Blessed William

Blessed William

 A story by Adam Thomas Wright

 

 

 

As John lumped the cumbersome, heavy net of fish from the harbour, William ran up to him and shouted in excitement "John, John! Is that the day's catch?" John beamed with pride and nodded his head. "Now run back to mother." John said. William ran through the town as fast as his little legs could carry him. He knocked into a man carrying a basket of bread and quickly ran away. You see, William was a very polite boy but if the man saw his face, he would then go to tell his mother and if William hated anything, it was being told off by his mother. The village which William and John lived, Lybster, was a small fishing village with a small harbour, nestling in a rocky cove with a pebble beach and they would clatter as the tide came in and went out. Their house was perched on a hill, overlooking the sea. There was a long, steep path made of stone that led up to their house and the dilapidated windows would rattle as the cold winds blew in from the east.

One stormy night, a ship crashed across the rough sea. The crew ran up and down, clinging on to ropes, holding on to anything they could find. A crewman ran towards a door and swiftly opened it. A man, in a big, black hat with a red feather in the top and wearing a long, dark coat, rose from his chair. He had a conspicuous scar across one eye and a titian moustache."What are you doing?! Do you not know how to knock, you rat?!" "Captain Kidd, the storm is too strong, your quartermaster has been knocked to the ground." said the crewman. The captain pushed him out of the way and opened the door with a crash as the golden, rusty doorknob smashed against the detailed, wooden decking. Kidd grabbed hold of the wheel and began to steer. A small captious man with a grey beard walked right up to the captain and said "Sir, we have to find the nearest port, there is a tiny harbour just north east of here, Lybster, in Scotland." "Well then boys, hoist more sail, we need all the speed we can muster!" yelled the captain.

Jack, a large, heavily built boy, who looked much older than seventeen,  and Edward, a rather small lad, with a kind look in his eye and a warm heart sat at a table with John. "So boys, let's drink to our King and Queen. To William and Mary, our royals!" stated John. The three boys raised their glasses high above their heads and drank. "Argh, the joy of bein' with friends at a tavern, with such pretty ladies as company." As Jack says this, he leans back on his chair to smile at the women sitting on the table behind him. The girls giggle, just before he falls off the back of his chair with a high pitched yelp, which ruins any of the charm or manliness he had built up over the last sentence. The girls, along with Jack's friends, produced a large guffaw. The women stood up and walkd away, still giggling. Jack slowly rose from the ancient, oak floor boards. "Well boys, I say it's about time I got back to my abode. Farewell and goodnight! Oh, and Edward, please guide Jack home. I say he has had a bit too much ale!" Edward waved his friend goodbye and said "I'll see you on the morrow, John." John walked down the creaky steps of the tavern and stepped onto the sandy road. He trudged across the path and towards his house.

A man sat at the top of a watchtower. He was beginning to doze off. His eyes were beginning to close and his snores were starting to deepen. All of a sudden, a drop of rainwater fell from the guttering and quickly awakened the sleeping watchman. He sat up and looked out to the azure sea with tired eyes. He thought he could make out a dark shape on the water. He fumbled around for his telescope. Then he found it, his 'bigger eye', as he liked to call it. He put it up to his bloodshot eye and found the dark, mysterious object on the water. What he saw terrified him. He gasped and widened his eyes. For a few moments, he was frozen. Then he sat up from his chair and rang the bell which was hanging from the ceiling of the tower. He screamed with all of the power that was in his lungs "PIRATES! PIRATES! PIRATES ON THE HORIZON!!!”

John stopped walking and looked up to the watch tower. "Oh god!" he said, just before running to his front door and busting inside his home. His mother was sitting at a table with a worried look on her face. "Did I just hear what I think I did?" asked John's mother. "Yes, ma, you did". "Where's William?" John's mother asked. "Well, I thought he was with you?" " No, you said he was going with you." John's mum sat down at a table and put her head in her hands. "Mum, you know William. He'll probably be hiding somewhere. He will be fine, I promise you."

