M is for sea monster

Aboard the pirate ship: part two

It was late at night, and, on board the pirate ship, all of the sailors had eaten their food and had enjoyed many tastes of the purloined honey and jam. The entire crew had celebrated with jugs of something unidentifiable and alcoholic and surely full of rum, which made them sleepy and unusually happy. Nearly all of them were lying down in random places on the ship and were licking their chops as they remembered the bountiful meal.

Young Bearnacle Bear had watched the spectacle from the galley, where he had been kept busy stirring pots full of salt pork and dried beans and some sort of sauce that the cook did not identify as anything but “good for sailors.” The pirates sang for hours, until the jugs of beverage rendered them drunk, happy and sleepy.

Bearnacle left the galley and walked toward the aft of the ship. He felt some trepidation as he walked. He wondered if the bright red sky he had seen early in the morning before the pirates had raided the Land of the Humans figured into that trepidation.

“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight,” Bearnacle said and jumped as he felt something or someone grasp his ankle.

“What???” Bearnacle said, startled.

“I need more rum,” said the growly voice of a bear that was lying prone on the floor.

“Okay, I’ll get you some soon,” Bearnacle claimed as he pulled his ankle away from the growly voiced bear, which fell asleep shortly thereafter with a very loud snore.

“Red sky in the morning, sailor’s warning,” Bearnacle said. He walked to the ship’s railing and stared out toward the horizon. The moon was full in the sky, but it was hazy and not a single star blinked in the background.

“Follow me,” sang a voice in the distance. “Follow me and I will give you all that your heart desires.”

The voice sounded as if it were the song of the spheres, at least in Bearnacle’s imagination. Bearnacle wondered if he should do exactly that, but then he remembered that he knew nothing about the operation of a ship. He only knew how to prepare and serve food. He started to walk back to the galley, where he had a little hidey hole to sleep in. Just then, the winds started to kick up until they were howling fiercely. Bearnacle pushed hard against the wind but he went nowhere.

“Follow me,” sang a voice in the distance. “Follow me, and I will give you all that your heart desires.”

Bearnacle became more and more suspicious of that voice. He pushed even harder but, soon, he was pushed in an opposite direction. Bearnacle, who was tiring after his effort, allowed the wind to push him. When the wind died down, he was close to the pinnacle, a small boat on the ship, also known as a tender. A few drunken sailors lay in the pinnacle, fast asleep. Just as he got into the pinnacle, a huge wind kicked up, and the large ship was listing wildly and was on the verge of sinking.

“The end is near,” Bearnacle thought. He jumped out of the pinnacle and pushed it into the sea and then jumped back in. “If I am going to go down, I’m going to fight.” The drunken sailors mumbled incoherently as the pinnacle took on water and was thrown from wave to wave in the churning sea.

When the waters calmed, the pirate ship was nowhere to be seen. Bearnacle and a few very sick pirates landed ashore a small, uncharted island. The boat was broken, but it had not sunk. In the distance, Bearnacle saw something large that was swimming away. Perhaps it was the mythic sea monster of the lore of Bearland.

To be continued

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