So there I was a pirate walking the plank, my shoulders were shaking, my body was shaking, my hips were shaking, my legs were shaking, my knees were shaking and my feet were very unsteady! It was obviously that unsteadiness that saw my left foot land slightly off centre and roll outwards. The only good thing about my situation was that I wasn’t walking the plank to my death, well at least I wasn’t suppose to be, I was crossing to another ship.
Honestly it was bad enough that the ship I was leaving was listing like it was but the upward journey I had to walk was also having its toll. Sure to the naked eye the rising gradient did not look to be that much, but to a soul as confused as myself it was like a mountain, and the rolling waves did not improve that.
Obviously the fact that I am telling you this story means that I did indeed make it across the plank and safely aboard Captain Bildgepoole’s Revenge, but let me tell you after rolling my left foot on the edge it was very touch and go. I had nothing to hold onto and just like my travels to me seemed like they were mountainous, the plank itself seemed to be as thin as a twig. Several times my shaking legs tipped me to one side or tother but somehow, be it luck, good will or divine intervention I managed to make it across the plank.
When it came to my last step it was not as graceful as I would have liked, in fact there was no grace in it at all, it was more of a collapse. It wasn’t intentional and I didn’t miss my step I think my mind and body were just so elated I had made it across the plank and finally escaped the hell ship that everything just stopped and flopped.
As I was helped to my feet by several pirates whom I didn’t know I took several deep breaths and tried to relax. While Captain Bildgepoole and his crew left the listing ship and crossed the plank I looked across the decks of my place of imprisonment for who knows how long. Obviously the ship was not made out of black timbers, or stained black in any way shape or form but to me it was the blackest of black, a ship so dark it would disappear in the evening. In my mind I could see myself scrubbing the decks, I could see myself under the main sail repairing rigging and I could see myself pleading to the blackened bastard of a captain for mercy but getting no response.
“How ye be cap’n?” Captain Bildgepoole said as he stepped foot onto the Revenge.
“Jus’ tryin’ t’ get me bearin’s me lad.” I replied as I watched the final men crossing to the Revenge and then removing the plank.
“Well cap’n ye be safe. Ye be free t’ roam around this ship as ye wish, no tasks, no work.”
Captain Bildgepoole’s constant reference to me as captain was both heartening and concerning. His claim that I once captained him was not unbelievable, but I also had no memory of it.
We stood on the deck of the Revenge watching my prison ship list further and further until she started to take water over her gunwales. There was nothing of reusable worth left on her, she was little more than a skeleton slowly making her way to the bottom of the ocean, yet I still felt a sense of loss which I could not accurately place.
As the ship sunk I looked at Captain Bildgepoole, there was a tear just leaking out the corner of his right eye. I couldn’t help but wonder what put that tear there, sure it was sad seeing a ship sink to the ocean floor and he was not held prisoner upon the ship, but to shed a tear for a ship that saw such atrocity I could not fathom.
“Farewell Sarah-Marie.” I heard Captain Bildgepoole utter as the ship sank below the surface.
Those words rang through my head like the tolling of a big brass bell as the last visions of the the ship disappeared out of sight. Why they caused such commotion I did not know, but I had to find out.
“Sarah-Marie? Wha’ does that mean? Why does th’ name set off bells within me head?” I asked a tearful Captain Bildgepoole.
“Ye mean ye don’t know?” he asked.
I shook my head, my confusion must have been plainly obvious because the Captain’s next words were delivered with compassion and a reassuring hand on my shoulder as if he knew what he was telling me I was completely oblivious too.
“Th’ Sarah-Marie was th’ first ship on which I sailed th’ seas. She was as regarded throughout th’ pirate world as me Revenge ‘n th’ Captain who gave her t’ me.” I was still none the wiser, then he dropped the final words upon my shoulders. “The Sarah-Marie was yers!”
Suddenly I knew almost everything. She’d been named after the woman who brought me into the world. She was indeed the ship I launched too many years prior to count. I also suddenly remembered a young Captain Bildgepoole, or as I knew him, Panhandle Pete, as well as the crew whom shared the ship over her time at sea. In fact the only thing I could not remember was how I went from all that to being prisoner aboard my own ship.
“I cannot be sayin’ sir. I ‘ave no seen or heard o’ th’ Sarah-Marie, or Captain Blackscuttle fer many a year. No one has. She disappeared without a trace around th’ time o’ th’ Caribbean Tsunamis. We feared she was sunk. I was nah ’til reports came t’ us only three weeks ago that she was dead in th’ water, less than a day’s sail from wha’ was once her home port, wit’ no signs o’ life, that I let meself say her name. I set sail immediately on a rescue mission nah believin’ ’til she came into me sight that she was still afloat. Once I saw her listin’ I knew I had t’ board her ‘n try t’ get answers. I can nah honestly say I expected t’ find ye alive, but here ye be.”
Previous Pirate Captain story here.