After years of suggesting my dad get back into writing (he wrote stories as a teenager), I’ve finally convinced him to co-write a book with me. I don’t know how long he’ll continue before he decides it isn’t for him (hopefully after the book is complete…), but I’m hoping some feedback will help.
Our book is a twist on Peter Pan, and the working title is ‘Neverland-The Rift.’ Here is the first chapter. Please let us know what you think- what you liked, what you didn’t like, what emotion the story brought on, etc. Feedback is strongly appreciated!
The vessel surged ahead, with groanings from the weathered riggings and mast. The last portion of a voyage that seemed to have lasted an eternity, now depended on minutes and seconds of crucial wind and chance to bring them within proper distance for the cannons. Jim bellowed his orders to his men who knew the requirements before they were ordered. Each man rushed at their work with inadequate time to bring their task to completion. Sales billowed in the wind and the hollow knocking of heavy leather boots running about the deck rang out in the crazed commotion.
He could see the failing ship ahead, fire blazing across the deck. Sails all but gone from the fire which had consumed them, and would soon be extinguished by the water that took its grip on the stern. A massive hole had exploded through it’s side when a well placed shot found it’s mark, and the ship that pursued it looked untouched and threatened finality.
“Captain, should we begin our turn to fire, or do we mean to continue our gain?” The question re-woke the captain from his momentary lapse, and he shouted his answer.
“Full ahead now!” He screamed to the men who paused momentarily for the answer.
The second mate looked to the captain to see his mind. “Forgive me captain, but will we not be in danger also if we continue our pursuit? They have turned and canons are at the ready. We are nearly in range.”
The captain glared at the young man. Frederick was only a boy really, whose only experience came from the toy boats and ships that his father had provided him when on leave from his duties. “Would we turn now and give them a better target?” The edge in the captains voice caught Frederick off guard, and he replied with a penitent ‘no sir.’
– – –
Shadows brushed Peter’s delicate features as he peered out from the shade of the forest. He scanned the area cautiously, before stepping into the clearing and gesturing for his faerie to accompany him. The moon hovered in the night sky above, casting beams of soft white light into the grove. Night insects danced among the wildflowers that occupied the earthy ground, their wings reflecting fragments of light. The fireflies made light of their own, coming in sporadic bursts of gold in the darkness.
“Are you sure you have enough strength to do this?” Peter whispered.
Tink had taken her place in the very center of the grove, just below the moon. She nodded, her icy blue eyes hard and sure. Despite her act of confidence, her heart raced and her stomach buzzed with nervousness.
“Whenever you’re ready, then,” Peter urged. He rocked back on his heels and watched her intently. It was now or never.
Tink closed her eyes and concentrated hard, bringing her hands out to her sides and gathering the energy of the moon between her fingers. The feeling was strange, like an electricity that coursed through her veins and hummed at her fingertips.
“It’s working,” Peter murmured, his eyes wide with exhilaration.
The energy swam up around her, enveloping her body in white light. It continued to build in a sphere of magic, growing bit by bit until it filled the meadow.
Tink could feel her grasp on the energy weakening, so she focused harder. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to ignore the sweat that ran down the side of her face and soaked her palms.
“Just… a little…. Longer,” Tink growled, her eyebrows furrowed and her jaw clenched.
The magic was slipping. She could feel her lack of control long before it shattered, exploding in fragments of energy in all directions. She was blown back by the impact of magic that crashed in all directions like a frenzied tidal wave.
– – –
They were almost fully upon them now. That they were within canon range was no longer a question, as loud explosions rang out and echoed across the heaving sea, and a dark fog choked the air with soot and smoke which burned the eyes and lungs. Excited screams of “fire” could be heard across the short expanse between the vessels and nervous shouts and movements continued on the deck below the captain. His intention was becoming clear. He meant to ram the attacker that he pursued, or at least his ships posture portended as much. The golden figurehead which stood watch on his bow, now sprinted headlong toward the soft belly of its foe. Jim’s gaze caught that of the rival captain, whose eyes became large from understanding. Iron globes took flight in fervent trajectory, falling in despair around the assailing vessel, each missing its mark.
In that moment, Jim heard a sound which he had not in all his years at sea. An explosion? Yes, but more than that. A sort of ripping. The very air and sky, sea and ship seemed to tear apart from itself. His men began to fall forward, catching in the ropes and bouncing from mid ship to bow as the stern pitched upward, and the fore of the ship drove downward into the sea. The sky rent and changed, and then all was black. Calls of ‘where are we’, and ‘my God they’ve killed us’ rang out in the void. Then, all was silent.