Captain Elizabeth and the Sea Monster

Here is a short story I wrote for the children of a friend of mine. Hope you enjoy it as well.

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Captain Elizabeth and the Sea Monster

By Silas Champion

Captain Elizabeth was the bravest captain to sail the seven seas. Of course, there were some who said a girl shouldn’t be a captain, but she just laughed at them and sailed away. Others thought they could take her ship, but after they heard the thunder of her cannons and felt the bite of her sword, they were the ones who sailed away. They didn’t sail away laughing though.

♠♠♠

Captain Elizabeth sat in a pub eating some tasty chicken while her first mate Emmey devoured some fried shrimp.

“We need some money, Captain.” Emmey popped another shrimp into her mouth. “The crew is restless.”

“I know, I know. I’ll find something soon.”

“Well, you better hurry. The crew will start causing trouble if we don’t.”

Captain Elizabeth rubbed her brow. “I don’t need you to tell me things I already know.” Just then, a grubby man in a tattered red uniform stood and wiped his mouth with a napkin.

“I couldn’t help but overhear you ladies.” He walked over to the table. Emmey put her hand on her pistol. Elizabeth shifted in her chair so she could reach her sword easily. The man stopped by the table and adjusted his tattered uniform.

“I wasn’t eavesdropping, but I heard you need some money.” He leaned in closer. “I know of a treasure that can be had.” He put his hands on the table. “I need a ship, though. You look like seafaring folk. Do you know of a ship?”

“We might.” Elizabeth put her foot on a chair and pushed it away from the table. “Why don’t you tell us about your treasure.” Emmey kept her hand on her pistol. The man sat down and put his elbows on the table.

He licked his lips again. “There’s an island not far away where there is treasure enough to make us all rich.” He looked over his shoulder. “I just need a ship to get me there. I know right where it is.”

“So you need us to take you there to steal it,” Elizabeth said.

“No, no, not steal it. Dig it up. I’m not a thief.” He looked over his shoulder again.

“So it belongs to you, then.”

“Well if it is buried it belongs to whoever finds it, right?  It was stolen by pirates, but a sea monster forced them to land on this island. They had to bury their treasure.” Now with your ship we can go get it back without any trouble.”

“Let’s go back to the part about the sea monster,” Emmey ate another bite of shrimp. “That seems like something important.”

The man licked his lips again. “Yes, the island is guarded by a nasty sea serpent that destroys all ships that come near.”

“I have no interest in getting my ship destroyed by a sea monster.” Elizabeth stood. “Sorry, my friend. I don’t care for sea serpents.” The man grabbed her arm. Elizabeth looked into his eyes.

“You better let go of my arm if you want to keep your hand.” The man let go and stepped back two steps.

“Sorry, sorry. Don’t go. I know the secret to get past the monster.” He put his hands together. “If you play the flute the monster will not attack you.”

“Do you play the flute, mister?” Elizabeth said.

The man smiled. “No, I do not, but I have a friend that does. All I need is a ship.”

Elizabeth looked him over then looked at Emmey. Emmey shrugged.

“Okay, Mister …“ Elizabeth paused.

“Bill. Just call me Bill.”

“Okay, Bill, we sail with the morning tide. Be there with your flute player. We’ll work out the details onboard.”

“Be where? What’s the name of your ship?” The man grinned widely, revealing his many missing teeth.

“It’s the Fighting Turtle down at the end of the dock. See you tomorrow.” Elizabeth pointed. The man smiled.

“We’ll be there.” He bobbed his head and walked away.

“I think he’s lying.” Emmey watched the man. “He’s hiding something.”

“I agree, but we’ll see how this goes. We don’t have anything else happening at the moment.” Elizabeth put some coins on the table for their meal. “Go down and tell Phoebe and Jon to get in more supplies. I’ll follow this guy and see where he goes.”

“Okay.” Emmey paused. “You know I can play the flute too, right?”

Elizabeth grinned. “I know, but there’s no reason he needs to know that.”

Emmey walked to the ship. Phoebe met her at the dock.

“Are we sailing anytime soon? I’m ready to go.” She fidgeted on the gangplank.

“We are sailing tomorrow. Make sure we have plenty of gunpowder for the cannons.” Phoebe was in charge of all the weapons on the ship.

Phoebe clapped her hands. “About time. We’ve been here too long.” She scurried away to check on her precious cannons.

“Jon! Logan!” Emmey bellowed. In a moment Jon appeared. “Make sure we have enough supplies for everything. We’re leaving tomorrow morning.”

“But I don’t have everything fixed yet. We shouldn’t sail if everything is not fixed.” Jon was the ship’s carpenter, and he liked his ship to be perfect.

“Well we don’t have time for that. You’ll just have to do the best you can,” Emmey said. “Where’s Logan?” She didn’t wait for an answer but shouted again, “Logan!”

“I’m right here.” Logan stepped out on deck and nearly tripped over a mop bucket.

