Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter Six

The fog was still looming in the air as Sam stepped foot on the deck of the boat. It was thicker than the last night and she could barely see the railing anymore. She couldn’t see the sun through the clouds or even see the blue of the ocean below. She felt lost in the middle of nowhere, without any sense of direction.

Darrick came up top behind her and he immediately walked to the railing, trying to peer through the fog to catch a glimpse of the shore he did not see. There was an eeriness to the air as he searched beyond the boat, needing to see something other than the white fog before him. Without knowing where the shore was, without knowing which way to turn to head home, he felt out of place and he was not accustomed to that feeling.

“This is crazy.” He said, walking across the deck, over to Sam.

“It never gets this foggy around Hardwood. I don’t get it.” she replied.

“What’s going on?” Rusty asked, groggily, with Sarah right on his heels.

The instant he saw the fog, he took off for the wheel to check the bearings. He stared at the dial, the compass was spinning in circles, not stopping at a single point for more than a second. He tapped his index finger on the glass repeatedly, proving to himself that the compass was not working correctly. His father updated the mapping system to digital and even that had gone blank. Rusty’s heart began to race and he quickly tried turning the key to start the engine. Not even the familiar water bogged whirring sound of the engine turning over pierced his ears.

“What the hell is going on?” Rusty exclaimed. “We’re dead in the damn water.”

Sarah was quick on her toes and took the cell phone from the front pocket on her shorts. She unlocked the screen and immediately saw that she had no signal. She held it up in the air and spun around, searching for something she would never find.

“Shit.” She said, under her breath. “There’s no signal.”

“This is just great.” Rusty started on with one of his angry rants he gets when things don’t work out the way he planned. “No cell phones, the boat won’t start, and we have no idea which way to go in order to paddle our way home.”
He stormed across the deck, his feet stomping hard on the wood beneath him. Sarah rushed to his side and put her hands on his shoulders in an ill-attempt to comfort him. He simply shrugged her off and went about pacing back and forth, trying to figure something out.

Sam stood close to Darrick, their arms almost touching. She ran her fingers through her hair, then looked out to the ocean when a splashing sound caught her ear. She strained her ears to listen, letting the sound fill them. It sounded like something was moving, something big and manmade. She inched her way to the railing and held on tight. She carefully leaned over, peering through the dense fog, hoping to see what was causing the sound.

It was getting closer to the boat with every passing second. The water was splashing against something big, another boat or a ship. She didn’t know for sure and couldn’t see it through the clouds. Darrick walked to her and stared into the whiteness, trying to see what she could see.

“I think there’s something out there.” Sam said quietly so the other two couldn’t hear.

Darrick nodded, “I hear it too.”

Sam removed her hands from the railing. They were damp so she wiped them on her jeans to dry them off. Before she had the chance to stand straight again, something crashed into the side of their boat and she fell backwards. Darrick stumbled away from the railing, catching himself instantly and rushing to her side to help her stand back up.

Whatever had crashed into the boat, scraped against the side of it, then stopped moving completely. The fog was slowly starting to dissipate, allowing them a small fraction of clarity as the four of them awaited the sight of the ship that hit them.

Dark wood was coming into focus. Circular windows with no glass or covering could be seen next and the faint stench of sweat and dirt filled their noses. The fog cleared some more and the ship was much bigger than anything they have ever seen. The masts soared up to the sky with sails so black they would blend in with the night. The deck was clear of any living being, but the smell of people was overbearing.

Sam covered her nose and took a step closer to the ship. She stared at the wood, the perfectly carved moldings of swords in the railings above her. The more she gawked at it, the more she was thinking that it must be part of a dream. That it couldn’t possibly be real. Not in her lifetime or any other lifetime could something as miraculous as what was before her be real, yet there was it.

“Is that, “ Darrick spoke up, moving closer next to Sam, “is that a pirate ship?”

Before an answer could come from any of them, a metallic sound filled the air. Dozens of ropes were thrown over the edge of the ship, landing on the deck of the small boat. It was only a matter of seconds, before the shouting and grunting from the men aboard echoed through the air around them.

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