181/366 – Goodbyes and New Horizons

Day 39 of 100 Word Prompts: Flight


“Plonk?” Flint whispered as he entered the cargo hold. “Are you here?”

“I’m here,” Plonk replied as they stepped out from behind a crate. “What’s happening?”

“The ship is getting ready to dock, we have to get you out of here before they open the hold,” Flint replied, motioning for Plonk to follow him.

“Give me a minute, I need to get my things,” Plonk replied, vanishing once more.

Above them, the sound of moving latches echoed through the hold. Flint looked up to see the sun peek through the seam of the doors as they opened to the sky. His heartbeat increased, thrumming in his neck as the panic set in.

“Hurry up, Plonk! They’re going to be coming down soon,” Flint hissed as the sound of the pully system ratcheting into place emanated from above them.

Plonk stepped out from their hiding place and began running toward Flint.

“GOBLIN!” a shrill voice shrieked from above them. Flint looked up to see Goppast, a gnome deckhand standing at the opening to the hold pointing at Plonk. “Flint, kill it before it escapes!”

Flint’s eyes darted down to his friend, who ran toward him with wide, terrified eyes. He couldn’t think of anything to do other than reach down.

“No, Flint, let me slip past your legs,” Plonk whispered as Flint’s fingers began to close around the goblin’s body.

Flint relaxed his grip just enough that Plonk slipped through and disappeared through the door behind him.

“Go get it, you idiot!” Goppast yelled, pointing over Flint’s head.

Flint nodded and turned, running into the hall outside. Plonk was waiting against the wall, breathing heavily when Flint rounded the corner, nearly bowling him over.

“What should I do?” Flint whispered as the echo of running feet came from above them.

“There’s not much to do,” Plonk said. “I need to get out of here. Is there a hatch or something that I can jump through? Something that will get me outside?”

Flint thought as hard as he could about where all the hatches were located but came up short with any that would lead his friend off the ship. He shook his head as people started calling down to him.

“Did you get it, Flint?” Leonel called from the hatch at the top of the ladder.

“No, not yet,” Flint called back, “Give me a minute. I’ll get it.”

Plonk’s eyes darted around as Flint’s eyes landed on the bag.

“I may have an idea. Follow me,” Flint said before turning to the ladder, “He went into the crew’s quarters! I’ve got him now!”

“Careful, Flint,” Leonel replied, “Goblins are tricky things. They’ll stab you in the back if they get a chance.”

Flint opened the door to the quarters and ran inside with Plonk close behind on his heels. He slammed the door shut behind him and looked at the hammocks swinging gently.

“What’s your idea?” Plonk asked, looking around. “I’m trapped in here.”

Flint picked Plonk up and walked quickly to where his hammocks hung. He kicked open the small chest assigned to keep his things.

“You should wait in here,” Flint said, setting Plonk down gently.

“What are you going to do?” Plonk asked as Flint pulled a dagger from his belt.

“What I can to keep you safe,” Flint replied as he pulled down one hammock, balling it up as he put it in the center of the other. Flint used the dagger down his arms and across his hands. Wincing from the pain as the blood dripped on the hammock, soaking into the fabric. “I’m going to throw this overboard, so they think you’re dead.”

Flint pulled down the other hammock, bundling it around the first.

“Wait,” Plonk said, “It’ll just float. It needs something heavy in it.”

“Good thinking,” Flint said as he set the hammocks down. “You see anything in here that’ll work?”

Plonk hopped out of the chest and rifled through the room quickly. Finding a steel wheel from a pully, he ran it over to Flint.

“This should do it!” Plonk said. “I think it weighs close to my weight.”

Flint grabbed the wheel and dropped it in the hammock before tying it tightly. “Wait in my chest, and I’ll come to get you soon, okay?”

“You really didn’t have to do this, Flint,” Plonk said, his eyes looking down to Flint’s bleeding arms. “I would have been fine.”

“For a friend,” Flint said with a nod as he reached the door to the hall and pushed it open. “I got him!”

Flint left the crew quarters, shutting the door behind him before he climbed the ladder.

Leonel was waiting when Flint came through.

“Holy shit, Flint,” Leonel said upon seeing the cuts covering his arms.

“Yeah, the little bastard had a dagger, but I got him,” Flint lied as he continued up the next ladder. “I’m throwing him overboard.”

Flint reached the deck and walked to the side of the ship furthest from the dock as the crew watched him. With little more than a swing, the bundle hurled through the air, splashing into the water forty feet from the ship and sank from view.

“Are you okay?” Goppast asked, running over to him and grabbing his hand, tugging Flint down to his knees. “These look bad.”

“He said the thing had a dagger,” Leonel said, emerging from the hatch.

