The idea for this story came from one of my favorite pastimes, listening the Aaron Mahnke’s Lore podcast. Specifically, episode 122: The Shortest Straw. In this episode, Mahnke details various acts of cannibalism throughout history, including the saga of the English yacht “The Mignonette.” I was fascinated by what it might feel like to be in the position that eating someone you know might keep you alive long enough to get back to your family.
That said, the story didn’t come easily. I wrote it once, didn’t like it, let it sit for a long time, revisited it and liked it more than I remembered, rewrote it, let it sit, did an edit, etc. The reason for that was twofold:
- Whose perspective should the story take? A crew members? The person being eaten? Someone doing the eating?
- What tone should the story take? Horrific? Regretful? Melancholic?
Ultimately, I settled on the Captain making a horrific and melancholic decision to sacrifice himself for his crew. Part of me feels like I should have played into the horror aspects of the act more, but I also suspect that’s because I’m on a horror kick in my reading life. I think the approach I take in this story is the more interesting, human one, and better for me as a writer.
What do you think? Would you have liked to see it written differently? Let me know in the comments.