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Captain Karr arose early on the ship, awakening in the misty dawn. He stood; stretched. As he looked out a porthole and noted the calm water and still air, he knew it could only mean one thing: a storm was brewing. He began banging on doors, shouting at the crew, heading straight for the wheel.
Then there was thunder, which was soon followed by intrusive bolts of lightning. When the first cannon fired, and an oversized bullet tore through the bow of the vessel, there was a moment of complete silence. Karr shifted his eyes to the right. A tall, dark ship came slowly and silently toward them. Nobody moved, nobody breathed. There was no need to look at Karr’s face, for the clenching of both fists at his sides were enough warning to the crew. There was no longer only one storm, but two.
“Ready the cannons!” Half a dozen men scurried down the steps on the deck, collecting barrels, waiting for further instruction. This was not the first war, and Karr would be d*mned if it were the last. Grabbing rifles, weapons, a golden medallion that was the most valuable thing he owned, and a single rose he kept, that was still in full bloom, which was a reminder of who was waiting back home. Back where his life was, where he’d promised himself he’d return.
But the other ship was greater; stronger. There were many men, and from what Karr could see, they were all armed.
"No," he thought, "I will not die on this ship!"
He mustered up what strength he carried, holding onto the rose tightly, though the thorns punctured his palm. “More gunpowder! What are you all standing around for? We need more men on the cannons!” Captain Karr desperately and furiously sent demands to all members of the crew; each man was now in motion, fighting. The other ship fired, still. But Karr could tell they were pausing between each shot for a reason. They wanted to watch the ship go down slowly, as if they were all a piece of amusement; a toy!
Karr would not have any of this. Not while he was in charge of the ship. He looked at his feet, not once descending the stairs to the cannons. But he could not look his enemies in the face. And so he paced, planning. Finally, there was no sound. Nothing but the panting and gasping of men, listening, waiting. There was the creaking of the ship as it rocked.
Both storms had ceased. But still, it was too quiet. When he heard the clicking of boots on the wooden planks, he turned his head.
“Rose.” Her name, her face, her eyes, her soul, were all visible at the moment. Rose. His wife stood before him, completely, intensely beautiful. Her innocent eyes looked at his scraggly face, and his worn clothing.
But then her face changed, and Karr neglected to notice something: this was not the same Rose he had left. This Rose was a pirate. She stood, from head to toe, in unwashed, stained clothes, just like him. Her hair lay wild and untamed atop her shoulders. And her gun, her weapon, pointing at his heart, still could not make him see. He couldn’t see the new Rose, the woman that was not his wife. The woman that was unkind; evil. And he still couldn’t see when she barely whispered, “You left. And I will not ever forgive you.”
He shook his head, brows drawn together, eyes distant. “I was always going to go back for you. I would never truly leave you.” Rose let her guard down for a moment, almost believing. But then the hatred returned, and she regarded him accusingly.
“You left fifteen years ago. I waited, but no more. I have lived a pirate life. I have searched the seas for you. And now I’m going to do what I came here to do.”
The gun fired.
Captain Karr lay bleeding, fatally wounded, on the ship, as he watched Rose, his beautiful Rose, walk the plank right off his boat, jumping into the ferocious sea.
And he watched as his rose, crumpled by his side, drooped slowly, and finally lay still on the wooden surface, as he soon did the same.