The Niskala by Lexie Angelo

Lexie Angelo is a Canadian writer and poet. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Royal Roads University and completed a literary residency at The Banff Centre. She moved to Edinburgh to pursue her postgraduate degree in Creative Writing and is currently working on her debut novel.



The Niskala


I see it clearly now. I didn’t before. Stringy, matted black hair. Captain Willow. She snuck up on me. Ooooh I hate her eyes. I want to gouge them out with a spoon. Suck on the lenses and feel the tension of each orb explode between my teeth. I want her dead, dead, and dead again.

I mustn’t lose myself. I am a stowaway. Yes, that’s it. If I’m found, I’ll be dead before I see my Niskala again. I am sick for her. I would rather die at the bottom of the sea tethered to her weathered planks than live a thousand years without her. She knows I’m near. We are connected by blood and vein and sinew. I can taste this familiar sea. The weather is a witch’s brew of squid and rotten snails. The clouds are so thick I could eat them. But I want to eat those wicked beady eyes instead.

My crew is dead. I watched their limbs fall into heavy waves. No, you fool, they are putting up a good fight. Guns crack. Smoke curls into the mist.

“Kill as many as you can, Snake!”

“Orda, it’s twenty souls or the locker for you!”


“Save Captain Willow for me. I’ll slice off that fine head of hers. Her stringy black hair will make a fine wig for Pug.”

“You hear that Pug?”


“You’ll get new eyebrows from the hair I’ll be pulling out of my teeth.”

We’ll be at port soon, Niskala. Willow hung from the gibbet. A thousand more kegs of gunpowder, I’ll order. And haul more treasure from the sea. Curse you, Willow! My knife, if I had it, would be plunged ten inches through your back. The first snap of your spine will be the call to dinner. The second snap, the call for wine!

Someone is coming. They say I was captured. Lies! I am aboard a vessel now. I’m hidden under cotton, wheat and iron ore. Choking down rats, and urine and sea. I lost the Gunsway, the Merchant, and the Eastern Revenge. But I won’t lose you, Niskala. She snuck up on me. I thought she was the Greynest. The flags were green. Gannet shouted. “A Clipper! Three masts, a square rig, and forty gunners.” The wind turned easterly when the flags went black. I’ll eat your heart, Gannet. I’ll eat your heart for losing Niskala.

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