A Line On The Water



Scene Title A Line on the Water
Synopsis Captain Woods returns to the archipelago of Manhattan after weeks at sea.
Date July 4, 2015

The mid-day sun shines down the roaring surf, sea birds circle overhead. All is right with the world.

A line on the water, thread of silvery beams

Crashing over the open sea, a rusty old tugboat laden with supplies covered with tattered blue tarps cuts a path toward home. The designation stenciled on the side of the ship indicates that it is the Featherweight. A flock of sea birds follow the vessel as it plies the waters, engine rumbling noisily. Up ahead, its destination is in clear view as an archipelago of square towers rising up from the crashing surf's depths. To the left, the ship passes close by a tarnished and rust-streaked green arm stretching up from the ocean, like a drowning swimmer desperately calling for help, clutching a broken torch in one hand. Birds gather on the railing around the torch/

Below, watch it crumble, rippling through the open sea

Inside the approaching tugboat, its captain idly scratches at the dangled mop of strawberry-blonde hair atop his head. He smiles, toothily, seeing the glinting towers that were once the island of Manhattan coming into view, a thousand ships moored in the shadows of these looming structures. Reaching down to the radio beside the helm, the captain picks up the receiver and calls out to the other ships. "This is Captain Woods o'the Featherweight, callin' in arrival. Eastern expanse is nice an' clear t'day, no sign of raiders or storms. Got me a haul, so's if you could make sure somebody's at market for me t'deliver tha'd make m'bloody day."

I wait for the morning, golden glimmer of day

«We read you loud and clear Captain!» A chipper man's voice comes in clear over the radio. «We'll have someone down at the dock waiting for you!» Woods smiles, fondly, and hooks up the receiver and looks out to the glittering sunlight shining over the open water. As he's leaning against the helm, idly keeping the ship on its steady course, the sound of footsteps coming into the cabin elicit a look back over Woods' shoulder. The older woman entering flashes a broad smile, cigarette held in one hand and the other raking blonde hair back from her face. Her faded t-shirt reads HOLA in multi-colored text.

I wait for the falling of the waters once again

"Jim," she says with a lopsided smile, "when we hit the city, you think we might be able t'get some playing cards? Been wanting to do a poker night here on the old girl, but we've only got sixteen cards in that piece of shit deck." Woods rolls his eyes at being called Jim and turns around, making sure the ship is moving steadily ahead before addressing his guest in the cabin.

For the waters once again

"Well, tha'll all depend on how much salvage has actually been hauled up. Last time I was in the 'Pelago there weren't any games left. I mean," Woods bobbles his head from side to side. "Ones that Doyle didn't take fer' the kids." That very thought reminds him of something, however, and Woods shoots a quick look back to the blonde woman. "Actually, 'ave you tried checkin' with Doyle? He might have a deck a'cards on hand that he'd be willin' t'share."

The blue of the ocean could not ever fool me

The blonde shrugs, taking a slow drag off of her cigarette. "Connect Four, checkers, half a game of Shoots and Ladders, and just enough Monopoly t'be dangerous." Her smile grows a bit at that last comment. "Can't take good games away from the kids, though. Speakin' of which, are we bringing any of the little rugrats out next time we go hauling? They really seemed t'like the last time. Plus, I mean… if I'm being brutally honest… the one that can lift about a ton of steel over her head's a lot of help."

Beyond the stillness there’s a darkness we can’t see

"M'not goin' t'turn my sightseeing tours into a sweat shop," Woods is half-kidding as he glances over his shoulder out the front of the boat, making sure nothing is in the way. "Talk t'Des an' see if she's willing t'play den mother t'them with Doyle. An' we'll bring whatever of them we can with us when we head out again. Maybe… next week? I'd like t'have feet down on dry land long enough t'enjoy the bloody spoils of all our hard work just once in a while, yeah?"

Summer has come and gone too quickly for my taste

"The way you enjoy spoils and the way I enjoy spoils are very different things." She explains with a throaty laugh, taking another drag off of her cigarette. "I'm gonna swing by the casino and try my luck at the blackjack tables, see if we can win back a little of the overhead from all the gas we blew through getting out to that claim." Walking up to Woods, his erstwhile companion leans on the helm and looks out the front windows to the sunken skyline of Manhattan rapidly approaching over the choppy surf. She grows silent, and Woods tracks her movement with a concerned look.

How I wish that the sun could feel like more than just a blaze

Turning around, he follows her eyeline to the skyline of Manhattan, of its sunken towers and crumbling concrete and glass spires reaching up like fingers from the water. "Crazy t'think most'f those kids ain't never known a different world, yeah?" Woods glances over to her, and she's bobbing along with a slow and steady nod. "Maybe they were three or four when the water came, might have faint memories 'f what it was like 'fore everything got washed away. Makes y'think, what's the world gonna be like when people like us who remember are dead an' gone?"

The light on the tower has been fading through the years

"Better," isn't the answer Woods expected. After her response a tern lands on the prow of the ship, flexing its wings and picking at its pinions with its beak. "The world was a shithole before the flood came. Sure, there's still shitty people in it… but things feel simpler now. Peaceful, y'know?" She glances over at him, cigarette gently pinched between the knuckles of her index and middle finger. "I don't miss the mess that came before."

A once shining beacon, then a flicker, now a dream

"I think…" Woods starts, then hesitates, looking back to the skyline. "I think this's the first time you've ever talked about yer life before the flood. What'd you do, anyway? Y'seem like one'f them jack 'f all trades types, but the way you handle them kids, it's like…" She fixes Woods with a steady stare, then looks down to the console and pushes herself off, taking one last drag of the cigarette before she flicks it at Woods, bouncing off of his chest to drop to the floor.

Even it will disappear

"I'll be in my bunk," is the way she ends that conversation, turning toward the cabin door. Woods, looking down to the cigarette briefly, realizes that he'd crossed a line into sensitive territory. He starts after her, then hesitates and curls his hands closed into fists at his side, frustrated with himself.

A line on the water, would you ever believe

"M'sorry, a'din' mean t'dredge up…" But she's already out the door, waving over her shoulder at Woods as the sea breeze catches her tangles of blonde hair and blows them up off of her shoulders. Woods takes a deep breath, looking down to the floor of the cabin and the smoldering nub of a cigarette sitting there. He brings his shoe over, grinding his heel against the cigarette and putting it out.

They say nothing fits our bodies better than the sea

"Sorry, Carina."

Nothing better than the sea


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