Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 32

Silence flooded the ship. Pirates stood in awe, their mouths agape and curiosity in their eyes. Instead of jumping into a rage-filled battle or fighting to kill the girl who pulled the trigger, they stayed at bay.

Blood pooled around the feet of the men standing closest to her body. All life has been drained from her face in a matter of seconds when the bullet crashed into her chest. She dropped with a thud to the wooden deck and no one came to her aide. Not a single one of her crew stepped up to check on her or even see if she was still alive.

As thunder boomed in the sky, the eyes of many turned to Sam. They lowered their weapons, sheathed whatever sword they carried. Flint quickly got to his feet and wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth.

The gun fell from her fingertips. The only sound to echo amongst the ship. Sam slowly stepped backwards, her eyes wide open in fear of what just happened. She clenched her shaking hands to fists and crept backward until she bumped against the railing.

“I can’t believe she’s dead.” A raspy voice broke through the silence as a thin man knelt by Alyssa’s corpse. “The bitch is finally dead!” He shouted.

Cheers erupted from the dead captain’s crew. They jumped for joy and slapped each other on the back. Their cheers were soon joined by the rest of the pirates on the ship in a joyous outburst.

Flint limped toward Sam, his eyes were bloodshot and bruised. He got within a few feet of her before Darrick rushed to stand in his way. He didn’t have a weapon but would do whatever it took to protect her.

“You killed her.” Flint managed to say.

Sam nodded, “I didn’t mean to. I just wanted to stop her from killing you.”

“Why?” He asked.

“I don’t know.” Sam replied.

Flint nodded and glanced to each face belonging to his prisoners. Sarah and Rusty held each other by the life boat. Jonah waited by the pulleys, ready to lower the small vessel to their freedom.

Flint turned back to Sam and looked between her and Darrick. He saw the caring determination in his eyes and realized he no longer wanted to be in the way.

“Take the boat and go. The lightning won’t last for long and you’ll need it to get back to where you came from.” Flint ordered, then turned away and headed back to his men.

Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter Four

They set sail, leaving the pier and the worries of the work week behind them. No more thinking about what they needed to get done at the shop or figuring out what to do next. The four of them were on the ocean, enjoying the salty breeze and the warm sun hitting against their skin.

Sarah was wearing a yellow bikini top with a pair of black shorts that were skin tight. Her hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail and she laid on a padded chair on the deck to get a tan. Rusty was busy navigating, trying to make sure they don’t end up getting lost. His father taught him everything he knew about sailing so he was pretty confident with his abilities to control the small yacht.

Darrick stood at the railing, wearing nothing but a pair of navy blue swim trunks that tied around his waist. He peered over the top of his sunglasses and watched Sam as she applied sun screen to her pale arms and neck. He could tell she wasn’t the type for being on the ocean or doing much sailing at all. He was surprised to see her change out of her jeans and put on a pair of shorts that showed off her long, white legs. She wasn’t very tan but she did have a line on her upper arms indicating that she did get out in the sun once in a while.

Sam approached the railing and let a smile cross her lips as she met eyes with Darrick. He could feel her scoping out his muscular chest and stomach, lingering at the hair just above the tie on his shorts. He was checking her out as well, trying not to make it noticeable that he was staring at the cleavage poking out of her tank top. She was definitely not what he expected when Sarah said her friend would be joining them.

“Having fun yet?” he asked, leaning against the railing.

She faked a laugh and replied, “Oh, of course,” a bit too sarcastically, “I really just can’t wait to start drinking.”

Darrick chuckled, “Yeah, same here.”

The boat went over a slight wave and Sam had to grip onto the railing in order to keep herself from falling backwards. She held on tight and Darrick could see a hint of fear in her eyes.

“You alright?” he asked, feeling genuinely concerned.

She nodded her head, then stood up straight, “Yeah, like I said, I’ll be good once we start drinking.”

“Then maybe we shouldn’t wait too much longer to get that started.” Darrick replied.

Sam loosened her grip on the railing and passed him a smile.

Another Series on the Blog!

Lately, I’ve been thinking of another fictional series to post on my blog. It would be just like the last one I did, Beauty and the What?!, and I’ll post a new chapter each week, probably around Friday. I have a few ideas in mind and I might even just take something I alreayd have written and share it with all of you one chapter at a time.

Beauty and the What!?

Installment #29

Without hesitation, Shawn jumps to his feet. He squints his eyes, trying to see through the years of dust now billowing through the room. He waves his hands in front of his face in an attempt to clear the air around him.

“Sally!” he shouts her name and squints to the area where the floor used to be.

The only response he gets is the sound of pain filled grunting coming from the concrete basement under the house. A few of the men are hurt and one of them sounds like he’s in a lot of pain. The dust begins to clear and the hole in the floor comes into focus. Shawn can see Anson in the corner of his eyes. He’s still sitting in the corner of the room, astonished at what just happened. Shawn rolls his eyes and peers into the hole.

