A journey said to be fraught with peril always intrigued me, so when a young lad and his father came to one day asking for my services, spouting warnings, but pleading all the same; how could I refuse? I sailed many seas and to be offered a chance to see something I had never seen before, it was golden opportunity for adventure, I can tell you.
The man was elderly, but his strength carried him well. He put so many of my men to shame when that storm hit us a week into our journey. While others screamed that a cursed had been placed on our venture he stood tall and pulled ropes into place while his boy managed the sails. The boy was unique, brave, but something tells me foolhardy as well. So often I would see the father telling him off about climbing rigging when he should be studying.
If finding that wasn’t strange enough these two never seemed to sleep well. I watched them closely in the first few days and all I saw was a candle burning in their section of the ship as they read from two books. The two were silent, not disturbing anyone, but in times like these the world is bent out of shape when it comes to superstition. Too many crew members came to me to say lies about the two, have me throw them overboard or to turn the ship around.
I would shut these lies down immediately, telling them that I was watching them and nothing sinister ever happened. In truth, I might have made the situation worse by admitting I suspected something as well, but that changed quickly when we were reaching our destination.
We reached colder, calmer waters. There seemed to be a dense fog that clouded our vision constantly, but that is something we have grown used to sailing on one of our trade routes. However, there were many dark, jutting rocks that could easily pierce the hull if we weren’t careful. I shouted orders at one of my crew as he steered, but he struggled to avoid the rocks. That was when the boy pushed the man from the helm and took charge. The father shouted directions that he read from his book and the boy met each and everyone with great skill and accuracy.
No longer did the sound of the grating rocks place fear into my crew, but instead wonder as the two guided us through waters to safety. It was marvelous, true, but now it was I, instead of the crew, that feared what these two knew.
We left those waters behind and soon we were sailing into the gloom of a new sea, water so dark and calm it was like sailing across a black mirror. I found the two leaning on the railing while we sailed forward, staring into the ocean below. I took this as the perfect time to get some answer to some pressing questions.
“Why did you choose my ship for this journey?” I asked plainly. It was an honest question, considering there were so many better ships and sailors at port that day.
“We asked the harbour master who was the bravest and craziest captain they had,” the boy replied quickly, to which the father reached behind his head and gave him a reprimanding tap.
“While that is true, we simply were looking for someone with the heart to carry through with this journey,” the father told me. “There are men in this world that are greater than any commoner and have been labeled as crazy by such commoners. Upon hearing their suggestion we knew which had the strongest ship for the job.”
Despite the politeness, I detected sincerity in the old man’s voice. I felt the words true, as I often considered myself unfairly labeled as mad or foolish. I believe, just like everyone on my crew, that there was greatness in this world for everyone as it lies within the heart of each man.
Before I could ask my second question the boy reached out and pulled his father's sleeve.
“There it is,” the boy whispered
The old man didn’t even look down where the boy was watching, he simply told me to gather the men and order them to stay quiet. I wasn’t about to doubt their judgement now and that was exactly what I did. I went from man-to-man, shushing their chatter and gathering them to the centre of the ship.
I didn’t know what to tell them, of course, because I didn’t know why I was doing this. The father stepped forward and explained for me.
“There is a creature in these waters that is best left undisturbed,” the father explained. “The creature remains perfectly harmless as long as we remain as quiet as possible, but noise will anger it to some amazing degree. My son will take the helm because I believe your imaginations will run wild if you don’t see this monster for yourself. I will happily show the creature to you one-by-one if you promise to keep your mouth shut. Screaming will be the last thing you do, so if you wish to see the creature, strengthen your heart.”
The father’s words were clear and pierced fear like a sword through belly. I volunteered first and went with him to the edge of the ship. Below us I saw it in the crystal clear water, sleeping or simply floating still through the water. A massive, serpent-like creature. It’s scales glowed with a blue-silver gleam and so much of it was out of sight because I could not see that far.
However, I saw those eyes, those terrible teeth. The fear I felt in that moment was pure, but I kept my mouth shout heeding the father’s words. When I returned to my crew I warned them in second to keep their mouths shut, to not chatter more than two at a time. The creature was beautiful, but more terrifying than anything in this world.
Every man saw the creature, not one screamed. The ship was silent as the dead even a day after the father said we could be loud again. Let sleeping leviathans lie, I say.
Be sure to follow!