Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prompt: Pirates / Ghost ship

“You awake?” Brian whispered.

“Yeah. You cold? I have some more hot chocolate if you want.” Danny fished around in his pack for the thermos and handed it over to his cousin. It was a rare weekend full moon night, and they had begged for a riverside campout. His mother set them up like kings in the popup tent, with heavy sleeping bags, pillows, a lantern, and enough snacks to feed his whole Scout troop.

“I fell asleep. Did I miss it?” Brian asked.

“I would of woken you, dumbhead. It’s not midnight yet. Almost. Keep an eye out, and listen. Hush…

They waited in nervous anticipation, until Brian whispered excitedly, “There, is that it? I hear it!” The creak of wood, the splash of water slapping against the hull, the snap of canvas. They leaned out from the safety of their tent with wide eyes as the schooner appeared, surrounded by mists that hadn’t been on the river moments before. It was beautiful, dark wood glinting in the moonlight, with tall sails taut in a wind the boys couldn’t feel. They clutched their pillows, half in excitement, half in fear, as it sailed in front of them.

“Do you ever see anybody?” Brian asked, his voice quavering a little. Danny shook his head. He never heard voices or saw any signs of life on board the mysterious schooner that sailed up the river every full moon.

Danny would never forget the first time he saw the ship, a few weeks after they moved to Jacksonville and into the house on the St. Johns. Their backyard ended on the river bank, and before the movers finished, Danny raced inside to find the box with his fishing gear and quickly got down to the business of fishing from the shore. School hadn’t started yet, and he begged his parents for a tent to sleep out by the river. That was before his dad got sick, before—

“I see something!” Brian’s excited whisper interrupted memories Danny didn’t want to think about anyway. Danny stared harder. He did see something moving. On the bow. A…a dog? Yes! It was a dog’s head peering over the bow.

“That’s new,” he whispered. Could it be real? Maybe he was dreaming all this. No, Brian was right there with him.

They watched the ship cruise past, and suddenly the dog saw them on the bank. Danny knew the moment its eyes latched onto him, and he could see its back and tail wagging furiously in excitement. Danny thought it would bark, but it made no sound. It ran along the deck all the way to the back of the ship and watched them until the mists rose up and swallowed the ship back into the moonlit night.

Brian jumped up and whooped with excitement. “That was awesome!” He exclaimed, pumping his fists in the air.

Danny sat on his blanket, still clutching his pillow, looking after the ship. The dog. There was no doubt in his mind. Danny knew sure as anything that he had to help it. He resolved right there and then that at the next full moon he was going to rescue that dog off the ghost ship.

“You’re what?” Brian said, staring at him. Danny didn’t realize he had spoken out loud.

“I’m going to get on that ship and get that dog. Wanna come?”

Dogs in house:

Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Carribean soundtrack

January word count:

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