As the ship stopped, some of the crewmen ran out the ropes on the rowing boats and let them fall into the water. They climbed down the starboard side of the vessel and jumped into the small, wooden boats. Every man was rowing, except of course for Captain Kidd. He just sat there, shouting at all of his 'rotten rats' and telling them to 'row like a man, not a wee lass'. The bow of the boat touched the rocks of the coast and the men clambered onto the stone path of Lybster's tiny harbour. They marched up the road, with the captain leading the troop of fifty or so bandits, towards the tavern. As the dastardly crew reached the bar, a few of them drew their cutlasses, rapiers and flintlocks. "Ale for all my men, or I'll slit your gullet!" The tavern owner, who was cowering behind the bar, slowly rose from hiding. He quivered as he handed over the flagons of ale. The captain grabbed the tankard and drunk it all in one. "pour me another one." The tavern owner quickly pulled the lever on the keg and gave all of the crew another round of ale.

Half of the crew were lying around on the tables in a stupor. The other half were either laughing in a drunken, diminished state or mumbling nonsense about random subjects. Captain Kidd was one of the latter, talking about the birds and the 'fishes'. A creak came from the floorboards and the captain and the crew that were still conscious looked around for the sound's origin. It was William, creeping around the corner of the wall in the tavern. The captain stood up with a small stumble and asked the boy his name. "My name is William but I don't see what it's got to do with you." "Ha, my name's William too. Captain William Kidd." William nodded. "I say, young William, would you like to be a pirate?" asked the Captain. William eyes widened with joy. "A pirate? Yes, of course!" The captain laughed. "Well then, first mate, grab him and bring him aboard the ship. This little chap's going to be working in the galley." The first mate stumbled towards William. "Come along, little lad." William stepped backwards to try and escape. He then quickly turned and ran but tripped over a broom on the floor. He fell down like a sack of spuds. The first mate swiftly grabbed the fallen child just underneath the arms and put him over his shoulder.  As the crewman trudged and stumbled towards the harbour, the first mate still had a screaming William over his shoulder.

John nervously walked up and down in the kitchen and watched his mother wringing her hands together. John turned to his mother and said "I'm going to get some men together and go and look for him." John's mother nodded gravely and begged him to be careful, as she couldn't bear to lose him too. As he went down the sandy path, Edward ran hysterically towards his friend. "They've taken William! The pirates have taken him," he choked. John looked terrified and he ran towards the village to collect the other men. Few were prepared to come because they were cowardly. John and Edward ran towards the harbour with three other village men.

William banged his head as the first mate threw him onto the deck of the pirate ship. The pain was chronic, but he tried to escape yet the crew just kicked him and laughed before they threw him down into the galley. Captain Kidd gave the order to set sail. William heard a lot of noise and people running around above him. He heard the heavy anchor being pulled aboard and the sails being hoisted. It was not long before he felt the movement of the ship.

John, Edward and the other men conscientiously rowed their boat like their lives depended on it and had just managed to come alongside the pirate ship. They looked up and saw 'Blessed William' in big letters on the back of the barque. John leapt and clung on to the hull of the ship, quickly followed by the other men. The deplorable crewmen saw what was happening and threw some old barrels down at the men. During the commotion, John made his way around the vessel looking for William.

William jumped back as the door to the galley opened but was glad to see John. John told William to be very quiet and he took his knife from his belt. He found a repair on the hull of the ship and gouged at the wooden hull. A small leak appeared and water started trickling into the hull. "Let's go" said John. They both ran to the deck where the pirates were fighting with Edward and the men. They were cornered and they leapt into the sea. Just then, Captain Kidd appeared and slashed John across the arm, forcing him to drop his knife. The captain told his men to throw him to the sharks. William rushed to the side and jumped in after him. Captain Kidd laughed and said "They won't last long. Leave 'em to the sea" and the ship heaved away as the wind filled her sails.

William called out to John. A barrel floated nearby him and he grabbed it. He heard John calling to him and he heard other voices. Miraculously, they were all alive. It took hours but eventually, they made their way back to shore on the barrels. Later that evening, when they were warming themselves by the fire, William said "What if they come back?" John, nursing his wound, laughed and said "There is no way they are going to be coming back."

Two days later, out at sea and far away from land, Captain Kidd's ship sank with all hands.  Several days later, there were some fishermen walking about on the coast of Stavanger in Norway. The Norwegian men were talking to each other about their days catch. One of the fisherman, Jørgen, saw an old barrel, covered in seaweed and small sea creatures, lying on the beach and he wandered over to take a closer look. Suddenly, he jumped back as a pale hand rose from behind the wooden barrel. Slowly, a quivering, bedraggled Captain Kidd appeared above the container and laughed out loud. He bellowed " Haarrgh. I'm alive to fight another day!"

THE END

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