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 the devil and the deep blue sea [18+], ☠️🦑🌊for lar🌊🦑☠️
bird
 Posted: Jul 11 2017, 02:45 PM
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“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”

― Werner Herzog



Eight bells find Jack testing the unsteady earth beneath his feet and the port of Carriden sinking into dusk - first rose, then purple, then finally blue and apple-green between nimbus clouds fattening with monsoon rain. The sea is warm and still, glowing faintly where it laps at the docks and the red hulls of the tugs and fishing scows, and one by one, the electric lamps flick on and light the windows of the little red-brick rowhouses along the harbour and the thin spires of the cathedral beyond. Even the restless Bellerophon settles for the night, the men sharing languid cigarettes along her stark white gunwales, the bosun's voice now a sullen murmur as the last of the ship's provisions are hauled up and stowed away.

And it is his, all his; this glittering sea and the massive white gleaming cutter sitting on it like a sleeping bird, the tropical sky sprawled out from horizon to horizon. Jack is twenty-seven and barely a breath away from command and the immensity of it all staggers him - the lieutenant commander's bars on his shoulders are weeks old now, but in home waters they only ever seemed ceremonial; they are real to him now, looking out at this ship, his ship, shining under the light of foreign constellations. One good tour and then his own command -- maybe the Bellerophon herself – He straightens his hat and grins into the dark like a madman, heart swelling in his chest.

Up on the cobbles, a group of junior officers prepares for the night’s troublemaking in their crisp service whites.

"Velasco! Where the fuck are you?”

Jack catches up with them in a few bounding strides and careens headlong into the mass of them, a lean, bright-eyed young man with a boyish grin and dark, wavy hair kept as vainly long as regulation will allow. His sun-browned arms drape expansively over their shoulders.

“What,” he laughs, feet still catching on the ground, “were you going to leave without me?”

*


Trouble takes them up through the Bowhead and out of the Cloak and Dagger, down cobble streets no one knows the name of and into establishments of increasingly ill repute, until the hand of luck collects them all and brings them home to roost like raucous seagulls at some sedate alehouse by the shore. Mulaney nearly knocks over the carved bowsprit by the door when he stumbles in and Kartick’s half-open shirt reveals a new mermaid on it in a state of similar undress, and Jack’s black-brimmed hat sits askew on the head of some local girl whose name he can’t quite recall but who danced an enthusiastic quickstep with him at some point all the same.

Mulaney, pouring out a line of some foul-smelling local spirit, is running out of toasts:

"To wives and sweethearts! May they never fucking meet."
PMAIM
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Lar
 Posted: Today at 04:23 pm
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The University of Carridan sits some three blocks from the sea, her cluster of townhomes-turned-dormitories white with salt spray and black with soot. The granite blocks of their stoops are swept, each etched with the name of some department or another: here the School of Law, there the Historians' Building; the Academy for the Arts two doors down and gaudily painted. The only thing unifying them seems to be the great white face of the university clock tower, hanging above the rabble like a wayward moon. Behind it, the bell chimes eight.

In the time since semester's end, the University has grown quiet. Hardly a soul passes on the old cobbled streets, and the windows look forlornly upon the setting sun, the flutter of life gone behind the curtains. The few who remain roost in silence, drafting up lesson plans and research in anticipation of Autumn to come.

Mid-block, a door swings open, the bell on it ringing out into the quiet of the avenue. 'School of Oceanography', professes the brass plaque beside the door, punctuated by an etched cephalopod. The man who emerges is slight, wiry, bespectacled, with a mop of sandy-brown curls all but falling into his eyes. Tucked beneath his arm is a sheaf of papers, and he closes the door with care behind him and slides his glasses up the bridge of his nose. Not a minute later he is gone, as if he wasn't there at all, and the University quiets into summer slumber.

-

The Crooked Anchor is quiet even on the best of days, distant as it is from the port. At times the University lads will take it over, filling the air with philosophy and cologne and the scent of musty books, but even then the drink flows slowly on a student's budget. Tonight, the alehouse is dead.

