Friday, October 31, 2008

Part 3 of the pirate story.

Well, for Halloween I went to a dinner thing hosted by Carmen. We ate and then...took pictures and laughed at each other. Yeah. Random things. So afterwards 95% of the ppl migrated to KLCC to walk and things. I didn't follow cos my dad would skin me alive and think that I'm crazy. Though I understand he just doesn't want me to walk around at night. And he thinks the guys I hang out with are weird...wait, in fact he thinks all my friends are weird. Anyways I'm glad he's so nice and letting me go out without worrying so much anymore.

Here's part 3 of the pirate story:

Captain Seth had this strange stipulation in his contract—Miere and Arla were, by all means, expressly forbidden to even step over the kitchen threshold. They couldn’t understand why. They served the food, but had no idea about how raw ingredients were transformed into piping hot dishes.
Sure, they had seen their aunt cook before, but they had not been very interested. Now, however, the huge kitchen of the Cutlass Inn evoked strange feelings of leeching curiosity. The entrance to it was inconspicuous, a wooden door that looked like a part of the wall. The food was passed to the servers through a small window with a rickety countertop.
Miere and Arla felt a twinge of envy seeing all the other waiters streaming in and out of the kitchen, but Captain Seth was a formidable force to be reckoned with. When he had sailed the seas, he had the reputation of a powerful plunderer, pillaging and hacking his way to amassed fortunes of gold and jewels. This fortune had not come without some bloodshed and rolling heads. At least that was what Henny had sombrely narrated.
So they stayed away, only sneaking occasional glimpses into that elusive room as the servers opened and shut the doors. Miere gazed in awe at the groaning machines: a mass of grey and black, with purring boilers, snarling stoves and dead-cold iceboxes. Arla caught the pneumatic hisses, mechanical grinding and blunt snap of gas-gun-starters. The kitchen looked all the more mysterious as it was continuously wrapped in a cloak of dense white smoke, like fallen clouds of a summer’s day. The hardened faces of the chefs were only visible as fleeting circles of brown and white as the smoke made allowance.
What got to them most was the aroma. Everything smelled better when cooked, even garlic. Once it had browned in oil, the pungent smell was converted to a crisp fragrance, accentuated further if onions and mushrooms were thrown in. Meat sizzled; oil seeped in, and its smell was brought on a charred wind. Vegetables had a faint freshness as they turned limp and bright green in the wok.
Once, Arla had tried to sneak in, but halted when she saw the Captain looming over her, lamp-eyes fuelled by annoyance. Hastily she backed away, lips forming a silent apology. He just stared, like a stone sentinel.
Despite all that, the girls were allowed some freedom outside the inn. On slow days they were permitted to take walks on the beach bordering the inn, with the sea beyond it, crouching like another world.
Neither of them could swim very well, and when they stared out at the blue expanse, surface undulating unto the horizon, a feeling of inadequacy overtook them. It wasn’t just a normal feeling. It was the feeling that only their eyes remained as a point of view as their bodies disintegrated into sand. Their minds could not even begin to fathom the depth beneath the crystalline veneer, or the living things that lurked there. The sea emptied them, stripped them of sentience, and swallowed them whole. Their minds grew out of their bodies and floated off into the sky where seagulls ate their thoughts.
This was why the duo paid particular attention to the ships and boats moored at the port-warehouse, where their cargo was stored. It was a pleasant diversion from the mesmerising sea.
Many types of vessels would dock, form the ancient, barnacle-encrusted barges to the small boats used for recreational fishing. The whole area was as complicated as a construction site, planks leading to ships or lying about haphazardly. Pieces of rope were scattered like intestines. Debris skittered on the sand, which was dyed a dirty brown form oil spillage.
Most of the people who alighted in these shores were burly, dark-skinned labourers who moved the cargo into the warehouses. Sometimes Miere and Arla would get lucky and spot a hidden foreign dignitary, or even a glimpse of a different race they never knew existed. The most spectacular so far was the princess swathed in saffron and fuchsia silks with gold bangles ringing like melodious mini tambourines.
The beach was where they met Iki. As far as they could tell her seemed human, but his skin had a strange bluish tinge and his ears were slightly pointed. When they asked him about it, he just flashed an enigmatic smile and hung his head like a dog in the rain.
Iki had a ship, not very big but comfortable enough for about five or six people. His only companions were Darien and Mik. Darien resembled Captain Seth, in the sense that he mostly kept to himself and answered things in a curt manner; Mik was more carefree, full of failing jokes and lame one-liners. Both were of the same race as Iki, though Darien had a dark purplish hue to his skin, a sort of insignia for inner darkness perhaps.
Iki explained that the three of them were suffering from permanent wanderlust. Their aim was to wander aimlessly, seeing the whole world as it really was. It was a picaresque journey into their souls. Or maybe they just had too much time on their hands, Mik joked.
The three of them had decided to stay on this piece of land for a while. To this, Miere and Arla realised that Iki might own a map. Upon request Iki produced one, a yellowed sheet of paper showing spidery ink sketches. He gestured somewhere down south, to a small piece of land connected to a larger one.
Arla’s eyes traced the map, following its contours until she saw an island to the east. That was it! That was their old home, Akiba. They had followed Nature’s twisted fingers and arrived at Syraz, and this town, Karsal. Funny.
Then Iki asked about their lives—were they locals? To which the girls slowly unravelled their story, through many conversations. A friendship developed gradually, the three foreigners regaling the stranded sisters with stories of their nautical adventures.
And all the while, Captain Seth watched from his window, like a sniper who had lost his gun.


Jinn said...

Why do I have a feeling that Capt Seth knows the blue boys? Skin with a tinge of blue... how.. different.

I say Arla and Miere should learn how to swim... lol.

GreenViolin (Youlin) said...

No, Captain Seth doesn't know the blue boys. I just like his threatening presence in the background...

Seriously, Miere and Arla SHOULD learn how to swim. Now that I see it, they got stuck in the first place because they couldn't swim.