There are dreams I like to forget. These dreams came, went and when I wake I find myself still wallowing in my own reverie. These dreams gave me illusions and changed the way I perceived the pirates. After the quick fight with the cannibals of Juren, a small island off the coast of the bigger island of Shark, the Lifnante decided to have some rest on the nearest land. We had sailed for many days without the sight of land and everywhere was the sign of gloom. Some pirates drank themselves to stupor, staggering, some heading for their beds and some picking fights as usual. I could see Sundjata peer through his binoculars and my curiosity got hold of me. There was only one way to find out what this young pirate sought. I quickly ran to the Ships head, scaling the stairs, two at a time.
“Hallo” I cried.
“Well, hi!” He replied after lowering the lens to see the intruder. I shifted a bit, trying not to show my unease. He must have noticed. “Dont worry little fella, there’s no cannibal around here.” He said reassuringly. Goodness, he always read my mind. The encounter with the cannibals was bloody and I wish not to experience such again.
“So what were you staring at?” I asked stupidly, faking a smile.
“Oh!” He grunted. “A legend has it that here, just somewhere near this piece of ocean, the Snake Fish lives here and if this legend is true we might likely meet them”. He was trying to speak correctly, perhaps he did for I felt fear grow in me. I shuddered at the thought of big living monsters. What excitement does he derive knowing that a disaster was out there, waiting for the Wave? That was Sundjata, always making serious issues trivial. Then a shout of land rented the air from Crocker, the ships heralder.
“Ahoy, Ahoy! Lande! Lande!! I sighte lande!” He yelled, excitement written all over him. I saw the pirates all rush out from their hideouts, arranged in different groups whispering, talking almost at the same time. The Lifnante came out with his silver plated binoculars. At one swing of his strong hands he raised it to his face.
“Aye! That is some land, some good land. Well done boy” he said. “All to sails!” Then like a sounded bugle everybody moved to their duty posts.
Ay Cap’n, rented the quietness of the ship. Such an effort it was for the ship was directed towards this strange and lonely island, sitting on a volcanic rock. Small tug boats were lowered and some pirates paddled away. I was in a boat with Sundjata and five other pirates. From the boats we could see the island close in. Glittering sand, white beaches, and fine shiny pebbles. It seemed that no man ever set foot on the island. The hinterlands harbored a forest and from our closeness we could hear the birds cry. Behind the forest, the Volcano stood majestically, bidding us welcome, extending Greek gifts to us. My excitement gave way to uncertainty. I wasn’t sure I wanted this.
“Stay with me boy, leave not my side for any reason.” I heard Sundjata whisper. Sincerely my whole being longed for the woods and for freedom, some quietness from the noisy pirates. Glancing over to Sundjata, I could see two pistols dangle about his sides and a sword hidden in his pants. I looked up and smiled mischievously at his glare. Then the boats hit the beach sands, and all climbed off running up the sands, trying to out run the others, to reach the riches and warmth of the island before anyone else. It was a holiday from the long sea voyages and a happy one.
Night was on her way trifle shy. Anyone who ever took solace on the Night betrayed himself. Don’t mind me, I actually stole the Lifnante’s quote book. But Night cares for no one, and cold nights are cruel to those who took refuge in her arms. I heard the Lifnante give orders for camping. All about the island many camps were set for the coming evening. Some pirates stayed back on the Wave, and those were sick or older pirates and slaves who worked in the Wave. The camps sprang up in few minutes and then cooking for the night commenced. Some fish caught from the sea were cooked in coconut oil and many more were smoked on bonfires. The smell of fish cooking in coconut oil aroused my appetite. It was long since I ate properly cooked food! Some pirates played soft tunes with guitars, whistles and every musical instrument they had on them.
I got a plateful of fish and with delight I set about eating. It was then that I saw a movement in the forest. Like a flash, something moved through the woods. Again and again, I saw it. I decided to investigate, but my courage failed me. Reporting to the Lifnante and the merry pirates would spoil the calm and cool evening merriment. I saw the movement again. Now I was sure that something was out there and my mind played no games. I dropped my plate and walked up to Sundjata. He was playing cards with some pirates.
“This is pay back. Now it will cost you another Nickel,” he growled, laughing at his opponents. The pirates were all talking…
To be continued…