Chapter Five: A Tale of Two Cities

Canon fire rings in my ears and a splitting headache drives through my brain. Why did I ever want this? Being alive is stupid. I take it back!

The ringing continues and, for some reason, I don’t think Mother Nature is going to let me take it back.

“You did this to me,” I struggle to say as I force my legs to work beneath me. The intense odor of smoke chokes my lungs, and I try not to draw in too deep of a breath. My eyes sting and I hold a hand in front of them, to block the path of the billowing clouds of gray.

Mary was on the top bunk…

Mary was on the…

Mary…

“Rose! Don’t just stand there—move!” I feel a hand grip the back of my collar, nearly tearing the blue fabric of my new shirt, and my knees begin to buckle. “Don’t even think about it,” she hisses, tugging me further away from the smoke and toward the window at the far side of the room.

Hardly a window, I think bitterly. Perfectly cannon sized, through the thick smoke I can see a pale hand push open the window, as fresh air and the sudden scent of salt and fish slams against me.

Mary is shoving me towards it, her nails dig into my back, and I push against her. “I will leave you here to die!” she screams as the boat shudders again, and I hesitantly surrender. “This had better work,” she mumbles to herself, and it’s the last thing I hear before I’m forced, face-first, out the window and into the dark waves below.

~~~~~

The heat of the sun beats down on my face, creating an orange glow behind my eyelids. My head still hurts, especially the back portion of my skull which feels as though I was bludgeoned with a large chunk of granite, and my lungs sting every time I suck in a breath.

“I think the angry one is waking up.”

I blink and then instantly regret it, the brightness of the sun sending a sharp pain shooting through my already sore head. Above me, a small face hovers, it’s wide, sapphire eyes round with awe. It takes me a moment to gain some sense of feeling, a swaying that causes the tiny face to shift in and out of my vision, and I can only guess I’m on a ship. Just, well, not the ship I was on before, because that one…

Well, it kind of got incinerated. I think.

A set of soft white tassels poke me in the eye, and I swat at them, hitting something in the face, and it makes a high-pitched squeak. I sit up to find a small creature, its dark wig falling slightly askew over its eyes, frowning up at me.

“The reason no one likes you is because you aren’t nice,” it huffs. “I should have been the one to get stuck with the Ugly.”

“Hello Pixie Elvis,” I say, throat dry and scratchy. “How are you?” (I might as well try to be civil, at least until he tells me what I need to know.)

“How do you think I feel? Well, I know your love’s not real.”

I narrow my eyes at him. “What?”

“Don’t leave me now, now that I need you. How blue and lonely I’d be if you should say we’re through—”

“Pixie Elvis, focus!” I hiss and he shuts up (thankfully). I glance around the new ship and instantly recognize the worn wood and slight smell of salt and urine. The mast above me has been repaired with different types of wood, the entire post speckled with dark oak, creamy pine, and silvery ash. The white sails ripple as wind forces its way through them, swelling until they are pulled taut against their ropes.

From the side someone else approaches, and I put a hand over my eyes to shield them from the glare. “Hello, Miss Rose, glad to see you conscious again.”

“William?” His green eyes peer down at me with a mixed expression of amusement and something else. Concern maybe? I doubt it; that would be very un-William like. Unless it was concern about himself. That’s exactly William.

“I was wondering when you’d come to. I haven’t seen anyone knocked unconscious for hundreds of years. I can’t help but find it a bit rejuvenating.”

I sigh, leaning forward into a sitting position, and I’m surprised when his arm slips around my shoulder for support. He doesn’t meet my eyes and I clear my throat awkwardly, quickly climbing to my feet, as I struggle to find balance on the rocking floorboards. He quickly takes his hand away, taking a step back, and I glance around the eerily empty ship.

“What’s happened?” Along the stern of the ship, a forest of green land passes by us, and I try to focus on it, as if that could somehow lead me to know where exactly we are. “Where are we?”

