It was always the same dream. David was in a shining hall, the walls glittering with precious jewels. At the end of the hall sat a bold man, large and powerful, in a throne befitting his stature. He was a pirate, with a smile from ear-to-ear. One hand rested on the throne, while the other gestured for David to come closer, so that he may help himself to the tides of gold that surrounded the pirate. As always, David woke before his hand touched the gold.
“My lord, you seem distracted?” a servant asked David, snapping him out of his trance.
“I apologise...I didn’t get much sleep last night,” David rubbed his eyes, yawning despite his efforts to silence it. “Please, do continue. What is my brother up to?”
“Sir, Lord Benjamin is…”
Four brothers, David being the youngest and least likely to be of any worth to the family. There was no land in his future, no access to the families heavy bank account. He had no share in the company and as such, no say in what he was entitled to. Benjamin is the oldest and he relished in the life of a noble.
Even as young as David was, fourteen to be exact, he understood his future would be as noble as that of a farmer’s wife. Blessed not to be working it with the farmhands, but unable to reap the rewards the farmer held. A thought that made David’s bitter, spoilt mind long for the wealth he could enjoy. To have his cake and eat it too.
David listened to the servant describe the plans of his brothers, where even the first and second in line had responsibilities and privileges awarded to a noble. He listened till he could not bear it any longer.
“Gladstone, tell me now, what does this have to do with me?” David snapped, hardly phasing the servant. That stung David, knowing that even the servants didn’t fear.
“I apologise, sir, but I was given express orders from Lord Benjamin to inform his entire family of today’s schedule,” the servant droned. “Indeed, none of this concerns you.”
David stared with childish fury at the old man and waved for him to leave. Once the door had shut behind Gladstone, he could hear the tantrum of the young noble as a glass shattered against the door. David breathed fire and stormed out of the room. Being so young and easily hurt, tears filled his eyes only to be wiped immediately.
The young noble left the manor and marched across the grounds towards the cliff face that overlooked the ocean. He stared out towards the horizon, but inevitably, his eyes lowered to the waves crashing against the rocks below. His scowl slowly softened as a torrent of thoughts filled his mind, from the dark to the dangerous. Even the ground seemed to sway beneath him and he pondered the inevitably of his demise.
Thinking long and hard on such thoughts helped David stand a little stronger, but thinking on it further led to even more sinister ideas. David stared hungrily at the manor, his deep desire building and with it his morals crumbling. A spark of evil began to gleam in his eye and he walked back to the manor, now calm as a clear idea built in his mind.
“Right away, sir, will there be anything else?” Gladstone asked.
“No, just see that you are not late,” David replied. “As you can imagine, it would not only inconvenience me but my brothers as well.”
“Of course, sir.”
David sat up from his desk and moved towards the window of his room. The sun had just fallen beyond the ocean. The waves crashing against the cliff seemed to grow louder and louder. All that David could hear before his first brother’s arrival was the sound of the crash of the waves.
“Davey?” Cornelius, the first in line after Benjamin had entered the room.
“Join me at the window, brother.”
Cornelius did as his little brother asked. Once he stood beside David, he looked down at his brother and how transfixed he was by the dark ocean.
“You wanted to see me?” Cornelius asked. “I hope this won’t take long, it’s a busy day tomorrow, I hope you know.”
“I’m afraid it might take a few minutes,” David replied, turning on the spot to face his older brother. “It concerns Benjamin and his...vice.”
Cornelius’ skin went a shade paler.
“Perhaps it would be better if we spoke outside,” David murmured. “I don’t want the help, overhearing this.”
David’s words caught Cornelius’ attention and he followed without argument. It wasn’t long before the two were walking towards the cliffs, then walking along the edge. David remained silent for a moment, then spoke firmly, surprising Cornelius.
“I’m afraid that Benjamin’s last adventure with the Parson lady has caught her father’s attention,” David explained, strategically moving so Cornelius was between him and the cliffs.
