This is part four of my seven-part story based on prompts from Describli.com. This is a writing site where you post short pieces of fiction called Scribs, and read and review/rate others’ works. I find it good for writing practice. The prompts really make me think.
He appeared, in a haze of light, in the kitchen. Leo tracked him down with the ship’s internal sensors.
The moment she saw him, Lena knew. “It is him.”
He dusted his jacket down, and smiled at them, his wrinkled face creasing in familiar ways. “Good day to you all,” he said.
“Good day to you,” Lena stepped forward, offering her hands, “it is a pleasure to meet you.”
He took them in the traditional, common greeting. His hands enfolded hers, and they both bobbed their heads over them. A sign of respect to their peaceful intentions.
“I am Tang Misa,” he said as they parted. “And I am very happy to meet you all.”
“Lena,” she said, “I’m the Captain of this vessel. My brother Leo,” she indicated him, “and this is Zinna.” Their relationship was complicated. Best to leave it unsaid.
“Good to meet you,” Zinna said, and made the traditional greeting with him.
Leo stepped forward. He looked starstruck. Lena elbowed him and he came back to life. “I am honoured,” he said. His hands shook as he made the greeting.
Tang seemed amused. “I take it you have heard of my reputation, then.”
“Oh, yes,” Leo said. “I know everything, all about the battle and how you-”
Lena cut him off, embarrassed at his gushing. “Perhaps we can save that while later. Captain Tang, why don’y I show you around. The ship’s not much. But she’s our home.”
His expression warmed. “I know just how you feel.”
Zinna followed her as she led the Captain around the ship. She was wary, and Lena understood why. But there was something about Tang that made her trust him. He had a warm aura. If you believed in that sort of thing.
Leo trailed along behind them, silent as a lamb. Awestruck.
On the bridge, Tang sat in Leo’s seat, and her brother showed him the controls, eager to impress. Zinna caught Lena’s elbow. “I really don’t think this is a good diea. We don’t know this man.”
“I know. But he’s trustworthy. I can feel it. Can’t you?”
“No. What is it about him? Why is Leo behaving like a wide-eyed Nevrit?” Like puppies, only with sharper teeth and wings. Everything on Zinna’s home-world had wings. They were useful for living on a world that consisted of ninety per cent swamp and trees.
“Because he’s idolised him since childhood. He, and his ship, were the heroes of the Battle of Emrit, the last battle of the Onwin War. Quite a few years ago now. Anyway, he more or less single-handedly won that battle. His ship was falling to pieces, and his crew were injured and dead. But he persevered. He fought on. I don’t know all the details, but they say he was took down as many ships as it would’ve taken five ordinary men.”
Zinna didn’t look impressed. “That sounds like an exaggerated tale to me.”
“Check the history records. It’s all there.”
She still didn’t look convinced. “I’ll do that. But it doesn’t matter who he is. My point still stands. This is not a good idea.”
Logically, she was right. “I told you. I trust him. I can’t help it. I just do.”
“And that doesn’t worry you?”
“Why should it?”
Tang stood. “I don’t know about you three, but I’m starving after all this excitement.”
“Then let’s eat.” Leo said, he darted over to Lena, “we have food right?”
She wrinkled her nose. “Replicated, yes.”
“Good enough for me,” Tang said. He held out his arm. “Ladies first.”
Lena turned. and led the way. Zinna hung back, bringing up the rear.
In the kitchen, the mostly-unused kitchen because they rarely had fresh food aboard, Leo ‘made’ the food. The hum of the replicator buzzed on and off as it worked.
The light above the table flickered on and off. Not enough power for everything.
Zinna didn’t sit until the covered metal trays were placed on the table. Her shadow fell over the bench.
It was like elastic hit Lena in the face. She suddenly snapped into a different space, a different orbit.
Tang had no shadow. Her own fell over the table, over the steaming silver tray. Zinna’s fell over hers. Leo’s was on the floor behind him.
Tang’s was nowhere.
She was frozen, hand hovering over her fork.
How could a man not have a shadow?
Today’s prompt was: A shadowy figure.