“Mira! I need your help up here in the attic please!” My grandmother called.
I still couldn’t believe my grandmother had to sell her house. There were so many fond memories from my childhood there. Every which way I turned, there was some sort of memento or some object that brought back a glimpse of what it was like growing up in a house full of love.
I remember when my father died, grandma took mom and me in to help with all of the bills. Now that my mother is dead, it seems like this house is the only thing left of her that I have. I know grandma has to sell the house to pay for all the medical bills, but it just hurts so much. I wish mom was at least still alive. It’d make the bills less of a burden to know that they were worth something. But alas, cancer is an evil not even the strongest or richest can control. I just wish I was either of those two things.
“Coming, Grandma! I’ll be there in a minute!”
I began to cry. I wish I could get a full-time job to help pay the bills, but I still have a few years of high school left, and Grandma insists I need to go to college. I don’t understand why. There’s so many bills and a student loan will just add to that! But she just keeps telling me not to worry. How can I not though? We have to leave this beautiful, wonderful house where I learned how to ride a bike, built my first treehouse, and had my first kiss! Now we have to move to a tiny, one bedroom apartment! I know it’s tough for me, but it’s got to be even tougher on Grandma. She just lost her daughter and now she’s losing the house that she spent a whole lifetime with my Grandfather before he passed.
I ran up the spiraling staircase to the dusty, old attic. I rarely ever came up here, as it always kind of creeped me out a bit. There was a musty smell, and cobwebs galore.
“What do you need, Grandma?”
“Oh dear, can you help me move this box? It’s so heavy, and I’m afraid I’ve gotten a bit frail in my youth!” Grandma always had quite the sense of humor.
“Yes, Grandma, just let me get it.” I picked up the box. It was much heavier than I expected. In fact, it was so heavy that I accidentally dropped it, and all its contents came flying out!
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Grandma! I didn’t mean to, honest!”
“It’s okay, Mira. Just help me pick up everything.” We began to pick up all the scattered objects, when I noticed a strange looking timepiece.
“Grandma, what’s that pocket watch? It looks so familiar but I can’t place where it’s from…”
“Oh this box is just a bunch of your Grandfather’s silly ‘treasures.’ You probably remember it from when your Grandfather used to tell you and your cousins stories about your great-great-grandfather and how he was the feared, dread pirate known as ‘Crook Tail.’ I just couldn’t bear throwing it away after your Grandpa passed. He always loved telling you kids those stories! It’s the sentimental value that’s worth the most to me!”
I picked up the timepiece and gazed at it as though I was mesmerized somehow… Then I realized it was also a compass! Was it really just the memory of Grandpa’s ghost stories and legends? Or was this something I was really connected to somehow?
After clearing out the attic some more, Grandmother and I decided to hit the hay at around nine. We were exhausted. I don’t remember ever working so hard in my life! So when I went to lie down, I completely passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.
During the night, I heard a strange sound…
“Mira…” It whispered. Before I knew it, I began to make my way to the voice, as if I were in some sort of trance. I continued to walk towards the voice. It was coming from the box full of Grandfather’s old trinkets! When I opened the box, it was glowing! The timepiece/compass was glowing! I picked it up and all of a sudden, the world around me was spinning. I was caught up in some bizarre vortex taking me to another time and place.
Last thing I remembered was being in my Grandmother’s house. But when I woke up, I was lying on a deserted beach. How in the world did this happen? I got up and looked around at my surroundings. It seemed as though I was on some sort of Caribbean island.
“Hello? Is anyone there?” I called into the emptiness.
I continued to walk along the shoreline until I finally ran into a very odd looking trio.
“Excuse me,” I asked. “Where are we?”
The three men turned around and stared at me. One had a glass eye, the other had a hook for a hand, and the last one was the largest man I had ever seen. I immediately knew they were pirates.
“Arrghh, and who might ye be, little lady?” The man with the glass eye glared at me.
“Umm, sorry, I realize I made a mistake..” I turned around and tried to run as I realized they were not a friendly bunch, but the large man stopped me by easily picking me up by the scruff of my neck.
“Owww!” I screeched.
“She’ll make a nice price on Tortuga!” Said the pirate with the hook for a hand.
“Ay! I say so!” Agreed the man with the glass eye.
I realized I was in some serious trouble. Luckily, Grandfather had taught me some sparring techniques when I was a child. I grabbed the large man’s sword and cut his arm so he had to free me from his grasp. I sprinted as fast as I could. I kept running and running. I knew that if I stopped running and they caught me, I was a goner.
When I ran so far, I decided to turn around and make sure they weren’t behind me. But as I continued to run, I fell into a pit.
Good job, Mira! I thought to myself. First you get caught up with pirates and now you’ve fallen into a giant pit! How did this even happen? Where am I?
I began to cry. Everything was so confusing! Last thing I remember was crying over having to move, and now I was just so completely lost! All I wished was that I could go home. But how? I didn’t even have a home to go home to! Not really anyways. I just continued to cry, when a rope appeared next to me. I looked up and saw a handsome man staring at me.
“Take the rope, milady!” He instructed.
I grabbed a hold of the rope and he pulled me up. The man had a whole crew with him. He appeared to be some sort of captain.
‘Thank you! I thought I was dead.” I gratefully said to the young captain.
“And you would’ve been if you were found by scoundrels! What is a young lady like yourself doing out here all by her lonesome?” He asked.
