by Jeff Kuykendall
All of it was gone, even the memory of calamity. Before the gap in Rúni’s memory, he stood at the rail watching the fast approaching isle of Cairnobel, and after the emptiness he lay on an endless beach, struggling at a tangle of seaweed about his limbs. The tide was receding and all its prizes were lodged in sandy ooze: flotsam of the ship Olaf’s Charge, sea stars, and crabs under shells, glistening orange in the morning sun, struggling with their burdens back toward the waves.
There was also the girl who peered at him from a short distance while she grunted at the weight of a large cedar chest, leaving a broad trail through the wet beach. The chest had no markings or decoration, but he recognized it as the one from his quarters. The girl had long, uncombed, reddish hair, her face scorched with freckles, and she was surely no older than fifteen. She wore a shift — white but dirty, the sleeves rolled up and her forearms coated with sand — and a man’s trousers cinched tight with a belt of rope. Read more