Pixie Elvis trots up beside us, so that he’s hovering in the open space near William’s head. “It is a place called Rohodee Iceland,” he says confidently, his eyes gazing longingly at the shore. I can relate to that desire. My stomach does another one of those uncomfortable rolling motions and I bit down on my tongue. I am through with the seasickness. I am a pirate! It stops and I let out a breath of relief. “It’s a place of green things and freedom. They say the people here eat dog meat on bread.”

“Barbarians,” William says, his nose scrunching in distaste.

“It’s called a hotdog,” a voice says behind me, and I turn to see Randy—his hair standing askew in multiple places atop his head—his dark shirt ripped along one side, and I can see his ribs through the skin that clings tightly to his stomach, a thin line of muscle running down his side.

I look away quickly, my cheeks flushing red, and I catch William eyeing me, his green stare suspicious.

“It’s not actually made out of dog meat,” Randy’s voice sounds annoyed, like he’s been having this same conversation for a while. I glance over at Pixie Elvis who is looking at the human as though Randy is the bizarre creature from another realm and not the other way around. “It’s just called a hotdog because…well, because…I don’t know exactly, but that’s just what it’s called.”

“So you admit to eating the innocent puppies!”

“It isn’t made out of dog! We don’t just go around murdering small dogs and kittens here.”

“But you are willing to kill the piglets!”

“I don’t eat baby anything,” he shouts, running a hand irritably through his hair, making it stick out even more. “It’s just a turn-of-phrase.”

“Ah,” Pixie Elvis says, as if he understands. “Like when I sing ‘Blue Suede Shoes’”.

“No.” Randy’s eyes look like they’re about to shoot daggers. “That’s actually a song about shoes.”

“Sorry to interrupt,” I say, and they both turn to glare at me. “But you seem to be aware of where we are. Have you ever been to Rohodee Iceland?”

“What—what did you just say?” Randy leans forward, eyes glued to my mouth as if he might have better luck lip-reading what I say.

“Rohodee Iceland. Do you know where this place is?”

He exhales, shaking his head. “Rhode Island. Providence, Rhode Island.”

“So you do know it?”
“I should. I grew up here.”

My mouth nearly drops open in surprise. As far as Randy was concerned, I had just always assumed he had come from the same place as Mary: some random location in the far away ‘New World’ that had changed to the name ‘America’ even before I was born. I really hadn’t thought about it much.

“And what does Mary have to say about this?” I ask, scanning (surprisingly for the first time) about the ship for the familiar stature of a young, female human with a tub of ice cream grasped between her fingers, but I don’t see her. “Where is everyone?” I ask again. Other than the pixie and William, who distanced himself from us the moment Randy approached, I can see no one aboard the ship. And yet, it still slices through the water as if it’s being steered by thirty pairs of hands, a convenience of being a ghost ship, I presume.

“I don’t know.” Randy shrugs, but his shoulders are stiff with visible concern as he glances out over the rail. “I was going to ask you what happened.”

“I don’t know either. There was cannon fire outside of our room—”

“A bomb,” Randy corrects, and I scowl.

“There was a bomb. I jumped out the window, and I’m sure she followed me. I don’t know after that.”

“I saw!” Pixie Elvis says, swaying his hips back and forth in a horizontal line.

Randy and I exchange a heated look. “And?” we both say.

“I forgot to remember to forget,” he sings, “I can’t seem to get her off my mind.”

“Elvis!”

“Yes, yes,” he grumbles. “She got on a ship. Another ship. Not the one with the cannon troubles, and not this ship. The other ship. She got on that ship with the others—the others from this ship—and my pixie comrade. The other pixie, not me.”

“Let me get this straight. Mary is on some other ship with my father and his crew—well, everyone but William—and Pixie Stick?”

Pixie Elvis nods.

“And where did they go?”

He shrugs. “The other way.”

~~~~~

I hope you guys enjoyed it 🙂 Don’t forget to check in next Friday for Chapter Six!

Mel

 

 

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