The previous installment of Chloe Bradshaw’s pirate saga can be found here.
Floating in the sea I looked around in search for the other members of my doomed crew.
I couldn’t see through the sheet of rain. I did manage to glimpse Mr Williams’ figure, head bobbing up and down over the waves. With the last ounce of strength I had I swam towards him. When I arrived, he looked in pretty bad shape
He couldn’t stay afloat and I couldn’t keep him at the surface. Tears came to my eyes. I still feel responsible for his death, and as I am writing this, the same tears are forming again. I couldn’t save no matter how much I wanted to. He looked at me, eyes wide with fear. His expression froze before he sank to the sea bed.
I glanced around in hope that I would see someone else. Alas, no one was in sight. I looked around desperately once more, before I started to swim towards Long Ships. The water was freezing and my heartbeat was slowing. I was running out of hope.
The rain was still pounding and the storm still taunting. I wasn’t that far away from Long Ships, when I realized I couldn’t go any further. It was painful when I breathed in, like someone was pounding upon my ribcage with fists of steel.
My eyes were shutting. I felt numb, the coldness didn’t reach me now. I wasn’t in pain just awfully tired. I stopped panicking, there was no point. I let my eyes close and the current took me.
I can’t tell you what happened between dying in the sea and awaking, for I don’t know myself. It just went black and I felt myself spiralling.
I awoke on a large rock. The rain had stopped. The dark clouds had disappeared, showing the world a clear blue sky. I sat up and fell back instantly. My head felt as though it wasn’t attached to anything, like a piece of air. I brought my hands up to my head and rested them over my eyes.
“Finally awoken, I see, ” I heard someone say. I raised my head and saw Luke slouched, back against a piece of rock which was jutting into the air.
“What happened? I thought I was dead. And where were you?” I asked.
“You are dead and I was scanning the sea looking for you.”
I stared at him. The news hit me hard. How could I be dead?
“You’re dead because you died.” Luke said. It seemed as though he was answering my question, though I hadn’t said it out loud. How did he do that?
“I can read minds.”
“Amazing,” I gasped. “When did I die and how come I am alive now?”
“You died when you were in the sea and you are still dead, you are not alive, but merely a shadow of your former self. You will still think like you once did, look, talk and see, but you are not alive.” Luke explained.
“So I’m like you?”
“It’s the only explanation.” I stood up and walked over to him. I looked back to where I was laying and saw myself lying there. Face ashen, expressionless and still, not breathing not moving, still.
“That is your dead body.” Luke informed me.
“This is too strange. This can’t be happening.”
“I assure you it is, the same thing happened to me, you will become used to it in time.”
“What if I don’t want to be used to it?”
“That isn’t your decision.”
I looked at my hands, they were exactly the same as they always were, with a few scars which I got from the sharp knives at the butchers but otherwise unharmed. I heard a call from a bird and looked into the sky: the bird turned in circles, looped, and hovered just above the surface of the water before plummeting down into it.
I walked over to Luke and slumped down beside him.
“Now what?” I asked.
“Go back to Land’s End, get a new ship and crew, and head out again.” He stared at me for a while. “Are you alright?”
“Are the others dead?” I inquired, recalling seeing Mr. Williams drown.
“I’m afraid so.” It was the answer I was both expecting and fearing.
I looked around at the treacherous sea and cursed it. I recalled my crew’s oath; they said they would die to help me, but I instantly wished that they hadn’t.
“Don’t feel that way.” Luke said.
“Don’t tell me how to feel and stop reading my thoughts!” I snapped. He looked hurt.
“I’m sorry. It just all a big shock.”
“I understand.” Luke said. “And I won’t read your thoughts if you don’t want me to.”
“Why am I here and not them?” I complained. “It’s not fair.”
“You have a score to settle.”
“When I have settled my score will I be able to die?”
“I don’t think so, it never happened to me.”
We lapsed into silence, staring off into the distance. I could see land from where I was sitting; I could make out small figures carting things around. The masts of the ships were up in the port. I felt a sudden yearning to go home, to see Jay and tell him what had happened.
“Can we go back to land?” I asked.
“If you wish to, I’m with you.”
“Thank you, it means a lot to me.”
“How do we go back?”
“Wouldn’t it be cold?”
“Are you cold now?”
“Don’t you think you should be cold?”
“Yes.” At this point, I was bemused by the situation.
“You won’t ever feel the cold or warmth again; it will be like this all the time.” Luke explained.
“Tell me when you are ready to leave.”
“Could I sleep first?” I wanted to clear my head.
I closed my eyes and listened to the sounds of the sea splashing the rocks. I heard the seagulls cawing. I thought of home, in those days when my Father was alive and it was just us three, when I did not fully understand the hatred people carry.
I would give my arm and leg to have that time back, even now as I write this, centuries on, in the year 2008, I still wish I could go back there and hide. Children do not realise how easy they have it, for they do not know much about the world. Some say knowledge is power, but sometimes it is best not to know life to its full extent.
As I sat there slouched up against the rock I felt a strange sensation. I could see the butchers’ shop back at home. I held a carving knife in my hands. I heard people talking to me, I answered back, and handed them their meat. It wasn’t a dream, I knew that much. I looked at the hand which was holding the knife and saw a scar. It was near the centre of my hand. The scar was a long deep line.
It wasn’t my scar, it was my brother’s. I remember when he got the cut that resulted in that scar, the blood and the screams. He slipped whilst carrying a piece of wood, which had a nail sticking out of it. The nail penetrated his hand and slid horizontally through his skin.
At first, I was bewildered, but then concluded that at this point, anything was possible. So I watched Jay through his own eyes, getting on with his work. I momentarily became Jay.
“How long has Jace been gone for?” The butcher asked my brother.
“Two days.” He answered.
“Do you miss him?”
Jay looked down to show that he did not want to carry on with the conversation; the butcher saw this and walked away. Jay looked out the window and sighed. I could feel how hard it was on him, he had lost Father, and now he had lost me. I could feel his pain.
I felt relief that he had not given up and was till trying as hard as he could to get on with his life. I was proud of him. I opened my eyes wishing more than ever to be reunited with him.
To be continued…