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Spooky Waves Writing Contest 2021: katethemarten's entry

Prompt: Ship Crew

Alix felt the wind in her feathers as her little boat cut through the waves. Her chest swelled with pride as she thought back to sifting through beach sand and wreckage for the past two years. The Rubber Duckie was made of waterlogged driftwood, crimson sail fabric, and ivory rope, and it was all hers!

Making the deluxe rudder had been the biggest challenge, she recalled, especially with all the intricate pieces.

All of a sudden, a touch on her shoulder startled Alix out of her memories. She whipped her head left and right, but no one was there! The clipper was barely big enough for her wings to tuck in, let alone space for someone to hide. The gryphon concluded it must have been the wind and went back to her musings.

She recalled searching tidal pools and hidden coves for the chains that held the sail to the mast, and the fresh red seaweed to fill the cracks between the planks. The smell of salt and scales fills her beak as a thud announces the arrival of a plump Deep Sea Cuttlefish onto the deck. It's opalescent skin flashed a greeting, and confusion; how did it get out of the water? Alix chirped a soothing sound as she tipped the little cephalopod back into the brine.

The afternoon sun glinted off the polished railing and the scrolled letters of her boat's name. That had taken a lot of painters tape and watercolors, not to mention all the rags to clean up afterwards.

As she gazed at the water, a dark shape rose up out of the deep. It had jagged edges and was sort of green... What could it be?

It broke the surface and Alix could see that it was a massive cluster of Pea Algae, which bobbed with the waves. Being a vegetarian, the little gryphon squeaked with glee as she scooped up as much as she could fit in her clipper. Just as she pulled in the last strand, another shape began approaching the boat, this one ghostly pale and moving fast!

Alix hauled on the ropes, unfurled the sail, and clutched the rudder. The Rubber Duckie shot forward into the waves, but it wasn't fast enough. The spectral shape was gaining on her, there was no escape...

A bumpy white snout shot of the water, followed by a rosy pink and purple head. A wise eye peers out from below a lavender eyelid: a friendly Sunset Humpback Whale! Alix realized this lovely creature must have been playing tricks on her all day. She waved her wings and trilled a song at the gentle giant, and was elated to hear whistles in return. The Humpback breached and splashed in a glorious display, before waggling it's tale in farewell and returning to the deep.

What an amazing day, thought Alix, and wondered what other adventures she would have now that she had her very own boat.