The Sailors' Trail

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
A young adolescent, who strongly yearns for adventure, is taken under the wing of an experienced sailor - and sets forth on a perilous journey at sea.

Submitted: March 16, 2016

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Submitted: March 16, 2016



 “All aboard!” the poised captain yelled, fixated on the crowds of tourists, workers, and celebrities excited to explore the new land. The host of the long travel maintained his position beside the entrance to the ship as the flood of people trudged up the board in a sloppy fashion.

 On this day, the harbor of Sail-town was the busiest, for the people were given the opportunity to sail for the new land which was recently discovered. Merchants and salesmen took advantage of the large amounts of people to sell their treasure and items. Birds were perched on the roofs of shops, tents, and homes behind the harbor, waiting for their next bite at food. The homeless sat on the edges of the harbor, doing all they can to earn a fortune. Dozens of ships were scattered throughout the docks of the harbor, each one carrying more than eighty souls.

 The small city is mostly inhabited by Englishmen; however, there is a small minority of many different races that live there, too. Some were of Scottish ancestry, others were Welsh, and there were much, much more.

 The city’s terrain was rather mountainous, with buildings easily sitting on the tall, diagonal-sloped hillside from the top to the bottom. The homes and structures that were painted onto these portraits of land composed of many different colors, ranging from red, blue, yellow, and green. It was like a rainbow dazzling on the surface of the mountain, with the rainbow being replaced with the beautiful buildings.

 The sun rose above the horizon, shining on the glimmering, yellow beaches of the shore. The sea shimmered in the sunlight, decorated with ships of different sizes, each one boldly holding up their ragged white and black sails. The landscape was the greenest and purest of all, without a single leaf descending from its tree. It was a busy, yet beautiful day for Sail-town indeed, for the climate composed of the perfect temperature and the ocean was as calm as the slumber of a blessed soul.

 Noisily running across the sturdy, wooden dock was a young man named Puffy, effortlessly pushing his way through the large amounts of people. He quickly slid his ticket out of the pocket of his black overcoat, for he was in one of the most common situations that would happen.

 Puffy was late for the trip.

 “Wait, wait! Please come back!” yelled Puffy, frantically waving his arms above his head, trying everything he could to signal the ship to come back for him. He fought his way through the many crowds of people until he arrived at the end of the dock, gasping for breath with his hands on his knees. The ship was long gone now, and Puffy threw down his ticket in outrage.

 “I knew I shouldn’t have helped Miss Garner with her buggin’ laundry! How stupid of me!” muttered Puffy, talking to himself as he retreated back up the dock towards the stone floors of the harbor. Almost all of the ships were steering out of their docking positions to start the journey ahead of them, and the late civilian lost his only way and opportunity to explore the new land.

 Angrily stomping towards a metallic, rusty bench to rest, Puffy sits down in disappointment. He then stealthily wipes the tears from his face with his hands, hoping to not attract attention. Several minutes passed, and Puffy continued to sit on the bench, staring off into the sky thinking deeply about the situation that had occurred.

 Puffy is a young adolescent, living on this merry world for twenty years and counting. Like the majority of the population in Sail-town, Puffy was an Englishman. From his ancestors and parents, he inherited the short, smooth brown hair that covered his entire scalp, eyes that were as blue as the sea, a diamond shaped face and the usual British accent. His height was the average height of most young adults, being more than five feet and no more than six. Beardless and skinny but brave and determined, Puffy had a need for adventure. He wanted to live the life of danger, being the very sensitive and cautious one he is.

 Ignoring all the chatter that surrounded him, Puffy started to relax, pouring all of his worries out of him and giving it to the comfort of the bench. Instead of an alert and ready position, he slunk back, resting his back on the smooth backrest. Hearing heavy, exhausted breaths and loud footsteps to the right of him, Puffy no longer stared off into space, for he noticed someone sitting beside him with the corner of his eye.

 The stranger’s apparel was similar to a pirate’s. His entire suit was brown, consisting of a leather overcoat, undershirt, pants, and boots. A shiny knife revealed itself, bulging out of a large pouch strapped onto the right thigh. The man had long, rough black hair with the bottom tied up into a miniature ponytail. Along with the bushy eyebrows, the man had an unshaven, poofy black beard that was connected to his sideburns. The beard lay at the bottom of his round, gaunt face, climbing its way up in between the lips and the nose. The beard was also attached to the sideburns with ease. The man’s face was infested with wrinkles, and minor streaks of gray were easily seen from his black hair, indicating that he was, at least, fifty to sixty years of age.

