Son of a whaler

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

Do you think animals have feelings?????

A huge albino sperm whale with a violent streak had fascinated whalers and the reading public for decades before Melville published his masterpiece Moby Dick.

The whale, "Mocha Dick," was named after the island of Mocha, in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Chile. He was often seen in nearby waters, and over the years, a number of whalers had tried to kill it but their efforts went futile.

By some accounts, Mocha Dick had killed more than 30 men, and had attacked and damaged 3 whaling ships and 14 whaleboats. There were also claims that the white whale had sunk two merchant ships.

While the legends of Mocha Dick were often contradictory, it seemed inevitable that there was a real white whale known to attack men. The malicious beast in Melville's Moby Dick was no doubt based on a real creature.

A fictitious story on this legendary whale ….

 

 

 

 

1810

Island of Mocha,

Chile.

Roaring waves dashed against the rocky beach. The waves were usual, but things at Mocha were unstable… very unstable. A short stout man stood on a high rock. Drops of waves sprayed on his expensive silk tunic making unpleasant wet circles. But the merchant was least bothered about his tunic at the moment.

His sharp eyes gazed continuously at a twin mast ship about a couple of miles from shore. His thick hair hid behind a stylish French hat. People say that he had had a life of riley. But days were tough recently after a loss of fifty thousand pounds at a trade with England; he had lost a ship near Somalia. Now his favorite ship Raff was approaching him with all his wealth and goods he planned to sell in Chile.

The problem was near the small island, Mocha. He had heard stories of a furious and a strong albino sperm whale which splits passing ships… this made him stiff with fear. It didn’t take many sleepless nights to bring him to Mocha to see his ship sail to safety.

He now carefully followed the mast towards the coast. It sailed closer… closer and his tensed brow relaxed a bit… then ‘crack...’ a faint sound echoed the coast. As the merchant stared hard, the entire mast went down into the Pacific in about ten seconds!!

  The never ending chattering buzzed on at Harley’s pub, known as the pirate cove of Mocha. The yellow glow of lanterns illuminated the wooden tables in a strange dreamy way.

Men sat on both sides of almost all tables save for a table on which a middle aged man sat with his fingers clasped, pondering about something. ‘Bang!!!’  The door dashed open silencing the pub a couple of seconds.  The merchant stormed in!

His sharp eyes glowed red in rage. With just five long steps, he pulled the chair in front of the middle aged man. He sat with a grunt and talked in haste, “I don’t know your name or your crew’s. As far as I have enquired, you have the strongest ship in Mocha…”

“Yes, that’s true” theman interrupted. “Let me complete!” he slammed his fists on the table. “I don’t mind how much it costs. I don’t care what you do. But I want Moby Dick dragged dead on the shore tomorrow.” he let out a heavy breath, “Well; I’m Jeffery, merchant from France.”

The middle aged man finally got a chance to speak, “I’m Agustus...The word Moby is enough to bring shivers to all whalers in America… and by the way Moby Dick is certainly not a usual whale as you think… they say it has alien power.”

“I don’t think you have any idea aboutthe payment I am going to give you. It will be enough to settle entirely in life… you get it? One hunt and your future is just relax and rest!” he spoke as rough as a soldier. “And I’ll see your ship infront of the dock tomorrow if you’re interested.” He strode away as quickly as he came, leaving poor Agustus startled…

‘Creak’ the old oak door of Agustus’s house opened. “Arryn?” he shouted as he stepped in, flashing a quick glance around the empty living room. ‘Oh! He must be in the farm at the back’.  Agustus had always wondered why his son doesn’t inherit his nature. Arryn is someone different…entirely different.

“Arryn, get in, dad is home.” He shouted as he sulkily opened the backdoor, which led to their small farm. As he had guessed his son was sitting beside their horse. His bright blue eyes glared at Agustus through the blond hair which hung till his eyes.

“Dad, where have you been? Jack has been waiting with hunger.” He said patting the horse. “Arryn, I’ll feed it, you’d better be quick and get in for supper.” instructed Agustus. Arryn knelt there a few more seconds staring the horse’s eyes, “Dad! Jack asks for an extra cube of sugar today.” He said running into the house.

Agustus had gone tired advising his son to stop his silly habit of talking to animals.. ‘Animals are like us.’ Arryn says, “They have hearts, brains and eyes. They surely talk, he says. May be they show signs of some kind that only Arryn understands.  Agustus pulled the hay off the stock and laid Jack his supper.

As the faintest rays of sun invaded the dark sky, Arryn blinked his eyes open to see his dad ready with his harpoons and weapons for his hunt. “Dad!” shouted Arryn suddenly wide awake, “Not to another hunt are you?” he questioned woefully. “Shut up Arryn! You have no idea about this business.” Agustus glared angrily at his son. “This is a biggie… but far too risky. I don’t want rats disturbing my concentration.

“What do you mean by a biggie? Which whale are you to hunt today?” Arryn asked sarcastically. “Of course it’s the most ruthless beast in the Pacific and the eye of all whalers around America. I’m sure the news ‘Captain Agustus hooks Moby Dick’ would be talked among all people of America and perhaps Europe too.” He gave a waiting look at his son.

Arryn’s face went pale in shock. Moby Dick, his best friend! He had spent long hours chatting with it from a small cliff. He hadn’t found a dearer animal to share his feelings with. Of course people call it a giant ruthless beast, but a beast, only for those who see it as a beast to hunt.

Arryn couldn’t manage to recover from the shock. The innocent eyes of Moby, excitedly telling something in its every jump, still lay strong in his heart. More over Moby Dick is too powerful Arryn knew it. He also knew that it could easily snap his dad’s ship and tear whoever inside.

