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March 2018 Writing Challenge

  • 23 Mar 2018 3:57 PM
    Reply # 5994870 on 5885011


    We both wrote about the Irish! Must be the idea of water and wanderlust that calls the Irish to mind. Enjoyed your tale, and you wrote about a runaway waif as well.

  • 23 Mar 2018 3:03 PM
    Reply # 5994844 on 5885011
    Michael Worthington Worthington


    I very much enjoyed your Ferry Tale.

    Gloria A. Gould-Loftin

  • 23 Mar 2018 3:01 PM
    Reply # 5994842 on 5885011
    Gloria A. Gould-Loftin


    Someone once told me "Life is like a ferry. It takes you from shore to shore, each new destination a chance to begin again."

    Nine miles off the coast of Country Donegal, you'll find one of the most remote, and certainly the most boring, of the Irish Islands; Tory, also, the place of my blighted birth, you see I was an unwanted girl, the youngest in a family of six girls.

    The only way off this rock was the weekly ferry that brought an occasional brave or stupid tourist looking for the "Real Ireland." They did not last long. No hotel one bar; not the kind most upstanding people would ever enter, at least not willingly.

    Fishing was the only industry. Farming was impossible because Troy was all rock with little green spaces. Rough men and women with very little education worked from dawn to dusk seven days a week to feed the many children in the town. Being Catholic, we just loved to have children.

    Not me. I wanted off this rock so badly I would have done almost anything to achieve my goal, but all I had to do was walk on the ferry one afternoon and I, Rhiannon McCullough, never looked back.

    Which bring me to my present predicament, money to get to America. Well, it seems I picked the wrong pocket in Dublin and now I am in a bit of trouble with the local Irish gang, and its leader Michael Cahill. He is not anyone you want to cross. They should write their names on their jackets so you know who's who.

    After running halfway across Ireland, I wound up in Dingle Bay, and wouldn't you know they have a convenient ferry that goes to the coast of England. One step closer to America. I can almost feel my fortune changing.

    I hustled when I got to London, with enough stupid tourists to take advantage of. It was almost too easy to pick their pockets. Americans, so fat and soft it was not much of a challenge.

    I roamed the streets of London for weeks just taking what I could when I could. I lived in the alleyways and always kept on the move; my goal getting ever closer.

    One day I walked along the docks to scope out a likely ship that I could stowaway on for my escape to America. The only problem is the one I took. It was a tramp steamer and it was going in the wrong direction. Not towards New York, but headed for San Francisco. Well, I just made the best of it, as one coast was much like another I thought.

    One night when I was hidden below decks I heard a whimper. Was there another blighted soul like me down here? I kept very quiet but heard it again getting closer. It was a little-scared puppy, as scared as me, just what I did not need another mouth to feed on my meager stores, and another soul to hide.

    I had never wanted to get attached to another person, let alone a puppy, but it seemed like we were stuck together. I would not let myself get attached and would cast him off as soon as we landed.

    At last, the day came when we landed at the ferry docks in Marin County, across from San Francisco. I disembarked looking for all the world like I was just another passenger. I stepped onto the docks and made my way to the ferry.

    "Well, this is where we part company," I told the puppy. He just looked up at me and stayed by my side. I stepped up onto the ferry and he just jumped up right after me. I decided I would let him stay until I reached the city.

    This city did not look like any other I had seen. It did not look anything like the pictures of New York my dad had kept in a locked box in his room.

    I had several hundred dollars that I had taken from the unwilling dupes in London. I decided to try to find a cheap motel. I tried several close to the docks and there were well beyond my means. Some of the folks told me to take the ferry to Concord where things were a little cheaper, but they were not.

    All the while the puppy stayed by my side. It looks like I was going to have a companion whether I wanted one or not. It was time to give him a name; I called him Ferry since he had been with me almost from the first.

    We roamed the coast, from the Bay Area to, Napa, to the Northwest, always a convenient ferry to help us travel. I never believed that I could be so contented with my life on the road, so much to see, so different from my lonely life in Ireland.

    Ferry and I are off on another adventure this time from Seattle, Washington to the wilds of Alaska on the Alaskan Steamer Ferry.

    It seems like a likely place for a girl and her dog to make their fortune or just to live!

  • 05 Mar 2018 8:47 PM
    Reply # 5891502 on 5885011

    Ferry Tale

    The ferry was late again. It was one of the drawbacks of living on Ocracoke Island, but I didn’t have anything pressing. For the last year, I had seldom left the island, but I had to visit my lawyers to finalize the settlement for the car wreck that had taken my wife and child. Afterwards, I had quit my six-figure job, sold the house, and moved to the beach cottage.

    “Excuse me, but could I ride the ferry with you?” asked a girl.

