On a Ship, a Black Freighter

by Joachim Heijndermans

 

We be a happy crew once. There was rum, spoils, and women. So many women, all who stopped struggling once the cutlass touched their necks.

We shouldn’t have taken her. If we’d known what she’d truly been. Not a lass, but

Now we sail. We sail on this demon of a ship. She claws at us as we hoist the sails. Teeth that rip our souls apart.

We sail on this ship, a black freighter. We raid, but there be no joy. Only the pain we inflict, tripled on ourselves.

Lord have mercy. But He can’t see us no longer.

 

Joachim Heijndermans

Joachim Heijndermans writes, draws, and paints nearly every waking hour. Originally from the Netherlands, he’s been all over the world, boring people by spouting random trivia. His work has been featured in a number of anthologies and publications, such as Mad Scientist Journal, Asymmetry Fiction, Hinnom Magazine, Ahoy Comics’ Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, Metaphorosis, and The Gallery of Curiosities, and he’s currently in the midst of completing his first children’s book. You can check out his other works at www.joachimheijndermans.com or follow him on Twitter: @jheijndermans.

Vindictive Waters

by Ali House

 

The attack was swift and merciless. By the time the crew noticed the Jolly Roger, it was too late. Pirates swarmed the shipsharp blades in their hands and murder in their eyes. Soon the entire crew lay dead on the blood-soaked deck.

The unmanned ship was left adrift, with nobody to guide it. But as the moon ascended, the spirits of the dead began to rise.

It was rumoured that pirates felt no fear, but they’d always been the hunter, never the hunted. As the ghostly crew manned their stations, they swore never to rest until they’d tasted revenge.

 

Ali House

Ali House currently resides in Nova Scotia, Canada, surrounded by overflowing bookshelves and unfinished stories. Her novels include The Six Elemental, The Fifth Queen, and The Lightbulb Forest (Engen Books). Her words can be found in Apocalypse, Love, Hate, Oceans, and Pride (Black Hare Press). Find her thoughts at engenbooks.com/tag/house-blog/

Rickey Rivers Jr.

Rickey Rivers Jr was born and raised in Alabama. He is a writer and cancer survivor.

Jonah

by Patrick Winters

 

They’d plucked him from the sea one evening, lashed to a barrel and floating along, unconscious. Once he’d stirred, he gave his name as Jonah, of all things. The men wanted to cast him back to the waves that instant; the captain ignored their superstitions.

The ailment swept over them soon after, swift and horrendous, claiming them amidst their screams and choked prayers.

Those who hadn’t been buried at sea now lay on the decks, gone from this world and left to rot.

And Jonah, having taken the helm, guided the ship along, singing shanties and sailing for dark waters.

 

Patrick Winters

Patrick Winters is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where he earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has been published in the likes of Sanitarium Magazine, Deadman’s Tome, Trysts of Fate, and other such titles. A full list of his previous publications may be found at his author’s site if you are so inclined to know: http://wintersauthor.azurewebsites.net/Publications/List

The Greatest Treasure

by Nerisha Kemraj

 

John Smith’s greedy eyes beheld the moss-covered chest.

There it lay before him.

A lifetime of searching, and endless, near-death battles, brought down to this single moment.

Word of King Ragnar’s lost treasure had travelled the world for centuries, and now here it was, his to own.

I am now the richest pirate in the world! he said, opening the chest to reveal his treasure.

But there was no gold.

No title deeds.

Jars of embalmed hearts filled the chest.

Here holds the greatest treasure anyone could ever own: that of my family.

The pirate’s haggard face twisted in rage.

 

Nerisha Kemraj

Nerisha Kemraj resides in Durban, South Africa, with her husband and two mischievous daughters. While poetry has been a love since high school, she began writing short stories in 2016. A lover of dark fiction, she has over 100 short stories and poems published in various publications, both print and online. She has also received an Honourable Mention Award for her tanka in the Fujisan Taisho 2019 Tanka Contest. Nerisha holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Science and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of South Africa.
For published work: amazon.com/author/nerisha_kemraj
Visit her Facebook page: Nerishakemrajwriter

The Key to Keeping a Secret

by David Green

 

“At last,” Bode cried. “The Fountain of Youth!”