In one of the booths along the wall, Henry sits with his papers spread across the breadth of the table, his hands smudged with newsprint and blotted with ink. A leatherbound journal sits by his right elbow, and he periodically flips through the pages of curling script, dog-earing a page here and there. It's quiet work, and the barkeep pays him no mind; the Hopkins boy is in here no less than twice a week, and though he scarcely touches his ale he tips well enough to keep his welcome warm.

The evening is deepening when the door eases open, sending a breeze curling across the table and knocking papers askew. On its back comes a rabble of sailors, all between tipsy and drunk; Henry spares them a dirty look over the top of his glasses before straightening his research. The bartender straightens and lumbers over to them, and it's not long before they have a beer apiece and a black-glass bottle of liquor spread on the bar before them. There are a couple local girls among the lot of them, perched daintily on barstools and giggling as appropriate, leaning into the warmth of the seamen when they can.

At first Henry drowns sourly in his paperwork, drawing at his ale with more enthusiasm than before as the toasts get stupider—until at last his glass is empty and the words on the page seem to blur before his eyes. He slides from the booth, stretching the cramps from his legs, and sidles up to the mass of sailors obstructing the bar. By now they're on the next bottle of liquor and the barkeep is eagerly sunk into conversation with one of the men, and Henry goes hopelessly unnoticed as he tries to push his way to the front.

"Excuse me," he tries tartly.
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bird
 Posted: Today at 06:03 pm
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It’s Kartick that notices the intruder first – the biggest out of the group, he takes one look at the weedy little landsman elbowing his way up beside his barstool and snorts derisively into his beer. Then Mulaney catches his eye and grins, but a pretty girl is tracing her red-varnished finger around the shell of his ear and nothing else seems quite as interesting. Only Jack’s beer remains almost untouched, engrossed as he is in conversation with the bartender, a former merchant-mariner in the middle of some twenty-year old anecdote that looks to be boring the girl wearing his hat to tears. She perches on her stool, fixing her lipstick in a little silver compact mirror in a way that makes Jack feel a little sorry for her,. A smear of the same red still clings stubbornly to his cheek.

“Jack,” she says, abruptly, tipping her chin.

“Hmm? Oh,” Jack says, and turns to see what all the fuss is all about: some bookish young man with fingerprints on the lenses of his glasses, trying to push past. By now all the liquor in his stomach has cast an optimistic golden haze over everything – a freight train, much less the elbow digging into his ribs, wouldn’t upend his good mood now. His face splits into a broad, easy grin, impossibly insouciant: “Can I help you?”

Behind him, Mulaney sputters on his drink.
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Lar
 Posted: 60 minutes ago
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Henry's cheeks go ruddy beneath his smattering of freckles—he knows full well they've seen him, dense though they may be, and his hands tighten at his sides. Surely there are bars closer to port, warmer and cheaper and livelier. The Crooked Anchor is beneath their station.

"A drink, please," he says, his eyes skittering off Jack's gleaming face to settle on the barkeep's souring expression. The man ducks his head and slides down the bar to pull a pint of their cheapest swill, his beady little eyes still on Henry. Funny how a man forgets his regulars the moment men stumble in with their crisp white uniforms, Henry thinks, and he nearly says as much too. In that moment he draws himself up to what height he's been given, and rounds on Jack with a haughty little tip of his chin.

"You all seem a bit far from the water," he remarks snidely, rolling his eyes. "Best be careful, or your blowholes might close up." It's an oft-exchanged insult closer to port, where the university boys rub up against salty sailors all too often, but it sounds small coming from Henry. The bartender drags himself back over, ale in hand, while the insult hangs in the air like the smell of fish.
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bird
 Posted: 3 minutes ago
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It’s not much of an insult, but it hangs longer in that just-about empty alehouse, a long, slow moment where Jack’s beaming grin doesn’t so much as waver and all of them collectively become become acutely aware of the emptiness in the room. Eventually Kartick breaks the silence by cracking the stiff joints in his neck. “The fuck he just say?”

“Oh, shit, Jack, watch out,” Mulaney says, now wheezing helplessly, “I think his balls just dropped.”

But it isn’t worth starting anything over, or even worth squaring up for. Jack slides off his stool but only raises his hands, palms-out. “Look, buddy, we’re just here to drink,” he says, in the most officious voice he can manage without laughing, although he’s just about ready to start cracking up himself. “Best be running off now.”
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2 Members: Lar, bird

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