5
min

A Grain of Hope

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A pale and white moon set on a dark, wide, and starry night. All the times I have stared at the same sky with the same stars back at home it will never compare to this. The sky, so infinite, makes you feel so small. The ocean, the land’s sky as I see it, is calm and quiet. Only the sounds of a few waves crashing into each other can be heard. Strangely calming considering the fact that the ocean can be so volatile with waves made of the same waters like these. It’s times like these, though, that makes me really appreciate my decision of leaving home, following nothing, but superstition, rumors, and hopes of mine. Hope for a better way of life. When the world tried to scare me into submission, stop me, and isolate me, I stood my ground. I wanted to see for myself and here I am. I was being led far from what I really want. I accepted the fact that I wanted something different and I’ll sail my ship through any sea because nothing will compare to my one true desire that I exposed my mind to. I took the risk of leaving and forever being banished. I am the captain of this ship and the sailors with me are my companions who I wholly trust. Not bribed or bought by money, but by their loyalty to me and my loyalty to them. The strongest, yet most fragile relationships are those bound by unconditional loyalty. It can conquer the world easily, but one flame can cause the entire ship to sink.
Time passes as I notice the moon’s positioned changed. I close my eyes a bit and breath in, deeply, the cool ocean air. The muscles in my body feel a little tenser as I begin to worry that my ambition might just be my ignorance in disguise. Not only deceiving myself but everyone around me on this ship. As I previously mentioned, I’m going with my guts on my quest to find the Promised Land. From what I have heard, the land offers those who find her the reward of true happiness, wisdom, granted wishes, or even better. Perhaps rewards an individual’s mind, who has not been hardened by the sea, will never understand. To get to the Promised Land is to sail through any route. It doesn’t matter where you go. As long as you’re determined and sail the sea’s seemingly endless waters. You’ll find her when you pass the many unpredictable trials she’ll throw at you that make you feel like your taking your last breath. I hope it’s all worth it in the end. I make my way near the helm to where my quartermaster, Ursula, is steering the helm. Her shift is almost up and I’ll be taking her place for the rest of the night.
“Go hit the hay, lass. I’ll take it from here,” She and I both nod and she walks down the stairs. I place my hands on the wooden helm and look ahead to wherever the currents will lead me, but I don’t let go of the helm. I close my eyes, again. I didn’t get enough sleep. I’ve been getting nightmares of the worst kind. The kind that takes away your control and it seems as if life just passes by like the grains of sand falling through the cracks in between your fingers. I can’t keep them for long.
“Sail, Ho!” the lookout, Lawrence, shouts from above my ship on the crow’s nest. My eyes open in a split second and I tighten my fingers around the pegs of the helm.
“All hand hoy! Incoming ship!” I yell out to my crew. Ursula is out of her quarters by the time the entire crew is out on deck as well. I hand her the helm as I receive the spyglass from Lawrence. My heart feels like it skipped a beat.
“It’s a man o’ war,” I say in a low voice. My mind starts telling me there’s no way I can take that down or outsail it, but deep down I still want to live. I fix my posture and put on the mask of courage as I walk down the stairs and make my way to the main deck.
“Avast ye! Aye, this one’s a man o’ war, but let’s show ‘em size o’ ship don’t guarantee victory. We got the element o’ surprise. These landlubbers got nothin’ on us! Ye savvy?”
“Aye!” The entire crew, in unison, shouts on the top of their lungs and I know they’re hyped. They think I’ve got it all figured out. In truth, I’m just as scared as they are and we’re both hiding it. I begin walking back up the stairs and yell out,
“Weigh the anchor and hoist the mizzen! We need to close o’ bit of distance between us and the enemy ship!” I know they won’t let us pass them, so we either die or die fighting. I was avoiding conflict for so long, but I don’t have a choice. We’re moving much faster now. I almost forgot what that felt like. Droplets of water and salt hitting your face rapidly. My ship slowly rises up and down as the waves hit the bottom of the ship. I stand a confident pose and wait patiently. After minutes of waiting, I drop my pose and get nearer to my crew. It begins to rain, a storm is coming.
“Heave to! Drop the galleys and don’t make a sound!” Ursula and I go on the same galley with fifteen other men. Obviously, it’s a tight squeeze, but the more the merrier. The rest of the galleys are also groups of fifteen with my boatswains leading them. When we finally pull through and end up in the back of the enemy ship, I silently signal my crew to start scaling the ship using the wooden ledges of the windows to go up. We quietly make our way to the deck where most of the crew is located and take them out. Sadly, they don’t die as quietly as I hoped for. All of a sudden, I hear the sound of a crash behind me, footsteps, but before I can even look back, I’m unconscious.
I see darkness, then my hands trying to hold the grains of sand that are falling from my hands. I awake and see the face of an old grog blossom right at my face. Angry.
“So I see yer enjoying me ship,” He steps away from my face, but still stares me with those deadly eyes “Perhaps a little too much,”
“Get ter the point, sea dog!” I spit angrily.
“Blimey,” He mutters in anger and cleans the spit from his face “ ‘Ol right, what brings ye here. You’re obviously looking for something. Is it me ship? Me gold?”
“Argh, I don’t got to answer to ye,” Big mistake. He rolls his sleeve up and swings an uppercut through the right side of my face. The heat spreads throughout my face and I feel something warm run down my nose, but the rain and fast winds hitting my face cool me down.
“Fine, lassie, be that way. I’m gonna get what I want, anyway,” He takes my satchel that is wrapped from my waist that holds my journals, notes, and maps. He looks at his crew and says, “Hang ‘em from the jib,” He walks away into his quarters. Three men head over to where Lawrence, Ursula, and I, and a few other of my crew are and begin to unbound us. I’m ready to give up, but as I’m staring towards the sea I notice in the distance a strip of land. It felt like a burnt flame, was relit in the pit of my stomach.
It’s not over yet. I look at my crew and they nod back. We take advantage of the split second we’re untied. We all strike in unison. I headbutt my opponent, it only staggers him a bit, but I sprint like prey being released from the clutches of their predator. I hear fast footsteps behind me and guns sounding off and bodies falling. Then, I jump. I crash into the water and swim with all my force. I hear the sounds of other people crashing into the water as well, but I don’t look back. I hear the cannons beginning to sound, but I keep swimming and the waves help carry me.
“Batten down the hatches, here comes a storm!” They stop firing and sail past us. The waves are getting stronger and they’re drowning me. I manage to rise up, but the waves push me down again and I hit my head on a rock. The last thing I hear is the shouts of some of my crew who are still alive, but they fade away and I fall into unconsciousness, yet again.
I dream of nothing, but darkness. All of a sudden, I begin to hear the sounds of light waves crashing into each other fading in slowly. I wake up in an instant, but I can’t see anything for a moment. I’ve been staring at the sun for too long, but I feel the reassuring grip of someone on my arm and I know I’m safe.
The trials are over. I’m here.

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