Captain Kenway nodded at his first mate, letting him step forward. They’d sailed for decades before hearing whispers of Bimini, and the fountain’s location.

“Aye,” Kenway said, drawing his flintlock pistol, aiming at the back of Bode’s head. “Everlasting life. A secret I won’t share with anyone.”

The blast echoed through the caves.

Stooping, Kenway cupped his hands and drank from the Fountain of Youth.

The lined, tanned skin on his hands melted as his blood burned, turning Kenway’s bones to ash.

Dust swirled in the air where the Captain once stood.

 

David Green

David Green is a writer based in Co Galway, Ireland. Growing up between there and Manchester, UK, meant David rarely saw sunlight in his childhood, which has no doubt had an effect on his dark writings. He has been published in places such as Black Hare Press, Nocturnal Sirens, and Eerie River Publishing.

Captain Purge’s Collection of Oddities

by Kelly Matsuura

 

“Kanami, darlin’, you’ll finally be whole.” Captain Purge tapped his boot on the slime-covered trunk with glee.

Kanami’s head floated forward, her ratty hair brushing the trunk’s exterior as she gave it a fervent sniff.

Purge shuddered. Once an enchanting princess, Kanami was now a curse to the ship. He never expected the beheaded yōkai to age rapidly without her body nearby—nor that she’d feed on the flesh of his men.

There was only one solution.

Opening the empty trunk, he shoved Kanami in and slammed the lid shut.

“Toss ‘er back overboard.” He was truly done collecting oddities.

 

Kelly Matsuura

Kelly Matsuura writes diverse YA, fantasy, and literary fiction. She is the creator of The Insignia Series anthologies (Asian fantasy themed) and has had stories published with Ink & Locket Press, A Murder of Storytellers, Black Hare Press, Harbinger Press, and many more.

Website: http://www.blackwingsandwhitepaper.com

Captain’s Justice

by Melinda Pouncey

 

Captain Harrington slept with a pistol at hand for both attackers and mutineers. He ran a tight ship, which caused certain…vexations.

One night he woke to eerie silence. The door flew open and Pete Turley, the latest recipient of the captain’s justice, shambled in. Skin hung in tattered shreds from his purple-mottled body. St Elmo’s fire crackled hellishly about him and his upraised sword. Keel-hauled six days prior, he had been left suspended beneath the ship to rot. And rot he had.

“Someone’s sent me to fetch you, Cap’n,” he slurred through broken teeth. “His name is Davy Jones.”

 

Melinda Pouncey

Melinda Pouncey enjoys exploring the complexities and scope of the human imagination. She has written numerous short stories and poems in a variety of genres and most recently is focusing her attention upon horror and fantasy. Melinda has a number of drabbles in various Black Hare Press anthologies.

Price of Admission

by Michelle Brett

 

“Shall you give your hand or your eye?”

There was no reply. The stowaway was too fixated on the knife at his throat. His limbs pinned to the deck by the unwashed bodies.

The pirate continued, “You do want to be one of us, don’t you?”

With widened eyes, the stowaway tried to squirm, only to force the blade deeper into his flesh. He begged, “No…”

A snort. The smell of whiskey. The pirate turned to the crowd.

“The eye it shall be.”

Cheers erupted, drowning out the stowaway’s screams. From deep inside the ship, a red hot poker emerged.

 

Michelle Brett

Michelle Brett is a New Zealand-based writer and designer. She has a Diploma in Applied Writing and is working towards a Bachelor in Communication. In her free time, she likes to question the choices of horror movie characters and report on historic crimes for a local paper.

Website: www.michellebrettbooks.com

K.B. Elijah

K.B. Elijah is a fantasy author living in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and three cockatiels. A lawyer by day, and a writer by…also day, because she needs her solid nine hours of sleep per night (not that the cockatiels let her sleep past 6am).