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The Sunken Skull
Merrick Jacoby sat relaxed with his feet propped up against the wooden bartender’s counter. Next to him sat four other men, all of which Merrick could name; not that he knew any of them personally, nor did he desire to. Each man who sat comfortably at the bar was known by either one of two things; For being savage or not. Of which category Merrick fell into, he knew not, but none the less, he was seen as one of the most recognizable men there. To earn such a reputation in that particular bar costed a lifetime of adventure and treachery. Merrick could heartily fulfill both of those items.
To Merrick Jacoby, tonight was no different than any other. He ordered his usual lot of liquor, sat firmly at his stool, and ignored all who spoke to him. What reason would they have to speak to him? Why should they? He was no different than any bloke at the confounded bar, save the fact he had escaped the grasp of privateers numerous times when most of the sailors in this bar would have found their destiny at the end of a noose. He had escaped before, and believed he could do so again, if he truly need too, but with the white hairs multiplying in his thick red beard, he was off the salty voids for much longer than he usually was, and with that, he became quite fond of sharing his stories over a drink and music.
Merrick slammed the metal cup forcefully onto the wooden counter, and stretched his arms wide behind him. Ruffling his hair, he swirled around from the stool and began a slow limping walk to the fireplace where numerous other men were sitting and pouring liquids into their craterous mouths. The fireplace was settled in a rectangular wall, completely chiseled from brick, and above it were heads of boars or other wild beasts that guests had brought here as their gains. His slow limp brought him to a halt as he glared over the drinking fellows and scoured for a seat. After locating one next to a half bald fellow who was missing a chunk out of his rubbery nose, Merrick collapsed into the cushioned chair, sinking in and refusing move.
All the men who sat around the fire set their mugs and bottles onto their laps, and sat forwards to Merrick. He almost immediately knew what they were thinking and decided it couldn't do him any harm to satisfy, but he preferred to keep his mouth shut until asked further upon by one of his fellow audience members, and with his reputation, it didn't take long for one to ask for a tale of his.
“So ya blunderin’ lot wish to have anotter’ tale, now dontcha’.” Blurted Merrick in between a few of his bubbly hiccups. There were a few cheers and whoops after, and Merrick decided it was best not to tell a tale that would disappoint, and as most of the bar knew, the was hardly ever a tale that disappointed, especially since most of them were spiced up with the aging pirate’s legends. There were tales of mermaids, sirens, and ancient curses, tales most children would've been told before a night of sleeping. But none the less, no matter where the twists and turns of Old Merrick Jacoby’s tales went, there was never a man, no matter how brave, who wasn't on the edge of their seats. Merrick lived for that.
“Tell the one where ya cut the throat of Ol’ Man Lizard!” Blared a voice from behind the counter. “Oi! You've gone an’ told that one to every blasted bloke ere’ a million times! What's about you tell the one of how you met Glynn!” Responded some old fellow in the corner. “Glynn? The monkey?!” Replied the man from behind the counter. “Gack, No ye blunder-jaw-knawin’ piece of cabbage! Gloria Glynn!” There were a few laughs in response to the old man in the corner. “Ya confused lot, ye all. I don't speak of Gloria, no more. I don't speak of females no more! The wussy land lubbing chatterboxes. There ain't a brave soul in the wild lot of ‘em” Merrick remarked, also followed by a hearty applause. He crossed his legs and leant forwards. “Whadabout’ I tell y'all a new tale you confounded lot, all yeh.”
“Aye, that'll about do it!” Yelled the man from the corner, and there was a hearty agreement from the crowd.
“Aye then! It was 1654, 14 years ago, back when the water still glistened even when ya poured a rusty bucket of chum in it to wake the Sharks…
Merrick Jacoby stood shakily on the rounded crows nest of the “Sunken Skull”, holding a gold plated telescope up to one of his wildly green eyes. The strong wind was a constant battle at such the elevation. Below him, a hundred other men labored their worth in salt, and further away in any direction, was the vast space of the Indian Ocean. As beautiful as it was, nothing was different. The waves danced in their constantly changing performance, and the “Sunken Skull” balanced up and down with them. Merrick Jacoby’s job was important when followed, but otherwise, it was relentlessly dull. A rest from his duty surely would do him no harm, so he leaned against the pole bearing the usual flag of a skull being drowned in water.
