The look on my face must have said it all because when I looked at the man who was calling himself Captain Bildgepoole, the man who claimed to know me from a time past, his face was one of truth and one of amazement that I was questioning his story.
To be fair I wasn’t questioning the honesty of the man when he told me the ship I had been imprisoned on by a crew of blackened, dead faced, evil bastard pirates was in fact an empty ship dead in the water. But I wasn’t willing to accept that what I knew was wrong either, just like I wasn’t willing to accept that there was no cannon fire blasting the ship before I was rescued. But how could both of us be telling the truth?
“Wha’ do ye mean I was th’ only soul on board?” I asked Captain Bildgepoole, looking him directly in the eye to make sure the man was not lying.
“Me crew found nah a trace o’ anyone else aboard this sinkin’ ship.”
His eyes told me he was telling me what he believed was the truth, but if his was the truth what was my story? My knees felt weak, I felt my heart skip a beat and my breaths were shallow.
“But th’ crew, th’ evil crew who made me thar slave. Wha’ happened t’ them?” I asked, my voice shaky.
“Aye cannot be sayin’ Captain. All I can be sayin’ be that when we boarded th’ ship thar was nah a soul t’ be found on any deck, behind any door or in any crevice.” Captain Bildgepoole stated and I could see he was becoming frustrated but was willing to give me the chance, as we stood aboard the listing ship, to help me understand
“What about the cannon balls. The fighting, the attack on the ship?” I asked, my voice still shaky but sounding more like I once knew my voice to sound.
Captain Bildgepoole looked at me, again his eyes told no lies. “We fired nah one cannon ball towards this ship Captain. We found her as she be, listin’, takin’ water ‘n dead in th’ sea.”
How is that even possible I did think to myself as I stood there. I heard cannon fire, just like I saw the blackened, evil bastard pirate crew. But some how I knew Captain Bildgepoole was also not lying or even extending the truth.
“Please sir, can we board th’ Revenge ‘n vacate this here ship afore she goes down to Davey Jones Locker and takes us wit’ it.”
The Captain’s request was a fair and reasonable request, it was also one he’d been making for most of the time I had been in his presence. I did not have any answers to satisfy my own mind. I did not know what it was that had been happening to me but I did know that Captain Bildgepoole had been more than reasonable with me. He’d been polite, he’d been honest and he’s been patient. I really did owe it to the man to do as he requested, in fact I should have done it long before we’d gotten to the point we were.
I turned from Captain Bildgepoole and looked towards the ship he had referred to as the Revenge. The plank that joined both ships was in place and from where I stood that plank seemed to over exaggerate the listing of the ship we were standing on. I’d never in my life, that I could remember, walked the plank, in fact I could not ever remember even ordering another pirate to walk the plank.
Since coming up from below my legs were shaky, my knees feeling a bit like jelly and there was the constant wonder in my mind as to whether they would hold my weight as I walked, but all of that was nothing compared to what I felt as I realised I was about to walk the plank. I wasn’t walking to my death, I wasn’t about to fall into the depths of the ocean, but I was nervous and my legs shook uncontrollably. In fact if it weren’t for me breeches I believe I’d have heard me knees knocking together.
I stepped tentatively up onto the plank leading with my right foot, I grabbed a guy rope tied to the hull of the ship for balance before I lifted my left. By the time my left foot had landed on the plank next to my right I was shaking, not just a shake you might get when you shiver from the cold, a full body shake. I heard Captain Bildgepoole assure me that I was going to be fine and that I simply needed to put one foot in front of the other. His words were heartfelt but that did not make them easier to heed.
Every step I made across that plank was shaky, every step I made was small and every step I made I could not stop myself from looking down. I didn’t even get a quarter of the way across the plank before I had to let go of the rope I was using to support myself. I felt nervous and I was sure my shaking bones were going to send me into the water. How thankful I was that the water under the ship was as smooth as glass.
About half way across I dared look up at my destination. If I thought looking at the water was hard looking up, seeing how far I still had to go and then looking down at the water again was even harder. Once my head was down again my silly mind immediately started lying to me about how far I had to go. I had no control over it even if I wanted to.
With nothing to hold onto my legs shook, my knees shook, my hips shook, my torso shook, in fact the only part of me that didn’t shake was my head, but it didn’t matter because with everything else shaking I was struggling to even stand upright.
I tried hard to clear my mind. I felt my left foot roll slightly as I stepped onto the very edge of the plank. I could feel myself listing, not unlike the ship.
Previous Pirate story here.