Captain Beardbeard raised his sabre and announced the charge.
“Onward, ye scurvy dogs!”
The pirates roared their battle cries and surged onto the beach in a flurry of striped trousers. Boarding and robbing other ships was their main source of income and the buccaneers looked on land excursions as cheerful holidays.
The captain had been assured that this island would offer a great reward to one brave enough to find it. Beardbeard had dedicated most of his spare time to tracking down maps and actually locating the island, and he had a good feeling about it.
Pirate curses filled the air as the brigands crashed through the trees toward the spot marked “X” on Beardbeard’s map. It was too quiet on the island, and Beardbeard’s good feeling was replaced with a slightly apprehensive feeling. They reached the beach with no resistance.
“Arr, Cap’n, I expected more landlubbers to be fightin’,” said Pegleg, echoing the captain’s thoughts.
Pegleg was the First Mate, but only because Beardbeard’s preferred First Mate had been grievously injured during a fight with a sea monster. Pegleg lacked the ambition that made a really good backstabbing pirate, and he was going to have to be replaced sooner than later.
“It don’t feel right without the killing and the looting,” Pegleg said. He lifted his eye patch and squinted hard against the sun. “Do ye think there be landlubbers past the forest?”
“Treasure first, me lad. Rashy Jack! Stop stuffing sand down yer drawers and start diggin’,” Beardbeard said.
Jack sighed and let go of his handful of the blissfully hot and scratchy sand. He picked up his shovel and set to work.
Beardbeard ordered a few of the men to stand guard, but he needn’t have bothered. The only threat to their operation was a skunk that shambled out of the trees, and he couldn’t make the crew smell any worse than they already did.
It wasn’t long before Pegleg waved Beardbeard back to the digging site.
“What be the problem, Pegleg?” Beardbeard asked.
“No problem, Cap’n. Rashy Jack hit treasure already!”
“Well blow me down!” Beardbeard exclaimed. He tried to whistle but most of his teeth were missing so it didn’t come out right. “What have ye, Rashy Jack?”
Jack signaled to a couple of his fellow pillagers to give him a hand. The trunk they hoisted out of the ground was a solid wooden one, carved with ancient letters outlined with a bit of gold. It landed with a satisfying thud in the sand.
Beardbeard rubbed his hands together gleefully. He selected his favourite lock-smashing club and clubbed the lock until it gave way.
“Avast, me hearties, feast yer eyes upon this bountiful booty!”
The trunk was not filled with gold. There was a strange object upon the felt-lined interior, covered with wires and all manner of beeping things.
Beardbeard scowled at it. What was he to do with such a thing? A blue button lit up and he jabbed it with his thumb.
“Shiver me timbers!” Big Britches screamed. He pointed out at the water with a shaking finger, his jaw hanging open in shock.
Beardbeard had heard a tidal wave or two in his day and he recognized the massive whoosh of the water as it rose. A ship rose from the depths of the sea, revealing full black sails and portholes made of gold on its metal hull. Beardbeard had never seen its like before. Ships were made of wood, not metal.
“Well, plug me bung hole,” Beardbeard said. Perhaps the take on this adventure would not be so disappointing after all.
“What is it, Cap’n?” asked Buxom Bess.
Beardbeard knew the answer in his heart of hearts and it made his lips part in his nearly toothless grin.
“It be our new ship, Bess.”
“Cap’n! She be a cursed vessel. She just rose from Davy Jones’ locker!” Pegleg said. “We can’t sail ‘er.”
“Arr, that’s enough of yer mutiny,” Beardbeard said. “Shut yer gob if ye don’t want to be keelhauled.”
Pegleg did not fancy being bound to the underside of the ship so as to die a horrible death. He shut his mouth.
“All aboard, me bilge-suckers!” Beardbeard shouted. “Get the booty from the old ship, then swab the poop deck and weigh anchor! We be sailing in style now, buckos!”
“ARR!” the pirates cried in unison.
Beardbeard climbed aboard and admired the deck as it gleamed in the sunlight. He patted the ship’s figurehead lovingly. It didn’t look like any person he’d ever met, landlubber or seadog alike, but he liked the elongated face and large almond-shaped eyes. It wasn’t nearly as buxom as Bess, though, and that was a real shame.
He looked down at the strange device he’d taken from the trunk. A different button had come to life with a red light, and he gave his parrot a pat.
“Do the honours, old girl,” he said. The parrot squawked and pecked the button with her beak.
The tidal wave began anew and the ship lifted up out of the water and into the air. It rose higher and higher into the sky and would soon touch the clouds themselves. Beardbeard clutched the railing and laughed with the sheer joy of it.
Some of the crew panicked and abandoned ship, but those with any brains in their thick skulls stayed behind. Not only would the jumpers miss out on excellent adventure, they were falling to a messy death.
Beardbeard pressed the green button next. Something screeched below them and soon the ship was encased in a clear bubble. The pirates looked out at the thinning clouds as they went higher still. Beardbeard put an arm around Pegleg and squeezed him.
“We’ll be lootin’ more than just the seven seas of our world,” Beardbeard said, flinging his arms wide. “There be at least seven more out there, somewhere.”
“Where are we going, Cap’n?” Pegleg asked.
“To the starrrs, me hearty. To the starrrs.”
Holly Geely has been under the influence of fantasy and science fiction since she was very young. She has been shortlisted twice on Mashstories.com. She is a fan of bad puns and bright colours. You can find her on Twitter @hollygeely.