Reddit Writing Prompt #26: Over The Edge

You’re an explorer in the Dark Ages and set out westwards to show that the earth is round. Except it isn’t and together with your crew you sail off the world’s edge. – Neite

“Stand fast!” the captain yelled as the edge of the world came closer. The wind was carrying them straight towards it, and the rushing water was dragging them along as well. This late, they couldn’t escape it any more than they could escape their fate.

And in an instant, there was nothing but empty air beneath the Gloria’s wooden hull.

The captain clutched the wheel as if it would still be useful. His crew, strong, brave men willing to brave the unknown, grabbed onto anything they could find. The Gloria began to fall, her prow aimed down into the empty blue sky that surrounded the waterfall at the edge of the world.

A few men lost their holds, and fell away from the ship into the endless aether, their screams streaking away towards silence. The captain held fast, the cross around his neck streaming behind him on its leather thong. He prayed for forgiveness for his folly, and for the salvation of his men, who had sworn to follow their captain to the ends of the earth. They had believed him when he stated, proud and drunk, that the world had no end, and now they were paying the price for his foolishness.

The captain closed his eyes, and waited for the end. He wondered if there would be an end. Would they simply fall into eternity, until starvation or dehydration claimed them? Was there anything waiting for them at the –

Suddenly, the Gloria touched down, settling into the water. The wind caught in her sails, making the cloth wings billow. The captain opened his eyes.

They were on an ocean. An ocean just like the one they had just been ejected from. Like a wary gopher, he looked around, seeing nothing but dark blue waters as far as the eye could see, with fluffy white clouds in the sky and the sun glowing down on them.

The captain turned around, and saw the edge, the edge they had just crossed over. Waves crashed at that joining point where two oceans met, casting up spray and giving the illusion of a waterfall. The men who had fallen off the ship could be seen flailing in the water, screaming in terror and laughing like fools at the same time.

The world isn’t round, and it isn’t flat, the captain realized, seeing the new ocean stretching out before him. It’s a cube.

Ropes were thrown to the sailors who had never been so happy to be drowning in all their lives. A fresh barrel of grog was cracked open, and the crew drank, spilling half of everything they consumed on the deck so their beloved Gloria could drink her fill as well.

The cartographer, surrounded by a jostling crowd of sailors, set out a fresh piece of vellum, and dipped his heavy feather pen into an inkwell. The sailors fell into a total hush, waiting for the first line to be drawn on this new map. The nib of the pen dug into the vellum, and the cartographer drew a perfectly straight line, the horizon they had crossed. The men cheered, spilling more grog for the ship to drink. The cartographer kept working under the watchful eye of the captain, and wrote three words at the top of the fresh, undrawn map.

‘THE NEW WORLD’.

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One thought on “Reddit Writing Prompt #26: Over The Edge

  1. As always, I really like the writing but your dim-witted grandmother doesn’t get the story. Please enlighten me when we get together some time.

    Like

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