Fabled City

Friday, November 19, 2010

This time, it's going to be by ship through the Mediterranean Sea. That way no one will be able to trace our escape or follow us into the heaving waters.

There was a faint pink and yellow glow on the horizon, as we trickled through the cobble-stoned streets like tiny rivulets returning to their source. It was soon going to be nightfall. All the sirens would be activated then, so we had to move quickly to avoid detection. We hoisted ourselves onto the ship from the water's side, even though it meant being soaked through for the rest of the night.

When everyone had assembled on board, the oars were unlocked and dropped carefully so as to not make a sound. The old oak of the keel creaked loudly in protest, as we slowly moved the ship into the stream of moving water.

So far, no sirens sounded. Everyone strained to pull on their oars now. It needed only a few more minutes, and we could be away. Away from the sounds of the marching guards traveling quickly now to the bottom of the docks where the ship had lain at anchor.

First mate ascended to the top deck, to search with his glass. Keep moving he motioned us. If we made it through the mouth of the bay, and into the open Mediterranean, we would escape.

Spying through the oar opening I could see we had come abreast of the left bank of the enclosing arm of the harbour. Soon the ship would be battered from above by the winds needed to unfurl the sails and make them work. Below, shone the silvery glints of wavelets, and the smiling faces of a pod of mermaid dolphins following us. They seemed to have joined us on our escape. But the city considered them too rare to let them pass through the gates.

I smiled to myself. With the mermaid dolphins escorting us, almost anything could happen. But most of it should be fantastically good.

I closed my eyes, and held my breath. One more huge pull of the oar, and we should have pulled over the critical threshold.

As I opened my eyes, I saw that indeed we had succeeded. The shoreline swam far far away in the distance. Before us was a wide expanse of murky purple water. It began to heave us up and down. The shouting from above came as our ship's sailing crew struggled against the winds to get the sails taut and in place.

Soon the mermaid dolphins would be racing the ship as she lunged forward with the strength of the new wind in our sails and at our backs.
It was time to hoist up the oars.

Writing by Regina Stemberger

Photo "Cadiz #46" by Light+Shade

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