Hideaway Fall Writing Challenge Day 16

Things have changed a little bit this week so I am finding my way again a little bit with the themes. No words to work with this time, just a small collage of images to take inspiration from. I’ve kept it short and simple, more of a story of thoughts, for this first run at a new challenge.

***

He had lost count of how many years it had been since he left home. Though he did remember it well. It was a grey, wet autumn morning. The sun was barely up. Waves crashed upon the shore, casting spray into the air. He had been outside by the harbour, looking out toward the Irish Sea, since the early hours. He was wet to the skin, and cold. Finally, he saw it. Setting anchor, way off the coast, an enormous merchant ship. Only the faintest glimmer of light from lanterns lining its sides. He got into a small, patched up rowing boat and pushed out into the dicey waters. 

The sky lightened, though only marginally as he rowed slowly and laboriously towards the ship. If it set off before he got to it, that would be it, his chance gone. He saw no prospects for him if he stayed in England. He knew he had to get away. A life at sea was the life for him. Whenever he worked in the bar, the stories the visiting sailors told captivated him. Tales of adventure, and rough seas, and enormous sea monsters, and the enchantingly beautiful mermaids. His reverie was broken by a shout. He’d made it. A rope ladder was dropped and he was hauled aboard.

“What the hell are you playin’ at lad?” A gruff sailor yelled as he sprawled on the rough timber deck. “You could’ve died! The ocean’s no place for a lad!”

“The land is not much better, sir. I can help. I’ll do anything.”

“Not my call, the captain’ll have the final say lad.”

~ ~ ~ ~

That day many years before changed his life. He hopped from ship to ship, jobbing for any crew that would have him. He travelled all over the world. But he could never have imagined that he would be living in paradise. The Caribbean had become his home, and had been for many years. He captained his own vessel, roaming the tropical waters, sometimes as far as the Gulf. He had a crew at his beck and call, ready to follow him no matter what. 

And his belief all those years ago as a boy, well they were right. A life at sea was the life for him. He had earned the kind of education he would never see back at home. He likely would have died in an accident in one of the many mines littering the countryside. He had learned how ships work, he had seen parts of the world that many wouldn’t. He’d had incredible adventures, and survived some of the diciest of scrapes.

And he and his crew, well they all wanted for nothing. They worked hard, and played harder. But for all their risks, the rewards were more than worth it. They were very fortunate in that respect. As he stood here now, he couldn’t help but find the amusement in how his story had played out. He had heard tales and shanties about the monsters of the ocean waiting to pounce. As he steered his ship around the cliffs, a Royal Navy ship flying the Union Jack came into view. As his men hoisted the black flag with white skull and crossbones and readied the cannons, it finally dawned on him. There were monsters lurking in the oceans. And he was one of them.

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