Tuesday, 28 August 2012

"The Missing Chest"

Hoy Mates!

Well, tomorrow will be the final day of "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors" for everyone on Prince Edward Island, it's pretty exciting to find out what happens at the end of the story! Of course...I already know. Hehe. But I won't spoil it for anyone! Not only that but all my readers in Ontario only have two chapters left! It's hard to imagine that we're coming to the end of Summer!

But we can still visit Summer in our imagination even when Fall comes and School begins again. Especially for all my readers from ABC Life Literacy, you've just begun your adventure with Lilly and Jude. As you read "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors" over coming seven weeks you'll be able to have a little bit of Summer every Wednesday!

So enjoy Chapter Three where you get to meet a mermaid and follow Jude on a coming adventure!

Chapter Three

"The Missing Chest"

Jude Mclean just could not sleep; he tossed and turned until there was nothing more to do but slip out of his bed and stare out the misshaped window of his room. The family’s farm expanded out before him, it was barren and their last crop had failed which left the McLean’s with no money for seed to plant. Jude was too young to work but wished there was something more he could do to save their farm and family home. It was a thought that made him lose sleep too often, but tonight he looked past the sparse expanse and to the ocean where thoughts of Lilly brought a smile to the boy’s face. He considered how funny and honest she was with him, Jude wanted to help her find her Father. A suspicious something caught Jude’s eyes though as a vision appeared on the water which he had only ever heard of in ghost stories. It looked like a ship, its transparent image flickering with ghostly presence. Leaning half way out the window, Jude could see blue flames flickering around it. "The Flaming Ghost Ship!" He could hardly say it, recalling his Grandfather’s story of Pirates whose ship had sunk and now haunted the shores of P.E.I. Jude blinked and blinked, hoping it was a trick of his tired mind but no matter how hard he tried the ship wouldn’t vanish and with the day’s story on his mind, this just could not be ignored.

Running down the stairs and out the house, Jude rushed toward the shore, his breath short as he imagined what the scene might look like up close. He snuck between the fishing houses at North Lake where men of the sea slept with pillows and blankets in their boats, waiting for the sunrise so they could nab the morning’s catch at dawn. The little shanties hid the ghost ship from sight, but Jude knew exactly where to go and with better ability than earlier he scaled the rocks back to Lillian’s Grotto from the beach. It was so dark that he couldn’t see Lillian’s treasure chest but in the distance, glowing brighter than ever was the Ghost Ship. From this point of view Jude could see the blue light of the ship illuminating the water and it revealed the shape of a real ship sailing off in the distance its flag waving in the night baring proudly the Jolly Roger. "Pirates!" Jude exclaimed, so nervous that he backed himself against the wall of the cave. For a moment he was stricken with shock but Jude quickly realized something strange. He was against the wall of the cave, yet hadn’t knocked into Lillian’s chest. In fact as his eyes adjusted to the dark, Jude noticed that there was no chest at all. As his feet shifted, a crinkling sound from under Jude’s feet led the boy to bend down and retrieve a piece of paper. It was too dark to read in the cave so Jude was forced back to the mouth of the grotto where he noticed that only white moonlight shone against his face. The Ghost Ship had vanished. It worried Jude, but not so much as what the note he was looking upon said. It was in scribbled writing and had obviously been done quickly.

"Dear Jude,

If you came here to look for me, thank you. I hid with my treasures when I saw pirates coming on the shore. I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye…but thank you for being my first friend. When I find my Father I’ll come back and visit you.