“Help Jon get the ship ready,” Emmey said. “I’m going to make sure the Captain is okay.”

“Alright.” He said. Logan was the navigator but helped Jon when he needed to. Emmey walked back into town and found Elizabeth walking down the road. She had an angry look on her face.

“He’s got a ship,” she said. “I saw him go onboard a ship.”

“Why does he want us then?”

“I don’t know, but he’s up to something. Somehow I don’t think he plans on sharing his treasure with us.” They walked back to the ship.

They sailed from the dock in the gray light of dawn. Logan took the helm as they steered out of the harbor. Elizabeth stood behind him as Emmey walked around shouting orders at all the sailors. Everything went smoothly except for a small argument between Phoebe and Jon about where to place a cannon.

Bill and his flute player, a short, chubby man with an enormous beard, paced the deck nervously as they left the harbor.

“So why are we sailing wherever this guy wants us to go? That doesn’t make much sense,” Logan said.

“Well, he says there’s lots of treasure there, and we need treasure, unless you have a better idea.”

“But how do we know we can trust him? What if he leads us astray?” Logan turned the wheel a bit.

“We don’t, but it’s a chance we have to take. Now stop asking so many questions.” Elizabeth took a cup of tea that Harry, the cabin boy, brought out from her cabin.

They sailed for three days without any trouble. Jon thought he spotted a ship following them, but he couldn’t be sure. On the morning of the fourth day, a ship flying a black flag sailed up out of the dawn. Elizabeth looked at the man and his companion, but they seemed as nervous as her crew.

“Ahoy the ship,” shouted a voice from the black-flagged vessel. “Prepare to be boarded.” An ugly roar went up from the pirates.

“You’ll have to catch us first, you filthy scum,” Elizabeth shouted. “Trim the sails.” Her crew sprang to work and the chase was on. All day long the pirates chased them across the vast ocean, but despite its name, the Turtle was a fast ship. The pirates got close, but they could never quite keep up.

“Why don’t you stop to fight them?” Bill watched the ship get closer.

“They’re bigger and they have the wind. If you are that anxious to die, I can throw you overboard,” Elizabeth said. The man didn’t ask any more questions. As evening came on, dark clouds gathered over the horizon.

“Sail into the storm, Logan.” Elizabeth pointed.

“But the ship can’t hold up,” Jon protested. “She’ll be damaged.”

“She can make it. It’s the only way to lose them.” They sailed into the storm. Huge waves crashed around the ship, lighting struck all around them. Several times, waves washed right over the deck. The crew struggled against the storm for hours. Just when they were about to give up hope, the waves grew smaller and the clouds blew away.

“Give me a report, Jon,” ordered Elizabeth. Jon and Logan checked the ship. Phoebe inspected the gunpowder.

“It’s pretty battered, but we can sail,” Jon reported, and sail they did, all through the night. Early the next morning, the lookout spotted a tiny island in the distance. Elizabeth looked at the two passengers.

“We are here. Where’s the monster?”

“I don’t know; hopefully we won’t see him,” Bill looked nervously around. The bearded man just shrugged and played the flute. Everyone kept watch for the monster. Emmey and Logan walked the deck with their rifles while Phoebe made sure all the cannons were ready to fire. They were almost to the island when Harry spotted big fins sticking up out of the water.

“Look, over there!” He pointed. The fins got larger and large. Then a huge, scaly back broke the surface of the water.

“Ready the cannons!” Phoebe shouted.

“Don’t fire until I give the word,” Elizabeth ordered. The monster’s huge head came up out of the water. Everyone licked their dry lips and gripped their weapons tighter.

“Look, it’s asleep.” Logan pointed. Sure enough, the monster’s eyes were closed. Its mouth was open, revealing huge, nasty teeth. A loud snore came out through its huge snout. Everyone on board watched as it swam right past the ship, snoring the whole way.

“Well, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Elizabeth shook her head in wonder.

“We better hurry,” Bill said. “He won’t sleep long.” They sailed the ship close to the shore. Jon and Logan lowered the lifeboat.

“Phoebe, you and I will go ashore with these men.” Elizabeth ushered the two passengers toward the boat. “The rest of you get things fixed up.” She waited until the men got into the boat then she turned to Emmey. “You know the plan.”

“I’ve got it.” Emmey nodded. “You be careful.” Elizabeth and Phoebe climbed in after the two men and they rowed to shore. When they reached land the men jumped out and surged ahead.

“Hold on there, mister.” Elizabeth put her hand on her sword. “I’m coming with you.”

“Of course, of course.” Bill bowed. The bearded man picked up a shovel.

“Stay here with the boat,” Elizabeth ordered Phoebe. Then she followed after the men. The moment they were out of sight, Phoebe left the boat and ran up a worn trail to the top of a hill. Harry crawled out from under the tarp and followed after.

When they reached the top of the hill, Harry climbed a tree. Phoebe stood behind the tree, holding one of Jon’s hammers.

