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Pirates on the Horizon

PiratesFrom ruthless lasses of old to techno-pirates of the day, this collection has them covered. Pirates are known for taking what is not theirs and you might find a surprise among their booty. They are rouges that still hold us captivated.

Writers met the challenge, using different perspectives. Experience the life of a pirate, the victim or the evolved idea of piracy. Even explore why one might pirate.

Each story is based on the December 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a pirate story.


Wails of Hunger by Irene Waters

Paremesawa, his chest swollen with love, watched his wife feed his daughter, Ratna. He looked around the dirt floor of his thatched hut, sad that her future would be the same as his.

“Wah, wah!” Ratna’s quivering hungry cry moved Paremesawa. They had little food, even his wife’s milk was decreasing. He had no choice. Their village, upstream on the river’s edge was hidden in the constellation of islands and reefs, which dotted the Malacca Straits.

Their long knives held ready, assault rifles loaded, the pirates boarded the oil tanker, killing the crew. Paremsawa smiled, Ratna wouldn’t go hungry.


Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin

With swashbuckling charm, he sails through the pages, brandishing his hook. Despite the patch across one eye, his vision is acute: legend claims he can see through safes and chests to the treasures within. Strings of pearls and rubies hang from his neck, he indicates the golden nuggets, too heavy to shift, to the parrot on his shoulder who’ll repeat them later when he’s back at his desk. Sea storming in his head, a tot of rum at his side, he’ll tap his stolen jewels into his computer. “Aye, aye,” says his agent. “Another John Silver bestseller coming soon.”


An Interview with My Life-Long Friend by Roger Shipp

“Christmas morning, 1962.”

“He guarded on the outside edge of the bed. Kept the boogie-man from reaching up with his long arms to snatch me away.”

“Like a charm… El Coco never got me.”

“Yes, many different out-fits. He was born wearing a motley, blue-checkered coat offsetting his golden fur.”

“Mom and I placed him in my overhauls. Pudgy graduated to guard duty to the corner of the piano.”

“About your age?”

“His eye? It was just lost through the years.”

The next day an envelope was on my desk.

To Pudgy.
Your New Freend.

Inside … an eyepatch.


Cyber-Pirate by Paula Moyer

Initially, it was just another day, low-tech and high-tech comingling. Jean filled her stovetop percolator and fired up a burner.

While waiting, she pulled up her checking account on her Android. Weird, she whispered. Why was there $700 less than she expected? A payment to a used car lot three states away? Really, Sam? she whispered. Her husband adored collector cars.

Then she called the car lot. It was worse. The dealer repo’ed some jerk’s car. The jerk hacked into their account, paid off the car – with Jean’s and Sam’s money.

An old problem in a new century: piracy.


(Yo) Ho Ho Ho by Pat Cummings

The donations in his coffee-shop “Christmas Gift for Africa” box kept mounting. Each time Jeremy checked, the colorful poster behind it with its soulful photos of needy children had garnered more money.

So far, this particular holiday drive was doing better than the “Relief for Earthquake Victims” and “Kids With Cancer” combined. It seemed it would be a very merry Christmas indeed. For Jeremy.

Going with the theme, Jeremy ordered a rum-raisin muffin to go with his espresso, connected to the coffee-shop’s WiFi, and prepared to spend his stolen gains online, where all the best pirates hang out nowadays.


What’s the Bigger Crime? by Geoff Le Pard

‘Everybody does it.’ Penny’s face told of her fury.

‘Illegal downloads are a crime. It’s piracy…’

Penny made a ‘W’ sign and stormed out.

Later Mary knocked and entered Penny’s bedroom. ‘What is it? Come on, I know you.’

Penny avoided eye contact, shrugging. ‘Like you care what I do? I get you have to look after Charlotte but traipsing all the way to Ireland? What about me?’

Mary stroked her daughter’s foot, pleased she let her. ‘Ok but that doesn’t excuse theft…’

Penny snatched her foot away, tears forming. ‘She’s the thief, stealing you. Your sister’s the pirate.’


Delivery Nightmare by Larry LaForge

The truck stopped suddenly, blocked by a scraggly figure. He made the driver open the back, then rummaged through the packages. “I’ll be relievin’ ye of this one, mate,” he said with a haughty laugh. The driver, decked out in all brown, knew not to protest. The perpetrator tied up the shaken driver and limped away.

Ed suddenly sat up in bed, sweat pouring from his brow. He startled Edna as he shook himself awake from another nightmare.

“The new TV we ordered!” Ed yelled groggily.


“They got it.”

Edna looked at Ed. “Not the pirate dream again.”


