Ghost Ship (Sci-fi Short Story, Part I)

Ghost Ship 1

While I’m furiously scribbling for NaNoWriMo this month, I thought I’d keep the old blog rolling by coughing up a 4-part short story. . .
…s t r e t c h e d…o u t…o v e r…t h e…m o n t h.
If that drives you crazy, you can also download the entire thing in one fell swoop HERE and ignore me until December.  Ha ha.

Without further ado: Part I

Ghost Ship (Part 1)

Crystal glitters in the firelight, clear Artemisia glazing the sides of twin goblets. The stone room glows warmly, golden compared to the cool opalescence of her body and pinpricks of starlight drifting beneath her skin. She wears the same sheer silk shift of their first encounter. Gossamer as cobwebs, the skirt’s slit panels reveal slender legs and bare feet. Hair, pale as quicksilver, glints in the candlelight as slanted, emerald eyes regard the old captain.

He lingers at the port, a stooped man dying of old bones, his life years beyond a common span, his hair a thin, white halo over a spotted scalp. How she loves him, this alien, for how many lifetimes, for how many hundreds of years.

“Caspar?” She joins him for the view, handing him a goblet.

“Juliette?” he replies with a smile, as if they are newly met strangers, his blue eyes bright despite the pain shredding his flesh. Their goblets chime and they sip the sweet liquor. Outside the ark slowly rotates, the star-swept expanse of space glittering beyond the ship’s outer rings, Earth’s last survivors contained within its sleek, metal hull.

“I always meant to ask you”—he rests a gnarled hand on the clear visi-glass of the port—“why did you leave the view of the ship, why not mountains or a lake, something befitting your imagination?”

“So, we’ll both remember where we are and what’s important.” She gazes at the revolving rings, their tiny, round ports like a strand of luminescent pearls in a black sea. “Come sit by the fire, Love.” She takes his hand and leads him to the wide hearth, settling him on the chaise and lifting his feet.

“You spoil me,” he chuckles as she tucks a fur around his skeletal legs. “Soon you’ll have to find a younger man.”

“The future isn’t foretold,” she says, trickling a thimbleful of fragrant liquor into his goblet. “Nor is it guaranteed.”

“I suppose a virus is unencumbered by time,” he says, a slight wistfulness to his voice. “You are as young and enchanting as the day we met.”

The old reference stings, though she knows he speaks in jest. “And why are Earthlings so invested in time? You are so determined to die.” She sits on the edge of the chaise, her goblet on a small, carved table beside her.

“The bane and beauty of life,” he replies. “Makes it rather romantic in a poignant sort of way. You would have made a splendid princess, Juliette, wooed by a dashing knight in a castle such as this. I love those ancient legends.”

“I know.” Gently she kisses him and then rests her shimmering cheek against the sharp bones of his skull, careful that her touch is light. To her, he is still the gallant captain, tall and broad-shouldered, his eyes moon-blue, chestnut hair a long mane of curls in spite of regulations. With a sigh, he closes his eyes, not asleep but resting, his face content.

Before they first met, she created this room for him, and the illusion has morphed only by small degrees over the centuries. The soaring stone walls and vaulted ceiling are original, as well as the marble columns and floor. The giant chandelier with its dripping, crystal teardrops has lost a measure of sparkle as she slowly dismantles it, but the rest she’s fashioned with exquisite detail: dusky rose drapes with curved swags, the immense hearth, hundreds of ancient tomes in mahogany cases, smoky candlelight and gleaming mirrors, carved chairs and elegant tables, tapestries of bearded men hunting wild beasts, paintings of pink-skinned ladies with golden hair. She takes it all in as her eyes dew and the stars in her arms swirl.

“You created all this for me, didn’t you?” he asks as he gazes at her.

“Yes, over time.” She rises and shifts the logs in the coals with the iron poker’s hooked end.

“It’s been a magical life, Juliette. Thank you.”

“We’ve lived many lives together, and I suspect we will again.”

