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“You want the Dragon? Not on your life.” Captain Morrow spoke calmly, almost conversationally. I felt sick.
Jonath gestured. The sound of a bowstring echoed from the rocks. One of the crewmen fell to the ground with a wail. The Captain swore, but when she made a move towards the man, Jonath lifted his hand again.
“I wouldn’t,” he said, voice mild as milk.
The steward’s screams filled the cavern. I needed to say something before his pain and terror could infect the rest of the crew.
“Jonath, there’s a medic aboard. Let him tend to the man.”
He smiled that slow, easy smile, and despite myself, I felt my pulse quicken. “By all means, my dear. I am not a cruel man.”
I spotted Dr. Morgan hovering at the foot of the gangway. He clearly did not want to step further into the cavern.
“It’s all right, Doctor,” I said. “Please see to him. Everything will be all right.” The doctor scurried forward and dropped to the ground beside the writhing man. After a moment, the screams subsided to soft moans.
A nervous restlessness was spreading through the crowd now. Jonath waved his men forward, and they began to herd the passengers and crew into a side passage. He put his hand on my elbow, steering me towards the Dragon.
“Let me see this ship you have brought me, love. We’re almost ready – all we needed was the Old Dinosaur.” He spoke the airship’s nickname with a casual familiarity and grinned. “I am so pleased to have you here to help me. It wouldn’t be the same without you.” He drew me onto the gangway.
“I will do what I can,” I said, but I was looking back at the Captain. “Everything will be all right.”
As if my words could be a balm to the wound she had suffered, losing her second ship. As if I could inoculate myself against him, this man I almost married.
This post is part of the Jade Dragon series. Though I try to make these installments enjoyable as individual pieces, I highly recommend that you read the series from the beginning to really get what’s going on. If you’re coming here from Trifecta, you may have missed the previous (unprompted) installment!
This post was written in response to the Trifecta Writing Challenge weekly 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:
1: to contaminate with a disease-producing substance or agent (as bacteria)
2a : to communicate a pathogen or a disease to
b : of a pathogenic organism : to invade (an individual or organ) usually by penetration
c : of a computer virus : to become transmitted and copied to (as a computer)
3a : contaminate, corrupt <the inflated writing that infects such stories>
b : to work upon or seize upon so as to induce sympathy, belief, or support <trying to infect their salespeople with their enthusiasm>
This week’s challenge is community-judged! I encourage you to visit the Trifecta Writing Challenge site to read the other entries. Voting starts on Thursday at 6:00 PM Pacific (9:00 PM Eastern), and you can choose – of course – up to three winners. I hope mine is one of them!