“It did? We’re lucky it didn’t kill us all in our sleep then,” Goppast said. “We should patch you up. I wouldn’t have stayed up here if I had known it was armed. Sorry, Flint.”

“I’m fine,” Flint said, shaking his head. “Let’s just get the ship unloaded so I can get back on dry land.”

“You’re clear now, Flint,” Leonel said. “You kept up your end of the deal with Captain. You can get your things and leave. Unless you wanted to stay on for the next leg of the journey.”

“No, I think I’m ready to see my people,” Flint said, standing up.

“Well, it’s been a pleasure,” Leonel said, holding out his hand.

“I’ll see you again,” Flint said, shaking his hand. “The world isn’t that big.”

“Flint!” Captain Lee called from the helm.

“Coming, Captain,” Flint called back as he let go of Leonel’s hand.

Flint walked up the stairs, meeting the Captain at the top. “Yes, Captain?”

“Flint, I wanted to say goodbye before I started dealing with the dockmaster. Thank you for your help during the voyage. I hope to see you again in the future,” Captain Lee said.

“Thank you for everything, Captain,” Flint said.

“It was nothing but a favor for an old friend,” Captain Lee replied with a wave of his hand.

“No, really, it was a big help to get me out of Baswea,” Flint said. “If you ever need anything, let me know.”

“Flint, go get bandages on those cuts, that’s an order,” Captain Lee said, a smile spreading on his face, “I wonder how the goblin avoided detection for the entire trip. It’s a bit odd, don’t you think?”

“Yes, Captain,” Flint replied with a nod, returning his smile as he turned away from him.

“Stay safe,” Captain Lee called after him.

Flint visited the medic and let him wrap his arms before returning to the crew’s quarters for his things.

“Did they buy it?” Plonk asked as Flint opened the chest.

“Maybe,” Flint replied. “I don’t know. I think Captain Lee knows, though.”

“Is he going to let us get off the ship?” Plonk asked.

Flint pulled his backpack from the chest and placed the few belongings he had inside. “I think you should get in here, and I’ll carry you with me. If anyone does know, and they try to hurt you, I’ll stop them.”

“O-okay,” Plonk replied, climbing into the bag. “Are you sure about this?”

“I’ll make sure we are out of the city as soon as possible so that I can let you out. If you need anything, let me know,” Flint replied, lifting the bag. He turned around to see Leonel standing in the door, smiling at him. “Shit.”

“You’re a terrible liar,” Leonel said. “Also, it was your dagger that had the blood on it. I just wanted to make sure that you didn’t hurt your friend.”

“Please don’t tell anyone,” Flint said, making sure that his front was square with Leonel.

“I’ve known for a while, Flint,” Leonel replied.

“How?” Flint asked.

“You can come out, Plonk,” Leonel said, waving a hand.

“H-how do you know my name?” Plonk said, peeking over Flint’s shoulder.

“I heard you and Flint talking pretty soon after he was put on cargo hold duty,” Leonel said. “You two are not the stealthiest friends in the world.”

“Who else knows?” Flint asked, suddenly wondering if he was going to be able to keep his promise.

“Just the Captain,” Leonel replied. “He said as long as the goblin didn’t steal anything, or hurt anyone he didn’t care. You were bringing him some of your food, so he didn’t cost the ship anything to take him. Just make sure you stay hidden in Flint’s bag, Plonk. I doubt that the townsfolk would be as receptive to a goblin inside their walls.”

“Thank you, Leonel,” Flint said as Plonk dipped back inside the bag.

“Safe travels, buddy. Don’t let Plonk get you in too much trouble,” Leonel said as he stepped to the side to let Flint pass. “And safe travels to you too, Plonk.”

A small squeak came from the bag on Flint’s back in response.

Flint left the ship, waving goodbye to everyone as he walked up the dock. He didn’t stop walking until he was well outside the city walls, and he had found a safe place to step off the road without being followed. He set the bag on the ground and let Plonk out.

“Thank you, big guy,” Plonk said, hugging Flint’s leg. “For everything.”

“Thank you for keeping my company on the trip,” Flint said.

“What are you going to do now?” Plonk asked.

“I don’t know,” Flint admitted. “I’ve always been paid to do things. I don’t know that I’ve ever had this much freedom. I might go and check out some of the goliath cities in the mountains, though. Maybe I can find out what my tattoo means.”

“Are you sure you don’t want to help me find a tinderstone?” Plonk asked. “It would be quite an adventure.”

“I don’t know about that, Plonk,” Flint replied. “I need to find out more about my history.”

“Well, I appreciate everything you did for me,” Plonk replied, kicking a rock into the woods. A startled bird took flight and flew out of sight. “I guess I’ll have to find a ship going south now.”

“Goodbye, little buddy,” Flint said, swinging his bag back onto his back. “I hope I see you again.”

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