“I got lost… I don’t know how I got here, but I just want to figure out how to go home.” I began to cry.
“Now don’t cry, milady. My crew and I will help you. Let me take you back to my ship. I’m Captain Cassian, but you can call me Crook Tail.”
I stared in disbelief. “Captain Crook Tail?”
“Ay, it’s a nickname. Long story short, I saved a town of some young lads and lassies from a giant croc that had a crooked tail, and the name kind of stuck.” He smiled at me. Was this man really my great-great-grandfather? At this point, I thought I must be dreaming so I began to pinch myself. But to no avail, I did not wake up. This was real life somehow!
“Why are you pinching yourself, young lady?” Crook Tail asked.
“Sorry, I’m just confused.” I replied.
“And what’s your name?”
“What a pretty name for a pretty young girl. Now don’t worry, Mira. You’ll be safe with us.” Crook Tail said.
We all went back to the grand ship named The Painted Lady. It was a marvelous ship. It was exactly how Grandfather described it! I still couldn’t believe what was happening.
“Set sail for Tortuga!” Exclaimed Crook Tail.
:”Now show young Mira to her own cabin, Blarney.” Crook Tail commanded his first mate.
I was so tired from the crazy day I had that I immediately fell asleep as soon as I reached the cabin.
In the middle of the night, I heard a loud “BOOM!” I ran to the top deck of the ship and saw that we were caught in a battle at sea!
“Milady, go back to sleep! This is no place for a young lady!” Crook Tail commanded me. But I knew this must have been a sign of some sorts. Why was I here? There must be a reason. Then I saw the trio of pirates I encountered earlier! They were from the rival ship! Then, I don’t know what came over me, but I felt the urge to jump from The Painted Lady to the rival ship. They were close enough to each other that it was possible, but I couldn’t believe what compelled me to make such a brash move! It was like I had done this before, and knew exactly what to do. I ran right for the captain and pulled his sword on him.
“SURRENDER!” I screamed.
The crews of both ships were just as perplexed as I was. What was I doing? Was this a lucid dream where I somehow had superpowers and could do anything? That was the only thing that made any kind of sense as to how I was able to do all this.
“SURRENDER!” Screamed the captain of the rival ship.
The rival crew immediately stood down as Captain Crook Tail boarded the rival ship and stood beside me.
“Bested by this brave young lady, I see, Dread Beard.” Captain Crook Tail laughed as he pointed his sword at Captain Dread Beard.
“She certainly is talented.” Captain Dread Beard acknowledged.
“Now I’ll be taking me treasure back, Dread Beard. And I don’t want to see your ship ever again or I’ll sink it along with ye and all ye crew!” Crook Tail threatened.
Dread Beard then pulled out an object from his pocket. Oh my God! It was the timepiece!
“Argh, you may have won this time, Crook Tail, but you won’t be so lucky next time!”
“There won’t be a next time, Dread Beard!”
Crook Tail took the timepiece and myself and we reboarded The Painted Lady. Then we sailed off and left the Dread Beard and his crew to rot on the high seas.
“And how did you do all that, milady?” Crook Tail asked me.
“From a story my grandfather once told me.” I told Crook Tail. It was all coming back to me. This was a story my Grandfather once told me… He told me about how Crook Tail defeated the evil, rival pirates and was the most victorious pirate that ever lived!
“Well, Miss Mira, I don’t know what it is, but as soon as I laid eyes on you, I knew ye were special somehow... “ Crook Tail said to me as he handed me the timepiece. “I don’t know why, but I trust ye. This timepiece holds the power to control the seas and times of different shores. Take good care of it. I’m trusting it in your care. And remember, sometimes treasure is found where we least expect it.” What a peculiar statement, I thought.
I hugged him, thanked him, and said my goodbye as I opened the timepiece. Once again, a vortex enveloped me. I waved goodbye to my great-great-grandfather and disappeared.
The next morning, I woke up in my bed. Did I really just dream all of that? It seemed so real though!
But wait… I was wearing the timepiece around my neck. If I open it again, will I go back? I might as well try! So I opened the pocket watch, but this time nothing happened. I have to admit, I was slightly disappointed. It was quite the adventure! Well, sometimes dreams are just short moments of excitement in time. I headed downstairs to make breakfast for Grandmother when I noticed the box of Grandfather’s tchotchkes. I remembered what Crook Tail said. Sometimes treasure is where we least expect it. I opened the box and found a letter from Grandfather. I don’t know how I missed it before! It read:
My Dearest Mira,
I realize in these coming days I am getting sicker and sicker. I have always loved telling you and your cousins these wonderful stories about Captain Crook Tail. I hope you have enjoyed listening to them as much as I have enjoyed telling them! Tell your Grandmother how much I love her. I worry about her, and I know you’ll take great care of her. In this envelope lies the treasure of the great dread pirate Captain Crook Tail! I always told your Grandmother I would take care of her even after I passed. Make sure you take good care of it. I’m trusting it in your care. And remember, sometimes treasure is found where we least expect it.
Weren’t those the same last words Crook Tail said to me? I opened the envelope entitled “Mira,” and I found numerous bearer bonds. I began to cry. We were rich! We’d be able to keep the house! Grandfather had saved me and Grandma, as he always promised to do. With tears of joy, I sprinted up the stairs and woke up Grandmother.
“Goodness, child! What is so important you must wake up a sleeping old lady?”
“Grandma I have amazing news…”