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A Warning at Sea

by Nicholas McKenna about a year ago in fiction
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Sail at your own risk

A Warning at Sea
Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

The water had gotten warmer since Sam first started floating in it, clinging to a piece of wreckage. He awoke with brief memory of how he had arrived at this point. Looking around, he saw nothing but open water. How did I get here? Where is everyone else? Is this how I’ll die? These thoughts ran through his head, and then he passed out floating on a broken piece of the ships hull. A hours later, he awoke in a bed with another man starting down at him. Sam sat up startled, as he did not know how he had gotten out of the water.

“It’s alright, you are safe now”. The man said.

“Where am I?” asked Sam.

“You are on the H.M.S. Victory. We came across you as you floated in the ocean. Are you alright?”

Sam looked around the cabin and realized that he was safe for now. He put his hand to his face to wipe to sleep from his eyes.

“How long have I been asleep” he asked.

a couple of hours. We found you this morning and it's now past noon.”

The man sat down on the bed next to him “what is your name?”

“Sam. My name is Sam. And yours?”


“Alright Peter, I suppose I should thank your captain for saving me.”

Sam got out of bed and started walking toward the door. Peter stopped him by grabbing his arm and Sam turned to face him. Peter was average sized but compared to Sam he was a giant. Sam looked at him confused about why he stopped him. Peter sighed and looked up at him.

“The captain is curious how you came to be floating on that piece of hull. if it's from that ship.”

“What ship?” Sam Asked

“The Red Dawn” Peter replied.

Upon hearing that name, Sam remembered bits and pieces from the night. raining hard, and the ship was under attack. Crew members were flying over the sides of the ship, disappearing into the sea. Then, I giant ship with transparent sails came into frame. Sam could see their captain barking orders from his ship.

“Sam? Are you alright?”

Sam looked up at Peter with a quizzical look like he had half of the answers.

“I think I remember part of what happened last night, but I don’t believe it.”

He tried explaining what he remembered to Peter, but he started to look at him like he was crazy.

“You got too much sun. That can mess with your head. Let me get you some water and you will feel better”.

“I know what I saw, I don’t believe it.” Sam turned and walked back towards the bed. “I need to speak with your captain. he will know something”.

Peter looked unconvinced “Even if he does, how are you going to explain how the fastest ship on the sea was and then sunk even if there was a storm?”

“I don’t know but I will have to see him soon anyway”.

Peter led Sam out of the cabin and toward top deck. The sun hit their faces as they emerged from below. The rest of the crew was busy with their tasks. Some hoisting the sails, some scrubbing the deck. The captain was at the top of the ship, one hand on the wheel and the other on his hip. His beard blew in the wind long and braided and every time his hat blew off a deck hand fetched it for him and placed it back on his head. Peter and Sam walked towards him, noticing all the dirty looks the crew gave Sam on their way there. The captain looked happy to see Sam, more out of curiosity than anything else.

“Welcome to the lad. I hope ye enjoy the slumber.” The captain smiled.

“I am captain Cross and you are now a part of me crew. Tell me, how did ye get to be alone in the sea?”

Sam explained what he remembered to the captain. He thought that he wouldn’t believe him but after finishing his explanation the captains face looked shocked.

“The sails. Ye sure they were through?!” the captain asked.

Sam was off guard by how aggressive the question was asked.

“Yes, I’m sure”

The captain muttered something to himself and walked down into his cabin demanding a map from his deck hand. Sam and Peter looked at each other surprised that the captain seemed to know something about this. Peter didn’t want to upset the captain any more than his seemed to he led Sam down to the main deck, handed him a brush and told him to start scrubbing. Captain Cross came out of his cabin about an hour later with a map in his hand. He walked right up to Sam and pointed to a part of the map.

“Is this where you were?”

Sam looked at the map and remembered two islands.

“We were going from one island to the next exploring the lands. Since this part you are pointing to is between the two islands, I would imagine that we were traveling through it.”

The captain rose from the deck and ordered his crew to get the ship ready for a battle. Sam followed him into his cabin frustrated that he was not being everything.

“What do you know captain? You know what happened to me the other night, to the men I was sailing with don’t you?”

“We be sailing through a cursed part of water now. You were the survivor because he always leaves one to tell the tale.”

Sam looked puzzled “who are you talking about?”

“The dread pirate Roberts. Legend has it that his ship went down around these sights are of a ship with see through sails and him at the helm. When he attacks a ship he always leaves one survivor to tell the tale and spread his legend. You were that survivor.”

Sam didn’t understand. Why was he spared? What was he supposed to tell others?

“We make preparation for the fight of are lives and pray that we be to live when its all done. Do you feel lucky son?”

The crew scrambled to get the ship ready for the battle. After all the preparation were , they all waited looking over the side. As the sun was setting, one crew member saw a ship sailing far away on the horizon. The captain knew the battle was about to start and ordered his crew to the ready. Darkness fell and the ships drew closer towards each other.

“Be ready to fire!” the captain ordered.

The men steady at their posts waiting for the next order to begin the attack. Cross watched as the ghost ship approached. At the helm of the ship he spotted its captain, the dread pirate Roberts. As soon as captain Cross saw the enemy ship begin to roll out their gun’s, he gave the order.




The order echoed throughout the ship as relayed from man to man. All shots landed and blew two-foot holes through the hull of the ghost ship. The firing lasted for minutes but from the . When the firing stopped, Roberts ship was right beside them floating. Captain Cross and his crew stood bewildered, seeing all the holes they had put in the other ship and watching as it floats next to them. The began taking fire. Crew members began crying out in pain as other laid there dying or dead. Men swung on rope to board the and captured the crew members. The ones that attempted to jump overboard were back and detained. Captain Cross was forced onto his knees as Roberts board. He approached Cross and smiled.

“I have been looking for a new first mate. You will fill that position nicely Captain Cross”

“Do I know ye?” Cross replied.

“You will get familiar with me soon enough.” Roberts ordered his men to take him on his ship. He then walked over to Sam and looked at him with a disappointed look.

“You. I let you live to spread my legend and you failed me.”

“I don’t remember what happened. What was I supposed to tell?”

Roberts looked at Peter and then back to Sam.

“Listen boy, I don’t like repeating myself.”

He then turned to Peter and began explaining what he wanted him to do.

“My ship might have gone down in these parts, but I now control the oceans for all eternity. I come around when I am in need of new crew members and the way I can do that is by killing men with my own blade. be weary of my warning on sailing these seas. There’s no telling when I may need to add a member to my crew.”

Roberts turned and began walking back towards his ship. His crew took everyone from the with them but left Peter. He looked scared and started wondering what was going to happen next. After Roberts was aboard his ship, he turned to Peter.

“Don’t forget to spread this tale boy. I don’t like coming back so soon but I will I hear you not tell the tale. And if you are even around the sea I will hear you.”

The began taking more fire. Splinters of the ship flew through the air and Peter fell into the ocean. He swam to the surface and grabbed the first thing he could find to float on. the piece of the ships hull that read “KRA”. As he looked up, the sun was rising, and he saw a name on the side of Roberts ship. “Royal Fortune”. Peter watched it sailed away into the horizon, knowing the duty he was and the consequences on not fulfilling these orders. He floated on the piece of hull until he saw a ship coming towards him. When they rescued him, the first words he said to the men on this ship was “Beware the Dread Pirate Roberts”.


About the author

Nicholas McKenna

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