(Had a little fun with the pirate dictionary)
“Get over her, yarr rat swinging slop stain!” Captain Mae ‘Comodore Chops’ shouted over the whipping wind. She was a swashbuckling queen of the seas with unruly hair that danced in the breeze and a habit of abandoning her tricorn hat in odd places. She pulled the tangles back into one hand to get a clearer view of the deck.
Errol ‘the Jolly Brute’ limped across the stained deck with a frown akin to a mighty croc’s. He spit at Rattly Wade before climbing the stairs and facing Captain Mae.
“What do ye want?” he snarled.
“Lock yer fire up for a brawl,” she said with a warning glance. Errol harrumphed but followed Captain Mae’s order while she leaned over the rail and looked out at the water colored crimson by the setting sun, still holding her hair. “And no need to spit at Rattly, ye might not see the light o’ day when he runs out of patience for yer carousin’.”
Errol harrumphed again but joined Captain Mae by the rail.
She sighed and cast her troubled gaze at her first mate. “Early this morn’ I saw the albatross.”
“All me duty to ye, Cap’n but a great deal o’ trust you put in that scurvy lagger.”
With lightning speed, Captain May unsheathed her sword and held it to Errol’s throat, “Shut yer traphole, yarr crutch hopping gibbet dangler. Did ye forget about the Terror of Rogue’s Haven?”
Errol shook his head but didn’t retreat from the jagged tip.
“Good,” reluctantly, Captain May lowered her sword as her hair thrashed about in the ever-present wind. After a prolonged pause, she continued. “The bush did got start on fire at the Swiller’s place, I may tell ye plainly.”
Errol swallowed with a scowl, remnants of a challenge still present in his hard features. Nobody liked to talk about the bushfire or what it entailed for The Wandering Doom or her crew.
“Don’t cast yer doubt at me, I wouldn’t’a started if I weren’t truly sure of it this time,” Captain Mae said perceiving Errol’s uncertainty. “The bush burned and we both know what that means, aye?”
Errol met her adamant gaze and imparted his agreement with a clipped ‘aye’.
“And that bilge rat Swiller also knows,” she muttered, tightening her grip on the sword’s hilt.
A slippery silence of acknowledgement greased the salty air as the pair of them watched the murky water swallow the sun. The shifting darkness settled upon the sea and with darkness came the rowdy howling of the crew. Captain Mae glanced down at the main deck, seeming to come to a conclusion.
“Arouse Oates, we need his help ter come about,” she said and headed down to the main deck. The crew noticed the unsettling air around their captain and soon there was silence on the deck. “Listen, ye gentlemen o’ fortune,” she said. “We be about to face a time o’ mighty trouble. The bush at the Swiller’s burnt down.” A collective groan pierced the air at the news. “Avast!” she ordered. “There be no time for lily-livered complainin’, belay your carousing and haul wind smartly, ye scallywags. Let’s come about.”
While the crew was getting the ship on course towards Seal Beach, where Swiller’s place was, Captain Mae whistled a request to the winds to change their direction and aid them in their journey, but nothing happened; the winds did not obey. Unease at at her, she had hoped it would work. Although she had noticed that the winds had lost their familiar compliance to her, Captain Mae never thought she’d lose her control completely. This would be a problem, without the winds there was only a slim possibility that they would reach the Seal Beach in time. And failure was inconceivable.
A dangerous idea laced through her thoughts, it was something she had only read about in the diary: to gain the winds’ favor for this journey, a female had to sing a treacherous tune shrouded in the uncharted desires of men- she needed the song of the sirens. But with that came the danger of risking her crew’s life.
Did they really need the winds to get them there in time or was her crew enough? She didn’t want to attempt such a dangerous task without the absolute certainty of its necessity. The diary had forewarned that if the bush were to burn down, there were only three days to reach the site. She hurried to her cabin and scavenged the drawers for a map, a compass, and a clock. After conducting painfully intricate calculations, Captain Mae exited the cabin with a pained expression and found Errol by the wheel.
“Rattly, take over the wheel,” she called to the man who was following her up to the foredeck. He scurried over to the wheel but Errol stopped him with a deathly glare. “Errol,” she called.
“What do ye need now?” He growled, stomping over to her. Lightning split the sky much like an cruel scar split Errol’s face.
“The wind won’t obey no more,” she said. No one could know about it yet.
Errol inhaled and looked up at the angry sky then back at his captain. “Do what ye have to, Cap’n.”
Captain Mae tensed her jaw and glanced over every crew member; some of them she might not see again.
“Gather’em all and lead them to the hold. I will lock ye up.”
Errol shouted the orders to the men, his gravelly voice carrying over the thundering beat. Captain Mae ignored her crew’s fearful looks as realization dawned on them. Yet none protested as the twenty seven of them lumbered into the hold or as the rusty lock clicked into place.
Once on the foredeck, Captain Mae silently asked for forgiveness and then closed her eyes racking her soul for the melody embedded in it. She felt around the jagged edges, probing the silvery liquid before immersing herself in it: a freezing sensation enveloped her and then a delicate song broke out. It wasn’t just a song but an omnipresent being, hungry for desire, it slowly engulfed the ship searching for victims. Surely enough, it found its target. Captain Mae felt how it drove her crew to the brinks of insanity but she didn’t stop for she also felt something else: the wind. It was a gentle caress at first but gradually it increased, viciously guiding the ship towards the destination. She struggled to keep singing as her throat frosted over with the silver liquid. Just a little more…
And then she saw it, a bean-sized speck of land. This was the Seal Beach and it grew in size at an unbelievable speed until she realized that she had not stopped singing. Avast, she thought. But no matter how hard she struggled against the silver liquid, it pulled her deeper into its depth. She was paralyzed by the cold and she was drowning and she could not stop. A sharp sound set the frigid liquid on fire and encompassed Captain Mae in protective warmth. As she opened her eyes, she saw the albatross nestled on the wheel and behind it, she saw Swiller’s place and, as expected, no bush. With a shaky breath, she reached for the albatross but her hands passed through air. The albatross had disappeared.
Remembering her crew, Captain Mae rushed to unlock them, praying they were alright.
She grabbed the lock and undid it with trembling hands, it dropped and the moss covered latch opened with a creak. Errol came out and pushed Captain Mae out of the way as the rest of the crew slowly tumbled out.
“Why did you stop, Cap’n?” Paddy “Lazyjacks” drawled with a howling laugh. The crew roared with a laugh; but some of them, including Errol, avoided looking at her.
“Shut yer flap, yarr cutlass flappin’ landlubber or ye be locked in here for a lifetime and a day,” Captain Mae snarled indignantly but that seemed to accomplish nothing. “Nor won’t be allowed a single wench.”
That sobered some of the crew up.
“Shiver me timbers, we be at Seal Beach,” Paddy mumbled, in an attempt to shift Captain Mae’s attention from the matter at hand.
He was right. Now came the unpleasant part.
More to come? It remains to be seen.
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