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Four extraordinary women meet in a Port Royal tavern. An explorer plays dice with the winds. A tale of shipwrecks, maps, deadly games and heaving corsets – and the battle between science and chaos.
First published in IRREGULARITY, and reproduced with kind permission from Jurassic London.
There’s a hostelry in Port Royal, or there was; little to no point in going there these days, unless you’ve a fondness for charred things. Were you to go there yourself you’d see some old posts and a plaque but once, oh once, once there were people and games and frolics and what fun we had — until there wasn’t any more fun to be had, if you understand me, you pretty thing. The little cherubs you see pouting away in the corners of the map, they were free to fly and they are still, if they want to; our wings though, they were clipped one night, clipped good and proper. I’m to tell you how it came to pass. Can you picture a tavern? A bustling one. A hubbub of excesses, picture it for me now. With barrels and spillages and pistols cocked on whims and a violently low tolerance for lack of payment, whatever you’re buying. Do you have it? No, no you can’t quite picture it, not correctly, not yet. Mucky it about a bit. Add more dirt. This wasn’t a high-end place, and it would never pretend to be one. And for Port Royal at this time, ‘twas a piece of pride to be able to boast so. Vicars used to run away from Port Royal, hankies over their mouths. Fair enough. But this place? Some of the saltiest knave dogs that ever sailed the South Seas avoided this place.
Rose Biggin is a writer of stories and plays, and an Associate Artist at the Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter. Her short fiction is published in Jurassic London’s Irregularity and Constable Robinson’s forthcoming The Mammoth Book of Professor Moriarty Adventures. Her theatre writing includes solo pole-dancing show The Very Thought, genderqueer retelling Victor Frankenstein, and PLUNGE, a new commission for Theatre West.
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Zoe exists in a happy chaos with her big bear of a husband, two delightfully semi-feral offspring and a crazy dog. A lover of wordsmithery, she has been a fervent devourer of books since childhood with a broad spectrum of reading tastes inclined towards the offbeat – including… //READ MORE//