Pirate Musical Redux!

Since Arrhythmia has been accumulating a certain amount of attention lately, I thought it might be a good time to remind those who like that sort of thing about my first musical-story (storical? musy?), the swashbuckling (up to a point) pirate adventure entitled: “The Last Note Of The Song”. The idea for this story came during the great Pirate boom of 07-08, and it was eventually published on Keep To The Code, a Pirates Of The Caribbean fan site, as a tie-in download to promote Ann and Jeff Vandermeer’s Fast Ships, Black Sails anthology.

Here’s how it starts:



The music begins far out and down deep, a shiver of strings and bells flashing up out of the nightwaters, fleet and sudden as mackerel. It breaks the surface with a sigh soft as the bow wake sluicing from the prow of a blackened merchantman, the painted name burnt away, the figurehead blinded. The music takes on the woody beat of plucked cellos and basses, the slap of oars, the draw of dory hulls through the chop, the stifled instructions to the rowers as they alter their bearing, a little down the coast from the lights of Montegrosso, a little further still to avoid that scattering of lanterns abroad on wreckers’ business. The music builds to a dark boil as the surf draws the boats into the craggy cove at the place where the island’s great mountain cools its feet in the sea.

Who hears the music? The monkeys do. It chases them, screeching flutes mocking their cries of fear, out of the jungle, through the plantation fields and into hiding in the eaves of the shacks and rusted lean-tos that fringe Montegrosso’s periphery like a crusty scab. Here the music leaves off its malicious play. It’s time for the serious business.

It changes its tune.

Now, rolling down the street towards the harbour square it becomes rousing, boisterous, avuncular.

Who hears the music now?

Everyone hears it, though few recognise it for what it is. Few, besides the one who has been listening for it – or something like it – all his life.


And if you want to read the rest: The Last Note Of The Song.

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