I will be so glad when next Wednesday comes! But I can't wait till tomorrow when I at last get to do sign waving with my "honk 4 Bill" sign.:) I love sign waving! But, I had better get this next part posted because Jimmy is coming to pick me up about 8:45 and I have to finish getting ready and eat breakfast. Hope you enjoy this next part.:) And thanks for your comments Abigail! :)
Part 3Once there on the beach, away from the trees, the moonlight created a picture that Ned never forgot. On either side of him were the pirates, on whose dark forms he could see the gleam of the moon on metal swords and pistols as well as their belt buckles. The beach itself, with the towering cliffs on the left, were gray, and he could clearly see the outline of a rowboat beached on the shore. In this were two other forms sitting motionless as the trio approached. Beyond the boat the sea was fairly calm and there, in the distance, dimly outlined against the sky was a ship. To Ned it looked huge. He could see a flag on the mast, but there was no way to tell what it was. All this he took in rapidly before they reached the boat. A few low words were exchanged and Ned was ordered to climb in. This he did and the two others followed.
The Pirates of Rocky Crag Bay
The Pirates of Rocky Crag Bay
With great skill and ease, Ned thought, the pirates rowed the small boat to the ship and all clambered aboard. A few lanterns were lighted. By their dim light Ned saw a large man with dark hair and beard, a patch over one eye and a large sword at his side come striding up.
“Who are you?” the man growled in a voice so low that it seemed to rumble on the air.
“Sir, this is--” began one of the men who had fetched Ned.
“Quiet!” the Captain ordered. “Let the boy speak if he’s got a tongue. Well boy?” he asked again as Ned continued to stand speechless before him. “Who are you?”
Was this for real? Was he, Ned Jones, actually on a real pirate’s ship? He couldn’t believe his good fortune. But he must answer the captain before he was sent back!
Straightening his shoulders he looked the Captain straight in the eye and answered clearly, “I’m Ned Jones, Captain Frightenaft. You sent for me to join you, and I have obeyed your orders.”
The captain’s countenance did not change, and he looked Ned up and down. Abruptly he turned to one of the crew. “Harvey, take him down and give him a berth. The rest of you get to work. Up with the sails, let’s away from here.”
Ned didn’t hear the rest of the orders for he was hustled down below by Harvey, who he discovered was First Mate, and instructed about which berth was his. Before long he was sound asleep dreaming of all the wonderful adventures he would have now that he was a real pirate.
“Up with ye lad!” A gruff voice awakened Ned quite early the following morning, and a large hand shook him roughly by the shoulder. “The Cap’in’s wantin’ ya!”
In bewilderment, Ned looked around him. For a moment he couldn’t remember where he was. Then suddenly it all came rushing back and he bounced out of bed with a grin. “I’m a real pirate now!” he said gleefully.
The pirate who had awakened him coughed before ordering the boy “up on deck, quick now.”
Ned hurried. On deck he found to his amazement, that if he looked hard enough he could just make out the land in the distance. As far as he could see in every other direction was nothing but water. His eyes widened. Never had he been this far from land. Still staring, he was startled by a voice bellowing out an order.
It was Captain Frightenaft. Ned hurried to him and saluted. The large pirate captain looked him up and down in silence for some time before speaking.
“So, you are the young pirate I’ve heard so much about, eh? Well, what do you think of the ship?”
“She looks great, Sir.”
The captain grunted. “And you, are you ready to be a real pirate or are you only good for pretend?” The deep voice, black hair and beard of the fearless pirate leader caused a tingling sensation to run up and down Ned’s spine as the man almost glared at him with his one eye.
In a voice that sounded pathetically weak and high, the lad replied, “I’m ready, Sir.”
That was all. The captain roared for First Mate Harvey to take the boy and teach him a thing or two about ships.
And so Ned’s experience with pirates had begun. For the first two days they sailed about the waters till Ned had no idea where they were. He was put to work here, there and everywhere. Mostly First Mate Harvey was with him, but sometimes one or two of the others joined. Several of the pirates seemed to hold the newest member in contempt for they never spoke to him and seemed to ignore his very existence. One especially, a man called Treb, never ventured near the boy if at all possible. Finally on the evening of the third day, Captain Frightenaft called Ned up on deck about dusk and pointed to the shore line.
“Here is the first test, boy. You are going ashore with the others. Harvey is going to be in charge. Do as he says and things will be fine. Mess up and you’ll walk the plank. Understand?”
“Aye aye, Sir.” Ned’s voice was firm, but his heart pounded and his knees suddenly seemed to turn to jelly.
“Pull for the shore men,” First Mate Harvey ordered quietly. The men pulled. The dark mass of land before them grew with each stoke and before long they were beaching the craft. Leaving two men to guard the boat, Harvey led the others into the woods until they came to a road.
“All right, Treb, lead the way.”
With a muttered, “Aye, Sir,” one of the men stepped forward and the crew advanced in the growing darkness. Up ahead a few lights from a house were to be seen faintly.
Suddenly, Ned gave a slight cry. Instantly a hand was slapped over his mouth and an angry voice hissed, “Quiet boy! You want to alert them?”
As the hand was removed from his mouth, Ned turned to First Mate Harvey. In a voice scarce a whisper he voiced his anguish. “Sir, that is MY house!”
One of the pirates snorted softly.
“Is it indeed, lad.” Harvey’s low voice was hard. “Then it will make things even easier. You know where the valuables are and no doubt know how to get in the house.”
Ned shivered. “I . . . I can’t.”
The man in the front turned, and Ned thought he caught a glimpse of a pistol or was it a sword, in his hand.
“You’ll follow my orders, Boy, or the captain will hear of it.”
Swallowing hard, Ned assented, remembering Captain Frightenaft’s words, “You’ll walk the plank.”
To be continued