Stolen Identity by Ann Edall-Robson

He stood staring out at the land before him. Tears flowed unchecked down the rugged leathery features.

He wouldn’t fight back. Couldn’t fight back. They told him he had to leave this place he had called home for over fifty years. They knew what he had done.

He knew the end would eventually come. He had known that there would be no way to turn the tide. To make it right.

He had seen a man killed. Taken his identity and his land deed.

There was nothing he could do now but leave. Taking only what he owned.



Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning

The van was gassed up and packed. Mr. Locke handed the IPAD to his son.

“Driving music.”

“Aye Aye Captain.”

The van made it exactly seventeen inches before stopping. “And Bryan, keep it clean.”

“Whoa, where’d you get eight thousand songs, Dad?”

“’Long ago, there was a place called Napster.”

“Nap, who?”

Mr. Locke’s chuckle was cut short as his teenage daughter leaned forward.

“Piracy, Bryan. He stole them.”

“Dad’s a pirate?”

“It wasn’t stealing, Clara, it was…” Mr. Locke turned to Mrs. Locke for support, but instead found a smirk.

“You opened this can of worms, Pirate Locke.”


Pirate of the Plains by Charli Mills

Frank Wilstach guided Sarah up the steps of the Robbins Hotel. “Table for two.”

The hostess regarded Sarah the way one might a dog seeking entrance. Sarah stood as straight as her 92-year-old frame allowed until the woman relented.

Sarah folded her hands. “Folks in these parts have long memories.”

“It’s McCanles, right?”

Sarah regarded the eager Hickok biographer. He wouldn’t understand the tensions of those past days, of church shunning and land grabs. “Yes, Sir. Let me tell how he became the pirate of the plains.”

Wilstach wrote furiously in his journal. Sarah smiled, enjoying her free lunch.


Bonny Lass by Sarah Brentyn

I thrive upon the open water. With freedom and fury, the violence inside me unleashed. Sword and pistol held steady. Stealing treasures of gold and those of blood. I fight with lethal force, kill without mercy.

Yet I ask mercy for the parasite in my belly. Fools give it. And I live. The child won’t.

After birth, I return to sea without regret.

A different name. They still know me. Breasts I will not hide, hair like flame. They respect me. Fear me. Know they will wake with an axe in their drunken skull should they cross me.


If I Was …by Norah Colvin

If I was a pirate

I would sail the ocean blue,

In a boat made out of cardboard

With my parrot Libby-Lou.
I would wear a red bandana

And purple polished boots.

I would flash my pearls and silver sword

And plunder pirate loot.
I would dig for buried treasure

In the spot marked with an X,

And all I’d find I’d stow inside

My handy wooden chest.

I would have no one to boss me

I could do just as I please,

Until my dad would call me

“Anna, come, it’s time for tea!”


Pirate Treasure by Sherri Matthews

The ring was pretty enough, but she said nothing as Andy slid it on her finger.

Why had she said yes? She didn’t love him; in fact, he bored her.

Every weekend it was the same: fish & chips for lunch and watching Match of the Day with his chain-smoking dad.

She craved adventure and excitement of the kind that only her long-haired, dark-eyed lover could give her, and Andy cried when she broke off their engagement.

Now she was free to seek out her true treasure and sail the wild seas.

If only she could find Johnny Depp.


Trade Off by Jules Paige

Faith sat next to Jon. She would rather look at him than
pay attention to the teacher in the front of the room. She
wanted to know how he drew those special stars. She
wanted him to teach her how to make them. Jon wasn’t
interested in Faith at all. But if the only way to get her to
leave him alone was to show her how to make his stars…
he’d do it. She was like a relentless pirate. And he would
pay the ransom for her silence. They both ended up getting
what they wanted.


Pirate Gold by Cathleen Townsend

A brick shifted, accompanied by muffled sounds of joy from outside.

Fernando shifted his attention to the wall. Was someone finally breaking through his prison?

He’d only taken a small purse–enough to cover immediate expenses.

But his shipmates had caught him, and even though all privateer gold was stolen, the captain had decreed Fernando be bricked in with the cache.

The wall collapsed, and the men peered in, saw Fernando, and screamed. Their terror made it easy to herd them off the cliff in the dark.

He’d paid for this gold with his life. It was his.


December 2: Flash Fiction Challenge

December 2My day has been plundered, and it’s barely begun.

My head, stuffy with a lingering cold, makes me slow this morning, but I can still hear the Hub talking in irate tones downstairs after I drag myself from bed. It can mean several things – he’s on the phone with the VA; he’s trying to reschedule a needed work release appointment locally after the VA sent them the wrong documents; or it’s with our “internet” provider.