“Well, my ghost, until the next one.” He smiles, clearly disbelieving her wisdom. Then he dons a valiant face and rises, clutching her arm, his body trembling. At the portal, she kisses him, pours her light into him, once again sensing the young captain of ages ago.

His hand flutters over the sensor and the panel opens. Light-nodes gleam down the gently arcing hallway, illuminating tan walls and gray carpet with the muted glow of designated night. The distant drone of the ventilation system serves as a backdrop to conversational voices. A pair of young crewmen in common blues nod and step aside as their captain shuffles into the corridor and the panel glides closed.

48 thoughts on “Ghost Ship (Sci-fi Short Story, Part I)

  1. Good start to the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] Ghost Ship Part 1  Ghost Ship Part 2  Ghost Ship Part 3  […]

    Like

  3. […] with a 4-part short story in place of my meandering thoughts. There’s a link to Part 1 here: Ghost Story Part 1 in the event you missed it and are interested in catching […]

    Like

  4. Ghosts. Ships. And and a tale that gently wraps around you pulling you in. Will row over for more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] Diana is taking part in NaNoWriMo this month but to prevent us from suffering from withdrawal symptoms she is spreading a four part SciFi story across the month.. Here is part one…. https://mythsofthemirror.com/2015/11/03/ghost-ship-sci-fi-short-story-part-i/ […]

    Liked by 1 person

  6. inesephoto says:

    My favorite genre, you did a wonderful job!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ohh great story!! Looking forward to part 2!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. balroop2013 says:

    Hi Diana,

    This story has a magical touch, loved the imagery and the description! I have no patience for serialised short stories so I will read the rest of the parts on the weekend. Thanks for the pleasant change!
    Hope you are enjoying your vacation duty project.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great writing, Diana! Well done 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Annika Perry says:

    What a treat Diana! Of course I couldn’t wait for the other instalments and I have now read the whole story – thank you offering that option. I’m wowed!! I love the story and swept away by the story plot itself, the final twist totally unexpected and absolutely wonderful. Heart felt throughout, the description is sublime, you are an artist with words. I don’t read much science fiction these days but this brought back memories of my youth when I was obsessed with any good science fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Annika! Glad you liked my little foray into sci-fi. I also prefer to read short stories in one sitting, so I had to put that option in there. I arrived home last night and plan to visit blogs most of the day with a happy face. ;-D

      Liked by 1 person

  11. joannesisco says:

    “A stooped man dying of old” … I love that line. I’m looking forward to the next 3 parts … I chose to savour it 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Magnificent descriptions, Diana. I now expect that magical quality, and look forward to it with your writing. I’ll be looking forward to the second part of the story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. hsampson says:

    Wow D!! Amazing! looking forward for part II!!!! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Awesome. Love it. Waiting for Part II gives me something special to look forward to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What can I say ? When someone tells me I can wait for each of 4 parts, or read the whole thing…I went there. Of course. No patience.

    It is a thing of beauty, Diana. Wow. I wonder if you just wrote it, or have had it sitting on the back burner for a while ??? Great story development. I love the way it reads…so compelling and beautifully written. 💕 Thanks for some mid-day entertainment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww. Thanks, Van. I like reading short stories in one sitting, so I had to give that option. Glad you enjoyed it. Ideas for short stories and novels come to me in complete snapshots. I jot down the rough outline as quickly as I can before I lose it and the rest is filling in the blanks. Not everyone works that way, of course, it’s just what happens to me. Thanks for the great comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. babbitman says:

    Woo-hoo! Sci-fi! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Soft sci-fi, Babbitman. 🙂 I’m fascinated by science, but I can’t help flitting off into the land of what if. I’m most interested in the science of unproven possibility. I love it that we really understand so little of everything.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Ooh, can’t wait for more now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So nice of you to pop over and think of us! Thanks for this wonderful four part short story! Have fun

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Looking forward to more!

    Liked by 1 person

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