Day 19: To Sea in the Shadows

Captain Jake lived through it all. The navy, the East India Company, old Thatch, secret militia ships, cannibals, giant squids, scurvy–but there was something worse than pirates, seamen, squids, or disease lurking in the dark places of his ship.

He knew something was wrong when Isabella, his bride-to-be, was cold to his touch when he awoke. He tried to rouse her, but she remained still. He examined her for marks, bruises, and cuts, but found none. Surely none of his men would dare harm his woman. But that didn’t stop him from sending a dozen lads to the Locker in rage.

It had to be poison. But she had not eaten or drunk anything Jake didn’t share. She had shown no signs of illness prior to the night of her death. Unless she had picked up a disease on land that manifested at random, it had to be poison. Which meant one of Jake’s men was responsible.

Was it mutiny? If so, it was ineffective. Perhaps the poison was meant for Jake. But he was twice Isabella’s size–who could mistake the two, even in the dark?

And so, every night thereafter, Jake kept his pistol in hand, and his sword close by, quaffing rum and staring with his one good eye at the door of the captain’s cabin. But no one dared enter.

He offered the lion’s share of his accumulated gold to the man who would bring the one responsible to him. It created unrest and mistrust among the whole crew, and most of the “accused” were clearly threatened to confess. Jake knew. He killed them, anyway.

It had been four nights since Isabella’s death. The rum made Jake’s brain wash in his brain like the beating of waves on his ship. He would succumb to sleep at any moment. But still, he kept his pistol at hand.

It happened in the middle of the night. Jake’s eyes were drooping, but he felt a presence in the cabin. The door hadn’t opened, but there was still the porthole. As impractical as it was, it was possible…

Jake fired into the darkness, smoke bursting into the air.

Silence.

Then a man’s hand emerged from the shadow, falling flat to the deck. Blood pooled around it. The handle of a thin, curved sword rested just under the lifeless fingers.

And then came the screams of his crew.

 

 

Today’s three prompt categories were: “A pirate’s life,” “Oh, the bride is dead,” and “Sudden ninja attack!”

Yeah. Pirates vs. ninjas. I know.

I kind of want to keep going with this one. But it’s wise not to discuss religion or politics, and surely the great pirates vs. ninjas debate falls into at least one of those categories.

– H.

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