Confused about what to do, Jude was folding up Lillian’s letter when a splash of water hit his face. This was odd because ocean was still as night with gentle water washing up against the stones. A curious sounding giggle broke the quiet though; it sounded like a morning bird twittering and made Jude look down where the water met giant sandstone. There in the moonlit ocean appeared the form of a young woman, she was beautiful and had flowing blonde hair decorated with sea stars. She certainly didn’t look like anyone he had ever met before. Climbing back down the rocks, Jude called out to her. "Hello! Hello?!" The only reply that he got was more laughing. Yet as he reached the water’s edge, something shocking dawned on Jude. Not only had he never met this girl before but instead of wearing a dress she had a seashells tied together, draped across her and a long, shining blue fish tail. Fish tail? Jude was stunned; if that girl had a fish tail then it could only mean one thing. "You’re a…" He mumbled, watching her fins flicking water around.
"I am a mermaid, a daughter of the waves from the Îes de la Madeleine." She spoke with a musical French accent. Too surprised to say anything Jude watched the mermaid with wide eyes. She seemed quite friendly and had playful look on her face. "I’m Meryl." The mermaid introduced herself. "I’m Jude McLean." The boy said thoughtfully, reaching out to shake the sea maiden’s hand, convincing himself that she was real as he felt her fingers. There was a moment of silence between the two as they watched each other, but Meryl wasn’t one to be quiet for too long. "What brings you to my water’s Jude?" The mermaid asked as though she already knew. He had honestly forgotten for a moment, but the crumpled letter from Lillian was a quick reminder. "My friend Lilly…she was taken by Pirates…" He said seriously, maybe the kind mermaid would be able to help rescue Lillian. Meryl was thoughtful for a moment, stirring her finger around in the water softly. "And you want to find her?" She asked. It seemed obvious to Jude but he nodded in agreement. "You’re very brave and kind so I will help you find who you seek." She said, taking Jude’s hand and yanking him into the water. Knowing how to swim helped keep Jude afloat but it seemed like the water all around Meryl was lit with magical powers as he floated beside her. "But I can’t go…my Mother and Father will miss me." Jude explained to the mermaid as she fussed over his wet hair and straightened the collar of his bed clothes. "Now, let’s not be silly." Meryl said sensibly, shaking her head. "You must go." She didn’t seem as funny as before with all her giggling, instead she was earnest as she watched Jude. "I can help you on your journey, but you are Lilly’s true friend. You must save her. Now I am your friend Jude McLean and I will help you with the powers that I have from the sea." Jude was a little nervous, he had never left home before and in fact he had never even been to Charlottetown. Yet he had to consider Lillian and how brave she had been to go after the Pirates to find her Father. Thoughts swirled around Jude’s head until Meryl took both his hands gently and stared deeply at his face. "Will you accept my help, friend?" The French mermaid asked. "Yes." Jude said softly. "Thank you Meryl…" He squeezed her hands and looked past the mermaid’s shoulder at the horizon. Glancing over her shoulder, Meryl watched the Pirate Ship sailing away in the distance. "We need to catch them, no?" She said with all the mischief returning to her voice once more and before Jude could say anything she surprised him yet again by pulling him underwater with her. She held his hand tight, Jude gasped and bubbles rose from his mouth, but against all laws of nature he could breatheMeryl smiled at the boy and winked before swimming away with him. The Pirates must have been much farther than Jude expected because it felt like they were swimming forever. Fish swam between the two with shining scales, sea stars floated by gracefully with the jellyfish and the blue light that came from Meryl made all of it look like magic. Jude was sure it must still be a dream with the sea so alive around him. But a wave’s current sailed by Meryl and Jude tugging at them so that the two had to hold on tight so they wouldn’t be separated. The farther they went the more fish started to scatter and the waves pushed them to and fro. Lightning cracked above them with thunder following, as a storm of current brewed underwater. Jude’s fingers kept slipping but Meryl held fast until a massive rip current came between the two. It tore them apart and Jude could only be carried away swiftly as he watched Meryl trying to swim back to him. Inside Jude felt cold and wet, separated from Meryl the boy couldn’t breathe underwater anymore and so all he could do was swim against the storm to get his head above water again. But a fiery blue shape cut through the murky water and lit Jude’s way as the current steered him towards an anchor that looked too ghostly to be real.

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