 “Beautiful day, ain’t it?” the man said, grabbing a bottle of rum from the inside of his mud-stained brown overcoat. “Yeah,” Puffy agreed, staring at the drink in the man’s right hand. “Now, what are ye’ doin’ ‘ere, sitting on this bench instead of playin’ with your friends on the streets, eh?” the man asked, gulping down the contents of the bottle. “I wish to explore the new land,” Puffy replied, confused as to why the stranger didn’t realize this. The man choked and let out a cry of laughter, ending it with an unpleasant, rough cough. “You’re a bit too young to go explorin’ on your own!” he chuckled.

 Puffy was distraught. Here he was, all grown up, and he has a random stranger telling him that he’s still not able to pursue his dream. Puffy sighs, and looks away from the man, looking towards the tsunami of ships to the right of him, slowly disappearing off into the distance. The stranger, realizing his rude comment on the boy’s wish, silently cursed himself and proceeded to try and make contact with Puffy once more. Placing the liquor back inside his overcoat, the man pulled his right hand in hopes for a handshake.

 “The name’s Mortimer,” he presented. “Mortimer Jones.” Slowly turning his head around, Puffy notices the man’s apology. “Puffy Leyland,” Puffy responded, grasping onto Mortimer’s hand and shaking it. “You got a ticket to go on them ships?” Mortimer asked, pointing at one of the few ships still docked. Puffy didn’t know what to say. “I used to,” he replied embarrassingly. “I was late for the trip so I just threw it away.”

 “Ahhh,” Mortimer grumbled. “Simple mistakes.” They stayed in a moment of silence for a few seconds. “I was this close!” Puffy broke out and paused for a moment. He spoke again, “This close to going on an adventure!” Mortimer glanced at the boy and examined him closely. “I reckon you’ve taken an interest in the life of danger?” Mortimer asked.

 “Ever since I was a kid,” Puffy replied. “I would always run away from home to look for it. When I didn’t find it, I came back just before dinnertime. Mum was always worried about me.” Puffy grinned, thinking about those memories. “Seems like adventurin’ is your bottle of liquor,” Mortimer assumed, interested in the tenacity of the boy.

 “It is,” Puffy said, staring off into the sea. “And it always will be.” Mortimer paused for a moment, thinking about the bright future of the young man. “Ye’ know,” Mortimer slowly gathered his words. “I always needed an assistant. Think of it as an ahh.. partnership. Yes, a partnership. How would ye’ like to join me in my quest to venture to the new land? Ye’ come along with me, and maybe I’ll teach ye’ a few things.” Mortimer pulls out his bottle of rum for a second time, taking a short sip. “It’s yer decision.”

 Puffy was about to burst out laughing. “You?” Puffy exclaimed jokingly. “You own a ship?”

 “Just because I am old doesn’t mean I don’t know how to sail,” Mortimer protested. “Is there a catch?” Puffy asked, knowing that a man he had just met wouldn’t give him a ride, especially to the new land, for free. “Other than ye’ being my partner and helping me, there is none,” Mortimer snickered.

 Puffy thought about the offer for a few seconds. “Alright,” Puffy answered. “I just pity the fact that my fate is decided by an old seafarer who miraculously knows how to sail. It’s all good, though.” Mortimer laughed at Puffy’s opinion, this time ending the laugh with ease and no ruckus.

 Mortimer thought about his generous offer and what he had done, bringing a child to do a man’s work. Realizing the dangers of the journey ahead, Mortimer began to worry. “But in all seriousness, I must warn you, Puffy. The sea is a mysterious, dangerous place. Are ye’ sure you want to do this?”

 “I’m sure of it, Mortimer,” Puffy replied, slowly getting up from the bench. “And don’t worry about me. I may seem scrawny, but I can handle myself!” Puffy’s reassurance calmed Mortimer, and he got up from the bench too. The two partners walked towards the left side of the harbor, reaching the very last dock at the end.

