Scattered McBones and several of his cohorts had just finished battling the wolf like beast that had run at them through the trees. Despite the beast’s seven foot stature it was a relatively easy defeat, the guns and firepower may have made little difference to the hard, tough skin but the swords were no match and the Beast went down like a sack of lead.
Although the battle only engaged seven of the large contingent of crew the remaining men stood still and ready to step in until the battle was over. With the last of the life blood draining from the beast’s big head the Good Captain then signalled for the crew to continue onward.
The undergrowth of grass and bracken cracked under the feet of the pirate crew as they walked in a long spread out line. Broken branches from the trees above snapped where they had fallen as they were stepped on. The crews made no effort to be silent, whatever was on the island knew they were coming long before they saw it.
Pirates stepped around trees, around logs and over damp grass, the sun streaked through from above wherever the thick canopy above allowed it and there was an eerie whistling of wind through the trees yet no branches were actually moving.
“Aye, wha’s that?” Buckles Makillakuddy said stopping instantly to listen for the noise he thought he heard.
The line of pirates all stopped together and readied themselves, for what they did not know.
Thirty feet from the Good Captain, Buckles stood rigid, he wanted to tell the crew around him that he had heard something, that he had not stopped the advancing party for nothing. But most of all he wanted to tell the crew that he was not going jungle crazy and jumping at things that were not there.
“Look! O’er there.” Buckles said in a quite voice as he pointed to the tree twenty feet from where they stood.
The crew looked but some of them were too slow to see what it was Buckles had seen for it had pulled itself back behind the tree.
“Thar ‘tis again.” Buckles said point.
“n thar.” called Squinter Blackbarrel
“Thar too!” said Bailing Bullford.
Suddenly the entire crew were rigid, waiting and watching the trees in front of them.
Like little kids playing Hide and Go Seek in the play ground ten, no fifteen trees ahead of them all hid something and that something every few seconds peaked out from around the big trunks, then almost immediately pulled back into hiding when it was seen. If it had not been so downright strange and just a little bit scary the crew would quite possibly have been laughing themselves silly
“Wha’ are they?” Squinter asked.
“I dunno but I ‘ave a feelin’ they don’t wants us t’ pass.” Buckles said.
“Well lets show them that they ‘ave no choice in th’ matter.” Bailing Bullford replied.
With that the crew drew their weapons and stepped forward.
After only two steps the crew were greeted with a sight none of them could quite fathom. Standing before them, behind each of the fifteen trees and spanning half their line of pirates was the strangest creature many of them had seen.
Four feet tall, with the naked eye there was not a single inch different in the height of any creature. The heads of the creatures sort of resembled that of most humans in that they were round, had hair on top, two eyes, a nose and a mouth, if only the mouth had not been above the eyes and the nose upside down they would have looked exactly like humans.
They were completely naked, their skin a ghastly white, leathery skin that had seen too much weather yet some how still survived. Their appendages all dangled loosely between their legs as if they were dead meat, and like their height were all exactly the same size. But the strangest thing, if strange wasn’t already an upside down face and being naked in the jungle of trees, was that each and every creature had hooves at the end of their six limbs. Whether they were the hooves of a bovine or an equine animal no one really knew but hooves they were.
The crew advanced on the creatures one step at a time, the creatures showed no fear, although it was hard to tell what they were feeling given that the faces did not seem to move, twist or contort. Each creature stood beside the tree it appeared from and did not move an inch. For pirates that had battled beasts as large as Leviathan it was difficult for them to be scared of such small weirdly deformed creatures. But alas they were weary and stepped carefully watching and waiting for them to make the first move.
The strange creatures stood dead still looking at the advancing pirates with they swords drawn and they guns ready. Snot ran out their noses like an overflowing barrel that was being topped up just beyond the capacity of the barrel. But it was their eyes that were mesmerising. Each eye blinked at a different time making it more of a wink than a blink, and every creature was perfectly in time with the other.
The pirate crew continued to walk towards the creatures standing beside the trees. Step by step they advanced on the creatures yet not one of the creatures moved. Even when the pirates were within striking distance with their swords the creatures were unmoved, they simply stood there blinkwinking and dribbling snot from their nose.
Swords slashed and swords cut. Knives stabbed and knives jabbed. Blood and goo oozed from the creatures and fell onto the grass and moss covered ground. Seconds later all of the fifteen creatures collapsed on the ground.
Whatever the purpose of the weird human, hoof clad, naked, upside face creatures was it definitely wasn’t defence.
The crew continued their journey through the jungle.
Previous Pirate story here.