Merrick whipped out a small carving knife with a leather grip, and beneath the leather was an ivory handle, in which a salty and rusted blade emerged from. There was hardly ever loose wood aboard the ship, and what wood there was was usually used for repairs or fire. Merrick had no idea why he had brought the knife out from his pocket, only other than to fiddle with it. He would toss it into the air, and catch it as it flipped towards him, and other times, he would swivel it around his long and grimy fingers. The crow's nest was small and hardly enough room for him, so whatever he did, was small in movement, so sitting was the only other position then standing. So, Merrick sat, cradling his knife…until the boat jolted forwards sending him face first into the cage of the crows nest, and his knife slicing the top of his hand.
Merrick hardly had anytime to regret the injury. He glanced down below, clutching his hand. Beneath him, some of the crew lay struggling on the deck, and others balancing on the poles. Some had even fallen into the cold water. The captain marched across the deck, looking extremely disheveled. “Alright ya blasted bunch of carcass! Who’s the door hinged mouth of a man who let loose the anchor?!” Yelled the Captain so loud, that Merrick could clearly make out every word said. A man whom looked perhaps 5 years younger than Merrick himself sputtered out “capn’, I'm the anchorman sir. I ‘aven’t let no anchor down sir.” The captain looked around at his gathered crew. “Really? You ought to tell me the-” he was abruptly interrupted by yelling from outside the ship. Three men ran over to the edge and looked down, and turned around, white as the clouds in the sky. All the men who had turned around, attempted to speak, but all incapable. The captain yelled at them “Well what is it ya bunch of blasted salt bags?!” The man in the middle sputtered out his last words to the crew. “K-K-KRAKEN!!!!!”
Merrick's heart immediately dropped straight down to his feet. He had to get out. Below him, everyone ran like ants whose hill was just squashed. The ship began to rock insanely, and Merrick was almost tossed out of the crows nest, had it not been for him stabbing his knife into the wooden boards of the railing. Around the ship, shot out four ginormous tentacles, framed with barnacles and slime sliding down. They didn't move. The just went up. Straight towards the hanging Merrick. Merrick gasped for air to pay for the blood curdling yell of pre-agony he was feeling. The soaring arms moved continuously, but then abruptly swung to their sides and rammed straight into the masts, breaking the wood that held up the crowsnest, sending Merrick flying, and off onto the stern. He could feel the wood bending beneath him as he landing, surely cracking something in his back.
Merrick tried to get up, but the pain in his back wouldn't let him. This was not good. This was as bad as bad could possibly get. The mast had landed in the center of the boat, creating a hole straight down into the second deck, and possibly even the third. If thing could get any worse, than the side poles could have breached the bottom of the ship. Merrick could only see above him, and didn't know what was happening in front or behind him. Only above. And what was happening above him, was terrifying enough, that it was almost impossible to imagine was was going on on the deck.
He could see four more tentacles joining the previous arms, and all of the arms, in unison, swung down. Down. Down. Down. Down into the center of the boat, splitting it into two parts, both in which were slanting downwards and into the water.
All the barrels, all the food, weapons… All the crew began sliding downwards and to the watery void, screaming and yelling, grasping for anything to expand their life's for a few seconds at most. Merrick felt it too now. He was helplessly sliding to his fate...until wham! His feet landed limply onto the wheel, working as a floor, and the deck, now wall for him to lean his burning back onto, and as the two sides of the ship began to have decks parallel to each other, he stood straight on the steering wheel, facing the opposite side of the deck.
“So that's the story of how I got my limp, and that scar you have ain't even cared to notice.” Finished Merrick to his awestruck audience. Each of the previously brave men waited for Merrick to continue his tale, but after a few quiet minutes of torture, the old man from the corner blurted out, “yer’d be a blasted woman to believe in that darned tale. Where'd ya get that bewildering… “Tale” of… Enchantment? How'd ya explain he servivin’ it then, if yer back hurt so much? Tell me that, and then, I give a shillings worth of your thoughts Mr Jacoby.” Merrick closed his eyes to briefly recover from this truly painful remark “I'd reconsider your logic skills, lad. I'll give you a shilling, actually, when you give me the answer.” Said Merrick, glaring at the old fellow in the corner.