 Beside the dock lied a small schooner, with four magnificent white sails gleaming in the sunlight. The hull was made of smooth wood, coated with several layers of green paint. The two smooth, brown masts were equally set several feet apart from the middle of the boat. One rusty lantern was attached to each mast, providing light for the dark, gloomy nights. One of the four sails that lie in the front was connected to the end of the bow, which extended outwards from the front of the ship. The schooner was finished off with the word “Venture” which was carved into the right side of the ship.

 “This here boat of mine is called the ‘Venture!’” Mortimer said confidently. “Ain’t she a fine piece of woodwork?”

 Puffy admired the beauty of the green schooner. “This is one of the best boats I’ve seen in my entire life,” Puffy judged. The two adventurers climbed aboard, checking all of their equipment and supplies that will decide their fate in the long, perilous journey to the new land.

 “Say farewell to Sail-town, Puffy!” Mortimer yelled, steering the schooner out to sea. The ship was very far away from the harbor now, calmly strolling through the forgiving waters of the ocean. Puffy, who was sitting down on a crate full of food, silently whispered goodbye and savored the final portraits in his mind of the beauty of Sail-town.The schooner continued to float across the calm waters of the vast, blue ocean. Several hours had passed. Mortimer, who stood at the helm, stayed vigilant and alert. Puffy, on the other hand, excitedly ran across the edges of the ship, taking in the beautiful scenery. The forgiving breezes of wind danced across the sailor’s and cadet’s faces as the smooth, delicate waves slowly bashed against the green hull. Multiple groups of birds flew across the clear skies in synchronization, and fish of many kinds leaped above the water, following the long breadcrumbs left by the trail of the Venture.

 All the wildlife that surrounded the boat were distracted by its elegance, assuming that the owner of the ship had a remarkable aptitude for creating art at its finest. The creatures’ speculations were obviously correct, for the owner was, surprisingly, Mortimer himself. A gentleman, an adventurer, and a sailor who’s always mistaken for a pirate. Puffy had doubted this man from the moment they set sail, but the more he strengthens the relationship with the sailor, the more his uncertainty dissipates.

 Mortimer was always a man of promise. Puffy didn’t think otherwise. In fact, Puffy was jealous of the man. He adored him; worshiped him. Mortimer had everything Puffy wished for. Everything except for the drinking problems, that is.

 “Me gran’dad once told me, generosity is the best for a man’s heart, soul, and mind. The best part about it is, ye’ can’t get enough of it!” Mortimer would quote, grasping onto the ship’s rough, wooden wheel. Puffy took this advice to heart while also preparing to be barraged with hordes of tips and lessons that the old man will bring upon him in the future.

 Several hours passed. Puffy, who lied against one of the wooden crates sleeping, took a break from sightseeing. Mortimer continued to steer the ship, bags forming under his eyes from the lack of sleep. Another several hours passed, where night had struck. Puffy woke up, noticing the darkness that surrounded him. “Do you want me to light the lanterns?” Puffy asked, getting up. “As long as ye’ know how to light them. I don’t want me ship burnin’ down in the middle of nowhere,” Mortimer said, chuckling weakly as the fatigue slowly overtook him.

 “Keep your pants on, Mortimer,” Puffy said, lighting up each lantern. After he was finished, the fires of the lanterns sizzled and hissed, dancing across the curved, thick glass. “Nice job, Puffy,” Mortimer said in a thankful manner. Taking the schooner to a halt, Mortimer took his hands off the wheel and rubbed his eyes viciously.

 “That’s enough sailin’ for tonight. I need to get some sleep,” Mortimer said, walking towards the stairs that led into the lower deck. At the top of the steps, he paused and looked towards Puffy, who rested on the box for the second time. “Ye’ goin’ to keep watch?” Mortimer asked. “Might as well,” Puffy responded. “I already had my nap.”

 “Before ye’ do that, get down here with me. I haven’t shown ye’ this part of the ship yet.”

 Puffy stood up and walked towards Mortimer, who began to descend down the creaky, flimsy stairs. When they reached the bottom of the stairs, Mortimer grasped onto a lantern to the right of the bottom step and lit it. The lantern was similar to the ones hooked onto the mast, and its light revealed almost half of the lower deck.

