Ayden. | Teen Ink


February 6, 2012
By merelyacitizen DIAMOND, Waynesville, North Carolina
More by this author
merelyacitizen DIAMOND, Waynesville, North Carolina
64 articles 2 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
I reject your reality and substitute my own.

“Another day in this wretched town and it’ll be the death of me,” My most common thought of late. But this I all I’ve ever known, and all I will ever know by the looks of it. I can’t get away from here; not to say that I haven’t tried. I laugh at myself, considering it again. They would never let me leave, even if they had no interest in me, they would keep me for spites sake. I’m too valuable, which is of no concern to me, apparently. I have no say in the matter. All my life, aside from brief snippets of memories of my parents, which are vague at best, I have been under the rule and somewhat questionable protection of a man named Smit. Smit isn’t an all around awful bloak, I suppose, but he certainly does have his rough edges. It just so happens that my caregiver owns the Bone Yard, the largest Bone Collection Agency this side south of Borgnia. Some have said that it rivals the Yard on Rustica (but we all know that Smit fudges his annual reports to bolster his business).

As I repel from that train of thought back to the task at hand: shoveling, sorting and, occasionally pocketing, mountains of bone (from whales, local animals and any unfortunate passerbys), I hear the whistle sound for all of the “constituents” (myself included) to stand attention. I dropped my shovel, with excess force than usual, I am feeling rather agitated today. As I did so the extra effort expelled my shovel barreling down the alabaster heap. I knew the consequence of doing such a thing, and my fellow constituents knew as well. I realized that none were offering a helping hand, so before I could think I felt my legs chasing the shovel with such fervency that would put most of the workers here to shame. The shovel came to a stop before I did, and my mood was immediately displaced as I witnessed where it lay; snug under Smit’s left boot (there could be no emotion shown around Smit but joy and reverence for his all-mighty Bone Yard). Before I lifted my head to meet his intent gaze, I prepared myself mentally, “You have done this time and again, you live with this man, and you of all people should be able to handle this.” But no amount of preparation could have prepared me for what Smit, a man I had known for seventeen years to be a spiteful creation, uttered: “It’s good to see you today, boy. How are the bones treating ya?” I was so taken aback that I quite literally stumbled and fell into a poorly placed pile of bones. Gathering my bearings I stood to face him, and there he was, in all of his bone plundering glory, with his thick leather boots, long leather coat, rather plain shirt and slacks, and his deep set eyes. He gazed at me, visibly enjoying what I now comprehended to be a joke. His expression altered, his mouth set itself, and I braced myself for the slurry of debasing comments to ensue. “Boy, you know very well to keep hold of your shovel. Your shovel is your livelihood around this place. If it slips into the slurry then you will be out of work until the next shipment arrives, and I hear the weather has been horrible on the sea. So get yer lazy behind up that heap of gold and stand attention until I give the weeks orders!”

This was usual dialogue between Smit and I, so I let it roll off my shoulders. I shouldered my livelihood, trudged up the “heap of gold” and awaited Smit’s commands. After experiencing what I just did, I tuned Smit out and daydreamed of a life far away from this sulking pot.

“Son! Come to me, run! Come on, now, there is nothing to fear. You have the heart of a lion and the soul of an angel. Come to-“ My eyes fly open and I attempt to ascertain my whereabouts: still in my cabin, my room, adjacent to Smits, his snoring practically waking the bones and bringing them to life. I feel the sweat on my brow, colder than usual. The seasons are changing and, as always, Smit keeps the furnace at its lowest possible level. He calls it frugality, I call it stupidity. Turning over to face the solitary window in this solitary confinement, I gaze at the sky, so wonderful in it’s majesty. I reinstate the mental push I must give myself every waking day of my existence, and I swing my legs over my bunk. I hop down, landing with a secure thud. Grappling for my boots in the darkness, I see them in the corner where I left them, lit by the purple light from the most gracious of celestial bodies, the moon. Slipping them on I ensure that Smit is slumbering still; he always is at this hour. I take two steps towards the door, grasp the handle, push it open, peer outside, and jump into the night.

