPpet to the date! My kids learned a little about the Mary Celeste recently. Quite the mystery. I’m glad Justus decides not to chide his soldiers for feeling afraid.

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