 The room was a long corridor, with three wooden pillars spanning across the middle, standing in a straight line. Between the front and middle pillar hung a tan-colored hammock, large enough for Mortimer to sleep in cozily. Both ends of the hammock consisted of multiple long, thin ropes of fabric, tied onto a small, metal hook located at the top of the pillars. A thick, blue blanket relaxed on top of the hammock, waiting to bring warmth to its master.

 The corridor, however, was as messy as Mortimer’s assumed insanity. The floor was populated with stained clothes, rags, and a few empty bottles of rum. Several crates and barrels sat along the sides of the walls. Shelves were also located along the sides of the walls, carrying fragile chests, souvenirs, and weaponry. In the very back of the corridor lay a small, wooden table and chair. Sitting on top of the table was a long, shiny cutlass and a brown flintlock pistol.

 “Watch where you step,” Mortimer warned. Puffy followed and copied where Mortimer was stepping while looking around the room. When they reached the first half of the room, Mortimer placed the lantern right next to the middle pillar. Noticing that there was only one hammock, Puffy sat down. “What are ye’ doin’?” Mortimer asked.

 “Since there is only one bed, I thought I was the one that had to sleep on the floor,” Puffy responded, not having a single clue of what Mortimer is up to.

 “Ye’ got it all wrong, laddy. You’re sleepin’ on the hammock tonight. I haven’t the slightest idea of where the other one is yet, so until I find it, you’re going to be sleepin’ on there. Besides, I don’t want ye’ to get cut.” Puffy looked up at him with a surprise on his face. “Are you serious, Mortimer?” asked Puffy.

 “Yes, yes, yes.. now get a move on! Stand up!” Mortimer replied, walking towards one of the crates alongside the wall and sitting down, propping his back up against it. Puffy, who had gotten up with a surprised look still left on his face, walked towards the stairs to keep watch like he had planned. He paused at the beginning of the steps and looked back at Mortimer, who had fallen into a deep sleep. “Thanks, Mortimer,” Puffy spoke softly. He then turned his head towards the stairs and walked up into the upper deck.

 Puffy monitored the surrounding area for an hour before going back into the lower deck. He climbed into the hammock and pulled the blanket up to his neck. He looked over at Mortimer, who was loudly snoring.

 Puffy grinned at him and looked up at the ceiling, thinking about his new life when he arrives at the new land. Puffy also thought about his old life, the life he left when he set one foot off the docks of Sail-town. Puffy dismissed all of the thoughts that cluttered his mind, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.

 Puffy woke up to the sound of Mortimer singing. Rubbing his eyes in a slow motion with his fists, Puffy stepped out of the hammock and almost stumbled while doing so. He has never slept in a hammock before, and he loved to experience it for the first time in his life. After regaining his balance, Puffy cautiously maneuvered his way towards the stairs, trying to not step on Mortimer’s clutter and junk. Soon after, he climbed up the steps to see what the old man was doing.

 “I would drink a nice, delicious bottle of rum! Combined with the sweetest flavors of cherries and plum! Oh, how the honey falls from the rivers of gold! I’ll be back with my wholehearted loved ones, and I’ll never get old!” Mortimer cried, tapping his feet on the hard, wet floors of the Venture. “Good morning to you, Mortimer,” Puffy said, yawning. Looking up at the sky, he noticed that there were groups of ominous gray clouds gathering overhead.

 “And good morning to ye’, Puffy! Sleep well last night? Ah, scratch that. Have you heard the dolphins singin’? What a beautiful sight indeed!” Mortimer quickly muttered, pulling his head back to drink the last portions of his rum.

 “I see you’re drinking again,” Puffy noted.

 “Indeed, Puffy! Thanks to ye’ for noticin’!” Mortimer replied calmly without noticing he’s steering the ship drunk. Puffy walked towards Mortimer and stood next to him, tempted to take the liquor away from his dry, callus-filled hands.

 “Are you sure you should be driving drunk, Mortimer? I know we’re not going to crash, but I just want to make sure,” the alarmed youngster asked.

 “You’re right,” Mortimer immediately let go of the wheel and drunkenly walked towards the front of the ship. “Mortimer!” Puffy yelled, reacting quickly and grabbing the rapidly spinning wheel.

