I didn’t finish the Sunday crossword this week. I didn’t even get very far in it. The theme, which you can read about here — yes, I read a crossword puzzle blog, but only one, and usually only once a week — was challenging without also being that other thing. You know, fun.

I did watch a few more episodes of The River, which I guess is okay if a little too episodic. It’s a bit like Fringe, in a way, in that there’s lots of weird things happening — in The River‘s case, scary things, shot in shaky-cam and found-footage style — and it’s all supposed to be connected in vague, undefined ways. (It’s telling, I think, that Fringe was a genuinely bad show before it figured out how those things were connected and stopped being freak-of-the-week.) Still, The River is surprisingly entertaining, even if there do seem to be some diminishing returns since the premiere.

Oh, and I wrote this little thing in my weekly free-writing group. It took me forever to get there, of course, thanks to bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Southern State Parkway. There appeared to be an accident on the other side, meaning traffic in my three lanes might just have been caused by rubbernecking — which makes me angry — but there also seemed to be several cars that were drag racing or something close to it, complete with cameras — which just makes me angrier.

Anyway, based on three randomly selected prompts, I wrote this:

There were some aboard who called her the Tempest, though never to her face, or even within earshot, knowing too well what she did to those who displeased her or questioned her judgment. The crew need only remember their former captain, and the few mates who had rallied behind him, to know how easily she, the stormbringer, the demon woman, could turn to violence and anger; they need only remember the fire that had flared, so briefly and yet so hideously, in her jet-black eyes as she relieved the captain of his command; and they need only gaze at what was left of the old seadog’s bones, bleached from the sun and the harsh ocean waves, strung above the cabin the stormbringer had since taken as her own. None of the crew, even those who dared whisper this name or others in secret, dared cross the woman — they dared not even wonder aloud if she WAS a woman — and they would not dare suggest that they turn the ship back now. There was not a man aboard who had not given the shores of England up as lost.

The Duchess Maribel was, of course, another matter entirely, although only because, to her, a life in London society had seemed the worst possible fate, to which the stormbringer’s whims, however dangerous and unpredictable, could hardly compare. Had she been among the enlisted crew, she might have thought differently, but she too was a stowaway. She would have gladly remained the only one, and moreover have remained undiscovered in the ship’s hold, stealing passage to the new world, a new life — and likely would have done so, had it not been for that meddlesome elder apprentice and his conjuring gone wrong. He had paid for it with his life, the first of the summoned demon woman’s victims, but Maribel had paid for it with her discovery, and by a crew of men already pushed quite literally to the edge. Maribel feared not only return to England, nor the murderous intentions of the strombringer, who had seized control of the ship and diverted them away from it, but that she, Maribel, would be forced to sacrifice her virtue, the only bargaining chit she had left.

Thankfully the men had been distracted by the storms that raged on all sides for most of each day, the storms that sped them on to whatever destination their bringer had in mind. But surely these storms — these tempests — could not last, and in a quiet or stolen moment, she would find herself cornered in some part of the ship by a crewman with too much drink and too little sense pushing him on. She would find herself at the end of his blade, her virtue forfeit, if not her life, and then all was lost.

Though perhaps Kincaid, the young tactical officer — the one they said spent his nights in the stormbringer’s bed — perhaps he…perhaps she could go to him for protection, or…but no, she would not do that. She would sooner die.

It gets away from me a little bit, especially near the end, as I rushed to fit all of the writing prompts into it. But I think there might be something here, and I had fun writing it at least.

And there were only a couple of crazy, hotrodding drivers on the parkway on the way back home.

That was basically my Sunday.