The River Of Pirates

Finalist in the 'Writers Wanted No. 2 - 2008 Empowered' competition

The bright blue river was as still as a corpse, yet under the surface invisible currents writhed, dragging away anything that was caught in their swirling grasp. Mud oozed on its banks, and the few trees struggling to live there seemed to perk up, as if they could hear the drunken laughter coming from upriver. The still of the river was broken as the oars of the vessel ploughed through the sparkling, serene water. The mast towered above the river, and the trees seemed to hold their breath as if they could sense the Jolly Roger fluttering there in the breeze.
The oars slowed, then stopped, and suddenly everything was quiet. Then a booming voice broke the icy silence, ringing over the ship, “Walk the plank!” yelled the pirate captain. This was followed by a chorus of jeers and hoots from the crew; the only one not making a sound was the unfortunate man the captain was talking to. The jeers broke up as he spoke,” C’mon Cap’n Whitebeard, does it have to end like this?” “’Fraid so,” replied the captain, feigning sadness, mocking the condemned man. “You see, Bucky, stealing the captain’s rum is a crime punishable by death. Maybe you’ll appreciate that rule if you ever become the captain of a ship- in the Deathworld, of course!” he continued, smiling with his few black teeth.
The same colour as his heart, thought Bucky, but dared not say it out loud, for then the captain might stab him then and there. The captain’s words were followed by more hoots from the crew. Anyone who had been friends with Bucky wasn’t anymore; who would protect a doomed man? It was a pointless exercise; you would just get killed along with them. “Go on then!” Whitebeard urged, prodding Bucky with the butt of his cutlass. A terrified Bucky slowly walked to the edge of the wooden plank, then turned and looked at his captain pleadingly. “Jump!” growled Whitebeard mercilessly. “Cap’n, please” babbled Bucky, trembling with fear; falling to his knees and begging. Captain Whitebeard swaggered to the edge of the plank, shaking his head. “You’re no fun,” he said in a manner that was as if Bucky had just told him he didn’t want to play chasings. “You’ve got no common sense, either,” he continued sourly. “If you’d jumped, you might have kept your lousy, miserable life.” With that, he swiftly pulled his cutlass out and stabbed it right into Bucky’s heart.
When Bucky stopped screaming and his eyes glazed over, the captain pulled out his sword and began cleaning it on his breeches. He knew Bucky could never have survived, as everybody knows that sailors can’t swim. Suddenly realising his crew was still standing there, he kicked the body into the water, yelling, “Well, what are you all looking at? Get down on those oars and keep rowing downriver! Go!” The crew scurried to do his bidding, jostling to be first through the hatch. Minutes later, the ship was gone.


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