Between Tentacles and the Gods' Treasure

Submitted for Contest #67 in response to: Write about a pirate captain obsessed with finding a mythical treasure.... view prompt

1 comment

Nov 11, 2020

Fantasy Thriller

The storm was over, the ship had survived, and the captain was deliriously laughing toward the sky. "Stupid gods! None you throw at me will defeat me. Send your worst I challenge you. I will take what is mine," bellowed the wet man, brandishing his fists. He was alone in a small sail ship, where he was banned.

The man released the ship's sail to harness the strong winds blowing. "Bunch of weak men doubting their captain's skills. I, the notorious Jack Mulligan, the buccaneer. I won wars, captured villains, made my fortune in these waters. When I said that the treasure of the gods should be ours, they revolt, stealing my ship and bane me to this floating junk. Traitors. I curse you. The sea will swallow you before you find a port," said the man with black eyes putting the ship to move. His body knew what to do before the mind notice, a man born in the sea and forge by it.

His stomach growled, and his lips were dry. "Crackers. I only have crackers and water...stomach, my friend, will have to wait. I need the crackers to take a bigger fish," said the man to an angry belly bottom. His skin was darkly tanned and full of cracks and salt. The clothes, made to measure, was hanging loose in thin arms and legs. The hair and beard were a single thing messy and filthy, only exposing glassy eyes.

"Soon, we will arrive at the Golden Sea, and from there will be a short trip to the treasure. I am sure about it. I studied the legend, the songs, and the reports. Five years preparing myself to take the god's treasure." said the man tying the rope and taking the compass. "I know you don't want mortals next to your treasure. I have noticed and counted the storms and omens, but You can't stop me cause I am not an ordinary man. I am a captain. A Captain that won the title crossing the seas, not inheriting from a stupid relative. Are you listen to me?" shouted the man at the sun rising.

Fishes follow the ship as the man drop crumbs of crackers in the sea. The man took off the soaked clothes putting it to dry on the mast. The youth force had given way to a body full of scars and tattoos, showing life's milestone. "Soon, I will engrave this journey in my heart. Very soon. To prove to everyone who called me crazy that I was right, and I am better than them, way better than them. People are scared of their shadows. I am not afraid, I am not afraid of nothing. Are you hearing?" Asked the man looking to the fishes.

Many hours he sailed, always toward the sun, gathering each time more fishes. He sailed without saying a word, but the mind full of memories and thoughts unable to distinguish each one. The dark waters changed color to emerald, the signal he was near his objective. "Gather around my fish friends, follow my lead. I will need your collaboration as my crew. The humans didn't have the guts to follow me. I assure you will receive something special when we arrive at the Golden Sea." The water was warm, an invite to swim. "I will accept your invitation Lady of the Waves. Just give me some time. You waited for so long. Hang in there a little more, my dear," said the man looking to the darkness below the water.

The emerald water turned deep blue with blinking spots. He arrives at the Golden Sea. The sun was high in the sky, hot and burning everything it touches. The sailor body was almost collapsing without forces to sustain itself. The man walks to the bow, knelling toward the calm waters. He draws the knife from the boot and presses it against his left-palm. Drops of dark blood start to falling in the water, attracting the huge school. "Feast my scaled friends. I feed you with my blood so you can feed these waters' master, the leviathan that will guide me. Sorry to sacrifice you, but on both, above or below waters, the strongest uses the weakest to achieve success. The best I can do to reward your sacrifice is to feed you my flesh and blood."

The blood loss drained the captain forces. His vision was blurring, and the body asked to lie on the floor. "C'mon king of waves, I am calling you. I bring presents and my respects. Come deep one, wake and rise." shouted the man, looking to the empty sky. He feels the creature approaching, the ship bounces. His conviction empowers him to stand and welcome the beast. "Come to me!!"

The shadow grew wild, soon tuning bigger than a ship. The fishes seduced by the blood couldn't escape when the huge mouth jump from the deep waters. The better leviathan's description was a shark corrupted with three tentacles on each side and skin like silver mesh. "Welcome, Silver Mouth!" shouted Jack, throwing the harpoon at the creature in the air, while the boat was launch back by the rising waves. "Learn my name: Captain Jack Mulligan! I will be your new master! Kneel!" said the man balancing himself and throwing another harpoon. Both hits punched through the hard skin, lodging deep in the flesh. The creature struggled, dragging the ship with it. The wood cried but resisted against the strong tugs. "Accept your destiny leviathan. I will be your new master, and you will show your lair to me, guardian of god's treasure. Yield."