The air is rather brisk tonight, filling my nostrils: crisp, clean. Instinctively I grasp for a rope with my left hand. Filling my hand, I tighten my grip and coast to a smooth stop on the dirt of Smit’s beloved playground. Time and again he has instructed me to use the Lift, claiming if I get injured then it’ll be the end of his business and the death of me; that, I fail to understand. At any rate, I would much rather skim across the sky, if even briefly. My previous thought circled back to the forefront of my mind: Smit portrays genuine concern when it comes to my using the Lift, with good reason I suppose, it is a hundred feet to the ground. Just this past week, whilst resupplying our cabin with scrap bones to burn, a constituent of the Yard lost his footing and plummeted to the ground. He was so severely injured that he will be out of commission for a year. Why am I able to descend such a distance with the slightest of effort? This train of thought was interrupted by the brilliance of the stars; how I wish to visit them.

Glancing towards my humble abode, hovering above the Bone Yard, I shake my fist: pantomiming the courage I long to possess. The Moon cast an ominous glow upon the copious volumes of death resting here. I don’t know how to explain it, exactly, but there is some inane connection between these bones and I. Maybe the countless hours I have spent laboring across these piles have made an impression upon me. I address one pile, as if it holds intelligence, but quickly recognize the perverse nature of that.

Continuing to wander the Yard, I sit, as I often do, and ponder the scenes rotating in my head; rather voluminously. The man, I assume to be my father figure, calls to me. He tells me to run to him, and I see myself, as a child, hurdling myself towards him with all of my might. But the legs of that child simply cannot move quickly enough. His musky scent and flowing blonde hair juxtaposed against the pale sun are stained into my memory, almost nostalgic. But how can I feel nostalgia if the only life I have ever known is these bones; endless mounds of them. My eyes begin to droop and I can feel my conscious slipping. Smit will be furious when he sees that the Lift wasn’t accessed last night, but right now, I don’t care. Laying my head down against the jaw of a whale (something most would find repulsive but something I have come to accept and, to a degree, enjoy) I allow my eyes, heavy as lead, to shut themselves. Drifting into that foreign land of unaware nostalgia, I feel a smile peak on my labor worn lips and I await the green light of the sun to warm my tinted face.

My ears perk to the sounds of tossing ropes, boots thudding against bone and shovels being unloaded into the hands of many “pleasant” constituents; each shovel accompanied by a grunt, a moan and the all too occasional swearing. The whale bone doubling as my head rest had been removed. It was a nice specimen, whale being the most desired of bones, for its density and rich minerals. Though I have heard that human bone does bring a fancy price- That thought was rudely interrupted by the distinct sounds of Smit’s boots clomping around, no doubt in my direction. Sure enough, soon as he was finished “discussing” a matter with the Yard Foreman, he meandered his path towards me. Before he opened his trap, I mouthed his first word… “Boy, when I woke this ‘merning you weren’t in yer bunk. The Lift hadn’t been used so I ‘ssume that you flew down here on those ropes, as I’ve told you time and again not to.” Smit was hardly known to be a patient soul. In fact, the only instance I can recollect him ever exhibiting any sort of temperance was when the Yard was in chance of being Recalled. I presume that my train of thought elapsed more time than Smits liking. “Boy. Boy! You will respect me when I ‘ddress you!” Standing, dusting my knees off, squaring my shoulders, I looked Smit straight in the eye, hardly able to see the deep brown tint of his piercing orbs; resembling my own eyes, strangely enough. I mustered the courage to expel to him what was on my mind, and the cowardice that has too often beset me grasped the reigns. Lowering my gaze, I responded. “Yes, Smit. I used the ropes. I know I you tell me to use the Lift.” “That’s right, Boy. Now take yer shovel and get to the piles. New shipments comin in today and we need all of our best men, well yer not a man just yet, on the job. Now get!” Though Smit has never had the humility to recognize me as a fellow Borgnian, at least he recognizes me as an efficient worker. I strolled to the assembly line, and with the same grunt as the others, seized my weapon of choice (pondering what he spoke; I could have sworn he mentioned, just yesterday, the weather on the seas being restless) and dove into the Yard.

The Sun is blazing today with such intensity that the bones reek of the only claim they hold upon this wretched lot: death. We laborers deplore heated times like this, but Smit revels in them. The stench draws passing birds of all types into the Yard, rare ones on occasion; they are promptly captured and thrown into the Slurry for all of the meat and feathers to burn off, leaving only the morbid gold that makes the world go round.

