Adventure Drama Fantasy

Tears clouded the once proud pirate's vision. Mary or Burgundy Barny as she had called herself, had terrorized the seas for years. Now that was all over because of her jealous greedy brother.

John had marooned his sister on some desolate hot island with narry a soul in sight. It hadn't been enough to humilate her, John hadn't even given back her deep red greatcoat to cover herself. She was alone now in the humid air on the beach of some tropical island.

Mary relived her past as she searched for a fresh water source. It wasn't that she wanted to but her mind wandered there as she navigated the dense under growth.

She could barely remember her parents. They had died of Cholera when she was six and John was only four. There was no one to take them in. That first day she and John had wandered the streets of Liverpool. "Mary, my tummy hurts," John had whined. She knew it had been hours since the two of them had wandered away from their home. Mary had to get them food and drink but had no money.

"Wait here," she told her brother. "I just saw a bread cart." John nodded and hid himself in a nearby alleyway. Stealthily, Mary reached into the lowest basket of rolls she could find. She was about to wrap them in the skirt of her dress when she heard a shout. "YOU FILTHY LITTLE URCHIN!" The shopkeeper yelled. "I OUGHT TO BOX--"

By the time the merchant was shouting which part of Mary ought to be beaten, she was running like mad. Once she reached John she grabbed his arm and dragged him down the alley. "Sorry," she said between gasps. "We gotta hide. I would pick you up but then I would drop our food." They only stopped running when they ran into a pair of legs clad in a plaid tartan.

Stunned, Mary looked up into the tall man's face. He had turned around as soon as he felt the impact to his behind. The stranger stroked his coarse salt and pepper beard. "Ah! A wee pair of bairns!" He remarked. "What might you be doing so far from your mum?"

They could hear constables blowing their whistles not far behind them. The man in the kilt looked in the direction of the shrill noise and gathered the two orphans close to his side. "What is all this noise about?" He asked as two constables ran up.

"We had a shopkeep tell us the girl stole some bread from his cart," the taller one said. The man in the kilt clucked his tongue. "Lass," he said. "I told you not to go nicking food!" He gave the two constables a long stare before adressing them. "I suppose I could pay for the few rolls me daughter took. Can I trust you lads to give the shopkeep the coins if I hand 'em over?"

The one who seemed to be in charge turned a voilent red. "I assure you we will," he said through gritted teeth. "That'll be two farthings and a half penny." The man reached into the pouch on his belt and produced the correct amount of currency. The constable ungratefully took the money.

"I think you should keep a better eye on them...Mr?" The constable trailed off. "It's Captain," the man said. "Captain Stuart Sharp." The two law enforcers looked intimidated but still had some pride. "Well, Captain Sharp," the constable back pedaled. "See that your dughter learns to mind the law." Both uniformed officials procceded back the way they came.

Satisfied with his ruse Stuart knealt to get a better look at Mary and John. "That was a right barmy thing you did," he said. "Now lass can you explain yourself?" Mary began crying. "Don't be mad sir," she said. "Our--our m-mum and d-dad d-died. And my baby brother has not eaten and and--" Mary couldn't finish her sentance because she was sobbing.

Captain Sharp's stern expression softened a little. "Ah lassy," he said. "You will have to forgive this sea dog's curiosity. I can see you wee bairns are in a tough spot. I think I might be able to help you both." John brightened like the sun coming from behind a cloud. "So you are going to take us to live at your house?"

The Scotsman shook his head. "It is not exactly a house," he said. "It's my ship, The Drake. A vessel so beautiful that a duchess in her finest gown would be put to shame." He eyed Mary critically. "My crew would not approve of me bringing a woman aboard," he said. "Even one as fiesty as you. Would you be opposed to wearing boy's clothes?"

Mary shook her head. "I can be Barney," she told Captain Sharp. "After all that is what you said I am." Stuart gave a fond chuckle. "I take it you have no knowledge of Scotts," he said. "Well I guess I will call you Barney! A fine name for a laddie. And what's your name young sir?"

The toddler had already taken a liking to their strange new friend. "I am John!" He shouted happily.

After buying a few more things and allowing Mary to change, Captain Sharp and the children walked down to the harbor. A few docks down they saw The Drake for the first time. It was larger than any boat either sibling had ever seen.

Before taking them up the gangway, Captain Sharp turned and adressed the two children. "Now, I have to be perfectly honest," he said. "You lot will not be sailing under a Union Jack. I am what you might call...a pirate. Neither of you scared to be scalleywags?" Both John and Mary were too young to understand what that meant exactly. "No;" they answered in unison.

"That sounds good to my ears!" Captain Sharp. "Lets heave ho! Once we hit the open ocean we fly the Jolly Roger!"

Both siblings learned that life at sea was harder than they expected. While they weren't starving, Mary and John worked hard. If they weren't actively attacking another ship their crew mates taught them how to tie knots, use urine to clean shirts and of course spot things from the crow's nest.

Durring skirmishes John and Mary were told to hide below deck until they were old enough to be taught how to fight. Mary took to swordsmanship easily. She had a keen eye for what her opponent was planning. Eight times out of ten, she managed to disarm her foe before being bested.

"Well done Barney!" Her crew mates would shout. John was always upset when he lost to her. However his ferrocity in battle and ability to read charts made John valuable on The Drake.

For his part, Captain Sharp treated John and Mary as equals. He taught them both all the skills and codes they needed to be great pirates.