“You don’t need to be afraid little brother,” Cornelius began, his fear fading slightly. “I have it under good authority that-”
David was a small boy, but even he can topple a grown man with such murderous desire. David lunged towards his brother while his eyes were averted. By the time Cornelius took a breath in to yell, he had already fallen off the edge, the sound of the sea masking his deathly scream. David did not stay to watch but marched back to his room to wait for his brother Jonathan.
The murderous child succeeded again in luring his next brother to the cliff edge and throwing him into the ocean. That left only the servant, who knew David last saw his brothers. The old man fell and David even allowed himself a smile as he walked back towards the manor. His hands shook violently, not from the cold, but from his own heart’s shock at what he was doing.
David deeply considered on doing the same to Benjamin, clearing the line so that he alone could rule over the manor. His mind fought over whether he could get away with it or would he be found out by the authorities? With the pros and cons being weighed in his mind, David soon decided to kill his oldest brother.
David marched towards Benjamin’s office, finding him working over many papers. Crocodile tears filled David’s eyes as he explained to Benjamin that he needed his help. Benjamin, being a kind man, felt his heart sink seeing his brother so distraught. He chased after his brother who led him through the manor, outside and towards the cliffs. David pointed at the bottom of the cliff, backing away and stuttering. An act that had Benjamin look over the edge, confused and afraid. An act that gave David the perfect opening to end his noble brother once and for all.
With one final push, the last brother fell over the edge.
David began to laugh, a childish laugh filled with joy. He lost all semblance of sanity and clear thinking. He walked a shaky walk back to the manor, preparing his act for his parents the next day. It’s in these evil thoughts that David’s attention was suddenly caught by the sound of breathing.
The child paused between the manor and the cliffs edge. The breathing sounded as if it were right by his ear, despite the noise of the wind and sea. There was nothing around him, but the breathing continued. It beckoned him towards the cliff and David could not help but listen. David walked back towards the edge, looking out towards the ocean. Too late did he hear the struggle of Benjamin whose hand reached over the edge, grabbing David’s ankle.
David saw his brother as he fell, watching as he climbed back over the edge of the cliff. The crashing waves welcomed David, the current pulled him, taking him into cold darkness. David was blind, deaf and soon numb to the world around him. Until at last, he awoke.
David was in a cave, half-submerged in seawater. He pushed himself towards the edge, climbing onto the cave floor. He looked all around him, at the wet walls, which glistened thanks to glowing blue coral. All sound echoed, the noise of his physical effort surrounding him as he tried to stand, but he could only crawl. Davids body was damaged, so he could only crawl further into the cave.
The eerie light highlighted a sight that terrified him. At the end of the cave sat a corpse, draped in ragged clothing. The body had mostly decayed to just the bones, but the seemed to be a morbid string of mortality still clinging to the form here-and-there. David saw one hand rested on its stone throne, while the other seemed to be sitting in a gesture, calling him forward.
Around the throne, green in such light, seemed to be coins of gold and silver. A hidden wealth, a treasure greater than the Jones family to which David belonged. His greedy eyes widened and David crawled closer.
“It’s you...it’s you…” David croaked, his throat struggling to speak. “Take me away, show me paradise...give me the freedom I never had…”
David begged the corpse, spilling his heart out for the pirate. His deepest desires were revealed, going from the most greedy to the darkest. David showed his true self to the skeleton, who stared with empty eyes at the evil child. David could see it was nothing to him, lowering his gaze to the treasure and once more reached towards it.
David felt a pain, a freeing pain before his hands even touched a single coin. A rusted blade pierced his chest, his heart and very soul. David collapsed, his eyes began to close and through a blurry vision, he thought he saw the corpse stand over him, cutlass in hand, but it didn’t matter. He was lost now, lost to a world he would never find true happiness. In that way, he was happy, because at least this way, he was free.