Loss at Sea


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1. Loss at Sea

        The anchor, having been thrown into the murky depths of the harbor, sank swiftly down onto the blanket of sand below and held the great ship down as its cargo was unloaded onto the stable ground of the port.  Overseeing the unloading, the captain, Edward, stood at the dock eager to finish the deliveries to the local merchants in the bustling city.  With his ship unloaded and evening quickly approaching, Edward headed into the streets of the town seeking to replenish the supplies of his vessel before his return voyage.  He paid a visit to many of the local merchants, one of whom had in stock enough rations for him and his crew.  Drawing closer, the weathered captain caught a glimpse of the tall, well-dressed store owner and a young woman who sat in the back counting money.  Noticing the mariner’s gaze into the shimmering eyes of his daughter, the store owner assertively inquired, ¨What business might you have here, sir?¨  Explaining his need for supplies, the captain arranged for a delivery to his ship and, before leaving, gazed once more into the eyes of the girl who so intrigued him.


        Kept awake that night by his aught for the woman at the shop, Edward decided he must speak to the girl, so, once the sun had climbed to its rightful position in the daytime sky that afternoon, the captain sought out the city-dwelling girl.  Meeting the woman while her father stepped out into the cool outside air to meet with another merchant, Edward introduced himself to the lady who, in return, introduced herself as Elizabeth, daughter of the shopkeeper.  He then was able to invite himself to supper with her and her sire.

   

        Disturbed to see that the young man his daughter had brought to supper was, in truth, an older, worn-out voyager, the shopkeeper pulled the captain outside onto the stoop of the finely-built home.  The protective father made it clear to the captain that he could never have his daughter’s hand and shooed him away.  Saddened and infuriated by the man’s complete disregard for his feelings, the captain paced around the streets before marching to the local tavern.  Awakening late at night in a drunken stupor in his temporary place of residence, Edward’s rage at the father grew, metamorphosing into a deep determination to get the girl no matter what.  Entering through a large bedroom window, he seized the girl, who had lain still, fast asleep, only to be awoken by the mighty grip of the now intoxicated mariner she hadn't seen since his disappearance from the dinner table.  Still too overcome with the shock of her capture to react, the girl remained tense over the shoulder of the sailor.  Racing away from the residential streets, he ran to the now silent dock and boarded his ship.  He descended into the deepest part of the vessel and deposited her into the steerage.


        The next morning, with the supplies having been delivered, the captain rushed his crew aboard, keeping them clear of where the girl stayed chained.  They hauled the anchor back up from its pillow on the seafloor and hoisted the sails, unsure of their superior’s motivation for their early departure, but willing to comply for fear of the consequences of challenging the captain's orders.  As soon as the final preparations were complete, they absconded into the vast expanse of the seemingly endless ocean, heading towards their home port.

        The captain was overjoyed since Elizabeth now could be - no, would be - his bride, and each time he made the journey into the deep recesses of the ship and saw the starving figure of his bride-to-be, exhausted from her continued utterance of cries, which were drowned out by the sound of crashing waves against the hull of the vessel, snickered with delight at the thought of her father’s suffering.  Eventually, the ship neared the sailors’ home port, and they, once again, lowered the anchor and took down the sails.  The captain stayed on board until each and every member of the complement had vacated from his craft.  With the crew gone, the captain journeyed below deck where Elizabeth stay bound, only to find the pallid corpse of the once vivacious young woman.  He collapsed to the floor with an overwhelming feeling of sadness and sorrow, for he lost the woman he was so determined to get and had met with the same fate as her father.

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