Thursday, November 26, 2009

Creativity Challenge 1: crab, pirate, candle

Here it is, the results of the first Creativity Challenge. Still too long, but if I don't post it now, I never will. I look forward to any constructive criticism you might have!

Something was crawling on him. In the darkness, he lay still, not knowing what it was.  The creature paused, seeming to sense his alarm, then continued its march across his stomach toward his right hand. He heard a soft sound, like the crinkling of paper. He frantically tried to think what could be causing the noise but came up blank.

A few moments passed as he tried to remember where he was.  Suddenly he felt a tug as the creature pulled something from his grasp, and it came to him: the map!

He had been on the island for three weeks, searching for this map, so that the captain of the ship might take him to port in Barbados. He didn't want to be a pirate anymore. It wasn't nearly as fun as it had seemed in the stories. All he wanted was to see home again, and this map was the key. He had found it hidden in an aloe plant, shielded by the broad leaves.

Now he was waiting for the ship to return to check on him, which should be a day or two from now. He wanted to know for certain, but clouds had moved in, shielding him from the light of the stars and moon, and he could not tell how many days it was until the full moon. That also explained the unfathomable darkness...

A tearing sound yanked him from his thoughts. The map was no longer in his hand, and he was sure it was the source of the sound. If anything happened to it, not only would he not get back to Barbados, he wouldn't live to see the next new moon.

His heart beat fast as he fought back panic. He forced himself to focus on the sound, to locate it. The creature had taken the map and moved away through the sand to his right. He sat upright to better localize the soft scurrying sounds that drifted to him. A pause, then another tearing sound.

Cursing, he shifted to his hands and knees, prepared to crawl after the thief. As he inched forward in the darkness, he put his hand on something that felt suspiciously like the corner of the map. The little devil was tearing it apart! He stuffed the piece into a pocket and began crawling faster.

The shuffling noises were getting harder to follow, drowned out by the incoming tide. What he wouldn't give for some light!  Crawling still faster, now parallel with the lapping waves, he yelped as his hand hit something hard and sharp poking out of the sand. What was this? He cradled his injured right hand and felt the object with his left. It felt like a box of some sort. Perhaps washed up from the ship that had wrecked out on the reef a few months back? He and the others on his ship had plundered what was left of it. This felt similar to the boxes they had discovered then.

He dug at the sand with his left hand but made slow headway. Wincing with pain, he put the injured hand to work, as well, and had the upper half of the box uncovered within a few moments. He felt blindly for the lock and found it, to his great relief, to be broken.

As he opened the lid, he realized that he had no idea where the creature or map had gone, or whether the map was in one piece or twenty. He felt frantically through the contents of the box, searching for something that might be of use to him. His fingers brushed past soft pieces of cloth that seemed to hold something fragile within. Beneath it, he felt something long and narrow, then another. He grabbed them, trying to determine whether they really were candles, or whether his overstressed mind was deceiving him. But no, it was true!

Now he just needed to light them. Surely there was something in here that would help? He dug around but found nothing. Discouraged, he glanced toward the sound of the sea. Where had his map gotten to?

As the reality of his predicament hit him in full, he sobbed, certain he wold never see his family again. Tears streamed down his cheeks, as he though of the last time he had seen his mother. He wondered whether the pirates would leave him on the island to fend for himself, or whether they would kill him outright.

He dimly recognized that the tears had blurred his vision, and gave a start when he realized he had vision! The clouds had broken and moonlight streamed through, lending the beach an eerie silver glow.

He frantically scanned the beach for any sign of the map or the creature that had stolen it. In the distance, he spotted a rock, dark against the pale sand. He stared at it for a moment, unsure where to focus his gaze, when the rock suddenly moved, trailing an object that must be his map!

He stood and ran toward the spot, keeping his gaze on it in case the light disappeared again. But the light held until he reached his nemesis, which he recognized as nothing more than a crab. Plucking the creature from the sand, he pulled out a knife, inserted the blade into the claw and twisted, forcing the crab to release its hold on his treasure.

He dropped the crab, clutched the map, and went in search of a safer place to sleep until he could get off of the island.


  1. Wow! I just discovered this. It is really good. Only two simple phrases threw me as being off, but I was able to follow along throughout. Very nice! And I'm not just saying that either. Like I wish I could write like that!

  2. Thanks, Christie! Maybe I need to do another one of these. It was a lot of fun the first time. :)