Tim held onto the rigging as the sailboat rocked in the dark waters of Gormican coast. His sandy-colored hair ruffled in the breeze that turned an otherwise uncomfortably warm summer night into a cathartic evening of fishing. His brother, Finn, had passed out on the back of the boat, his fishing rod still in hand. Tim looked out over the subtle waves of the sea and sighed with content. A small lantern hanging from the mast gave the pair of youths enough light to see a few feet in every direction, but it was the glowing moon the provided most of the light to see slivers of waves rolling over each other.
Tim inhaled the salty air and shook his head slowly. He could do this every day, or night rather. He peered into the night sky, a deep blue that had turned nearly black, speckled with stars and planets. There were a few puffy clouds that would float across his view of the moon, but no threatening storm clouds. It was the perfect weather for a late-night fishing trip.
There was no sound save for the lapping of the waves against the sound of the boat, and the melodic groan of the boat’s sail and rigging. It was a small craft, fifteen feet in length, just a few feet wide, with one main triangular sail. Tim’s father had built it himself and named her the Peonisi. Tim wasn’t sure what the word meant, but he suspected it may have been something his father had learned from one of his many missions as a government official. Now that Tim and Finn had turned sixteen and fifteen respectively, their father had given them permission to take the boat out as they pleased. The only condition was that the boys returned it in the same condition as they sailed out. This was one of the few times that the sea had been cooperative. The spring had been especially stormy, so it was nice to not be rocked about all night for the first time in months.
Tim had set aside his pole for a few moments to take the night in. He yawned and stretched his arms out wide, realizing that sleep was starting to sneak into the outermost parts of his eyes. He rubbed his face with both hands and shook the sleep away. With a swig of water from his jar, he sat back down against the starboard and cast his line. It plopped into the water and disappeared beneath the murky surface. Tim secured the butt of his pole against the bench and the railing and sat back with his head in his hands. There was nothing to do now but wait.
A splash caused him to jump and he peered over the side of the boat. Nothing. Probably just waves colliding. Tim sat back down, only for his pole to jump. He grabbed it and was standing in an instant. It was the first bite of the night, even though they had been out for over two hours.
The pole vibrated and wiggled in Tim’s arms. He couldn’t see what it was, but it was obvious that the sea creature was large. The pole began to bow, and Tim let some slack on the line. He barred his teeth and leaned back, pulling the line opposite directions of where his bite tried to go. A strong yank caused Tim to stumble towards the edge of the boat. He let out an “oof” and just caught his balance before plunging over the edge. He set his feet against the inside of the boat and squatted down, calling out to his brother.
“Finn! Finn, I got something big!” he hollered, without taking his eyes off the end of his line, where the fish was thrashing and stirring up sea foam. Tim licked his lips and wiped the sweat as it rolled down his brow in beads. He began to reel in the line. Finn came jumping to his side, grabbing the pole, and assisting in the drag. The pole now arched in a high bow. Tim grunted and yanked hard. With one final tug, the fish sprung out of the sea.
Before Tim could even react, there was a great gust of wind, and the boat rocked on its side. The fished was snatched out of the air in an instant, and the line went whizzing back out to sea. Tim, still holding onto the pole as he and Finn crashed to the floor, was jerked back to his feet as the line went taut and tugged up into the air.
“Finn I ne-” was all he got out before he was catapulted over the edge of the boat and into the sea.
Tim hit the water face-first. He somersaulted, disoriented as he lost his grip on the fishing pole. Everything was black. With two powerful strokes, he was headed back up to the surface, but he had inhaled sea water and as he broke the surface he sputtered and coughed, his lungs burning. The mouthful of the sea tasted salty and warm. A pair of hands on his shoulder hauled him to the edge of the boat. Tim used the buoyancy of the waves to heave himself back into the boat as Finn grabbed his belt and did his best to help.
Tim rolled on his back and coughed up another mouthful of water. Wiping water from his face and hair he sat up.
“What was that?” he blurted out, his voice cracking with confusion.
Finn was pointing to the moon, however. A dark shape fluttered by. It was hard to judge distance, but it looked big, whatever it was.
“Is that a…” Finn shrugged. His voice trailed off. “I honestly don’t have a clue.”
Tim clasped the rigging and stuttered. “I-I th-think it was a dragon.”
Finn snorted, slapping his brother on the arm. “That’s silly. Dragons don’t live around here.”
Tim swatted at the slap in annoyance. “Oh yeah? Well, what do you think it was, genius?”
Finn pursed his lips. “I don’t know. But probably not a dragon.”
Tim squeezed the water out of his shirt. “Well, it wasn’t a seagull.”
“Fine, it was a dragon. Jerk.” Finn turned his back on Tim.
Tim rolled his eyes peered over the edge of the boat. “I suppose that the fishing rod is a goner.” He looked back toward the moon. It was shining, but there were no dark silhouettes this time, just the hazy grey ball of light.
“You know, he was the real jerk. Snatched our catch out of mid-air.” Tim said.
Tim sighed. Brothers.