The Treasure Hunt: The Scorching Trek

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A chapter snippet of a historical fiction pirate story. *** Mr. Shorehauser is a merchant sailor captured by a crew of pirates. Having knowledge of where a cache of treasure lies, he is forced to
lead the pirates across an island to the riches. But can he delay their progress long enough for his merchant crew to reclaim the treasure?

Submitted: October 04, 2017

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Submitted: October 04, 2017



By a length of hempen cable, the gruesome dog, Davis, saw me bound, as some pet to be kept near its master’s reach.  Round my waist, he snugly fastened it, compelling me on with quick, sharp tugs by his hand.  And my hands, of little use they proved but to break a fall should I take one, for they too found themselves closely fastened by another bit of rope that fiercely dug itself against my skin as a dog might dig against a wall when cornered by flame so hot.  Truly, I found myself equally cornered in such a frightening predicament, but busy kept my mind be that I had no time for the shakes; my eyes found enough fleeting movement that kept the rest of me from fearful trembles.  My eyes, y’see, sought for a means to my freedom, and so they would not rest ‘til freedom I had.

Surely, my feet, as well, this gang of villains would prefer to see fastened, but a load on one of their narrow shoulders I would prove too great a burden to support.  So it was that I propelled ahead by the strength of my own two feet to a vulgar uproar by my captors, they bearing umbrage to my needing be among them.  They puked words so bile they dare not reach a mother’s ears or risk sending her pure soul to an early grave.

I had no choice but to venture forth whilst suffering their indignities.  Their harsh tongues and brutal fists struck out at me every chance they could, the worsening environment seeing to fewer lickings as we hazarded deeper into the island.  Perhaps they wished to shave me down to a shadow of myself; drive the wind from my sails so they could see to an easier undertaking in the unsought task borne of minding my captivity and ensuring I made no bother at escape.  Whatever purpose for their abusive actions, they weighed little on my spirit, only proving I indeed made a greater bother for them than them for I, and that kept me in fine spirits; toasty by the heart to know the inconvenience of which they’ve caused me has only served as greater inconvenience to them.

Their mad scheme would not see its way to fruition so quickly with me bound and in their custody, yet I stood their sole navigator to that treasure they so hungrily sought and would not be soon released, and when I found release, surely these dogs would see me to the afterlife and naught a lingering existence.  But I of yet held value to them and would see no such liberation, not ‘til they possessed their pelf, which I worked to foil all efforts in attaining.

What words already imparted to their efforts by me on this vile group of scoundrels bore falsity; straying them further from the cache’s true location, purchasing favourable opportunity for the men of the HMS Trove to reach the site first and retrieve our prized consignment.  Were these villains to know of my fabrications, I have no doubt I would find my throat cut across in swift order; the impulses of these types barbaric and with little thought to consequence, regardless of the import my knowledge serves their goal.

I carried only little fantasy that they would see my life spared upon discovery of my ploy, so that I may truly lead them to the cache, by which time I would hope Mr. Dansieur already found it safely back aboard the merchant vessel.  Until it proved of the utmost gravity to my circumstances, I would not reveal the true location of the treasure; I would hold the ace of all cards closest to my chest for a future event.  There was little chance of my survival, otherwise; however, with exacting deliberation would I leverage my life for the cache’s location.  A gamble if ever I could define it, toying with this crew’s wanton lust for riches, but one bred of necessity.  I was sure I could handle their brutish responses when all was revealed as false.

The day bled us feverishly whilst we pursued their ambition.  The sun blazed upon us, unrelenting in its fervour, as though it, too, were a part of this horrid crew, wanting after the treasure.  Little in the way of shade offered itself on the trail we followed.  Indeed, of where I led them provided few comforts and small gaps when they could bask in an easy ramble, and of greatest importance, it led us farthest from the cache’s location.  The swelter saw us to proper soaked garb; I feeling like a boar over a fire, the others looking very much the same, but it served to cast them in a mounting state of lethargy, as I wished them.  Our greedy pace slowed because of this.

