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Ok, what do I do with this [<--not title]
The clam dredger stood over the horizon on the south sea, rusted and listing, old motors straining and overheating and putting up smoke that was quite visible from the clifftop where Ellie lay, propped over her set of binoculars. The old dredger’s cable gears were grinding and sparking with effort. They were bringing up a big one.
Ellie screwed her old camera onto the left lens of the binoculars and began snapping photographs. She captured the rusted hull with sea water pouring out of the sides. She got a shot of the smoking motors in the wild light of the cable gear sparks. She photographed the watchmen’s silhouettes against the late sky, and she took one of the ship touching the water to show how far it was tilting.
Snap. Snap. Snapsnapsnap.
For as long as she had been able to go to the coastlands by herself, Ellie had been taken with the open-water ships. They were so blatantly mechanical, like opened-up pocketwatches. They caused such a stir around the city, were in themselves such a spectacle that she couldn’t help but be in love with them. Deep-mineral dredgers were her very favorite, not only for being so colossally huge--they dwarfed her apartment building--but for having an air of mystery and adventure about them so compelling that to her they were absolutely irresistible. She went far out of her way to catch sight of them whenever they were scheduled to return.
Ships like the clam dredger she was photographing were fine ships in any case. On days she felt like it (usually once a week), she would make the hike up to the crumbling bluffs to snap photographs to her heart’s content. She had to recycle the majority of the film she used, thus destroying her photographs in the process, but the ones she was able to keep were secreted away in her heavily bound scrapbook.
When she was satisfied that she had taken enough, Ellie unscrewed her camera, put it in her bag and stood up, hanging her binoculars around her neck. She squinted against the early evening sun, putting up a hand to shield her eyes. Like an explorer, she fancied.
The clam dredger was close enough that she could hear the engines whining, a shrill and harshly foreign sound amidst the swelling of the waves and the echoing cries of the gulls. The puffs of steam hissing up from the motors became sås for the sus, and its rays streamed through the complicated lattice of the main hoist. Ellie realized she had been watching them reel the thing up for the past hour. She had more likely than not missed dinner, and her mother would be in a fit for her skipping out to see those d*mned boats again.
Well, no point in going back now, she thought.
She sat down heavily on a rock, and drew her arms in tight around her. It was colder than she had counted on it being, and her thin blouse offered next to no comfort against the ripping winds coasting in from the sea. The knotted trees behind her would have been an effective barrier from the wind had she actually been behind them, but they gave way to scrub brush and grass around the sandstone boulder she sat on, and eventually disappeared beneath the sand of the cliff.
She leaned back on the boulder and closed her eyes, listening to the steady whir of the engines and the equally steady waves. She pulled her arms through the sleeves of her blouse and hugged her chest. She could feel the warmth of the sun on her eyes diminish steadily but almost imperceptibly. The night was coalescing around her, surrounding her slowly and yet completely. Ellie entertained the thought of going to sleep there. Around this time, Harbor City would be winding down. Vendor curfew was up, so the shops on Bank Street would be closed. Anyone still out of doors would be watching the sunset or out for an evening walk, or working in the heavy industrial sector. Ellie’s mother would be livid if she returned past normal curfew, but maybe a little stirring up would do the woman some good.
Eventually, it came to Ellie that something was amiss. She opened one eye and squinted over her belly at the clam dredger. It was listing even more heavily now, and its poor engines were making regular grinding noises, thudding and distant booms that must have shaken her in the first place. The sea water steam now mingled with black smoke and engine oil dripped from tubes in the hoist.
In a state of agitation, Ellie stood up. She put her binoculars to her eye, studying the ship. As most do, she found it hard to remain still while she saw something go wrong. She shifted weight from foot to foot. ‘ In the next instant and as if rehearsed, the quad hauling engines of the clam dredger caught fire. The fire was in the turbines, and it quickly spread down the oil leaks onto the deck. The engines didn’t stop. The flames began shooting out of the vents in the back of the engines. It was in the water, too, reflected and distorted through the rippling sea mirror. All was silhouetted in the foreground of the sun.
Ellie blinked, twice. She started to run in the direction of the nearest emergency station.