Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing Another Story

February 2, 2021
mandyevebarnett


This week’s I’m sharing another story from my Six Weeks, Six Senses writing course. We had to use scent as the main element. Let me know what you think.

A Cruise Romance – SCENT

An unaccustomed briny aroma invaded Josh’s slumber conjuring up dreams of pirates and tall ships in his mind. A large black bearded captain loomed over him, shouting orders. The pirate’s breath blasted Josh’s face making him reel backwards. It was disgusting, a mixture of rotten teeth, belched stomach contents and rum.

                “Get ye up the foremast, boy and be lively about it!”

                Afraid of a flogging, Josh ran barefoot on the wooden planked deck, scurrying past burly, unsmiling men. Their rancid sweat emanating from their toiling bodies. Each man busied themselves with their tasks, keeping their heads down low to avoid the captain’s stare or displeasure. The salty air and bracing wind assaulted his face and lungs. At the bottom of the mast, he looked up at the rope rigging and the impossibly high climb to the crow’s nest. The wet ropes had a pungent smell of kerosene. Josh could feel his fear clawing at his stomach. I can’t do it, I just can’t. A huge swell broached the ship’s side tossing men, rigging and barrels across the deck. Briny water and debris crashed onto the wooden planks, adding to the unpleasant smell all around him. Josh stumbled hitting his head. The shock woke him from his dream. Disorientated, thinking the rocking movement underneath him was a figment of his imagination, Josh opened his eyes. Blinking several times, he saw a round porthole and blue sky and splashing water. Am I still dreaming?

                A knock on his cabin’s door and his mother’s voice alleviated his bewilderment. We are on a boat, but not a pirate ship. A fresh linen smell replaced the buccaneer odors.

                “It’s time to go to the dining room for breakfast, Josh. Are you awake?”

                “Yes. Mom, I’ll meet you there.”

                Once he was dressed, Josh slipped on his new dark blue canvas shoes. He smelt the rubber of the sole, the canvas fabric and the waterproofing spray his mother has insisted on applying. He’d picked them especially for the cruise.

                The large dining room was filled with wonderful aromas of bacon, toast, coffee, and fruit. A long serving counter held hot plates at one end and chilled bowls at the other. The hot plates sizzled with fatty fragrance. A long line of people stood choosing their preferences to eat. Josh found his mother standing to one side waiting for him.

                “There you are. Let’s get in line so we can pick our breakfast, find a seat and eat together.”

                Their choices made, Josh and his mother sat near the rear of the room, near the exit. Josh spread golden butter generously on his toast, then opened a strawberry jam jar. The tangy sweetness of the fruit unmistakable at the lid popped open. Next he poured maple syrup over his pancakes, the odour a mix of caramel and toffee. He cut into the pancake pile and added a strip of bacon to his bite. Delicious! The waiter refilled their coffee cups giving rise to a nutty, smoky aroma.

                “I’m going to find a nice spot with a deckchair to read. What will you do this morning, Josh?”

                “I was going to explore a bit, Mom, as it’s the first time I’ve been on a cruise ship.”

                “Well, have fun. We can meet back here at one o’clock for lunch.”

                “Sounds like a plan. I’ll see you later.”

                Josh pushed open the heavy metal door; a whiff of grease wrinkled his nose for an instant before the rush of briny air invaded his nostrils. The ship rocked back and forth like a cradle. Josh braced his legs and walked along the deck rails for support. Ahead was the lido deck, filled with the sound of excited voices and splashing. Its faint chlorine smell merging with the stronger brine aroma. He took steps upward and was surprised by a tumbling ball of string heading towards him. He caught it and began winding the loose thread back around the ball. At the top of the stairs, he was met by a beautiful face, a hand grasped to her mouth.

                “Oh goodness, I’m so sorry. It just slipped from my hand.”

                “No worries. Glad I was there to catch it. It could have rolled straight over the edge into the ocean.”

                “That was what I was afraid of. Thank you for rescuing it.”

                Josh shrugged and handed the twine to the girl. Her green eyes transfixed him and she smelt so good. It was a heady mixture of citrus and cinnamon.

                “Why do you need string for on a cruise, anyway?”

                “Oh, well you may think it odd but I use it for macramé. I make wall hangings and wall art out of it.”

                “I don’t think that’s odd, sounds kind of cool actually.”

                “Would you like to see some of the things I’ve made? Only if you have time, I’ve probably stopped you going to do something as it is.”

                “No, I’d like to see. I was just taking a look around. This is my first cruise. I’m Josh, by the way.”

                “Heh, I’m Heather. Come this way. I’m all set up on the viewing deck. Might as well have a great view while I craft eh?”

                Josh was impressed with the array of coloured cotton cord; Heather had lain out on two loungers. He could smell a delicate cotton and musky scent as she lifted up an intricate piece.

                “That is so cool. Can you show me how you make them?”

                Josh and Heather soon became an item and spent many hours together, either exploring the ship and it’s attractions the any port of calls or sitting making macramé. He knew he would get a ribbing from his mates back home but once they saw Heather they’d stop. She was a knock out and smelt so good.

I am also continuing to read Misconduct of the Heart by Cordelia Strube. The writing style is fast paced, full of details, dialogue, internal thought and not a book to relax with. It keeps you on your toes who the protagonist is talking about/to or where/what she is doing.

This week I attended the creative writing workshop hosted by the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and we covered the romance genre. This genre is popular and has many categories and sub-genres, including historical, paranormal, erotic, contemporary, spiritual, suspense and YA. Our writing exercise gave each participant a sub-genre and a title. I got paranormal – Bad Boy Earl’s Desert Mistress. I will share the result in my newsletter. It was fun.

Which romance genre do you like to read?

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