“Sally?” he calls again.

He still doesn’t get an answer from her. He crouches near the floor and sits carefully on the edge. Using all of his strength, he lowers himself down into the basement and jumps to the concrete below. None of the men are on their feet. Two are unmoving, blood spilling out of the corners of their mouths and their eyes are closed. Two more are lying in pain as they clutch their arms and legs. He scans the rest of the room, searching for the only one he cares to see.

He hears movement coming from behind him and he quickly spins around. On the floor a few feet away, is the man who just held a gun to Shawn’s head. He’s lying under a pile of wood from the floor and a bloody gash is on his forehead. His right arm is bent at an awkward angle and he is trying to get to his feet. Shawn quickly moves to the man’s side and sticks his hand out to help. Anson’s father stares at him for a long moment, questioning his next move. He reluctantly takes Shawn’s hand and gets help standing.

“You alright?” Shawn asks.

Anson’s father nods his head and says, “The girl is over there.” He points to a corner of the room, “Go, help her.”

Beauty and the What?!

Installment # 26

“Tell me where it is so we can put it out of our misery, Sally.” Anson’s father demands.

She keeps her mouth shut and shakes her head in a refusal to answer. She doesn’t even know the whereabouts of the beast and she wouldn’t tell them if she did. It’s still strange to her, but she has feelings for that creature that are hard to explain and she’s not willing to let those feelings go.

“C’mon tell us where it is.” A man in a flannel shirt says, “I’m itching to kill the damn thing already.”

“You’re not going to kill anything.” A strange voice came from the opposite corner of the room.

Sally looks past Anson’s father and stares at the stranger in the room. He’s tall and pale, with dark hair that matches his eyes. His jeans are torn and aren’t long enough and his hands are shaking as he stands.

“Who the hell are you?” Anson asks, storming up to the stranger.

“My name is Shawn and you need to let her go.” he says.

Sally stares at his face, squinting her eyes hoping to recognize him. She’s seen those eyes before, stared into them and wondered about them. He’s different now, no longer the beast he was forced to hide inside. She pushes her way around Anson and his father, moving closer to the man she’s been waiting to see.

“Is it really you?” she asks.

He nods, “It’s me.”

She keeps her eyes on him, trying not to gawk at his bare chest and good looks. His hair is a tousled mess and he seems like he can barely stand on his own. She can’t hide the smile on her face as their eyes meet.

“I’m sorry, but who the hell is this guy?” Anson sounds annoyed and angry.

“He’s the beast.” Another, deeper voice catches their ears and Sally turns her attention to him.

The man in a flannel shirt is holding an old photograph of a younger Shawn with his mother. The facial features are the same as well as the hair and eyes. Something he can’t hide.

“See,” the man holds the photo up higher for everyone to see, “he’s older now, but this is him.”

Anson’s father glances from the picture, then back to Shawn, “I guess it was human after all. That doesn’t make up for all those people you hurt and the trouble you’ve caused over the last decade.”

Beauty and the What?!

Installment #25

Sally has no time to react. The men standing before her, led by Anson’s father, shove past her and enter the house. One of them even goes so far as to push her out of the way and she falls to the creaky floor. She bangs her elbow on the hardwood flooring and winces from the pain. She clutches her arm, trying to rub the pain away. She expects Anson to help her to her feet, but he just walks by, ignoring her completely.

“Where is the damn thing?” one of the men shouts when he realizes the monster isn’t in the room with them.

Sally hears him and she searches the room for him. He’s not standing where she left him and he’s not hiding in one of the corners of the room. She could only hope that he was smart enough to run away instead of staying back, getting himself killed for her. She cared about him too much to let someone like him die for her.

Anson’s father marches over to her and stands over her. His glare meets her eyes and he quickly bends down, grabs both her arms, and forces her to her feet. Fear surges through her as she stares into his angry, hate-filled eyes.

“Where is it?” he seethes, his hot breath caressing her cheek.

Her lips quiver, “I don’t know.”

He lets go of her arms and backhands her across the face. She lets out a gasp and catches herself on the wall behind her before falling to the floor once more.

“You think that thing cares about you?” he screams at her. “Then let’s see if I can coax it out.”

Beauty and the What?!

Installment # 22

The beast walks through his house. The same as he’s done for the last ten years. The same places in the floor creak under his feet as he walks into the living room. Things just don’t feel the same. He’s never had to stand up for something he wants. Never had to do defend his property and especially never had to fight for a woman who has feelings for him. He honestly never thought he’d have that happen in this lifetime.