That blasted whistle sounded, was it really that time already? Then it sounded again, this instance with noticeable expulsion of force. The shipment must have arrived. Turnik, the Yard Foreman and Smit’s closest confidant, motioned for me. I meandered towards him with little concealed content for the impending task. Somehow, someway, as if it is fate affirming my subservient position, I consistently manage to be placed in the hull of the ship, performing menial cleaning on the immense containers of whale bones, along with other assorted aquatic creatures. I reached Turnik, a generally well-kept individual, stocky, defined. The Yard has been kind to his musculature. “Yes, Sir?” “Son, you know I don’t ‘quire you to ‘ddress me as such. Call me by my name. My Pa gave it to me and I reckon I oughta make the best of it.” Turnik knew just how to make me feel involved. “All right, Turnik. What toil must we do today?” “Well, Son, Smit will be especially on edge fer this shipment.” Oh, joy. “This here is a new dealer and we’ve never dealt with him affore. Some say he’s a skate, and I’m asking you ‘ta go down into the hull affore we unload and scope it out, make sure this man is straight.” What Turnik was propositioning me to do was a taboo among Traders and Yard owners. There is an unsaid acceptance between the two: that the Traders are supplying quality bone and that the Yard Owners don’t question their integrity and take it as be. Smit was never one to enjoy this rule and on more than one occasion he has sequestered me to perform a pre-load acquisition (as he termed it). But the way Turnik spoke to me it almost felt like an obligation, not so much a request. “I suppose I can, Turnik. Which Bay is it docked in?” “It’s not ‘ere yet, but it’sa coming along. I plan on directing it to Bay 7. Be here in an hour.” I nodded, no more transaction was required. As I headed towards the Bay Station, Smit caught my eye. He nodded, fully aware of what I was set out to do, and continued about his way. He blew his whistle for a water break, but my thirst was satisfied, and I trodded on.

From Smit’s disposition it was evident that this shipment was to be an important one. Hopefully all goes well, after all, he and I share a household. I made it to Bay 7 rather quickly. The sea was luscious today, in all its yellow glory. The fog seemed to have a mind of its own, it always does this early in the morning, because most every time I squinted my eyes in search of this questionable ship, it would swirl and dance around my face, leaving behind its distinctive smell. I walked to the end of the dock and sat, dangling my legs, eyeing my reflection: my sandy blonde hair being tossed about by the sea breeze, resembling the man’s hair from my reoccurring dream. My reflection was blackened out, I lifted my head to gaze upon the ship, its name, Black Mary sprawled across the starboard side. Turnik was correct, this was an unusual ship. I caught the eye of a crew member, who offered me the most menacing look and then laughed, no, it was more of a cackle, at seeing my reaction. Chill bumps ran the entire course of my body. This was going to be a tough unloading.

Black Mary, such a foreboding title (though by the attitude of the crewman I encountered, I presumed that to be intentional), made its way into Bay 7. I hadn’t thought of it until now, but Bay 7 is the Yard’s largest Bay; only after this did I comprehend the immensity of this ship. This Ship must be carrying much more than bones, what could it be… I quickly quenched that thought, not wishing to jinx this operation. The Mary eased its way to a halt, massive Grippers wrapping themselves around the hull, securing it in place per adventure the ship fancies to leave in a hurry. Smit is on edge. I hustled to my feet, the crew would be arriving soon to being the unloading, and I need to make my inspection thorough and speedy. I circled around to the back of the ship, kicked off my shoes, took off my shirt, and dove into the water.

Feeling the cool liquid encompassing my body felt, natural; I don’t know why I don’t swim more often. I surfaced, not quite to where I need to be, but I still had time. I briefly treaded the water, admiring this vessel. It appeared entirely out of the ordinary: completely black, almost with a metallic sheen. Placing my head beneath the water something else caught my eye. I swam deeper, underneath the ship, effectively eliminating most of the lighting. What I was able to decipher resembled a large gun, with a diameter larger than my head. What would a gun be used for underwater, on the underside of a ship, none the less. I caught the muffled sound of the crane through the water and I knew I had overstayed my time. I made my way to the surface and began scaling ropes to board the deck.