As girls have a tendancy to do, Mary eventually gained more mature female features. Luckily she managed to salvage some old shirt scraps to bind her chest with. It was also fortunate that all her cohorts also had blood stains. This made it easier to hide being a lady coming of age.

The crew never thought twice about the fact that Mary never frequented brothels. They just assumed she liked the ale better than "friendly company". Her brother John on the other hand didn't have to worry about blending in.

Much to her dismay John had confided to Mary that after a particularly raccous night in Tortuga that it had begun to burn when he pissed. "I cannot help you," she told John. "Maybe come drink with me instead of courting whores." This suggestion had been met with lots of cursing and snarling from John.

Eventually, durring a voyage through the tropics, Captain Sharp contracted Yellow Fever. Being elderly it didn't take long for him to sucumb. He had John and Mary summoned to his quarters.

His beard highlighted his jaundiced face. "I ken I am not long for this world," He said. "You two are as close to kin as I have." They each took one of their surrogate father's hands and gazed mournfully at him.

"John," Captain Sharp said. "You are a good lad. However you make rash decisions. While I would like to name you as my successor, I feel Barney is more suited to give the orders." John glared at his sister. But he didn't dare object in the Captain's presence.

A loud groan and rattle escaped from Stuart Sharp then his eyes closed for the final time. "He knew you were a girl!" John growled. "I should be captain!" Mary sighed, she was irritated with her brother's indecency. "John," she chided. "The body of the man who was like a father to us is right there! I'll not squabble with you here."

Mary--as Barney--informed her crew mates of their Captains passing and last wishes. Stuart Sharp was burried at sea and a fine wake was had in his honor. At one point a deck hand raised a tankard. "To Burgundy Barney!" He roared. "Our new Captain! May he lead well!"

Clanking of tankards and cheers followed this toast. John sat sullenly with his grog. Mary went over to her brother to console him. "I know this is hard on you," she said.

"Do you really?" John sneered. "Well guess what? I think I will make things more plain for you!" He grabbed his sister's great coat and tore it from her shoulders. Before Mary could react he ripped open her blouse and undid the bindings that held her breasts together.

John roughly spun his now exposed sister to face the rest of the crew. Shocked silence filled the galley. Mary folded her arms to cover her chest. "THIS IS WHO BARNEY IS!" John shouted. "A MERE WOMAN! A JINX! IS THIS WHO YOU WANT AS CAPTAIN?!"


A long silence followed the the former first mate, Thoughtful Tom, spoke. "Lad," he said. "you and Barney--"

"SHES NOT BARNEY!" John interjected. Tom held up a hand. "You and the lass we knew as Barney," he corrected. "Have been on The Drake since you were both small. We are all fond of you both." This reasoning didn't sway John. He merely pouted in silence. "We pirates agree that women aboard are bad luck," Tom said. "But killing her would be worse. Perhaps we should just send her ashore in the Florida Keys. Let fate decide her fortune."

Mary had to admit it was decent of her cohorts not to drown her. Still she never would have guessed she would end up marooned.

After drinking some from the spring she had found, Mary gathered some dead palm fronds and driftwood back to the beach. She used a sharp stone to mark trees so she could find the water source again. Mary aranged the scraps of dead plants into a bonfire and lit it on fire.

When she was sattisfied with the size of the blaze, Mary searched the seaward horizon. She thought she could see a large shadow not too far from the island. Mary hoped that it was a ship and that if it was they would see the smoke and flames.

High noon passed into the gloaming light of evening. The shadow Mary had spotted was indeed a ship and it was moving closer. Eventually she could make out the ship's colors. It was an East India trade ship. Mary cursed but then had an idea.

She could use her disheveled appearance.

A small rowboat made ground close to where Mary stood. She ran towards the two startled men in the boat. "Young Lady!" Said one of the shocked men. "How did you come to be in such a sad state."

Mary knew how to make herself pathetic. "Good sirs!" She cried. "Help me! I was kidnapped and ravaged by some horrible pirates!"

Both men removed their tricorn hats. "Such terrible news," said one. "Here, cover yourself with my coat. I implore you."

Greatfully the wiley woman accepted her rescuers offer. "Please sirs," she said. "Take me to your ship and I will tell you which ship captured me, to whom she belongs and where you can find them!"

The sailors from the East India Company saw no reason to doubt her story. It was easy to convince them to "avenge her honor." Within days they found The Drake. They comandeered the ship and took the crew to be hanged for piracy. Mary shed no tears for her brother but she did regret seeing some of her life long friends executed.

February 05, 2021 06:03

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K. Amina
20:19 Feb 11, 2021

The tone was on point and made me feel as if I could hear the accents as well with the nice language. Overall, there was a very nice storyline. There were a few punctuation and spelling errors; that seems to be the only critique I have. Very well written! I look forward to reading more of what you have written!


Marian Reiley
06:28 Feb 26, 2021

Oh wow! That's the best praise I've been given. Thank you! Also I think I need to proofread my stories more than once before submitting!


Show 0 replies
Marian Reiley
06:28 Feb 26, 2021

Oh wow! That's the best praise I've been given. Thank you! Also I think I need to proofread my stories more than once before submitting!


Show 0 replies
Marian Reiley
06:29 Feb 26, 2021

Oh wow! That's the best praise I've been given. Thank you! Also I think I need to proofread my stories more than once before submitting!


Show 0 replies
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