The one word prompt from Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction this week was the word Devotion. I thought I’d turn the prompt around a little.
Nobody noticed that night when Alchemy slipped her mooring ropes and nosed gently away from the port out onto the river, though there were those who later imagined they’d heard the creak of a mast, and the gentle putter of an engine fading into the distance.
Later they’d say that her new owner, some city slicker from the south who didn’t know his ass from his elbow when it came to tying a mooring hitch, pretty much deserved to lose her; but then they were resentful that old Finnigan had sold her out of the blue like that, without giving any one of them first refusal on the fine old craft.
But Finnigan hadn’t been in any condition to think straight, half-crazed with pain, lacking the strength to handle his beloved boat and with an over-riding need to pay for drugs and a place to rest his bones for his final weeks.
Several miles upstream that night, Finnigan stirred restlessly in his hospice bed, struggling through the veil of morphine that had blanketed his awareness for days, before lifting his grizzled head to catch the unmistakable sound of Alchemy’s approaching engine.
A short while later, after circling slowly in the river, the craft headed gracefully back downstream towards the sea, navigation lights fading into the gathering mist as Alchemy took her precious cargo on one last voyage.