• Alice Godwin

Nothing like a Pirate's Tall Tale to enjoy!

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

Feel like reading an excerpt from my Pirate story with a twist?

Seven sisters who ply the seas in their submarine, like the legendary Sirens they sing ships to their doom..........

Fifty Octaves Deep

Seven sisters who ply the seas in their submarine. Like Sirens they sing ships to their doom by befuddling the crew and taking over the navigation. On the hunt for a legendary necklace with magical powers they cross swords with the crew of an airship who are also after the necklace. Who will get there first?



“Sisters.” She looked at each of us. “It’s time. Three days and then we dive.”

We all nodded. We’d been expecting the announcement. I looked around, eldest to youngest, the youngest being me. So alike we could’ve been septuplets, but a year separated each of us. A year and a day. That first week of March was a celebration. Now, it was the end of March and as the days became longer and the seas calmer it was time.

“We going in any direction?” Lydea drawled.

Talia smirked. “I have a very specific direction. South.”

We all gasped. “Why?” Myrrha asked.

Talia laughed. She glanced over at Melusinia, her second, who nodded.

“Something has come to my attention. Something very special. We go to seek, retrieve, bring back.” She laughed again. “I’ll speak more when we are under way.”

There was a shimmer of anxiety that rippled down from Myrrha through the last four of us. South. That wasn’t good, I decided. Not good at all.

We dived as dawn came to contemplate the horizon and brush her shiny hair. The Harpina, newly scrubbed and refurbished, slid into the ocean as gently as an embrace. She was originally commissioned by our great-great-grandmother and should have been showing her age, but decades of loving care and attention kept her almost as shiny as her first voyage.

As the youngest, I had no real responsibility. I was just a glorified cabin girl who needed to be available to any or all who might need me. That first morning, I stayed with Myrrha, the cook, and helped her unpack the provisions and begin baking. Myrrha liked to be properly organised in case she was needed elsewhere. We hummed together as we rolled the pastry, my contralto to her soprano, the flour dust hanging in the air as we pummeled and kneaded.


Melusinia steered The Harpina due south as Lydea plotted the course, give or take a few degrees. Some nasty coral shoals protruded from the depths around these parts, but we glided between them easily. Giant mantas followed us like lost puppies, and most days, I would see their bat-like wings darkening the portholes, their black eyes gazing in at us.

Talia still hadn’t enlightened us, and each evening at seven bells, as we sat at the round table, we waited for her announcement, but it didn’t come. Anticipation sat beside us like stray cats waiting for some fallen food. Glances passed between us all - except between Talia and Melusinia. Five days passed before Talia announced that we would begin netting. She looked over at Sereia.

“Just you. Let’s spread a wide net and see what we can catch.”

Well, that made sense, I thought, as I ate my chowder. We were heading into some of the main shipping lanes.


I lay on my bunk bed and looked out the porthole. Three manta rays played tag alongside The Harpina, their long spiky tails whipping up bubbles in their wake. We weren’t that deep - maybe twenty feet below the surface. The water was an iridescent green, and schools of fish skimmed by flashing silver and gold. It was relaxing, but I always found myself missing the sky.

I felt Sereia beginning, and the sound vibrated through the craft. Glass chimed and the gas lamps flickered wildly. It soared outward and pulsed through the water. The rays went wild and began to zoom around us in crazy figure-eight patterns. They swam so fast, a blur of black, and they skillfully avoided collisions in a choreographed dance that included our ship. I felt the sound move outward as ripples of music. Sereia had the best range of any of us. Subtle, yet strong. I lay back and closed my eyes, her voice taking me to places I could only dream about: castles in the air, wild storms in the wind.

Three days later, we caught our first ship, a small pleasure craft with five crew and ten guests. We found them easily. Myrrha and I joined Sereia, adding our voices to the trawl, blending so harmoniously that everyone on board that boat was doomed. It’s funny how you can feel that moment. It begins with a hesitation, a tinge of indecision, and then it grows, because in the beginning, there is always a moment where escape is possible, an intuitive sense of hidden danger that, if acted upon, will save the vessel. Because once the song captures them, it’s all over, as they say, and just a matter of time.

We guided their craft to one of our preferred rocky outcrops, and we felt their madness. They were drunk with it - laughing, dancing, and partying their way to death. The yacht was lit up like a beacon on the dark sea, bodies swaying together on the deck, crew and passenger intermingling, all responsibilities forgotten. Men and women dancing, men and men kissing, women and women tumbling together, their deepest desires brought to the surface. It was one hell of a way to go.............


If you want to read more - the Anthology - Skulls & Crossbones: Tales of woman pirates is still available and I'm working on a novel about the Seven Sisters........


Visual: Santa Muerte Tarot (Book of the Dead)

Guatemalan Bank Note 1917 - signed by my Great Grand Father who set up the first Merchant Bank in Guatemala. He had travelled the Seven Seas from Izmir/Smyrna Turkey, styling himself as a Count ( a Tall Tale that he perpetuated his entire life and was believed way after his death) when he arrived in San Francisco, travelling down to Mexico City before landing in Guatemala city. He sounds like a bit of a pirate. Aargh...


©AliceGodwin 2010

originally published Skulls & Crossbones: Tales of woman pirates


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