Black LuckThree weeks in, we start on the horses. They buy us eight, maybe ten days. Then Captain makes us draw chits. Anyone shirks, he volunteers. No one shirks. The black chit puts up a fight, but he's too weak to change our minds. Brassy Bill did a stint swinging a hammer in a slaughterhouse before signing on with us, so he does the thing. Quick, but not neat.
Sorry if this critique gets a little rambly or tangent-y. Normally I'd write this in chronological order and highlight what I think works and what doesn't, but my brain is all over the place right now and I'm just going to type things as they come to me.
So, first. Why doesn't this guy have a name?
Second. I love your hook! So, great response to the prompt.
I love that the whole first paragraph implies what terrible thing is going on with subtlety; horror requires understatement. It also gives the impression that the narrator is in shock, or at least in a place where he's becoming numb to the whole experience. Great way to set the mood.
Third. But then, when his attitude changes, when events become more hopeful, why doesn't his speech change? It doesn't have to be a dramatic change. He still speaks in fragments, giving few details, even about important things, like the coin.
Especially at the end, it feels a bit rushed, like he's "telling" the epilogue instead of experiencing it.
Fourth. Some of the details/images you create are really great, though! It's over in a few minutes, not so much a fight as two or three mushy thumps, then a body hitting the deck, then sounds I'd rather forget. I can hear them.
Fifth. I find a dead seagull. Lucky, no one else has seen it. The word "lucky" really bothers me in this sentence. Maybe because we are already being shown that the coin is lucky, we don't need the guy to state it.
Sixth. The overall arc of the story is very solid. To quote `raspil, "Start with drama, end with change." You did that, and it never seemed to stall out or take any unnecessary turns. The story as a whole is a really engaging read.
That's it. That's all my brain can think of right now. Sorry this was so short and weird. Four stars for everything because I hate the star ratings and this is pretty good.