I lay here alone in the stinking rat infested bowels of the ship. It is dark, dark as night, around me I see nothing of course, but I am free to move around the confines of my prison. My cell, if that is what it may be called, is only small. I suspect if I was to lay stretched out with both my toes and my fingers splayed as far as they could go I would not be able to touch the walls, but it would be close. When I crawl from wall too wall it takes but mere seconds until I can’t go any further. I cannot stand but I can kneel, however my tired legs no more want to hold my weight than they do run for safety.
If you have not already worked it out I am a prisoner aboard this ship.
What is her name?
I don’t know.
What is my name?
It has been so long since I heard it spoken I have forgotten it, but I wonder if you might remember me.
How did I get here?
Well, a life of piracy, even one spent at the top can always come crashing down.
What is my crime?
Being a pirate, and apparently a darn good one!
Who is my captor?
All I can tell is that under that dark, black hat he wears is an even darker face.
Where are we headed?
I wish I could tell.
I appear not to know very much, but what I seem to know is that there are no others aboard this ship like me. There is crew and while I have seen their faces and know they are not as black as the captain’s own I still could not recognise a single one of them, they are so unremarkable.
I am fed what I believe is twice a day. I’m not certain of that but I say it on the grounds that I am always hungrier when the meals arrive than I used to be when I was a free man. I see the sky, the clouds and the sea only once a day and to be honest it’s difficult to tell whether the sky I saw today was only a day older than the sky I last saw. I can only but assume that is the way things are happening because words are not a thing shared between myself or the crew and the captain his words are very select indeed.
The food I am subjected to down here is nothing short of gruel, in fact I hesitate to even credit it with that name. Its one and only purpose is to keep me alive, there is little sustenance in it, and as I have mentioned I am often hungry. The water they leave me tastes like a mix of sea water and something I care not to mention, but without it I would not be.
Stories of evil pirate crews drifted across the ocean from days even before I became a pirate, and long before I became a pirate captain. But not one of those stories does justice to what I am being subjected to on this here ship.
I have no other company in my cell. Did I already tell you this? Well I shall try not to rehash old wounds. There are rats that visit me from time to time but they are not company, they visit only to steal the scraps and portions of food I save myself for later. Several times one of those furry little critters has met its premature end because I felt it getting to close to my food. As to why such critters would choose to steal my food when they themselves taste better than anything delivered to me, astounds me.
Without my infrequent visits to the outer decks I know we have been at sea since my capture and incarceration. I know this because of the constant creaking and groaning of the surround boards. I may be thankful that there was a lack leaking boards this far below the surface of the water but let me tell you in all my years at sea I have never seen or heard a ship that chatters so much as it crashes through the waves.
You might think that my visits topside had something to do with being nice to their captive or even allowing them the chance to breath fresh air and stop them from going stir crazy. But alas if that was your thought you would be wrong, my blackened fiend of a captor had no such pleasant thoughts. No, his desire to see me upon the upper decks was purely one of slavery nothing more, nothing less.
I was a slave to his every whim. I had very little choice for if I didn’t obey his orders I would be lashed, thrashed and beaten until I conformed. My tasks, as mundane as the hours I spent in the darkness, ranged from swabbing the decks, to repairing the sails, to polishing the blackened captain’s blood stained boots.
Was I the only one committed to such a life of slavery? I don’t think so but in the hours I spent away from the pit that was my cell I saw not another soul like me. It seemed unlikely that such a large ship was maintained only by one poor incarcerated soul, but as I say I saw no other.
My slavery didn’t stop whence I was put back into my dingy cell either, for down there the slavery was mental, it would eat at my brain, twist my thoughts and would leave tortured images behind my lids every time I closed my eyes.
So that is my story, sad but true. It’s an abridged version with much of the horrific details removed from your delicate eyes but it is my story. As I sit here in the darkness I again wonder what I did to deserve such a life. Sure I have led the life of a pirate captain. Sure I have looted jewels, gems and gold to finance my life and sure I have taken the life of others, but were they not deserving of death? Does all that make me deserving of this hellish slavery I am subjected to?
Wait. What is that? I hear something. The ship is rocking, side to side as if caught in a side wash, but alas I feel this movement is not the result of the moving seas. What was that crash?
Previous Pirate story here.