Degrees of Delusion
by Lindsay Buroker
Copyright 2013 Lindsay Buroker
The cannonball slammed into the water three feet from the bow of our clipper. The deck rocked. The black powder I was pouring missed the muzzle of my rifle and trickled onto my hand. I cursed.
Barefoot sailors scurried past, grumbling as they tripped over the soldiers crowding the deck. They would stop complaining once we closed to grappling range and the company became useful—if we closed. The pirate ship seemed content to lob cannonballs from a distance.
Musket and pistol shots began peppering the air. Too much water separated us; their accuracy would be horrendous.
A shot thudded into the railing above my head. Wood splintered like bone cracking. I reminded myself luck counted for as much as accuracy. Being shot at was a familiar experience, but it set my heart galloping regardless. I cursed again and flicked shards of wood from my hair.