Tuesday, 11 September 2012

"The Ghost Captain" and Something New Afoot

Notice anything different?

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that something is certainly afoot on my blog, not to mention a stark change in theme. Well, the reason you're being welcomed by the title "From Away" and an entirely new layout is because of my upcoming story by the same name. I don't want to spoil too much, even if the notion is tempting, but I can say that this one is especially for adults and young adults.

Here's a smidgen about the story, just to give you a taste of what's to come:

Meet Mari Chance, she's the unassuming person you see hunched over a writing book everyday in the Coffee Shop window. You don't know her personally, but she's a native to Downtown Charlottetown and obviously loves lattes just as much as air. Despite the fact that you're accustom to seeing Mari perpetually alone at her table, things in her introverted life are about to change...

Enter Erik Deror, a paragon of boldness, humour, unfortunate good looks and curious philosophy. He's got a wry way of expressing himself, a killer accent and a strange knack for showing-up exactly where you least expect.

Narrated by an enchanted and slightly irritated Mari, you're about to find out what happens when two opposites collide and what's to be gained from out of the box experience brought on by one very intriguing man who just happens to be 'From Away'.

Well, now that I've given you a mini introduction into my new world I'll return to our scheduled update!

This week, all my ABC Life Literacy Readers will be experiencing Chapter Five of "Red Shores and Pirate Anchors"! Welcome to the middle point of the story, you're half way through and don't worry I've done my best to pack double the excitement into the next five chapters so there's lots to look forward to!

Chapter Five

"The Ghost Captain"

When Jude opened his eyes, he saw a man standing over him. He was tall and broad with curly black hair and a bandana on his head. He had a wide nose and an even wider smile that looked too jolly to be on a glowing ghost ship. "Avast! You’re awake Lad!" The man exclaimed happily, plucking Jude up and setting the boy on his feet. The ship around them didn’t seem as if it were real, the boards beneath Jude’s feet were solid yet see-through. Below him he could see pirates running around the hold, hauling ropes and barrels of apples around. If he squinted even harder Jude could see straight down to the ocean where fish swam effortlessly through the ship. The man towering over him chuckled warmly and reached over to Jude, he took a lobster that was hanging off of the boy’s sleeve and held it out for him to see. "Brought a friend with you, did ye?" He asked. Jude just shook his head mutely. "No?" The Pirate asked, placing the lobster on his shoulder like a pet parrot. "Well, do you have a voice lad? What be yer name?" The pirate asked him. Jude would have thought that in the presence of a pirate he would be nervous, but this man was just too friendly, he acted more like a father then a fearsome seafarer. "I’m Jude McLean…sir." The boy said, hesitant of what to call the man before him. "Glad to know ye! I’m Captain Harlington Webbe the Crimson! This here ship be me vessel, the Wandering Maiden. We sail together and rescue poor sailors lost at sea!" Harlington said proudly, guiding a captivated Jude along the transparent deck.

Little blue flames flickered all around them. They seemed much warmer and kinder then they had from land, Jude stared at the lights with great interest. Inside the little flames that adorned the whole ship were pixies with mischievous faces that stuck out their tongues and wiggled their fingers in their ears as Jude watched them. The Captain smiled warmly and wagged a finger at the tiny creatures. "Will-‘o-the-Wisps they’re crafty little creatures but terribly useful too." Harlington explained, steering Jude away from them and towards the wheel of the ship. "But why have them on the ship?" Jude questioned innocently. "Well Lad, it’d be a shame for people to actually find me ship, it’d ruin the whole story of it…and so those little imps come out to protect her. If someone comes too near they distract them into going the other way. Besides, a flaming ghost ship makes for a grand story." Captain Webbe winked at Jude as he observed the whole ship. Jude considered everything for a moment, pinching himself to make sure it wasn’t a dream. He didn’t wake up, so that meant everything had to be real.

