“Fetch the chief steward, please, Jax.” I kept my tone light, knowing that Jax would share my worry. He had his own demons to battle.

He nodded and left the cabin, skirting the dead body on the floor. I sat down in the armchair by the window to wait. A school of colorful medusas floated just below us like so many airborne parasols, tentacles trailing gracefully behind them.

I stood up when I heard footsteps. The chief steward’s ample belly preceded him into the cabin. Between his roundness and the deep green fabric of his livery, he rather resembled the dirigible. An uncharitable comparison, perhaps, if an unavoidable one. He paused at the threshold, glanced at the body, and entered. His face was placid, but he stroked his gold watch chain with nervous fingers.

A thin man with wispy hair slid into the cabin behind him, his easy movements suggesting that he was accustomed to circumnavigating the larger man. He immediately knelt next to the dead man and began examining his lips and eyes.

“Dr. Morgan, ship’s medic,” Jax said by way of introduction, “and this is the Chief Steward, Derman Marouk. He’s quite dead.” He tapped the doctor’s arm, startling the disheveled man.

“Mr. Marouk.” I nodded a stiff greeting. “I am very sorry. I believe your steward befell something intended for me.” It hurt to even think it, let alone say it.

“I see, Miss… “ He made a show of pulling the manifold from his pocket, running his finger down the list of names. “Anna Verrill, is it?” I nodded.

“Well. You will understand, I am sure, that you are to be confined to your cabin for the time being, until the Captain releases you. This is all very unusual.” Jax bristled, but I nodded again. Marouk folded the paper and put it back in his pocket.

“Who,” asked the doctor suddenly, “Who would have left this for you?” He indicated the brass rose.

I gritted my teeth. “My brother.”

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This post is part of the Jade Dragon series, and was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge prompt:

You should write a creative response using the given word. You must use the word in your response, and you must use it correctly. Your response can be no fewer than 33 and no more than 333 words. This week’s word is:

AMPLE (adj.)

1: generous or more than adequate in size, scope, or capacity<there was room for an ample garden>
2: generously sufficient to satisfy a requirement or need<they had ample money for the trip>
3: buxom, portly <an ample figure>

Image borrowed from Write On Edge

And though it comes too late, I was also inspired by this photo posted for last week’s Write On Edge prompt. Click on the image for a link to that prompt, and to see full credit for the image.

15 thoughts on “Poisons

    • Christine says:

      You’re assuming I actually have a plot in mind. 😉 No, seriously, most of the time I don’t know what will happen next until I write it. It’s a very NaNoWriMo attitude, I suppose. At some point I will sit down and figure out where this is going…


  1. Wisper says:

    I love this! I want to know why the brother would do such a despicable thing and who the dead guy was! I think the language in the dialoge is great. It would be a great way to set this apart from most moderninstic fantasy type pieces. I’d just go for the setting you want regardless of what the dialogue says you should use.


    • Christine says:

      Thanks, Lance! I kind of painted myself into a corner with the language because of the setting, but I’m hoping to push past that a bit. This isn’t, after all, the Victorian era, or even early modern. It is so easy to have the dialogue come off as stilted and unnatural. In this case, I thought it fit with the uncomfortableness of the situation.


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