There is glass on the living room floor surrounding a small brick. The tattered curtains billow in and out of the newly created hole in the window. He stares at what has been done to his home. Those men out there, they are there to destroy him. They are there to take back what they think he stole from them. He can see them standing on his grass in his yard. He might be the creature who trespasses on their properties every night, but they are on his turf now. This is where he makes the rules.

“What are you going to do?” Sally’s soft voice asks from behind him.

Without turning to face her, he simply states, “Whatever I have to in order to keep what’s happening to me.”

Beauty and the What?!

Anson follows his father to the trail leading to the woods. It’s been two days since the beast got the best of him and revenge has made his strength return. More than revenge. That monster has the woman he’s in love with and he’s going to do whatever it takes to get her back and make sure she’s safe. He helped his father come up with the plan. They hand-picked fifteen strong men to go with them. To walk through the woods and gain back the young woman who doesn’t belong there.

A gun is clenched in his fist as he walks through the grass, catching up to his father, “Dad, you think we’ll finally kill that thing?”

Not a hesitation as his father nods his head, “I think it’s about time someone does. That girlfriend of yours just gave us a good enough excuse to go up there and kill it.”

Anson nods, “She doesn’t get hurt, by the way.”

“We’ll do our best. But you also said she wanted to find that creature. That she tried to protect it.” his father replies.

“I know, dad, but you can’t hurt her.”

His father stops walking and faces him, “We won’t hurt her. Our goal is only to kill that monster and get her back. She’ll be fine. This will be over before you know and you two can ride off into the sunset.”

Anson gives him half a smile and says, “I hope you’re right about that. I just don’t understand why she’s not in love with me yet. After all these years, you’d think she would be crazy about me.”

His father starts walking again, “Women are difficult, son. One minute they’re all over you, the next they’re swooning over a man-eating monster. You’ll just have to get her to see that she belongs with you.”

Anson nods, “Then maybe I should be the one who kills the monster that kidnapped her. Killing that thing will prove to her I’d do anything for her.”

His father places a hand on his shoulder and says, “Nothing would make me prouder, son.”

Beauty and the What?!

Installment #15

“That beast up there is holding Sally hostage. We have to do something about this!” Anson shouts inside the police station.

He completely ignored his instincts about going to the hospital and went straight to the cops. He has a bump on his head and a gash across his chest. It isn’t deep, but he knows he needs stitches. Sally is just his main concern right now and he needs to make sure she’s safe away from that monster.

Anson’s father, Jason, is the sheriff and he passes his son a concerned look, “Are you sure that creature has your friend? You might have a concussion, son, you need to go to the hospital.”

“No, dad,” Anson retorts, “I know it has her up there. I saw it carry her away from me before I passed out. We have to do something and we have to do it now!”

Jason can see the frantic look on his son’s face and puts a hand on his shoulder, “Why would it take that girl?”

Anson shrugs, “I don’t know. Before it attacked us, Sally was on her way to the old trail in the woods. She wanted to find it and wanted to see it again. I don’t understand why she would want to go there.”

Jason turns away from him and rubs his beard with his hand, “You’re right, Anson, we need to get her back. We need to kill the beast by whatever means necessary.”

“What do you mean by that? How would you kill it?” Anson asks.

His father faces him and passes him a smile, “You just worry about getting healed up and let me take care of this mess.”

Beauty and the What?!

Installment #12

She wakes up, confused as she stares at the ceiling above her. The water spots and mold she’s never seen before. This isn’t her house and it doesn’t belong to Anson either. Slowly, she sits up on the hard bed and runs her fingers through her hair. She doesn’t recognize this place at all.

There’s a window across from her. It’s smashed and the curtains get tossed around in the wind blowing in. There are photos of an older woman sitting on top of a dresser next to the bed. Another photo of a teenage boy. He has dark hair, like the woman’s, and familiar brown eyes. She looks away from the old memories of a family she doesn’t know and glances toward the door. It’s wide open.

“Hello?” Sally calls, getting no answer.

Hesitantly, she stands, stretching her legs. She walks to the door. The floor creaks and moans under her feet, but she keeps moving. Out into a hallway in an old house. The walls are grey with squares of where picture frames used to hang. She turns to the left, there’s light coming from an open door this way. The sounds of birds float through the house and the slight breeze brushes against her skin. Goosebumps run up her arms as she strolls to the open door.

“Is anyone out there?” silence is still her only answer.

Her eyes pass over the rotten couch in the corner of the old family room. The coffee table is a pile of broken wood in the middle of the floor and the TV set is smashed to bits with glass scattered all over. Her heart starts to race and she moves faster toward the door.

The sun shines through the trees above as she steps foot on the porch. Playful shadows dance on the ground at the bottom of the stairs and a porch swing sways back and forth to her right. She’s in the middle of the woods. A place she thought was a complete rumor.

A creaking sound comes from behind her and she stands frozen in place.