    Now in my middle age, I found it difficult to accurately gauge the age of young people. She could be anywhere from twelve to twenty, and she appeared to be a backpacker. It sounded romantic to camp on the beach, but the miles and miles of emptiness would quickly dampen her enthusiasm.

    “How much stuff do you have?” I asked, imagining a boyfriend and several huge backpacks.

    “Just this,” she replied, hefting a small sack which didn’t look larger than a child’s bookbag.

    It really didn’t make sense. The toll for cars included the passengers so she could dodge the fee by riding with me, but the pedestrian toll was only a buck. However, her appearance wasn’t threatening. Her tee shirt read ‘Sweet Eats’ from some restaurant, and her jeans were fashionably worn and torn.

    The ferry approached the dock. “Okay,” I agreed. “Let’s get in the car so that we’re out of the way of traffic.”

    She watched the process of unloading the cars with wide-eyed interest. When it came our turn to board, she jumped when the metal ramp rattled under the wheels.

    “It’s just a little noisy,” I reassured her. “We have to stay in the car until the ferry is underway.”

    Later we stood along the rail looking out across the water ahead.

    “I had never seen the ocean before,” she said.

    “You still haven’t seen it,” I explained, “because this is the sound. Where are you going?”

    “Nowhere in particular,” she answered. “I just felt an urge to see the ocean.”

    She seemed a little more relaxed as we drove off the ferry. In silence, we drove towards the cottage I had inherited from my parents, but she was anxious to see the ocean, so I pulled over into a turnout. She ran towards the sea, only kicking off her shoes before wading into the waves. I watched with bemusement as a particularly large wave knocked her over.

    She ran up to me and tried to pull me into the surf, so I rolled up my jeans and joined her. Her wet tee shirt clung to her body showing she wasn’t wearing a bra, but what I noticed was the thinness of her body. I thought I could see her ribs through the nearly transparent cloth.

    “Are you going out farther?” I asked.

    “Heavens no,” she replied. “I can’t swim a lick, but I wanted to feel the water.”

    After a while, I got a beach towel from the car. She turned her back to change into a dry shirt and then folded the towel to sit on in the car. When we got to the cottage (which stood on stilts) she helped me carry my luggage up the long stairs. She took a shower while I cooked, and then added her wet clothes to my wash.

    “What are you going to do tomorrow?” I asked as we ate.

    “I don’t know,” she said. She paused a moment, but decided to trust me. “I come from a ‘traveler’ clan. Last night, Pa told me to marry my cousin, and I’m just fifteen! He beat me good when I said no.” She pulled her shirt off her shoulder to show an ugly bruise. “So I decided to run away.”

    I didn’t know how to respond, so I simply said, “You’re welcome to sleep in the back bedroom, and then we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”

    Just then someone banged on the door and yelled at us to open it. Grabbing my phone, I hurriedly called the police. The girl ran to the back of the cottage as the door burst open and three burly men rushed in. They bellowed her name while frantically searching the rooms, ignoring me as no account. Then a siren announced the police.

    After an exciting few minutes, the invaders left in cuffs. An officer took my statement and we looked for the girl. The window of the back bedroom was open, and the rope fire ladder dangled outside.

    We followed her footprints to the beach, and through the wet sand into the waves—but none came back out again. Soon a helicopter appeared overhead with a searchlight, and the flashlights of emergency responders shone up and down the beach.

    It reminded me of the legend of the gray lady who had run into the waves on a stormy night. Her ghost is said to walk the beach as a harbinger of bad weather.

    Finally, I went home and shut the broken door with a chair pushed up against it. As I undressed for bed, I heard a faint noise from the back bedroom. I tiptoed down the  hall, and quietly opened the door. She was stretched out across the bed fast asleep, so I tugged her foot.

    “Wake up,” I said. “Tell me what you are doing here.”

    She sat up in the bed and explained, “They must have traced my cellphone, so I threw it in the ocean. Then I waded way down the beach before I got out of the water, and came back here because I needed my things.”

    “But the police are searching for you, or for your body.”

    “Let them look,” she said. “The only way my family will leave me alone is if they think I’m dead.”

    After a few moments of thought, I replied, “The police will probably come back for your things. Then we’ll have to buy you new clothes and leave the area for a while.”

    Last modified: 09 Mar 2018 8:24 PM | Michael Worthington
  • 02 Mar 2018 9:41 AM
    Message # 5885011
    Jim Keen (Administrator)
    You finally make it to the fairy loading dock, and the only thing keeping you from escaping is the water between you and the main land. You look at your watch and notice the boat is not on schedule. Now what?

    How far will your mind take you? 

    Happy writing!

    Note: To enter the Writers' Challenge,Click on this link: The Writers Challenge which will take to the "Writers Challenge" forum. Once on the forum, select the appropriate month challenge. Once there, click the"Reply" button and enter your work.

    Last modified: 05 Mar 2018 12:03 PM | Anonymous
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