Friday, February 6, 2009

The Horizon

Beneath the first light of dawn, he climbed the narrow stairs up to the deck. On reaching the top, he noticed the pain in his leg was almost gone. He lifted his shorts, and studied the scar that ran across his left thigh - a pink puckered track pulled together by skilful stitching. A few more days and the wound will be healed, he thought. He needed no further setbacks to keep him from getting the stone. 

He looked out at the water. A white-naped crane swooped low to the surface, and then circled its way back toward Max. It fluttered and flapped its wings as it landed on the side of the boat. Max watched the bird, its head turned toward the open sea. Following the bird's gaze, Max saw on the horizon, a shape that quickened his heart. It was the form of another boat, double masted and moving slowly toward them.  Max strained to see the shape of the boat, and the flag that flew from the tip of its foremast but the boat was too far away. There was no time to take any chances. He pounded on the galley roof, alerting the others, as he watched the boat gather speed, the wind moving  it closer toward them.

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