“Elizabeth was right.” Harry shouted. “The ship is on the other side of the island. Here come a bunch of men.” He counted. “There are ten of them.”

“Just hoot like an owl when they get close.” Phoebe lifted her hammer. Harry watched the men struggle up the steep hill. They had to spread out in a single file line to pass between the two trees. Harry hooted. The first man stepped through the trees and Phoebe whacked him on the head with the hammer. He dropped to the ground, unconscious. Harry hooted again, and the second one joined his friend on the ground. It went on like this until all ten men lay stacked up like firewood on the ground.

“Nice work, Phoebe.” Harry climbed down from his tree.

“Like shooting fish in a barrel,” Phoebe patted the hammer. They left the men there and walked back down to the boat. There they met Captain Elizabeth and the two men who were carrying a huge trunk between them. Everyone arrived at the lifeboat at the same time. The two men looked nervously up the trail.

“Oh, are you waiting for your friends?” Phoebe asked. “They all fell and hit their heads. Don’t worry. They’re fine, but they’ll probably have a headache when they wake up. Don’t talk too loud.” She grinned. The men’s eyes widened.

“I think you two should just set the trunk in the boat and go check on your friends.” The two men turned to see Elizabeth pointing a pistol at each of them. Phoebe pointed hers at them as well. They licked their lips then carefully put the trunk in the boat.

“You won’t get away with this.” Bill looked like he’d swallowed a giant lemon. “Our ship will pick us up and we’ll catch you.” They backed away from the lifeboat.

“Maybe, but not if the sea monster gets them first.” Elizabeth kept her pistol pointed at them.

“The monster is asleep,” the bearded man snarled.

“Perhaps, but what if there’s another monster?” Elizabeth grinned.

“There’s only one monster,” Bill shouted.

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”

♣♣♣

Out in the ocean, the sailors on the other ship started shouting as a huge, ugly lump broke the water and came straight at the ship.

“The monster’s back. The monster is back. Play the flute!” someone shouted. Everyone started shouting and running around.

“Shut up!” another bellowed. The flute music started, but the monster roared and just kept coming.

Inside the monster, Logan pulled at the oars. Sweat trickled down his back. That’s right, it wasn’t a monster at all but a wooden boat built to look like one.

“How much further?” Logan asked. He and three other sailors kept rowing. Jon and Emmey sat in a compartment inside the fake monster’s head.

“Not far.” Jon watched through a tiny hole in the mouth. “Give them a roar, Emmey.” Emmey shouted into a long tube. The sailors heard a loud roar as the sound came through the strange tube. This threw them all into a panic and they milled around frantically.

“Fire the cannons,” someone shouted. Cannons thundered and cannonballs smashed into the fake monster. Every one of them bounced off and skipped across the sea.

“You’re sure this will hold?” Logan winced as another cannonball slammed into the side. It sounded like thunder.

“Of course, it will hold,” Jon said. “Probably, mostly.” Three more cannonballs bounced off the sides then Jon held a candle in front of a long tube. Fire shot out of the tube and out the mouth of his wooden monster. The sailors on the ship shouted in fear as the flame flared out for one whole minute.

“Trim the sails, let’s be gone,” a voice thundered after some more roaring and another blast of fire. In a few minutes, the ship picked up speed and sailed away. They followed for a while to make sure they were really leaving. Then they turned their monster around.

As they rowed back around the island they heard loud splashing behind them. Emmey opened a small door in the top of their monster boat and looked out.

“Uh, row faster guys, the monster is awake. He’s swimming right toward us.” They rowed as hard as they could but the monster swam much faster. After a few moments he slammed into the boat. Emmey scrambled to find her flute.

“He’s trying to kill us,” Jon said.

“No, I think he just wants to play.” Emmey looked for her flute in the dark monster-boat. The creature slammed into it again.

“He’s going to play us to death.” Logan rowed a little faster. Emmey found her flute and started playing. After a few more scary minutes, the creature fell asleep again. As the sun rose, they met the Flying Turtle. All of them were happy to climb out of that cramped, leaky vessel and get back on the ship.

“You got the money?” Emmey asked.

“Yep, we got it.” Elizabeth pointed to the chest sitting on the deck. Phoebe was busy smashing the lock with her hammer.

“What about those two guys?” Logan asked.

“They looked like they could use an island vacation.” Elizabeth smiled. “So you scared off his ship?”

“Just like you said,” Emmey put her hat on. “They sailed away. What I don’t understand is that if he had his own ship why did he need us?”

“I don’t think he was sure that the flute would put the monster to sleep so he wanted it to attack our ship first. Then his other ship could sail in and get the treasure.

“That’s a stupid plan.” Emmey watched Jon and Phoebe argue over the best way to open the treasure chest.

“He seemed like a stupid man,” Elizabeth said. “Come on, let’s sail away. Hoist the sails.” Orders were shouted and the Flying Turtle flew over the waves. Dolphins leapt joyously beside the boat as they sailed into the rising sun.

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