Love Among the Particles by Norman Lock

In an instant, I am standing outside the captain's cabin. The captain's mother sits before the door, her stony face inclined toward the wool in her lap.

Click, click, click is all the sound there is: that which her steel needles make as they tease the wool into a lengthening cable. Not tease, torment. She has made a black cable with them, which stretches from an inexhaustible skein into the darkness at the end of the passage.

"I've come to wake the captain," I tell her.

"The captain must not be wakened," she replies, without dropping a stitch. "You must know by now that it is in sleep that the ship moves and the cable is laid."

"But the ship does not move!" I cry. "And the cable is severed!"