I wanted to share with you a new short story that I wrote. This story is called Finding Home, and it is about a female pirate who comes home and faces her father for the first time since she left. Enjoy!
Abigail shuffled down the cobblestone road, each step shooting pain up her calves. Abigail hadn’t walked on this road in six years, and she wasn’t sure why she was back now. Each step reminded Abigail of her childhood and the parents she left behind. The memories that were flooding Abigail threatened to rip her from the inside out, but she kept walking anyway. The limp in Abigail’s gait hindered her speed, but she used her cane to steady her. The cane was the only thing holding her up.
Abigail had been ten years old when the pirates captured her. The memory of it had been burned into the back of her mind, and even though it had been six years since the incident, Abigail knew that she would never be able to let it go. Those men had changed her way of life, and Abigail was forever grateful that they had kept her alive once she had proved herself; but Abigail was not proud of the actions she was forced to perform to survive. Abigail had killed many innocent people for their belongings, and she carried each one of them with her with every step that she took.
A creak sounded throughout the alleyway as a door creaked open to Abigail’s left. She jumped, catching herself with her cane, and looked towards the offending noise. At first, Abigail couldn’t see anyone through the fog. But as the door widened, a small figure came through the mist.
“Hello?” a small voice said, and Abigail looked to where the voice had come from. A young girl dressed in a ragged dress was coming towards Abigail, and it made Abigail’s heart drop. “Who are you?”
Abigail used her cane to lower herself to the girl’s level. The resemblance of the young girl to Abigail was uncanny. Abigail felt as though she was looking into her past.
“My name is Abigail,” Abigail said, reaching her hand out to the girl. The girl considered her hand for a moment before shaking it with one quick jolt.
“You aren’t supposed to be here,” the girl said, and Abigail’s face twisted into confusion.
“You aren’t welcome.”
The young girl ran back into her house as a loud shot rang out from behind Abigail. Abigail turned her head around, her body betraying her with its injuries. She felt as though she couldn’t move, but a crowd was coming at her without mercy.
“Pirate!” one of them shouted, his mouth distorted with anger. The crowd behind him screamed and waved their torches in disgust. Abigail wasn’t even sure how they knew what she was, but she didn’t have time to think. She turned her head back around and shuffled down the road, moving as fast as she could with her bum leg. But Abigail could feel the crowd coming up on her. Abigail had fought so many townsfolk off in her time, but with each step that she took, she could feel her motivation leaving her. All Abigail had hoped was to find her home and the place that she was meant to be, but it was becoming apparent to her that perhaps that place was gone. A pirate could never come back home, because they never had a home to begin with.
Before long, a hand grabbed Abigail’s shoulder and pulled her back. Abigail lost her balance and fell to the ground, her cane clattering to the side. She howled in pain as her bad leg twisted beneath her and tears began to fill her eyes. The hand that pulled Abigail yanked her chin up so that they were eye to eye. But as the man looked into Abigail’s eyes and she looked into his, a flash of recognition coated his features. He let go of her chin and took a step back, his chest heaving. Abigail barely recognized him after all of this time, and it became apparent to her just how much time had passed.
“Abigail?” he asked, and Abigail nodded, just as surprised as he was. This man was not just a man looking to stop another pirate.
He was Abigail’s father.
Abigail managed to pull herself up with her hands, making sure that she put as little weight as possible on her leg. But Abigail could not stand on her own. As she began to fall again, her father came and grabbed her arm, holding her up.
“Abigail…my god…where have you been?” he was crying now, and the look on his face broke Abigail’s heart. In her father’s eyes Abigail saw the years that were lost between them and the distance that had grown in their relationship. Abigail was no longer the ten-year-old child that her father had known, but a sixteen-year-old girl on the brink of womanhood. A tattered girl at that. Abigail had travelled the seas more than once and seen things that she could never erase, but her father was the one person who she had wanted to come back to.
“Father, I…I don’t even know where to begin,” Abigail started. For years Abigail had dreamt of this moment, but she had not anticipated the regret and dread that arose within her at the thought of how her father might think of her after all that she had done. Abigail wanted to tell her father everything. She wanted to confide in him about everything he had missed, but instead of words, her mouth just filled with stale air. Seeing Abigail’s discomfort, her father embraced her. He carried the weight that she could not put on her injured leg, as well as the emotional weight that she had been shouldering for so long. Abigail’s father saw her how he always had, and it was almost as though no time had been lost between them. Abigail’s father did not see her as the pirate that she had become. To him, Abigail was still his little girl.
“Abigail, I missed you so much. I don’t know what happened…I don’t know where you went…or what you’ve been through. I’ve just been so lost without you.”
Abigail whimpered at his words.
“Papa, I’m so sorry,” she began, feelings of remorse falling over her. Abigail blamed herself for what had happened to her. She had been playing outside against her father’s wishes when she had been kidnapped, and she had not fought the men when they had lured her away. But as Abigail’s father cupped her face with his hand, rubbing some of the grime from her cheeks, she realized that none of that mattered anymore.
As the world fell away from them, Abigail felt complete for the first time in so many years. Even though she had seen and experienced so many things, she had never felt whole. Abigail’s father was her world, and in coming back to him she had found herself again.
No matter what those pirates had told Abigail, she now knew that it was possible to come home after all. Abigail’s home had always been waiting for her, despite the passing of time, and her father was all that she needed to carry on.
The passing of time didn’t matter when Abigail had someone waiting to carry her home. Through all those years away, Abigail knew that she had just been fighting to come home.
Abigail knew that coming home had been the only way to find herself.
COPYRIGHT © A.M. Nestler, 2017