The creature wasn't a mindless beast. It was an ancient monster, once venerated as a god, and smart enough to reign these waters. As it couldn't release itself from the ship, it would destroy the captor. The tentacles rise from the waters, catching the damaged vessel. The captain laughed at the terrible image that could wreck the ship. Wild, Jack grabbed the knife and stabbed the creature, biting and kicking with the rest of his forces in a desperate attack of fury. The creature couldn't bite the ship, the ropes blocking its biggest weapon. Despite the ship's drifts, all the captain's energies were in subjugating the beast at any cost. The blood of both spread everywhere, staining all.

Against all, the old man emerged victoriously. "It was me that ate your flesh. I am the biggest threat. These waters have a new master, and it is me. Flee to lick your wounds, beast, and carry me toward my throne." laughed the man cover in blood with a big chunk of the beast's flesh in his mouth and hand. She was the image of a nightmare made in flesh and blood. The leviathan run.

The ship crosses the water racing. Faster than any wind could blow. The man was standing at the bow, victorious, feeling his beloved wind, revigorated, and fed. "I beat your guardian, Gods. What will be your next move? It doesn't matter because I will be empowered by anything you send. Send me a storm, and I will become lord of thunder, send me my enemies and I will take their ships, send monsters, and will feast with their flesh. Give up. I will have my treasure." challenged the man, looking to the dark clouds at the horizon.

The beast drags the ship all afternoon and night without slowing or stopping. The man always prepared for the next challenge. In the first hours, it came in the shape of a gargantuan storm. The sky and the water were black, mirror it other, winds from all directions. The man delighted with the gods challenging, singing the legend of his treasure. All the gold and jewellery the man's had sacrificed to calm the gods, all the knowledge lost by their rage, everything they had claimed, is inside Gods' treasure. Soon, it would be his. The ship jumped, driving by the huge waves, the water as laces trying to grab him and drag to the ocean. He knows the sea's secrets and won't be a storm to drown him. The leviathan attempts to attack again.

The man opened his eyes, again soaked wet and alive, laughing at the sky. The Silver Mouth was defeated again, even with the storm at its side. "I said that nothing would stop me. Swallow your pride, gods. I already won, it's a matter of time. The sharks and squids are attacking their guardian. It can't defend itself properly anymore. It will show me his lair, or die." said him checking the ship. "Even if it dies, I know other ways to find the treasure. I know all the ways." laughed him losing control. The ship now glides, slower to the north. The man sits and watches the sea. "We will meet again, my beloved Lady Waves."

The water turns dark blue, and the blinking lights returned. The week trail of blood following the ship attracted schools of tiny fish and some lemon sharks. "We are close, Silver Mouth. The sharks are the sign. I will be benevolent, I will release you when we arrive. I will share some fish with you to restore your strength. You were a respectful opponent, and you deserve to live another day, even failing in your main mission. Fight, my dear, don't accept anything from the gods. Make your own destiny as I'll make mine." said the man catching some fish with a net. Half the fish he caught, he throws again in the sea. He saves most of the fish in a bucket.

"I thank you for providing me with enough food to survive. The gods had clean the sea trying to starve me, but your flesh and blood are delicacies none in the sea can resist. The gods had forsaken you. They lie to you, hiding the fact that they are sending all fish to devour you before you arrive at the lair. Punish you and me. I can kill sharks and other attackers if you promise to honor my help." said the man throwing the rest of his meal in the sea. There was no wind, all the waves caused by the ship and the follower.

The sky cleared with an unmerciful sun. Some bubbles rise in front of the ship. "Fair well, honor your word, and I will honor mine. Fell free to eat the weaklings. Now we both will be forsaken by the gods." said the man taking the third harpoon, not tied, and attacking the beasts. When it broke, he got one of the four paddles to finish the job.

A red stain was attached to the ship, sail, wood, waters, and man. Everything in shades of red. The man was exhausted, seeking the water collected in the storm. He sat next to the mast patching his wounds with stink salve and rags. The ship also needs some patches, even a great sailor, as the captain, couldn't keep the ship whole for much longer. "I wonder if you could give me a ride to an island after I take my treasure, couldn't you? Yeah, as I expected, you are exhausted as well. I respect you and your choices. All right, I know my next steps and the gods too. Run my servant leviathan, your duty is almost over, and soon you will be truly free," talked the man looking to the sunset. The darkness was growing in the sky and waters.

