Over the barren strip of land the crew of the Privateer stepped, a long line of pirates all hoping they were ready for whatever it was that was coming next. The harrowing experience that had just befell Captain Blackscuttle, despite having cased no psychical pain, was something none of them wanted to endure themselves.

The crew of the Revenge followed the scouting party of the Privateer, less than a hundred feet behind and watching their every move. They hadn’t been required to step up and fight with their fellow pirate crew but they were ready should the call come.

As the crew of the Privateer stepped into the trees on the other side of the barren ground the sun once against diminished to nothing more than streaks of rays through the leafy canopy high above them and the sky became little more than patches. It wasn’t dark within the trees but it was cooler and the breeze that seemed to have followed them from the shore was still present. There was so many trees in the wooded area, all reaching to massive heights to get themselves a few more rays of sunshine that no single pirate could walk straight for too long before having to step around one of them.

Despite the densely treed area Captain Blackscuttle knew from his previous trek across the same island that the trees would soon end. What he didn’t know was exactly what would happen once they cross the next threshold for it was at the end of the trees where his previous crew finally beat a hasty retreat, cutting their losses when their number dwindled to less than a handful.

“Beyond these trees, where th’ island once again opens up t’ nothingness I know that th’ demons o’ this island shall be spreadin’ thar own kinds o’ law.” Captain Blackscuttle spoke clearly as they walked and while no more than five pirates could hear his words the Good Captain could hear each and every one of them and that was who they were intended for. “They will be hatchin’ some dastardly death plot hopin’ t’ serve it t’ us on a platter. I no more know wha’ they will be deliverin’ wit’ thar council o’ war than I know how t’ defeat it. But wha’ I do know be that numbers be wha’ will win th’ day. It may be hard t’ be trustin’ me,’n wha’ I be sayin’, th’ pirate who lost his entire crew by th’ time I got back t’ me boat, but I assure ye we shall live t’ fight another day only this day will be a day full o’ gold ‘n wealth.”

The pirate crew walked through the trees one step after the other, a line of pirates two hundred feet wide with weapons drawn and ready. The Good Captain and Captain Blackscuttle were the first two pirates to step out of the trees and into the clearing that waited for them.

Unlike the barren area of ground that faced them last time they stepped out from the trees what faced them the second time was almost the complete opposite. A land of sand, soft, white and pristine sand that shined so bright in the sun’s rays it was difficult to look at without squinting. Palm trees in the distance swayed gently in the breeze and the sun appeared warmer than the sun they had left behind at the water’s edge.

The only thing, or things, that were out of place turning what could have been a serene island scene into something ominous and scary was the tombstones that stood before each and every pirate. Each tombstone stood no more than four feet high and was made from dull stone as black as night. On the very top of each tombstone there was a ship’s anchor of the neatest construction, five inches in height and carved from the same rock as the tombstone itself. Each anchor was standing upside down with its arched base pointing skyward a traditional pirate custom done to indicate the person whom the tombstone belong had died a dishonourable death.

Captain Blackscuttle didn’t need to stare at every tombstone to know that the names carved into each tombstone were the names of his crew, the crew he had lost during his first unsuccessful mission to the Island of Gold.

“How?” Captain Blackscuttle asked no one in particular, his mind aimlessly wondering how the tombstones were even possible.

“How wha’ cap’n?” The Good Captain asked.

“How can each stone be carved in such a way?”

“Wha’ be it ye be meanin’ Captain?”

“Each ‘n every stone carved wit’ a reminder o’ whose life was lost, each one a reminder t’ me o’ th’ blood on me hands.” the pain in Captain Blackscuttle’s voice was again evident.

It was at moment the Good Captain realised Captain Blackscuttle could see something none else could. “Forget it cap’n, they be naught more than illusions. Made t’ prey on yer mind ‘n make ye regret wha’ ye be doin’. We ‘ave t’ move on Cap’n.”

As the two men spoke, and the rest of the crew stood dead still in front of a tombstone waiting for their next order to march forward there was a loud rumbling noise. The ground underneath them began to rumble as if an earthquake was working its way under the island. The rumbling noise got louder as the shaking got worse and before there very eyes each and every tombstone sunk into the ground leaving not a single trace they were there.

However it wasn’t the fact that they disappeared that held the pirate crews attention captive, it was the rising of a tombstone made from the same stone, in the same shape and with the same upside down anchor mounted on the top that appeared thirty feet in front of them. If the tombstone itself was not daunting enough the words carved into the stone surface were.

In disgraced memory of
Captain Blackscuttle
Remembered fairly as
the captain who killed
his entire crew for the
benefit of none!
May he lie here forever
forgotten and hated for
eternity

Previous Pirate story here.