Chloe Bradshaw is 13. The previous installment of her pirate saga can be found here.
The man who stood before me was supposed to be dead, and yet he wasn’t.
“How?” I said in a gasp.
“I cannot answer that, for I don’t know either.”
“How old are you?”
“I have been around for about a century.”
“Have you ever died?” Mr Williams interrupted.
“Yes, once, …” Luke’s mind seemed to wander. “It was awful.”
My face must have betrayed a rush of sympathy toward him.
“Do not feel sorry for me, I have seen many things in my time.” He insisted.
“Yes, I’m sure you have but haven’t you ever wished that you could die?” I asked.
“Most of the time. However, I have learned to live with immortality. One has to, after a while.”
I wanted him to meet my crew, deciding to keep mum about his amazing abilities for a while.
Up the stairs we went, the steps creaking underfoot as they had before, seemingly a million years ago. I noticed that Luke’s feet made no sound, as though he was walking on air.
A stream of cold air sliced through me as we reached the top, I forgot how cold it was outside. I wrapped my arms around myself, as did Mr Williams, but Luke did not seem bothered by the coldness, he seemed as comfortable as though it was a warm summer’s night.
Jim and most of my beloved Father’s friends were huddled together, talking quietly. Mr Williams coughed and they all turned around.
“Who’s this?” Jim said, nodding at Luke.
“I am the owner of this ship.” Luke replied.
“Damn,” Jim’s quiet curse was carried to me by the wind.
“I have agreed to help with this boy’s quest to avenge his father’s life. Have you any problem with that?”
“No,” Jim said. Yet I could tell that those two were not going to get along very well.
“Luke is going to be in charge of the ship, considering it is his.” I said in the sternest voice I could muster.
“I am going to sleep,” I continued “And will take over my ship duties on the next shift”. I was hoping to get some rest, though with all that I had seen, it wasn’t entirely likely.
Luke followed me down and again his footsteps made no sound at all. The warm air swept over me again and I was thankful for it.
“There is a cabin near mine, the second biggest, if you would like it?” Luke told me.
“That person doesn’t like me does he?”
“Who? Jim? No I don’t think he does, then again he doesn’t really like new people. I am sure you will grow on him.” I doubted he would but it seemed to cheer him up.
Luke walked into his room to take the gas lamp from his stool. The pale glow was enough to illuminate the hall and some of the other cabins. I peered in them as we walked past, they were quite empty.
Luke took another gas lamp which was hanging on the wall inside the quarters next to his and lit it up. We walked inside and Luke set down the lamp on the stool. I looked around, taking in my surroundings.
There wasn’t much there to see, it was as bare as the rest of the hold. A hammock hung from the wall, a stool stood near the hammock. I walked up to the hammock and tried to climb in. I rested my hands in the bottom of and lifted myself up. I brought my leg around and placed my knee near my hand.
I tried to bring up my other knee but I lost control and fell, hitting my head on the floor in the process. Luke sniggered and helped me back to my feet.
“The same thing happened to me when I fist tried to get into a hammock, don’t worry you’ll get the hang of it.” Luke laughed.
When I was back on my feet I tried again and luckily made it. I lay back in the hammock and found it surprisingly comfortable. I never would have thought it to be so, but I was proven wrong. “Do you read?” Luke asked.
“No. I was never taught.”
“What a shame. Books are amazing, like entering another land through a piece of paper. You can lose yourself in a book.”
With that he turned his back and walked out, leaving me alone.
When a strong wave hit the ship the hammock would swing. I closed my eyes and, to the rhythm of the swining, tried to form pictures in my head to distract me from the nature of my quest. By that time, lying in my hammock eyes shut tight, I thought it was a ridiculous idea of mine, probably one of my worst – and that’s saying something!
I thought of Jay. I felt sorry for him, it was probably be hard on him: I could be driving him mad, I thought. I wished I could be at my house, safe in my bed.