Then something dawned on Jude, the Captain’s name rang in his head through the voice of Lillian. She had explained about a man named Harlington Webbe the Crimson. "You’re her father!" Jude suddenly burst out, looking at the Captain with his thick black hair and grey eyes. He could see the resemblance between Harlington and his friend right away. "What’s that now?" The Captain asked, tilting his head and petting the lobster on his shoulder. "You have a daughter, don’t you Captain? Her name is Lillian and you left her to the mermaids in France, didn’t you?" The words came out of Jude’s mouth in a rush as his brain ran in circles trying to keep up with how everything was taking place. Captain Harlington was silent for a moment, his expression turned from pleased to brooding. He paced for a moment, his boots making no sound on the ghostly deck. "…Do you know her?" He asked, looking back to Jude with sad eyes. The boy nodded, feeling bad for making the Captain so somber. "She goes to school with me…she’s funny, smart and she’s looking for you Captain." He said softly. "Everyone thinks she’s an orphan but she knows about you, Lilly said she heard the mermaids singing about you…" Jude paused, swallowing hard. The Captain stopped in front of him and bent down on one knee so that their were eye level. "Of course, her presence would bring mermaids no matter where she goes. Lillian was given a special gift of protection by the mermaids when she was born…" Harlington said. "That’s why the French Mermaid came to see me!" Jude said, realising something important. "A mermaid came to you lad?" The Captain asked curiously. "Yes, yes! Lillian stowed away on a pirate ship because she thought it would help her find you. That was when a mermaid named Meryl showed up and offered to help me find her, but we got separated by the storm and I ended up here." The Captain nodded as if all this was something very obvious and normal, that mermaids and ghost ships were just as common as humans and houses. "Indeed, you must be very good friends with my daughter for a mermaid to come to you." Captain Webbe said, standing back up and turning towards the horizon. Jude moved beside him and looked out too, hoping there was some important purpose of the action.

"Let’s go save her." Jude suggested. "We can catch up to those pirates and then you can storm the ship with your crew and save her!" But Harlington shook his head at this suggestion. "I can’t lad…not long after Lillian was born, before she could ever remember who I was, I became lost at sea on a voyage. This very ship rescued me. It was just the pixies running her then. They told me that they had searched for a Captain high and low but found no one proper until me. I said I would Captain their vessel for them but there was a catch y’see. If I was Captain of the Wandering Maiden, I had to stay aboard her forever. Those pixies tricked me into agreeing before I ever knew it. I was given the job to save people lost at sea and I could bring them aboard this ship, just like I did with you." Jude listened intently to the story but even if Captain Webbe couldn’t leave the ship it didn’t make sense why they couldn’t save Lillian and bring her back to the Island. "But we can just go get Lillian and bring us both back to the Island then…can’t we?" Jude asked hopefully. But it was too good to be true, Harlington shook his head. "No lad, I can’t take anyone on the ship unless they’re lost at sea…and my dear daughter, she’s on a ship already. I’m bound to this vessel lad, it pains me to say I can’t help Lillian, but you can." He looked down at Jude with hope and trust in his eyes. Reaching to his side, Captain Webbe took out a telescope and placed it into Jude’s hand. "Take this spyglass with you Jude, when you use it you’ll be able to see across the land farther than an eagle and deeper into the sea than a shark." The telescope sat in Jude’s hands a second before he grasped it, too nervous to test the contraption. "You trust me to save your daughter?" Jude asked in surprise that this Captain, an adult, felt he was responsible enough to save Lilly. "Yes, of course I do." He said, placing a hand on Jude’s back. The Wandering Maiden had been sailing without anyone at her wheel and Jude only noticed this when the ship he had seen sailing away from Lilly’s Grotto came into view.

"That’s the ship!" He exclaimed, pointing it out for Harlington to see. The Captain’s brow knit in concern as he watched the red sails of the ship across from them. "That ship is the Blackbird…" He said knowingly. "Her Captain is the man who sunk my ship so many years ago when I was lost at sea." The Captain watched it in the distance. "Wait, shouldn’t we drop anchor? Won’t he see us if we can see him?" Jude asked nervously. "No, no, we’re in broad daylight, the only time you can see a ghost ship is at night. Right now we’re as invisible as air!" The Captain assured him. Jude was relieved to hear this, deciding that it was a good time to test out the new telescope he had received. Placing it to his eye he found there was a ring around the middle of it that he could turn to make the view get closer and farther away. He zoomed in on the Blackbird as close as he could until the deck was in clear view, he could make out the pirates in perfect detail as they stood around the deck cheering. It was strange to see so many in one spot with their arms raised as if encouraging someone. Then the crowd parted and he saw something unimaginable. Lowering the spyglass, he looked to Captain Webbe and spoke shakily. "Their Captain is on the deck…and he’s swashbuckling with Lillian…"

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