Think of Austin Powers a moment, making finger quotes – that’s how I mean, “internet” provider. It’s bad enough that we only have satellite options in rural Idaho, but ever since we switched from HughesNet to Excede we’ve had nothing but problems. In fact, the company name means we “exceed” our quota of data every month. Satellite is slow – I dream of having dial-up – but we blow through our 15 gigabytes in about three weeks. With HughesNet we typically used 8 gigabytes a month.

This morning the company tells Todd that in July we had a service reset our router password. What? If they know that, why are they telling us in December? If I log into my Gmail from a new computer, I get an email alerting me to the action. If I change my password on a social media site, same alert goes out. We never changed our router password; in fact it’s the same password. But someone actually used a “service” to hack our router.

It’s Rocky Mountain piracy, that’s what it is!

You can actually purchase boosting equipment to pirate someone else’s satellite. And now we know you can also use a service to get access to someone’s wireless router. Pirates struck once before when we had no password, so we bought a new router and password protected it, thinking we were safe. Well, the Jolly Roger flies over Elmira once again.

That’s not all. I wander downstairs still not feeling hungry enough to cook, so I grab a box of Wheat Thins and pour a big mug of elderberry concoction. It’s my own health tonic from elderberries I wild-crafted in September and keep frozen. I boil a cup of berries, mash them through a strainer, add local honey, heaps of cayenne, grated fresh ginger and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Determine to kick this cold, I double the dose and heat it up in a mug. The cayenne burns my sinuses, throat and ears – ah, this is a good thing. The burn penetrates the good stuff quicker.

Now I’m super dizzy. I watch the flames in the fire, knowing I need to get to writing upstairs, but I just want to doze off instead. I wasn’t feeling this bad earlier. That’s when the Hub walks in and asks if I liked my spiked cold stuff. Spiked? What is he talking about?

Two nights ago when I was feeling achy I though a shot of whiskey in my elderberries might be the equivalent of Nightquil Cold & Flu Medicine before bed. I bought a small bottle of Jack Daniels for my cranberry sauce, but found it empty and grumbled to the Hub. He claimed innocence, and then I remembered the kids made squash nog and probably finished it off. Somehow the Hub thought my tonic needed booze. Without telling me, he bought rum and added it to my jar.

I drank a full mug of rum-spiked elderberries for breakfast.

How could I taste anything beyond the cayenne? The Hub just grins while I groan. He repeats some inane t-shirt saying, “Drinking rum before 10 a.m. makes you a pirate, not an alcoholic.” Now I have to see if Hemmingway’s theory holds up, “Write drunk, and edit sober.” Coffee, more crackers and a walk in the cold morning air takes off the edge and by the time I return feeling less of a pirate, the Hub has succeeded in resetting our equipment and getting a discount from Excede.

Arrr, mateys, we’ll get through this day, yet! All I need now is a parrot.

Last week, I caught a terrific parrot story. Writing for Go Idaho Magazine is a great gig for me. Although I tend to be an introvert, preferring my own port over sailing the high seas, I love stories. It’s how I best connect with people. I come out of my port for stories, and that’s my job with the magazine – find interesting and fun stories.

So, at Chateau de Pomme de Terre (earth apples are potatoes, so Castle Potato) there’s a beautiful oil painting, a copy of a Renaissance portrait featuring a parrot. The castle owner missed out buying the original and commissioned an artist friend to recreate it, using his own parrot. The collection of arms and armor at the castle reminds me of things pirates might clank around with, but you won’t get plundered if you stay at the guest castle.

Before you start wondering just how much rum I had for breakfast, let’s get to the prompt!

December 2, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a pirate story. It can be about pirates or piracy; modern or of yore. Swashbuckling, parrots and rum can be involved or maybe you’ll invent details beyond standard pirates.

Respond by December 8, 2015 to be included in the weekly compilation. Rules are here. All writers are welcome!


Pirate of the Plains by Charli Mills

Frank Wilstach guided Sarah up the steps of the Robbins Hotel. “Table for two.”

The hostess regarded Sarah the way one might a dog seeking entrance. Sarah stood as straight as her 92-year-old frame allowed until the woman relented.

Sarah folded her hands. “Folks in these parts have long memories.”

“It’s McCanles, right?”

Sarah regarded the eager Hickok biographer. He wouldn’t understand the tensions of those past days, of church shunning and land grabs. “Yes, Sir. Let me tell how he became the pirate of the plains.”

Wilstach wrote furiously in his journal. Sarah smiled, enjoying her free lunch.