But alas, my wishes could never come true, for it is impossible to change time. My wishes meant nothing.
I finally managed to get to a restless sleep. When I awoke, I was hungry. I went up. I saw Luke with his hands on the beautifully carved wheel of the ship. I walked over to him, rubbing my hands together to make them warm.
“Luke?” I said.
“Yes,” he replied in a far away voice, whilst looking at the sea. It was a picture to behold. The sun was starting to come up and it was sending ripples of light sparkling across the water. There was a line of white on the horizon where the distant clouds huddled together. I walked right to the edge of the ship using only touch to direct myself for I could not peel my eyes away from the sea.
I could see the large fish and seaweed which floated around without neither aim nor care. I looked up into the sky which was the same colour as the sea.
“Wonderful is it not?” I turned around and saw Luke standing next to me. How can he move so silently? I wondered.
“Have you got any food?” I asked.
“I do not take food aboard the ship unless I sail.”
“Damn,” I said whilst I closed my eyes and hit my head with my hand. I secretly wondered if he even needed to eat, but did not tell him. “Supplies. We had been planning to steal a ship that was stocked.”
“We better turn around then.” He said.
“Aye I suppose you’re right.”
I walked of in search for Mr Williams and Jim. I found them down in the hold.
Between us we had few supplies, and the ship needed to be turned around if we were to make it out in the open sea.
The wind crept up as land appeared on the horizon. More clouds rolled in, forming a dark sky. I began to get nervous, but calmed down when I saw Luke standing at the wheel, looking quite composed.
The breeze turned to a forceful current of air. A deafening thunder rolled among the clouds.
“This can’t be good.” I mumbled. Inevitably a flash of lightning formed after the rumble had ceased. Rain plummeted down upon the ship like bullets from a gun.
I was soaked by the time the second flash of lightning came. I looked over to Luke and he had a determined face, the rain, neither thunder nor lightning made him flinch. In a few minutes the sky was black; hardly any light penetrated its tough surface. It was as though night was upon us already.
I was growing really scared by that time. Nothing had gone according to plan. When I stet foot on the ship many things shot through my head, but this had never crossed my mind. I knew then and there that I wouldn’t get through this; I thought the only person who would survive this would be Luke, for he can’t die anyway.
I never would have thought that a miracle would help me out with my quest.
Thanks to the wind blowing in the direction in which we wanted to go, land wasn’t far in front of us. The bad news was that the closer we got to land, the closer lightning struck to us and the heavier the rain become. The electricity travelled through the air, lighting everything up with a beautiful but deadly strike. On land, whenever a storm was brewing I always stayed inside – I didn’t like getting wet – it was the first time in a middle of a storm.
The ship shook, the wind and rain become heavier, people were throwing up all around me, thunder rolled like hammering against an unbreakable wall, but it was the lightning that frightened me the most. It was edging closer to us every second. I remember praying to the gods – who I didn’t even believe existed – to help us out and stop the storm.
It was silent for a moment, no thunder, the rain stopped pounding and became a light drizzle. At the time I thought that my prayers were answered. I looked up into the sky not caring that a few droplets of rain splashed into my eyes. I stared up into the sky. The clouds were still as black as death. However lighting did not flash. I sat down and let out a sigh.
“Thank god,” I whispered.
I looked down at my hands. They were shaking and I silently told them to stop, but they wouldn’t listen.
I was sitting like that for a while, but in a single moment, my blood turned to ice as thunder rolled in again and rain shot down from the sky. Lightning lit up and, in a brilliant streak, struck the ship. Despite being wet, the ship caught on fire, as if it was cursed. For my part, I cursed everything that was wrong with the world.
We all rushed to the edge of the ship and looked down into the sea.
I made my decision quickly. I jumped into the unforgiving sea. I can’t tell you what was going through my head at the time, only that the sea was freezing. My blood could not keep me warm.
To be continued