The sea again mirrors the sky, bright points in a dark canvas. The rope got relaxed, and the ship stopped. A pull in the ropes signed that they arrive at the destination. The man sent the anchor to make sure any wind couldn't drift it apart so close to the goal. "Here is where we say farewell, leviathan. I trust you not to try to ambush me. You will die, even in your domain, you will perish. I respect you and don't want to spill more of your blood. Take my advice and go hide somewhere else. Cure your wounds and recover your forces and conquer other waters." said Jack, cutting the ropes and releasing the monster. "Eat my last crew, the cursed ones. As my last command, hunt them and make the shipwreck your new lair. The storm got them, and they will be weak. I commend that twenty souls to you, to seal our contract. Be free, my servant Silver Mouth."

Nothing happens for hours. The man, as a statue next to the mast, looked at the moon, first quarter, waiting. The man had saved a tonic to this moment, a herbal concoction to keep a man awake for hours. There was no wind. The waters were almost flat. The image of a ship floating on a black canvas, with glitter points, could put many paranoic, insane but not Captain Jack Mulligan. He was obsessed with the treasure. All he saw was ways to achieve his goal, to take what was his by right.

Then the waters started to move, slowly at first, but hastening with each spin. The swirl was growing, and the winds came to follow. "I don't know who of us betrays the group and put a breach to your treasure. The bastard has my respect and thanks. I see that the six storms had drained your power. I taunt you, and you keep sending. Fools! Now you have only winds. Winds that will become a hurricane, but, by now, are only winds. Bravo!" talked the man, binding itself to the ship with four ropes and walking toward the ship's edge. His eyes couldn't see anything at the bottom of the swirl, but he knows that it was there, waiting for him, smiling at him. His hair swung in the wind, wiping his face and shoulders. He kicked another anchor down and counted to thirty before jumping. "Do your best bastards, and I will do mine. Finally, we will dance, Lady Waves."

Coral, fish, sand, rocks, and the man, all was spinning and hitting each other in the waters of the swirl. The man dived deeply to arrive at the bottom. Some creatures tried to grab him, drow him, but his knife was always ready to defend. All his bruises and wounds opened, stinging with the salt, the lungs burning, asking for more air. His mind only thought about the treasure, his treasure. His hands hit something solid, a human-size chest. The glory gives him the energy to tie strong knots at the chest. Three ropes might do the work. He drops the rocks in his pockets and starts climbing his last rope. The knife was in the teeth, ready to prevent attacks to the ropes.

The trip down was easy compare with climbing. He returned to the ship covered in seaweed, sand, and blood. Gasping but without time to recover, he took the huge reel near the mast and started to hoist the chest. "Arms don't let me down at the moment you are most wanted. Rope hold my pleasure treasure. My ship, old war friend, survive this last battle with me. Friends, I trust my life to you as you trust your safety to me. We will win the gods together." scream the man against the strong winds and the spinning ship.

The world was going down around the man, and the only thing he was doing was spinning the reel. Fighting against the waters and the weight of the chest. One of the anchors got lost, making the ship swing even more on the waves. The hands of the captain start to bleed, and his eyes were full of tears. Stubborn, he continues to spin the reel, hoisting inch by inch the chest. He tied itself to the mast for safety as the hurricane was near. For four hours, he fights until the chest hit the ship. Blind by the wind, he pulled the trunk into the ship, only his own strength to do the task. He made so much effort that he fainted as soon the chest hit the floor.

The sun dawn woke the injured captain. The mast was broken. There were many cracks in the ship hull, and both anchors were lost. None of this took the man's attention. His eyes were only on the chest. "I honor a good fight even against scoundrels gods. I know it isn't over. I only won these rounds. Now you will try everything in the book to stop me. I know. I accept the challenge," said the man to the sun. He drank some water before walking to the chest. He was anxious, still in pain, and tired. He hugs the chest relieved.

"I said, my dear, I would come for you. I would cross all the world looking for you. I give my word as a captain. I swear on my parent's bones that not even death would stop me. Sorry to take so long, I made many enemies on the way." said the man crying. He wipes the tears and opens a hidden box. There were his captain hat, a coconut, and a lockpick. Patiently he used his tools and opened the chest showing golden coins, portraits, weapons, and other expensive things. "Lady Wave came to me. It is Captain Jack Mulligan who calls. I am here to rescue you. My beloved, hear my voice and return to this world. Please, come back." begs the man, almost crying again.

All the treasure vanish, leaving behind a young lady with auburn hair and dark eyes. "Daddy?"

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1 comment

Elaine Lima
20:34 Nov 11, 2020

It was a good read, even if I don't really like pirate stories. What surprised me the most was the character development, a big turnaround. I was really surprised by the revelation of the character. Throughout the story, he was kind of push it, push it... A good story does that to the reader, leaves an impression.

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