With Apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

A different ending to a famous story.

Pew raised his nose to the sky and sniffed deeply. A rapturous smile came to his face as he could now place his location. To anyone observing this, they would notice that the smile looked strange and out of place as Pew himself looked strange and out of place. He was a small man; no more than five foot tall, pale and dirty, with an odor that made people wonder how he could smell anything. He was dressed in a variety of clothes which had seen better days. Perched on his head was a battered tricorn hat. He wore a scarlet shirt which was slowly fading to grey. It had a large tear in it, with pale white flesh showing beneath. Covering this was an oilskin jacket which had been repaired often. Leather trousers two sizes too big, were held up by a knotted, frayed rope and completing the outfit, a pair of boots which had never been cleaned or seen polish and were thickly caked with mud. Clutched in his hand was a long thin cane, four feet in length. Turning in the direction of the smell, he vigorously set off waving the cane indiscriminately in front of him and guaranteeing a clear path before him, as people quickly scurried out of the way.

Continuing on he reached the building where the familiar smells were coming from. Raising his cane above his head and swinging it from side to side, his cane hit the hanging sign indicating that this was the Admiral Benbow Tavern. Finding the door, he entered. Apart from the smell, he would have recognized this place by the sounds that surrounded him; men yelling, tankards crashing onto tables and the clatter of swords and cutlasses hitting chairs.

"Blind Pew. Over here".

The voice cut through the cacophony of noise, just as it was capable of doing so in the middle of a storm in the Atlantic. Turning towards the origin of the voice, Pew once more used his cane as if fighting off men boarding a ship. A clear path magically appeared before him. He moved to the table and found a chair and a mug of ale waiting for him. Sitting around the table, were three men. The first was Black Dog, a brawny, dark skinned individual, who  dressed all in black. Sitting beside him, was another. The squeal of steel on a whetstone, confirmed to Pew that it was George Merry. Merry had a tendency to always have a knife on hand, which he was forever sharpening. Finally there was the voice which had hailed him. John Silver. Pew could imagine him sitting there in his fine clothes. Black felt tricorn hat, an impossibly clean white shirt and dark pants. Setting off his ensemble would be a long black frock coat with gold buttons. On his foot would be a shiny, black leather shoe. John Silver had only one leg. The other missing from below the knee, where a cannonball had taken it off. A polished wooden peg leg completed the picture. What Pew couldn't see was that John Silver was a large man, well over six feet tall. Long black hair, streaked with grey, tied neatly in a queue running down his back. His eyes were a dark green and his other facial features; nose, mouth and ears were larger than they should be, giving him an ugly but affable face.

When Pew was seated, Silver looked around and then leaned forward and addressed him in a low voice. His face had lost his friendliness and the eyes were now piercing. 

"Well Pew, what have you found out?"

Pew was John Silver’s, "eyes and ears" around the Bristol docks. His infirmity was no disadvantage to him. No one payed him any attention, but nothing happened without him knowing about it. 

"The treasure is still on board the Hispaniola in six crates and three chests. Squire Trelawney has hired a wagon from Abraham's to transport it back to his home on the morrow. He has also requested ten men armed with guns, to accompany it."

Silver sat back and considered. That was his treasure they were moving and he was determined to retrieve it. 
Turning to George, "I want you to round up men who can be bought and stay bought. We only need them for the day. Check out the crews of those ships leaving on the tide, two days hence and select them from those. It's probably best if they were out of Bristol after we finished our venture." 

Turning to Black Dog, "I want you to go to Abrahams and tell him that Trelawney requires the arrangements to be put back two days. Then  hire a wagon of our own for tomorrow. Take it to Larson’s stable and I'll meet you there later. George, have the men there at six tomorrow."

Leaning back, Silver raised his tankard to the three men in salute.

"Tomorrow we get back what is ours."