 “Sorry lad,” Mortimer grumbled with fake sincere. “I’m sorry I haven’t taught you how to steer a ship yet! Just grasp onto the wheel, and go straight!” Puffy, who was upset that Mortimer still hasn’t noticed his fast departure of the wheel, steadied his hands on the steering mechanism.

 And still, after all that, Mortimer began to sing another tune, before he suddenly froze. Holding the bottle of rum to his waist, he turned around and stared at Puffy. “Have you seen this while you came up here?” Mortimer asked Puffy, pointing his finger towards the sight. Puffy looked towards where he was pointing and his eyes widened. In shock, he scowled at himself for not seeing something so big and menacing right in front of him.

 “Well.. I noticed a tad, but..” Puffy replied in a low voice. Dumbfounded and frightened at the same time, they stood where they were, gawking at the sight in awe.

 Small drops of rain slowly pattered against the deck and stained the sails. The waves of the sea grew vicious and the air grew cold.

 “Give me the wheel, Puffy!” Mortimer yelled, walking towards the helm. “A storm is coming.”

 A large wall of darkness lay far ahead of the schooner, spanning for several miles making it impossible to escape. Sharp explosions of thunder were heard from deep inside the wall, and bolts of lightning lit up the black fog.

 “We have to turn around!” demanded Puffy, holding onto the railing.

 “No, Puffy!” replied Mortimer. “A storm like this.. ye’ can’t escape it! We have to go through!”

 “What can we do then?”

 “Nothing!” Mortimer screamed in terror, throwing his empty bottle of rum off the ship. “Fate is the judge of our existence now. May it give us the right to live or the right to die.”

 The front of the ship shivered as it touched the cold fog. The two sailors stayed silent, listening to the loud thunder and the creaking of the ship. Puffy took his hands off the railing and backed away. Mortimer kept his hands tight on the wheel, blindly looking around in the fog.

 A few minutes passed. The fog quickly dissipated, then, without warning, a large wave of water appeared in front of them. “Brace yourself!” Mortimer yelled, shielding his face with his arm. Puffy quickly threw his arms in front of his face also, and they both stumbled. The wave had rammed into the ship, making Puffy and Mortimer both stumble onto the floor. Puffy, who was dazed from the attack, slowly stood up as Mortimer quickly grabbed onto the wheel. The fog had dissipated, revealing the desolated ocean being smothered by lightning and darkness. Waves rose up to forty feet high, carelessly flailing the ship around in its presence.

 Mortimer bravely fought against the deadly nature of the storm for the wheel; he wouldn’t let go. Puffy, on the other hand, pulled a knife out of his pocket and jammed it into the floor, holding onto the handle so he wouldn’t become a victim to the storm. The random patterns of the waves caused the schooner to flail about, forcing Puffy to repeatedly slam into the ground.

 The storm gave no mercy as the Venture’s charred, torn sails were scorched by the venomous lightning. The crates and barrels ripped open, pouring its contents out and on the floors of the ship. Bunches of fruits, rum, clothing, and meat rolled across the deck, eventually finding their way towards the fragile bodies of the two sailors. Mortimer kept his feet planted on the ground, trying to not slip on anything. Puffy, however, was laughing in the face of death.  Items bashed against the parts of his corpse, and the daily routine of being thrown into the floor became repetitive. His hands were filled with a burning sensation, and his entire body felt numb.

 “You want me, death?!” Mortimer yelled as he used all his strength to steer the ship. “Then you’re going to have to get me! Haha!”

 Noticing that all their supplies on the upper deck were washed off the boat, Puffy needed to make sure the supplies inside were safe. “Mortimer!” he called with all the strength left inside him. “I need to check the supplies inside!”

 “Alright, Puffy! Be careful!” Mortimer replied.

 Ignoring all of the pain, Puffy forcefully pulled his knife from the ground and started to crawl towards the lower deck. When the schooner began to climb and descend a wave, he plunged it into the floor and clutched it tightly.

 One wave passed.

 Another wave passed.

 Puffy was only several feet away from the first step. He continued this method, this time shielding his bruised, bleeding face with his arm to prevent any more straggling items from hitting his face. Weakly maneuvering his body into a kneeling position, Puffy quickly pulled his knife from the floor and sprinted towards the steps.

