“But we can’t make it in this small boat, the sea will swallow us!” He looked pleadingly at his shipmate, but he was also scared to go back. They both had hurriedly escaped the imagined terrors of the ship. Bumps, noises, chains rattling, all night long. Most of the men drank themselves to sleep but Joe and his brother were too young to join in. While the others slept they stole the lifeboat to get away from their imagined ghosts.
Many nights the old ones told tales of Davy Jones, Blackbeard, and other infamous pirates and how their ghosts would travel the sailing ships to warn of dangerous seas. The two young brothers thought this would be an exciting adventure, seeing new lands. They soon realized they weren’t even allowed off the ship at any port. Their job was to clean up after the old ones, swab the decks, dump garbage and slop jars over the side. Not pleasant work. Their only set of clothes was on their backs and just three days in, they were filthy and smelled so bad they couldn’t even sleep close together for safety. And safety was a priority for these boys, for they were still only boys, and some of the longtime mates were looking for companionship onboard. Most of the time they could watch each other, and do their chores, but at night, they were especially careful.
The small escape boat had no provisions and barely two workable oars. They had no idea where they could go. It was dark now and they forgot a lantern. They looked at the ship in the near distance, glad to be gone from it and all who occupied it, but they left in such a hurry they forgot to take food and more importantly, water. They knew of the death of drinking sea water. They kept looking back at the ship. It looked like a ghost ship, no one tending the wheel, or sails. Morning would come, everyone would rise up and find the boys gone. Would they care? Would they try to find them when they saw the lifeboat missing? The brothers turned these thoughts over in their minds, unsure if they made the right decision.
Their small vessel drifted toward the bigger ship. They were thinking they might have made a mistake. They were almost close enough to grab the anchor chain. They looked at each other and made their decision. They scrambled back up to the deck. As Joe climbed over the rail, he saw his brother’s face frozen in horror. The sight of every sailor hanged by the neck made him vomit. Joe held in his screams and turned his smaller brother away from the horrible vision. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a floating specter. It looked like an old pirate. He was holding a sword and a rope. Joe grabbed his brother and they jumped overboard. The specter stopped at the edge of the railing. His eyes were like fire and his beard was red and shining from blood. He was silent but his eyes were a warning.
The brothers scrambled into their waiting boat and grabbed the oars, rowing away as fast as their small arms could manage. Their faces were white and their eyes were wide open in terror. No matter what the sea offered, they would never go back to that ghost ship.