The strange thing about what the Good Captain had just heard aboard his new ship was that until the story was concluded the Good Captain could not see the deformities the ghostly captain had spoken about. For sure he’d noticed something strange about the figure of the man sitting with his back against the main mast when he had arrived, he’d noticed deformities that he refused to focus on or acknowledge in case it offended the ghostly captain but the memory of those seemed to disappear into the darkness with the completion of the story.
Not only had those memories disappeared without a trace but they had been replaced, replaced with the image of a pirate with both his legs and his arms replaced with wooden stumps. The story about being struck twice by cannon balls that took off his legs and then being attacked by a Samurai Ninja who removed both his arms with a sword may have sounded far fetched to some but had they seen the sight that was before the Good Captain even the most harden, steadfast minds would have been changed.
The Good Captain didn’t know what to say to his ghostly counterpart at the completion of the story, nothing he could think of seemed to fit the situation. There was no point apologising, he had not caused the accidents, likewise there was no point offering any such condolences, the ghostly pirate did not need them. So instead of talking the Good Captain simply sat on the step between the decks, looked the ghostly pirate directly in the eyes and waited for him to speak.
For several minutes the man and the ghost sat in almost silence, the only sounds being that of the slightly breeze as it whistled quietly past the Good Pirate’s face and the water lapping at the hull of the smaller ship. Then without any sort of warning the silence was broken by the ghostly pirate’s voice.
“Despite losin’ both me arms ‘n both me legs,” the ghostly captain said into the dark, “I still had nah felt pain, nah real pain anyway.” There was a brief pause as if the ghostly captain was taking a breath, then he spoke again. “I didn’ feel that ’til several minutes aft I got me first hook fer a hand ‘n then I got meself an itchy eye.”
A large cackle of laughter filled the night air as the ghostly captain laughed at his own story. As soon as he heard the laughter the Good Captain allowed himself to laugh along with new ghostly friend. Whether the joke actually deserved it or not it he gave it a good hearty, belly aching type laugh, the kind of laugh that one needed to crouch over and hold their stomach for.
When the Good Captain realised he was laughing by himself he looked up and realised he was also alone on the ship. No dim light glowing around the mast. No wind moving across the deck, and no ghostly wise cracking pirate.
The Good Captain was not at all worried about the disappearance of his new ghostly friend, he wasn’t even surprised by it. His previous encounters with ghosts told him that it would happen at some point during their conversation, while his conversation with the man whom the unnamed bay was named after assured him that his first encounter with the ghostly captain would not be his last as long as he continued ownership of the old sloop.
After several moments of sitting alone on the deck of his new ship the Good Captain laid backwards, rested his head on the wooden deck and fell asleep. He lay that way until the sun’s first rays began to peak over the eastern horizon.
As the Good Captain rowed his way back to the Privateer he found himself singing quietly to the only other person aboard his small punt, himself. At first he didn’t realise he was doing it but once the realisation was made he began singing loud and proud as he each arm swung a paddle into the water.
“Wooden leg, wooden leg, wooden leg, I’ve got a wooden leg, wooden leg.
Wooden arm, wooden arm, wooden arm, I’ve got a wooden arm, wooden arm.”
Through breakfast and through out their time preparing for the day of sailing which was ahead of them the Good Captain couldn’t help but feel like he had a hangover. The sort of hang over that only came from very heavy drinking or more accurately the sort of hangover that came from drinking Buckfast Powersmash into the wee hours of the morning, followed by rum for breakfast and another keg of Buckfast Powersmash as a hair of the dog!
The problem with having such a hangover was that he knew for certain that not a tipple of alcohol had passed his lips the preceding evening, not before he’d paddled out to his small sloop and definitely not once he’d boarded her.
When the small fleet of three finally made sail for the day and exited the quiet bay in which they had spent the night, the Good Captain’s hangover had gotten worse. However by that time he’d had a chance to assess it, figure out what had caused it he also knew that there was nothing he could do to ease the pain. His only choice was to ride it out just like as a captain at sea he needed to ride a storm out no matter how rough things got. His single saving grace was that he knew if they made good sea miles during the day he’d be home with his fair maiden before the sun had fully set on the day.
Previous Pirate Story here.