Scourge of the South China Sea

Ching Shih

YouTube/Wikimedia Commons/ATI Composite – Ching Shih

Sixteen-year-old Robin Burgess approached the waves on the shore a private island off Macau, the beach more pristine than even those of the big island of Hawaii. She moved with an exaggerated swagger, rather than a sensual movement to her hips. Her lithe cocoa skin was barely attired in her cream-colored bikini, though no man or boy was present to witness. On this summer vacation, she meant to conquer the sea, not merely swim in it, as she clutched her fins in one hand, and her mask and snorkel in the other.

Upon donning her undersea accessories, she plunged into the surf, finally achieving propinquity with shell and finned fish alike. One of her companions was a small Tiger Shark, but it seemed more curious than threatening.

Off shore some minutes later, she surfaced to investigate the appearance of a Chinese Junk, the name Nene emblazoned on her bow accompanied by a painting of a gray-brown goose.

“The legends are true and she’s here right on time.”

A large piece of driftwood struck the water just in front of her and became a makeshift buoy when attached to a length of orange hemp. She was holding the other end.

“What say you, Missy. Fancy an adventure with the Dread Pirate?” Her English was heavily accented but understandable. In response, Robin grasped the rough, dark wood and let strong men pull her up and over the railing.

One day a year, on the anniversary of her death, the pirate Ching Shih always appeared somewhere between Macau and Canton, where she used to raid with her band of sea marauders some two-hundred years ago. For the next twenty-four hours, Robin would belong to a ghostly, sempiternal crew who were once the scourge of the South China Sea.

I wrote this for Wordle #195 hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea today is to use at least ten of the twelve “wordle” words in the body of a poem, short story, or other creative work. I used eleven of the twelve, and bolded them in the content of my wee tale so readers could pick them out better.

The words are:

  1. Clutch
  2. Escalate
  3. Propinquity ((n) nearness in place; proximity. Nearness of relation; kinship. Affinity of nature; similarity. Nearness in time.)
  4. Swagger
  5. Bikini
  6. Hawaii
  7. Waves
  8. Sempiternal (everlasting, eternal)
  9. Surf
  10. Nene (a barred, gray-brown wild goose, state bird of Hawaii)
  11. Driftwood
  12. Orange

I’m playing fast and loose with the history of prostitute turned pirate Ching Shih, as I doubt she ever sailed in a junk named after Hawaii’s state bird, and she died in her bed at the age of sixty-nine after she and many of her crew were granted amnesty by the Qing Imperial Government.

Still, an adventurous sixteen-year-old girl might find it fun to sail for a day with an infamous band of buccaneers.

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4 thoughts on “Scourge of the South China Sea

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