The Chrysanthemum ran down a westing, hull broken, wedged across the leviathan’s back. Captain had harpooned the barrel-wide eye, piercing deep some monstrous part of monstrous brains.

Thirty-odd noondays since, Navigator shimmied up the wine-dark dorsal, pointed the astrolabe, crawled back to the fo’c’sle where hanged the salvaged lunars, marked off blank distances on vellum scrolls from the hold: Here Cook lies at rest. Here Cabin-Boy. Here Stevedore.

Great Old Ones willing, you’ll soon draw new borders, Captain said again. Soon, I’m sure.

They wept when Lookout called from the crow’s nest the sweetest word in any tongue at sea.


originally published in 101fiction.com, March 2019