Luckily the last of the Mary’s members were exiting, some of them diving off of the plank; again, a strange inconsistency. I made my way to the lower deck, the only portion of this ship that resembled normalcy. Rows upon rows of containers were assembled, awaiting my unauthorized inspection. I scrambled atop one, eyeing it for that mark of authenticity; a whale, in this instance, etched into a left hand corner. I saw no such thing. Maybe I was missing it: I searched and found none. I spied a container near me and jumped to it, landing louder than usual, this whole situation had me on edge. I saw no mark on this one either. I checked another, nothing; another, and another. In a matter of minutes I inspected them all, and saw nothing to verify the claim that they held the alabaster gold that Smit so wretchedly desires. I sincerely hoped that this was a mistake. I had to inform Turnik, not Smit, Smit would have the entire crew drawn and quartered. I frantically made my way to the upper decks; as I did I glanced something out of the corner of me eye, something golden, flowing; almost like locks of hair. It was fleeting, but it was there. Ignoring it I reached the stern, slowing my pace, tabbing the mood of the Yard. All seemed to be in order, Smit was conversing with the Captain of the Mary, its crew meandering about the Yard. Smit gave the signal to Turnik, blew his whistle, and the crane’s monstrous arm boomed towards the ship. Seeing that the crew was making its way to their seafaring home, I prepared to dive back into the water. Whatever was in those crates, I wanted no part of it. I only hope that Smit will realize what he is getting himself into.

Surfacing, I hoist myself back onto the dock's edge where I left my articles. Shaking my hair loose of as much water as possible, I cannot help but think back to the object I noticed, attached to the bottom of the Mary. What could such a structure be used for? I made sure to keep this thought fresh in my mind as I hurried to inform Turnik of the ships questionable cargo. I only wished that I would be able to reach him in time to halt the unloading process.

I was approaching Turnik just as he was engaging in conversation with a man, whom I could only assume to be the First Mate. Turnik was running through his usual laundry list of inquiries, regarding the cargo, I hoped that he would discover the content before I had to be the one to inform him. "Now, what yer to be giving us is a full deck of Whale Cases and half o' deck of Pelican?" My, this was a large shipment. Due to the size of Cargo Boxes the largest shipment we have received in months was a fourth of a deck. This must be costing a pretty coin... "Oh, yes Sir! We here on the Black Mary offer only the finest quality of bones, Whale and otherwise. We catch em all ourselves, so accountin' for our especially long voyages." "You catch all of yer cargo yourselves? You must have an exceptional crew." Before responding to Turnik, the First Mate glanced towards the crane, now halted on account of Turniks inquiries, then towards another crew member, rather conspicuously inspecting his pistol. "Yes, yes we do. Me an' the Captain have travelled all of Borgnia, Tershia too, to find only the most," he said with a sly grin, “brandished of men." Turnik was noticeably taken aback by this comment; as was I. I heavied my footsteps as to alert Turnik of my presence. He turned and spoke, "Ah, Ayden my boy, this day is lovely. How are your dealings?" I knew what he meant, but I was rediscent to report my findings. The First Mates eye shifted slightly towards me, more than likely knowing what the meaning behind Turniks question. I answered steadily. "My dealings have been fruitful, but unsuspecting. In fact, I might be in need of your assistance in verifying their belonging." The First Mate knew exactly what I meant, as I noticed a subtle hand signal to the Crewman fingering his firearm. That particular member belted his pistol and hurriedly made his pace back on the ship. Turnik seemed not to notice this, but then again he is skilled at concealing his emotions. "Thank you, Son. I'll be sure to take that into consideration." "Do we have a transaction?" Smit questioned. The First Mate eyed him, not sure why Turnik would still make the deal knowing the cargo was questionable, at the very least. "I suppose we do, Sir." "Then let us consider no more delay! Tersp!" Turnik shouted, "Ready the crane and move her into position. We don't want to be keeping this stout vessel in our lowly port." This was obviously Turniks way of signaling to the First Mate that he know of their deception. Turnik seemed on edge as he shook the Mates hand. The crane began to roar and I was in heavy anticipation of what was to come next.

Similar books


This book has 0 comments.