The next day proved to be a normal day in Bristol. The morning started with an icy chill and with a hint of sleet in the air which blew briskly through the dock area. A large wagon pulled by four strong farm horses moved slowly over the frost covered cobblestones and out on to the pier towards the Hispaniola. It was driven by a man draped in a large black cloak, battered black hat and a thick wool scarf across his lower face to combat the cold. Beside him sat another who was dressed in a light summer coat, seemingly uncaring of the conditions. He carried a flintlock rifle balanced carefully on his knees. Twelve men trailed the wagon on foot; all dressed appropriately for the cold weather and with rifles slung over one shoulder. On reaching the ship, the man on the wagon carrying the rifle climbed down and approached the gangplank.

"Ahoy, the ship." He called out loudly to the officer on watch. "I am here to see Squire Trelawney." 

No sooner had he said this, than the officer was joined by two others who emerged from below decks. The two quickly crossed from the ship to the shore and confronted the man.

"I am Squire Trelawney and this is Captain Smollett."

The Squire was tall and thin and resembled a praying mantis with the way he held his hands in front of his chest. Smollet was physically the opposite; small and shaped like a ball, but moved very nimbly on small, delicately shaped feet.

"Top of the morning to you Sirs. My name is Tom Morgan and I am from Abraham's. I believe you commissioned transport back to your estate plus an armed escort Sir."

"That's right. If you could move the wagon to the edge of the pier, closest to the ship, Captain Smollett has men waiting to winch the cargo over the side and on to it. We must waste no time, as I wish to be home, before dark.” 

This was said in a single, rushed explosion of words, as if he begrudged the time squandered dealing with such trivialities. The two turned away and scurried back aboard the ship once more.
Tom waved his hand and indicated directions as the wagoner moved to the appointed position. A mighty creaking noise and grunts from a number of men were heard from on board. Rising from out of the ship’s hull was a large crate which swung ponderously upward to clear the railing and then was lowered with the utmost care, gently onto the wagon bed. One of the armed escorts leaped nimbly up and untied the rope holding it. This process was repeated ten times. The wagon now held six crates and four large chests and was creaking and groaning from the weight it contained. A large tarpaulin was draped over and roped tight. 
On completion, the Squire, the Captain and a young lad of about fourteen years, exited the ship. No words were spoken. The boy ran off to do their bidding. He returned in five minutes, leading two horses.
Trelawney approached Morgan.

“We will lead the way. You are to follow us as quickly as you can. We will call a halt in four hours. You will rest for half an hour and then continue onward. We should reach my Estate, three hours after that. You will then help to unload the wagon and then clear out immediately. Is that understood?”

Tom stood for a moment and replayed the instructions at a slower speed in his mind. Once he had deciphered this,

“Yes Sir that is clearly understood.” He turned his back on Trelawney and looked at the driver. Both looked at each other, shrugged and rolled their eyes.

“Oh and one other thing; the boy will be riding on the wagon with you.”

At this, Morgan froze, before turning and acknowledging the last instruction.

The Captain and Squire mounted their horses and led the way. They were followed by four of the escort leading the wagon. The wagon had four of the guards perched on top of the cargo, with the plan being to exchange these with those walking every hour on the hour. The remaining four brought up the rear. They moved along at a steady and sedate pace, which never the less ate up the miles quickly.
For the first hour, all was quiet for those on the wagon. The driver, whose eyes were the only thing that could be seen due to his preventative measures against the cold, was staring fixedly ahead at the road. Tom Morgan, who seemed impervious to what the weather was throwing at them, was like a block of granite perched on the seat; vigilant and aware of all around him. The boy was hunkered down between the two, trying to draw any warmth that he could from those either side. The boy was on the slight side. Skin dark and hair bleached blonde from the sun. His clothing was made of a light material. Obviously he had been in a warmer climate than the one he was experiencing now. Lips were turning a shade of blue and a constant shiver could be felt vibrating through the seat on which he sat. Tom reached down and from under the seat, produced a blanket.

