Tuesday, September 2, 2014

La Nuestra Señora

by Michael Seese

So, I've been somewhat busy lately with "general" writing, not to mention winning a Flash! Friday or two. Did I happen to mention that I won two in a row? (End crowing.) Because of all this, I hadn't entered the Indies Unlimited flash fiction contest lately. This week I did.

There was a photo of Boston Harbor. 

But it was the verbal prompt which intrigued me.

It was a long journey. Truly, it took much longer than Sergio Cortinez could have ever guessed. His ship, the Nuestra Senora, left Spain on May 4, 1497.

On May 4, 1997, the unscathed Nuestra Senora emerged from a squall just thirty miles away from Boston harbor…

My first effort was a whopper! Nearly 500 words, which is double the "strictly enforced" limit. So out came the virtual red pen. The result was a svelte, exactly 250-word "La Nuestra Señora."


El Diablo toma su tiempo.”

“The Devil takes his time.”

As if the mystery of La Nuestra Señora could get any stranger. What did the last entry in the captain’s log mean?

She appeared one morning, unassumingly and absent the clap of thunder or bolt of lightning which heralds these phenomena, at least in the movies.

She sailed serenely to dock 6 and dropped anchor. The harbor patrol boarded. She was empty.

I was called because of my research into the disappearance of La Nuestra Señora, which set sail for the New World on May 4, 1497, never to be heard from again. Her mission? A word not yet introduced into the Spanish language.


My interest in the ship stemmed from the fact that her captain, Sergio Cortinez, was my great-great-great...well...a distant, yet direct, ancestor.

No sooner had I read the confounding passage when I heard the clap of thunder. I found myself surrounded by an ethereal crew. Standing before me was Captain Cortinez. He pointed to the book. To the words.

“Yes. ‘El Diablo toma su tiempo.’ I saw that. What does it mean?”

He placed a bony finger on what I initially assumed to be a smudge. It was, in fact, a word. Actually, a single letter.


I said it aloud. “El Diablo toma su a tiempo.” “The Devil takes his in time.”

He nodded as La Nuestra Señora eased away from the dock, her newest crew member impressed, apparently, to atone for a five-century-old sin. 

Feel free to comment.

Oh, and voting tomorrow is here.

PS: To close the loop, "Passengers" did not win. But it did earn an honorable mention.

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