Crafty Boat.. part 1

Short story

The boat was far from shore. It wasn’t anything special. Just the average boat. It had scratches and scars from wear and tear but the boat was more sturdy than you might think. It had sailed through many storms, fought its way over countless waves, endured the blistering heat of the sun-filled days and shivered through just as many freezing winter nights. And still the boat kept sailing. It was all it knew. Keep sailing. There was no alternative. It may seem very boring but the boat liked it just the way it was. There was no crew on board. No hands on deck or below. This boat didn’t need a crew. It could sail on its own. It had a slight but permanent list to starboard, but it didn’t matter much. It was a bit slower than it used to be, but it almost as stable as the time the list wasn’t there. If anything the list just made the flag in the top of the main mast flap more merrily.. or defiant if you like . The flag was in blue and purple colours with strange marking that didn’t make much sense to other than the boat. For some reason the flag never got worn. It just hung there. Day and night. Not rain nor wind seemed to be able to damage the flag in any way. No matter what nature threw at the boat, the flag stayed the same. The colours didn’t fade and no loose threads at the edge. It stayed the same. Colours as bright as always.

The instruments in the wheelhouse did what they were supposed to do. Show the speed, heading, time, weather and other useful things. They were however also capable of looking like a human would look at something. There was what seemed to be a single porthole on the starboard side of the boat. Just above the surface of the ocean. Well, it was actually a little bit under the surface thanks to the list, but most of it was above the water. It wasn’t a porthole though. You couldn’t see anything through it, but there was a blue glimmer in it like when the sun shines on the snow in winter. It wasn’t a cold glimmer like that but more like a warm blue colour, pulsing gently as if it was alive, with small glimpses like silver stars floating around inside. It had only one function. To haul anything aboard that seemed interesting or useful. A tractor beam if you like. Since there was no crew, the boat had created this instead. The beam would transport any given thing from the ocean outside to the inside of the wheelhouse. It was practical that way. The only special thing on-board was the engine. It looked like an ordinary engine and could of course make the boat go from place to place if need be, but that wasn’t it’s only purpose. It was modified in such a way that it created its own fuel and it worked as the boat’s mind. Placed deep within the hull it was protected from the outside world and day after day it performed it’s magic: thinking, analyzing, troubleshooting, enjoying and best of all; imaginating things. That’s how thing were done on-board. When something needed to be in the world the boat simply imagined it to be there. When the sails were up it was nice and quiet and the engine had time to imagine a lot of things. Sometimes there would be almost an aura of energy around it. That was the imagination running wild and free. That’s when new things appeared or old things got repaired or things were changed into something else.

Sometimes the boat would come across some flotsam. There were crates and barrels, doors and masts and a lot of loose things floating in the ocean. The boat usually sailed closer when flotsam appeared nearby. It was a curious boat and in most cases that was a good thing. Not always. But today the flotsam seemed promising. As the boat carefully navigated through the various items floating on the surface it saw a big pot. Bent out of shape but still functional. The boat sailed at very slow speed closer to the pot, so that it would get near the “porthole”. It used the beam to drag the pot aboard. There was part of a sail floating a bit further ahead. The boat approached it. It didn’t look so bad, maybe it could be used for repairs of its own sails. Again it sailed slowly past the sail until it was in reach of the beam and hauled it aboard. A big plastic container floated easily on the surface. That could be useful so the boat hauled it aboard. There was a open crate that seemed to be heavy. It lay deep in the water. As the boat got closer there was a sound from the crate. A sad sound like from something that has given up or was in pain. The boat hauled the crate aboard and it was time to examine the findings. The pot was empty but there was no holes in it. A cat sat beside it. Apparently it had survived by staying in the pot. It looked awful though. Very thin, haunted eyes and the fur was a mess. The crate contained another surprise; a dog. Looking just as mangy as the cat and only a little bigger. The sail was in ok condition but not good enough to repair with. Ah well. The container was also without any holes. Just a few dents. It would fit nicely into the gyro stabilizer. That was a valuable haul.

The boat sailed on. The cat and dog were probably starving so the boat began searching for fish, while the animals roamed around and examined their new surroundings. The boat found a school of fish, sailed close enough to trap them in the beam and hauled the fish aboard. The smell and sound of fresh fish flapping around on the deck was enough to make both animals to run to the wheelhouse. They began to eat eagerly. There hadn’t been any need for fresh water until now. But the animals had to be thirsty, so the boat imagined a purifying machine. Hoses that would go into the ocean to pump the salt water into the machine and from there a hose to the big plastic container. The clear fresh water began to run into the container and the animals drank. They stretched and sought out a place to sleep. The cat chose a bunk and the dog found rest on the heap of sail. They slept. The boat sailed on. Dark skies could be seen far away. A storm maybe. The boat turned to steer clear of the skies, but it didn’t seem to help much. They came closer. The boat turned again. Some of the skies were almost black. It was no ordinary thunder storm and no matter what the boat did to avoid it, the storm kept coming closer. And closer..

Crafty Boat part 2

Copyright © 2020

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