“Here boy, get that around you.” 

The boy grabbed the blanket quickly and swung it over his shoulders and nodded his thanks. After a short time, the boys trembling had subsided.

“What’s your name boy?” 

“Jim, sir. Jim Hawkins,” he stammered.

“And what are you doing with the likes of those two?” indicating the two riders ahead. 

The boy seemed to shrink into himself as he considered the question.

“I suppose, they are looking after me now. My mother, she passed away while I was at sea, searching for the tre... Anyway, I don’t have anywhere or anyone else to go to, so the Squire said I could stay with him.”

“You don’t seem too happy about it. Don’t you have friends? Someone who would take you in?

The boy looked wistfully towards the horizon.

“I did have a friend. A very good friend, who I miss dearly. He had to go away though. He would have been in trouble, if he had come back to Bristol with us,” he said sadly.

“What was his name?” inquired Tom.

He replied hesitantly, “John…. John Silver.
“John Silver the Pirate!” spluttered Tom, glancing questioningly at the driver, who ignored him totally.

Jim turned to him and said forcefully, “He wasn’t a bad man; he just liked to bend the rules in his favour. He was very good to me. If he had asked me, I would have gone with him.”

After that outburst, everyone adopted the driver’s attitude and stared silently at the road ahead.

Three hours later, they reached the ‘Swallows Inn’. Trelawney and Smollet, indicated to Jim to follow them in for a midday repast. The men remained outside and drank from the well. The wagon was pulled into the stable to give the horses some respite from the strengthening sleet. The guards took up position around the stable to ensure no one entered and to keep the cargo secure.
On emerging from the Inn, the dignified gentlemen, suitably warmed from the inside, re mounted and continued to lead their procession onward. Jim climbed up onto the seat and maintained a stony silence for the remainder of the journey.
Trelawney’s estate was bordered by tall hedges, with a long winding road, undulating up to his house. A number of large out buildings and stables sat adjacent. The wagon was directed to the closest of these and Tom got down to organize his men for the unloading. Some of the crates were so heavy that they required all of the men lifting as one to unload. Eventually all six crates and four chests were placed to the satisfaction of all and the Squires servants were armed, to provide a guard over the out building.
The driver remained seated throughout the process, keeping the horses steady. With the job completed, the guards piled into the wagon for the return journey. Trelawney, the Captain and Jim retired to the house. The contents of their endeavors would be inspected the following day as night had begun to fall and the sleet had now turned to snow.

As the wagon was moving off, Jim burst from the house and approached the driver’s side.
Reaching up, he passed a couple of silver coins to him.

“The Captain wishes to thank you for your efforts today and desires you to have a drink on him, at the Inn on your way back to Bristol.”

The man Leaned down and accepted the coin.

“Captain Smollet was ever a fair man,” he said in a voice which Jim seemed to recognize. 

The driver grasped the end of his cloak and raised it to his knees. Jim looked at the man incredulously. The polished wood of a peg leg could be seen in the fading light.

“John,” he yelled and leaped high to hug him.

“Well Jim boy, are you prepared to come with me?”

The warmth of his voice rang in Jim's head. This is what he wanted. 

“But John, what about the treasure?”

“Don’t you worry about that? I've taken care of it. Trelawney and Smollett may be in for a surprise in the morning.” 

Silver gave a laugh.

“By this time tomorrow you and I will be on a ship beating out of Bristol, heading for the Caribbean with not a worry in the world and the treasure in its hold.”

“But how?”

“I had another wagon trailing us, loaded in exactly the same way. I knew we would stop somewhere on the journey. While you were at the Inn, I signaled the other wagon forward and simply swapped wagons in the stable.”

He chuckled. 

"When those fine gentlemen check their treasure tomorrow, all they will find is rocks. Now are you coming or staying?”

Without saying a word, he climbed up next to John and sat looking towards the start of a new adventure.

Submitted: April 18, 2018

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