Captain Argus stood at the helm of his ship, The Fearful Strumpet. Sixteen navy ships burned two days in her wake and the wind blew hard into her torn and filthy sails. For days the storms had been gathering and growing in strength. His entire crew had either fled the ship swearing it was cursed or died in his service. So alone he manned the battered vessel to no destination and for no cause.
He raised his left hand, a gnarled instrument with many a fingertip missing, and scratched frantically at a matted beard twisted about his chin and cheeks. Half of a ripped hat sat awkwardly on a bald head, scarred from the flames of a long past battle. His other hand gripped firmly onto the ship’s wheel, holding it steady against the raging amethyst waves. The captain’s grey eyes challenged the skies as they began to turn black and try to crush his boat under the might of the sea they commanded. He’d been born to a stolen whore of a mother and knew not his father. For forty-eight years he’d battled high seas and high weather, fought the bloodiest of battles and shagged the dirtiest of wenches, but tonight the ocean sought to drag him to its darkest depths.
Taking rum in hand he banked the vessel along the peak of a wave several times higher than the ship itself. The whole thing then dived briefly underwater as it slammed down into the trough below, before being drawn into the sky again by an even larger wave. With a tremendous shudder, the wood of the boat groaned, and the captain’s rum crashed onto the floor as he took the wheel in both hands and held steady with all his might.
“Poseidon, ye slippery bastard!” the pirate yelled. “Come ou’ an’ kill me yerself! Or be ye too much o’ a pampered pretty boy?”
“Brave words coming from a single old man aboard a glorified canoe,” rumbled a voice from the ocean depths.
“Canoe? How about ye come down here an’ I’ll drive ‘t down yer throat, an’ I’m nay talkin’ about th’ ship!”
Lightning streaked the sky and thunder followed like the beating of a war drum. The waves begun to twist and heave and from them rose the colossal image of a man bearing a trident and a crown. The god of the seas himself stood amongst the turbulent waters and towered above The Fearful Strumpet. A great watery spray blew from his perfect chiselled body and a beard seemingly made of the sea mist itself flowed about him.
“Oh ye be a taller son of a biscuit eater than I had hoped…” mourned Captain Argus.
Dropping the wheel and drawing his pistol, the pirate wasted no time in firing off a round at the god. Poseidon laughed as his skin deflected the bullet without displacing a hair. In response Argus spat onto the salty deck and drew his rusty sword. He reloaded his pistol and began to stagger unsteadily across the rocking ship towards the mighty figure that stood before him. The sky above filled with three golden trident tips that soon came crashing down about him. Poseidon removed his weapon and through the holes it left, the ship begun to take on water fast. The captain fired another ineffective shot just before losing the pistol to a sudden blast of water across the deck.
“What made you think you could challenge a god?” mocked Poseidon.
“To be fair, I didn’t expect ye t’ turn up really, or be several bucketsfull o’ feet tall either.”
Poseidon roared with laughter and reached down to grab the pirate, who in response rammed his sword up to its hilt between the god’s fingers. The god winced in pain and drew back, giving the captain time to shuffle quickly to the helm of the Strumpet, unarmed and sinking fast.
“I be th’ king o’ th’ gentleman o’ fortunes, th’ best swashbuckler an’ th’ most fearsome thar ere was, an’ if ye think I’m goin’ t’ be killed by a nekked man wi’ a pitchfork, then ye be e’en more stupid than ye be fer comin’ down here in th’ first place!” Argus roared from a soaking nest of hair.
He took the ship’s wheel and pointed it directly at Poseidon, who quickly smashed the back of his fist through the ship’s masts and sent them spinning into the ocean. The momentum was enough, however. A huge swell brought the boat level with Poseidon’s face and for a brief, hanging moment, the two stared each other in the eyes. The boat then crested the wave fully and began to plummet down the wave and towards Poseidon’s chest. The god couldn’t push the water away in time and the ship plunged deep into his heart like a dagger. He wailed in pain and Argus was thrown into the air by the impact and landed hard on the deck.
“Fool!” Poseidon yelled. “Who will command the waters of the world now?” And with that, his body turned to liquid and he fell about the ship, driving it underwater and splitting it to pieces.
In an instant the ocean calmed and the skies turned to blue. All that remained of the conflict was a vast array of ship parts floating broken in the water and one rowboat in working order, carrying a soaked and triumphant captain aboard it. Scooping a floating bottle of half-finished rum from the wreckage, Captain Argus placed a bloody hand on his bare scalp.
“To shore! Fer a new boat, a new hat, plenty o’ rum… an’ a good shag from th’ biggest lass in port!” And with that, he took the oars and began to row towards a distant landmass on the horizon.
M.Sherlock is an angry hobo who appreciates cheese sandwiches for his hard work.