The one out in head of our group, being the scrawniest of the lot, saw to dictating our pace.  Parker, the name I recall for this lad; a commonly peppy man he showed himself to be, not much fresher than his twentieth year if I could wager a bet, and the least accustomed to such exotic expeditions as what we found ourselves in the undertaking of.

On the outset of our journey across the island, of wide-eye enthusiasm he comported, his vision flashing in wonder with every direction of which he turned.  He put the speed on to prompt the others; hopping from stone to stone, eagerly marching up any hill, sure-footed more than any other upon the trails; of firm shoulder and steadfast commitment he proved in repeated fashion – a proud show dog to this band of scoundrels.  And as the minutes dragged on, his pirate colleagues showing no more enthusiasm for the trek than in previous moments, the sun baking exhaustion into our brains, the young man fell from the flashy show dog of first encounter to a cheerless, droopy sort, caught in a pit of quicksand like the lot of them, myself included with them, sadly.

We, all of us, moved with sluggish effort come this time, our minds muzzy and distracted by the haze of fatigue, the climb of rocky inclines and grassy slopes a struggle, the trails even proving a match for our footing at times, our disgruntled manners shadowing our weary, toasting facades.

Only Mr. Davis remained on the alert, resisting the sweltering heat with scarce an indication of struggle, laying tug after tug upon my lead.  How fast would his legs carry him if I made a sudden dash for the brush, I could not say, but at this juncture, I found it unnecessary to test his readiness; I hadn’t the strength to support such a speedy escape, nor to maintain any sort of evasion for long.  I was at the mercy of these blackguards for the time being.

I believe Mr. Davis to be a vicious type of pirate.  His eyes bore down on me with hostility at every turn; never trusting, always a rigid fellow.  He sports several scars, one in particular across his brow; it glistened with the majesty of a glass dagger, but its roughness and length suggest sinister events led to such a frightful mark scoring his flesh.  His eyes, as well, indicated to wicked wrongdoings in his past of which naught a trace of remorse lent itself to any part of his form.  Truly, I believe this man to be without a soul and fit for the fires of damnation.

He is a cautious man to be sure, having relieved himself of all items that hold potential lethality whilst on our march, be it a pistol or a tooth pick.  Between the pair of us, the only weapon for my disposal be the hempen rope binding us together.  Perhaps he knew this as well, which was why he kept the cable wrapped round his knuckles for only a couple good feet to divide us.  And with my hands bound as they were, getting them around his neck would achieve little but to make me a living sack he could hoist up and jam against the ground.  Then there were the pirates in rear of me, holding up the end of the line; they would prove quick on an assault, too, I should think, were I to become unruly.

I could not strangle the man if I desired so, which sprouted disappointment in my breast, I will say, but perhaps it was for the better; if I were to kill a man, which assuredly I have done, I give he whom I should fell a death befit with dignity.  It is how every soldier should slay a man, and I having served years ago against the Spanish continue to uphold my conduct to the degree of one yet in service to his king, regardless if it can be contested to whether the man truly be so or be as a dog.

Make no mistake of my words nor of my intentions when I say that should I find myself without a blade or pistol when the time comes to slay Mr. Davis or any others, I shall find no quarrel with my conscience in taking a rock in hand and delivering a gruesome end by way of bludgeoning.  It may not be an end that carries with it dignity, but it is an end that encapsulates the brutal struggle of combat, and is therefore a forgivable deed by those who understand the principle of warfare.  So I will feel no guilt should my hand be forced to commit such an act, and who so in their right mind should shed a tear for these villains?

What fates await us; we shall uncover them before taking leave of this scorching place, and when I am to sea again, aboard the HMS Trove with my proper mates, this island to our backs, the treasure secured in the hold below, I shall feel as though rising from the dark inferno into a more heavenly existence.  Peace shall be found on the sea then if only for that little time, amidst the breeze that shall carry us away.  How I greeted the prospect.

© Copyright 2019 Jeff Bezaire. All rights reserved.

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