A Pirate Tale Without a Name

December 15, 2009
By , Millbrae, CA
I sat along the bow, and as the waves licked the figurehead, the drops running down along her eyes gave the impression she was crying. I had heard stories when she was young, that a spirit of a woman lost at sea was trapped inside the statue. They say she longs to return to her home so her spirit can rest in the earth. And that as long as she is trapped inside the ship, she will lead us towards certain death. The Captain had named her Morgana, after a girl that had done him wrong. I later asked the Captain why he keeps it aboard. He said he embraced death and

“If ever there were a gale so burly, a ship so fearsome, or a scoundrel so ruthless that he could take the life of me, I have not yet met them”. To this, the crew raised their mugs and let out cry so loud it stirred Polyphemus from his cave. And they drank till they ran out of yo-hos. That day was a festive one as we had pillaged a town to its last barrel. We had meat and chicken aplenty and had filled our cups with rum and fine wine. There was something special we had carried aboard that day; something that would change the rest of my days as a pirate. And the day started with me at the bow gazing into Morgana’s crying eyes.

SPLASH! I coughed and choked on salty water that disturbed my dream.

“Fallin asleep during yer duties again? That’ll earn ye twenty lashes on the back” Thomas said, holding an empty bucket.

“Not if I kill you first!” I yelled as I lunged at him with my sword. He was quick and threw the bucket in the way so that it was pierced by my thirsty blade. He drew his weapon and came at me as I parried. Kicking the bucket off, we circled swords at the ready waiting for a sudden move.

“I swear I’ll have your throat this time”

“Good luck” I said swinging my sword low and high. We went back and forth; block, parry, dodge, stab. Our swords sang with every hit. Then we both attacked, both hands on our swords, pushing our faces against them until we could see our own reflections.

“Get yer butts back to work, or I’ll stick the both of ya” shouted the First-Mate John from the deck. We sheathed our blades.

“Yer a lucky brother, if Johnny hadn’t called us out, I woulda’ slit your throat”

“You’re just lucky I was still groggy”

“LAND HO!” shouted Charlie from the crow’s nest. We raced to the rail and looked out port. There we saw our first sighting of land in months.
“At least yer a better navigator then ya are a fighter” said Thomas looking out into the horizon. A lighthouse was all we could see, but we knew that we would eat well tonight.

We waited till sunset to begin our raid. Every breath was filled with anticipation. The wait only made us more dangerous. It gave us time to organize our thoughts, clear our minds. Energy collected in our legs and our arms and our voices waiting to explode, each in its own way, but with the same fury. We dropped anchor and readied the boats. Men armed themselves to the teeth. We knew some would not come back. We were soldiers off to war, and they were the ones starting it. When night fell and the lights were out, we all rallied on the deck for cheer. The Captain stood in the center with the men gathered round. The Captain drew his sword and sang
“When on the road to sweet Athy,”
The crew responded “Huroo! Huroo!”
“When on the road to sweet Athy,”
“Huroo! Huroo!”
“When on the road to sweet Athy, a stick in the ‘and, a drop in the eye. A doleful damsel I did cry,” Everyone sang
“Johnny I ‘ardly knew ya!” We shouted a cry that rang into the night, as if to warn the town of its impending doom.
The men boarded the boats and were one by one lowered into the water. Detached from the boat, the waves took hold of them as they glided inland. I stayed behind as I always did. I had gone out to pillage once, after that I had never gone back. I had seen a side of my shipmates I had never seen before. The ruthless killing, the unnecessary violence, was too much for me. I always thought about how never such a thing I would do to my shipmates, then why to another person? I stayed inside my cabin or stayed with the Captain who stayed behind along with a few of the crew who were needed to watch the boat. This was my time to be alone. I would inspect the maps which only the Captain and I had authority to look at. I also had time to read. I enjoyed it more than anything, and on certain occasions I would read to the Captain. He enjoyed stories such as Robinson Crusoe and some stories from the Bible such as Jonah and the Whale. I would always tell Thomas to keep an eye out for any books while he was out there. I especially didn’t want them to end up as kindling.
This occasion was very different from the other pillages. It was two in the morning when we heard a crew member shout that the boats were back. They carried with them rum and meat and booty beyond measure. The Captain walked out to examine the day’s haul. It was when the third boat arrived that our hearts sank. First-Mate Johnny was carried aboard arms limp and face to the side.
“Found ‘em lyin’ in the street. Bullet to ‘is ‘eart” The blood coated his stripped shirt and dripped onto the floor. The Captain sighed before walking up to him and closing his eyes.
“Poor soul that Johnny; ‘e was a great sailor. ‘e will be remembered for his courage and bravery” the Captain turned towards the loot “‘url ‘im off the boat”. The three crew members walked towards the back of the boat and chucked him off the side. A true pirate’s burial.
“You men are the finest crew a cap’n could ask fer. Now keep ‘aulin’ the boats!”
“Cap’n we ‘ave somethin you might wanna see” The Captain turned to the boat and saw Thomas carrying a large object covered in nice, white cloth. As he stepped onto the deck I realized it was a woman, bound and blindfolded. She had golden hair and fair skin, like no other woman I had ever seen. She wasn’t untied, but you can tell she was beautiful.
“‘ello Cap’n. Would you like a look of what I got ‘ere?” said Thomas placing his prize down. She writhed on the deck like a fish out of water.
“Oh would you look at that” he bent down and removed her blindfold. “What a pretty young thing” he grabbed her face and scanning every crease, every pore, every look of terror, every furrowed eyebrow. “You got a name?” he pulled down the clothe covering her mouth, and she spit in his face. “She’s a feisty one,” he said whipping his face “that’s not somethin’ I admire”. He kicked her and she fell over with a whimper.
“Oy, careful! Jus’ cause she don’t suit yer fancy, don’t mean I don’t want ‘er” said Thomas setting her back up. The crew made a collective noise. “Thas right, she’s mine” he drew his sword and pointed at the crowd. “An’ if I see any of you blokes even look at ‘er, I’ll cut you where you stand”.
“A fine job takin’ hold of this riled bunch, First-Mate Thomas” said the Captain walking back to his cabin. Thomas held his chest high with pride for his new status and bounty. A silence came over the ship as borders were drawn, something pirates weren’t accustomed to following.
She was quiet after that. She never said her name, never asked for food, never complained, never. Thomas didn’t let this bother him though, every night he would retire to the chamber where he kept her. No one went in, no one went out. We would see him in the morning fresh and ready for the day’s labor. The crew grew jealous of the luxury my brother relished, and it wouldn’t be long before the hungry lion sprang on its prey.

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