This fact laid on him like a boulder. He had lost his mother when he was three and had lived with his dad all these years. He will not even in his wildest dreams, think of losing his father. . He had no other way. He had to go with his dad and save him or watch the most unpleasant thing, the killing of his friend…

The waves rose high tossing the ship up and down. Agustus’s crew was at full swing, concentrating on every detail. There was unusual silence among the crew.

At the nose of the ship stood Agustus, clad in his finest whaling coat, he held a small hunting telescope in his fists. Arryn really admired his father but not on these circumstances. Arryn’s mind had been buzzing with thoughts, emotions and ideas. He held the railing on the side as the ship rose up once again. He could talk with Moby and can ask him to escape, but he had to find Moby first, which was almost impossible. If it is not spotted by Arryn either his father or his friend could be in danger.

“Any sign of the beast, captain?” a voice boomed from the deck, Arryn’s dad didn’t mind to reply. Arryn silently prayed all known gods that Moby should not be spotted that day. Time passed on… the ship had halted at somewhere around two miles from the shore.

Arryn checked the sky, mid noon. The other members had started to move around from their places in disappointment. The weight eased a bit for Arryn as Moby didn’t appear. But one man still stood the way he started the hunt. His father, anyone could see the determination in his eyes.

Arryn turned towards the deck heaving, he felt much lighter then. ‘Moby is not spotted.’ The mere thought of that fact made Arryn jump with joy. Before his shuddering heart could rest from the excitement, he noticed something… just at the corner of his eyes.

Something big and white broke from the blue ocean and loomed to the sky. Arryn’s eyes popped open as he clenched the iron railing. The structure of the big whale, Moby Dick was clearly visible above the waves.

Then things happened quickly… very quickly. Moby Dick saw Arryn and expressed its excitement ‘Hi pal!’ just before the sharp harpoon left the hands of Agustus. The harpoon struck the whale below its jaws.

“No…” a sore cry left Arryn’s throat. He bent down to see a sea of blood on the ocean. He could see a faint white spot which was constantly drowning inside… then the tears worsened his vision. A minute of dead silence followed, broken by a booming laughter from Agustus.

“So, that’s it the most ferocious and dangerous whale in  Pacific, eyed by all whalers around the world, dead by a single harpoon shot by captain Agustus… ha.” He laughed at his achievement.

“Arryn my son, where are you? Did you hear me? We are rich… rich like anything!” he boasted. Arryn wept silently, trying to avoid the voices around… and stood where he was.

Then, without a slightest warning, the ship blasted… cracked into a million parts as Moby Dick struck the center of the ship. Moby’s head loomed again at the place where the mast must have been. The harpoon was still under its jaws.

Arryn dint know which to see first, everything was floating away. But he saw the eyes of Moby Dick as it stared him… this time with anger and rage. It tried to convey something like, ‘good job Mr. Betrayer… now let me take my revenge.’

It didn’t take Arryn more than half a minute to swim on the ocean. He splashed his hands, struggling to stay up. At a distance, he saw his dad floating on a plank, calling him. Arryn quickly swam to his dad. Agustus gave a quick trembling hug, “Are you alright sonny?”.

There was no sign of Moby then. The rest of the crew were floating farther behind Agustus and Arryn swam as far as possible with the plank. As shouts increased behind Arryn, he turned… and saw Moby swallowing the crew. Three or four at a time, they went into its hungry mouth.

“I have always told you about the beasts, son.” Agustus advised as they were pushing the waves behind him like anything, “The beasts want flesh when hungry… they don’t have sentiments. They are heartless.”

“It’s not true!” Arryn argued without giving up. “Quick son” Agustus shouted as suddenly Moby darted towards them. Arryn turned his head to meet Moby’s eyes, ‘betrayer.’ It blamed. “No, no it’s not my fault I have come here to save you. Understand… why should I kill you?” Arryn signaled hastily.

‘Okay, I trust you for all the time you have spent with me… you’re good, but let me devour the person who foolishly tried to hunt me.’ It grabbed Agustus’s legs. “Aaagh!” Agustus cried as water turned red around his legs.

“Moby!” Arryn pleaded. He locked his eyes into Moby’s. “Please Moby, forgive him. He’s my dad. I know he’s done wrong, but I bet he’ll not hunt an animal in his life. He has promised me that please…” Arryn’s eyes went blur with tears again. Moby released its grip on Agustus and turned back expressionless. It didn’t reply, but swam far out of sight.

“Drink the soup before it is cold, dad.” Arryn insisted. Agustusstill trying to overcome from the shock, sat with a strip of linen cloth wrapped around his thigh. “Arryn… what did you talk with the beast?”

“I have told you dad… every living thing has heart, I mean emotions... You must thank Moby for forgiving you.” He got up and started towards the door… “Arryn!, we are moving  away from the sea. I’ve arranged about 15 acres of land… I don’t think I’m that bad at field work. What say you?”  “.love you so much dad”

 Arryn couldn’t control the excitement, he walked to his favorite spot, a lone cliff. The beach and water looked wonderful there and especially thats where Arryn met Moby Dick.

When Arryn went to the cliff, Moby was nowhere to be found, but he heard some disturbance on the shore. After staring hard, he recognized… ‘The mad merchant!” he gasped. The merchant stood there shouting at the top of his lungs, saying ill about every beast and animal he could think of. (This story is decent enough to omit the language he shouted.)

Even though it could faintly be heard, Arryn shut his ears, ‘If I were Moby, I would have swallowed him.’ He said to himself. Just as he was imagining, a giant figure came dashing above the waves. It was a spectacular sight for Arryn.  He wished his dad was here with him.. ‘Now you agree with me dad?’


Submitted: May 22, 2014

© Copyright 2020 Srihari. All rights reserved.

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