 The ship suddenly shook, distracting Puffy from his movement and where he was stepping. Before he could regain his focus, Puffy clumsily tripped over a piece of fruit just before he encountered the stairs. He fell down the stairs, hearing Mortimer scream his name and feeling his hand lose grip of the knife.

 As he collided with each step, new layers of pain emerged from his body. Puffy’s eyesight dimmed, and his mind was in a blur. He finally arrived at the last step, catching a tiny glimpse of a shining, metallic silver piercing into the right side of his stomach.

 “Aaaaargh!” Puffy screamed in agony, feeling the strong, burning sensation gnawing at his stomach. He gazed at his wound, which was profusely bleeding through his white undershirt. The entire blade had penetrated deep inside his body, eliminating any traces of the silver, metallic shine. This was explainable, of course, considering that Puffy had fell right on top of it. The blood leaking from the wound had colored his shirt and the floor surrounding him dark red, and tiny slivers of sweat beaded down his forehead and stung his eyes.

 Puffy didn’t bother to take the knife out this time, for he knew that his journey had come to an end. He gazed up at the wooden ceiling, listening to the roaring thunder and feeling the rough swaying of the schooner. Thinking about Sail-town one last time, he closed his eyes and passed out.

 “Oy! Wake up!” Mortimer whispered hoarsely. Puffy opened his eyes and gasped for breath. He found himself laying on the spare hammock that Mortimer searched for a long while ago. Puffy looked around the room in shock. Everything looked exactly the same as before.

 “Was I dreaming?” Puffy asked, hoping that the storm was just a figment of his imagination.

 “Ye’ better thank me, those bandages were costly,” Mortimer replied, snickering to himself and walking towards the stairs. During the process of doing so, he paused. “Come on up ‘ere. We got a long journey ahead of us,” he said, continuing his trip to the upper deck.

 Still laying on the hammock, Puffy examines the immense amount of gray bandages wrapped around his stomach. He also notices that he is wearing a long-sleeved green shirt, brown leather pants, and the same pair of boots he’s been wearing since the beginning of the adventure.


 Puffy had forgotten about that word. The word that almost got him killed, the word that had put him on this boat in the first place. It was a delight to say out loud, to think, and do. It was a word that Puffy trusted, a word that he could use anytime on a journey. And for Puffy, that journey was with Mortimer, out of all things. A drunken sailor who was nice enough to let Puffy take a jab at the word. Puffy had already trusted Mortimer with his own life, and it hasn’t even been a week.

 “Maybe things will be alright with the old man,” Puffy muttered to himself silently, then grinned. Weakly getting off of the hammock, Puffy landed on the wooden floor with a small thump. Surprised that there is no feeling of numbness or pain, he stood where he was for a moment, trying to maintain his balance.

 He then proceeded to waddle towards the steps, staring at the almost invisible, distinct color of dark-red splattered on the front of the stairs. Puffy remembers of the incident the day before and continues to stare at it. Assuming that Mortimer had already cleaned it up, Puffy could still see the remnants of the blood. It had dried itself permanently onto the wood, making sure that it wasn’t forgotten.

 Puffy, reminded that Mortimer had saved his life, climbed up the stairs to see the old man happily sing and drink rum while steering the ship.

 “Oh, come on and gather me loved ones! Come on and sail with me! Come on and gather me loved ones! And we will sail to thee!” Mortimer cheerfully bellowed. “Haha! Puffy! Nice to see that death didn’t take ye’!”

 “Thanks, Mortimer,” Puffy awkwardly replied, looking out into the ocean for any signs of danger. The seafarer was drunk again, steering the ship like always.

 “I see you’re eyein’ a bottle of rum, eh?” Mortimer drunkenly yelled. “Well ye’ can’t have it, you tootin’ pirate! Disgusting people like ye’, always on my arse looking for somethin’ to drink! Ye’ hear me?! Get off me ship, ye’ bum!”

 The young minor glared at Mortimer and laughed. “Keep your pants on, old man,” Puffy replied.

 As the sunlight shimmered against the beautiful, white sails of the schooner, the Venture sailed onward, bravely conquering the mysteries, obstacles, and wrath of the ocean.




© Copyright 2018 robo hobo. All rights reserved.

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