Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Wanderer

This is the third part of a story I have been writing recently, whenever I can grab a moment. The previous parts are titled: When Peter woke up and No longer alone. They can be found under 'May' in the blog archive on the right hand side of this page.

Peter clung to the rope ladder as he climbed ungainly up the side of the ship. As he neared the top several pairs of hands reached down, grasping his arms and lifting him easily over the wooden rail. He found himself face to face with a crowd of others, dressed plainly, as he was, but smiling in a welcoming way.
            ‘Good to meet you, Peter,’ said a man, stepping forward with his hand outstretched. ‘Welcome to the Wanderer.’
            Peter took the hand and managed a short, ‘thanks,’ in reply.
            ‘All right everyone, back to it,’ called the man, and the crowd quickly dispersed over the deck and down to the levels below.
            ‘The Wanderer.’ Peter said it out loud and the man took it as a question.
            ‘Yes, that’s us. Just wandering. Going where the wind blows.’
            Peter raised an eyebrow.
            ‘Seriously,’ the man continued, ‘we have to catch the wind or we will simply stop altogether.’
            There was a pause as Peter looked around. ‘Come on,’ said the man, ‘this way. I’m Logan, by the way.’

Together they crossed the deck to a hole where a steep staircase descended. Logan led the way by stepping lightly down the narrow steps, but Peter turned and came down backwards steadily. They continued down another set of steps, for which Logan apologised. ‘Afraid we’re getting quite full, but you’ll get used to the steps.’
            Below deck it was even darker, but a few lamps hung from the wooden beams in places. Men and women moved around busying themselves with jobs that Peter knew nothing of, but was content to learn about in due time. For the moment other questions were beginning to jump into his head but he held back as Logan directed him to a hammock.
            ‘This is yours, Peter. You should find it quite comfortable. There are allocated rest periods. I need to find out which Company you’re in and then I can let you know when.’
            ‘Do we not sleep at night?’
            Logan looked mildly surprised. ‘First, I didn’t say “sleep”, I said “rest”. Of course you can sleep if you want, but have you felt tired yet?’
            ‘No,’ admitted Peter, ‘not since I woke up.’
            ‘Exactly, and second, there is no night. It stays like this all the time. We live before the dawn. We await the new day.’

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