“Where are ye takin’ me?” I ask the man who appears to know me and goes by the name of Captain Bildgepoole.
This man has called me Captain Blackscuttle but the name rings no more bells than anything else I have been told. He’s told me I once led a crew of pirates who held me in the sort of regard few pirate captains could hope for. He said I knew right from wrong and when to cross any line that needed crossing. But perhaps the harshest words of his to hear the ones where he said I disappeared without a trace. How is that even possible in this, the golden age of piracy?
“As I said afore Captain Blackscuttle, we be headed t’ th’ Revenge. Th’ ship I command, wit’ th’ crew I cap’n. Ye be safe now but we ‘ave t’ move.”
I have to believe him, not just because he claims to know me but because he is nothing like the blackest bastard of a captain whom held me captive before this Captain Bildegepoole man arrived. There is no way that bastard captain could put on another face as respectful as the man I am following just to lull me into some sort of false sense of security.
“Be th’ ship really sinkin’?” I ask the man, I know I felt water lapping at me toes whence I was stuck in me cell before I was pulled out into the daylight but that seems like so long ago if the ship was sinking the surely she would be underwater by now.
Captain Bildgepoole continued walking but he responded to me nonetheless.
“Aye, th’ ship be takin’ water. Slowly but most definitely takin’ water down low on th’ port side. She be holdin’ up well against th’ surge o’ th’ waves ‘n best be a credit t’ those who built her but ‘twon’t last forever.” The captain then stopped, turned to me and added, “Now sir lets keep movin’ afore she does go too much further under.”
I nodded, I even held back my amusement at the thought of someone stopping to tell me to keep walking.
We were up on the main deck, we’d come down from the navigation deck where I’d first met the captain and now we were headed towards the plank that temporarily joined the two ships as one. Now that the captain had mentioned the hole in the port side of the ship I could definitely feel her listing to that side. I was under my own steam now, walking unaided, but I was still surprised and maybe a little shocked that I hadn’t felt the listing of the ship since leaving my cell.
I looked around the decks as I walked expecting to see damage from the barrage of cannon balls that rained down on the ship during the battle, expecting to see the bodies of the dead crew unlucky enough to not escape. But I saw nothing, not even a pile of limbs pushed up against the hull walls to allow for clear path. I looked closer wondering if I could see the red blood stained timbers where bodies would have fallen, beaten, sliced and bleeding until the gasped their breath but again I saw nothing.
How was it possible?
How could such a noisy battle have taken place above me, one that wiped out the entire crew but not left a single trace of that rotten, blackened crew behind?
Was it possible that those crew were the undead?
Was it possible I have been the prisoner to the dreaded crew of Vampyrates that were once rumoured to sail the seas?
No! No! That can not be the truth. I saw them in daylight. I don’t know which part of daylight but I remember clearly seeing the sun as I was forced to recite their horrible little ditty which amused them to no end.
Slavery, the pain of the sea
Slavery, get down on your knees
Slavery, the pain of the sea
Slavery, we love the inhumanity
It was a terrible ditty and one made worse by the constant cackling laughter that accompanied my words as I toiled my fingers until they bled. But I remember clearly saying those words under the burning sun and we all know Vampyrates can not live under a burning sun any more than they can eat garlic for breakfast.
As Captain Bildegpoole stepped aside and stopped at the edge of the plank that bridged the two ships I too stopped.
I looked him directly in the eyes and said. “Wha’ happened here? Why be thar no damage? Th’ ship be unscathed! Nah even th’ sign o’ a battle.” I took a breath but it was not long enough for Captain Bildgepoole to get another word in before I started with the questions again. “Where are th’ crew? Were are all th’ bodies? How did ye get rid o’ them so hastily?”
I actually thought that Captain Bildgepoole would simply urge me onto his ship without answering my questions. But if I am glad for anything it is that this man who stood before me, whom I apparently trained and guided in his early life, respected me enough to answer me when he saw the distress I was putting upon myself.
“Captain Blackscuttle,” Captain Bildgepoole’s voice was soft and compassionate. “Thar weren’t no battle.” he took and breath and put his right hand on my shoulder. “Thar weren’t nah crew.”
But th’ cannons? Th’ battle? Th’ fight. I heard. Me life o’ slavery?” my voice was low and sad.
“Captain, th’ ship was dead in th’ water ‘n th’ only sole we found on board was ye.”
Previous Pirate story here.