The breeze off the still water ripples the tattered sails. The ship sits low in the cold water, tilting slightly to one side in a strangely human-like gesture of defeat. The water around her is littered with chunks of splintered wood and lost cargo. Her hull is riddled with cannon holes. The painted words on the ship’s side are chipped and nearly scraped off.
On the broken, uneven deck strides a young woman. The breeze tugs at her hair and long coat. She surveys the wrecked ship, peering over the sides and at the piles of shattered timber. Every once in a while she nudges something with her foot or pushes at it with her hands, inspecting. She makes her way carefully over to the steps leading down below decks and leans over the stairway.
“How’s she look, boys?” she calls down into the darkness. There’s a moment of silence, broken only by the sound of the water lapping against the ship’s sides, and then the sound of footsteps. Two young men make their way up the slippery steps, emerging into the bright sunlight. Their matching dark suits and long black coats make them look like feds, anonymous and menacing. The image is broken, though, by the fact that the bottoms of their pant legs are soaking wet.
The first boy shrugs casually, smiling, and runs his fingers through his dark hair.
“It’s still floating… how’s that? You won’t be able to sail, sure, but she isn’t going anywhere either. Just took on some water.” He turns and takes a lit cigarette from the younger boy’s hand. Their eyes meet for a moment, dark to light, and the other boy smirks faintly.
“What happened here, anyway?” the second boy asks, brushing a lock of snowy white hair from his eyes. The girl turns and wanders over to one side of the lurching ship, peering out to the calm ocean beyond. Ten or twenty yards away a tattered red felt hat floats listlessly in the water, a soggy purple feather still stuck in its brim.
“There was a storm,” she says simply. The boys exchange unreadable glances.
“This thing’s a piece of junk, though,” the first continues as he paces the deck, kicking at the bits of wood and canvas as he takes a drag on the cigarette. “You had a nice ship before. It even flew. Why do you want this one? You’ll never be able to fix it. It’s useless now.”
The girl runs her fingers over the chipped wooden railing. A fragment of wood pierces her finger, drawing a large drop of ruby blood. She inspects the wound for a moment, then looks back to the two boys. She smiles slowly.
“It’s not about the ship. It’s all about the symbol.”