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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Eric on March 7, 2009
"It took me about an hour to write this.
Please comment."

A Pirate's Letter

The single sheet of papyrus, wilting at the sides seems to lie amidst an enveloping conclave of darkness, just lightly feathering around. A dim light, from a candle, perhaps, seems to encompass, enclose and endorse the archaic manuscript. As one nears to it, one will begin to see a complex tangle of incomprehensible, at least at first, form of symbolic, figurative symbols and figures. Indeed, to the inexperienced eye, they are but patterns best left not decoded, but decoded they have been, and as one begins to study the writing, one will see faint markings, markings which translated, create a whole new rendition of what was indecipherable. Yes, an as one nears, one will, without doubt, read.

“Back in the day, there was a patriot bearing the name of Isaac. He was a pirate who was not the flag-waver of his country, not the nationalist of a republic, but the loyalist of his inane studies of the world. Studies! Would you believe? He was not one to explore the fruitful ways of our lands, nor one who strived to discover possible routes of trade, yet was one who endeavoured to explore the meaningless domain of the mechanics of this world, the heretical ‘’science’’ which reprimanded the truthful words of our Aristotle, the meaningless flicks of paint and incomprehensible use of ink which he called ‘art’. Indeed, if he were any other but the taskmaster of our land, the one who governed our every plantation, our every crop, he would have been just another excommunicated by the church, burnt for witchcraft or heresy, treason or treachery, perchance, but the fact that he controlled the church somewhat changed that.

Oh, and everyone hated him for it. It was not the hatred man feels when he has been better performed than someone else, but a hatred of the pure, unclouded fear which seemed to flow through the people. Fear not of punishment, but fear of being him. This man, Isaac, was the height, the peak instance of the corruption which men gained from control. Power corrupts, and here was the man who told them just that proving his point.

Fear or no fear, the people believed that something had to be done. It was not the fact that he was the captain who took all the money stolen and spent it on his books, but something different, quite, quite different. The crew met at dusk, just near the lagoon adjacent to the church where he spent nearly every living minute of his day steeped in the ‘wonders’ which he had discovered. A classic scene, it was, with perhaps more than a few burning sticks thrown in the air, more than a few axes and knives flung. Like a group of wild beasts, they surrounded the church yelling obscenities at the doors and windows, but not a single projectile was thrown, not a single person dared to open the door. It was as if a mystical barrier had forebode itself around the church, a protection, perhaps, but one which was broken when an old woman strode towards the open door and went in, sending a deafening crash as she disappeared.

She was not young, with streaks of black and white alternatively plastered into her hair. There was not a single strand of grey, however, but determination much like that of an ant facing its doom seemed plastered on her drooping face. It was a face of a bulldog, with drooping folds of skin pulling her face towards the floor. She quickly dived down the flight of stairs, until she found the cellar of the building.

‘The books, they caused thy people to gather in revolt!’, she cried. The patriot of the sciences had appeared, and was now standing directly in front of the woman. His eyes just floated past hers, and a hundred silent conversations passed between them.

‘By Jove! Do you not know who I am?’, she cried, and even though the man’s eyes were clouded, his legs were already taking him back into the cellar – he knew what was passing through that woman’s eyes as she ran back outside. She was the one who had seen him first read, or try to read; the one who had fueled his hunger for what was so obviously not the mundane. She was the one who had seen him in the corner with a few people who did not seem to care at all for the fact that he was there; she had seen him when he was alone in the corner, reading, with others standing, staring but too scared to bully the child of the pirate. But the people were ‘bullying’ now – even she was, hoping that seeing his own mother would change him. But it didn’t.

‘He cannot change!’ she cried, in an ascending tone of voice, ‘he doesn’t even remember his own mother!’

But remember he did, and in the hope that she would one day read this, the same hands which wrote this letter silently grabbed the wilting books and tore them apart, page by page, line by line, word by word, letter by unforgiving letter.”

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