There in the doorway stood a massive man. He was tall and burly, and had a gold earring in one ear. He had only one hand, the other was a hook. His hair was thick and unruly, falling over his face. With an unpleasant smile, showing his rotting teeth, he shoved his cutlass back in its sheath.
“Oi, cap’n!” he bellowed. “I’ve found us some kids. They was 'idin' in the cap’n’s cabin!” A rough exclamation of surprise came from up above them, and the pirate captain stormed down to where the three children stood, Emily fearful, but the two boys boiling mad.
“Have them searched Hopkins and then tie ‘em up and put in with the other prisoners!” The captain growled after giving the siblings a withering look of contempt. Hopkins shrugged his burly shoulders and did as he was commanded. He roughly shook John, who frowned fiercely in return, put his hands into their pockets, but found nothing more exciting than a few rocks John thought were pretty, Emily’s locket necklace and bracelet, and Luke’s spyglass.
When the big pirate came near to where Luke was waiting, fuming inwardly at the humiliation of being searched by a pirate, Luke gave him such a hearty kick in his leg that he was not to forget for a long time. Luke had applied all his eight-year-old muscles to it, and it had been aimed well. The pirate first yelped in pain and surprise, and then burst out laughing, much to Luke’s disgust.
“Aye, ye’ve got guts, lad, ye’d make a good pirate!” Luke frowned darkly and almost replied, but Emily warned the two boys with a stern look to remain silent, and they obeyed. The pirate shook his head and continued his job by tying each sibling securely, still laughing to himself at Luke’s behavior that somehow amused him so much, not bothering to look in their boots, he pulled the children after him up onto the deck, convinced that the prisoners were now taken care of.
The new crew, undoubtedly pirates, hardly gave the children a passing glance as the pirate, Hopkins, dragged them across the deck and down into the ship’s hull. He dropped them unceremoniously down the steps with an extra kick and closed the trap door behind him, still grinning about Luke’s kick.
It closed with a bang, and the children were alone with the dark and rats. But not for long…
“Are you three children alright?” A voice appeared out from nowhere, but Luke recognized it.
“We’re fine Cap’n. You?” He asked softly, so as to not attract any unwanted attention from the pirate guard.
The captain gave a sigh of relief. “I’m so glad you’re fine. I was worried. I shouldn’t have allowed you to stay on the ship; it’s my entire fault you’re in danger.” A groan of anguish sounded quite near them, and Emily put her hands out to search for the captain, and soon found his hand, cold and clammy.
“It’s not your fault sir…” she replied soothingly. “It’s completely ours. We should have known we would only bring trouble.”
The captain sighed, and stood up, his chains clinking. “Come over to where the rest of the crew is, and we’ll try to light something. They put us in handcuffs the stinking sea filth…I beg your pardon, miss.” The captain realized Emily was a young lady.
Emily laughed. “That’s quite alright,” She replied to his apology. “I agree with you on their behavior, and they deserve to be called that. All though as gentleman you should restrain your words Captain.”
The captain apologized again. “Please follow me,” He said. The siblings obeyed, following the captain deeper into the hull of the ship. “Sit here,” The captain commanded, again the siblings obeyed mutely.
There was a low conversation between a crew member and the captain before a lantern was lighted. The siblings could now make out the faces of the crew and captain in their shackles.
Emily smiled suddenly with relief, remembering the precautions they had taken. “They only tied us up with a rope, captain, and John has a knife to cut us free in his left boot. Would you mind getting it for us?” The captain nodded, and retrieved the wanted object. Emily continued. “Now you can cut us loose!” she exclaimed in a hushed whisper. The captain nodded again, and the siblings were soon free.
Luke rubbed his wrists, for they had started getting sore from the constant scratching of the rope. John stretched his cramped muscles, and Emily sighed happily.
She turned to John. “Where’s the pistol?” she asked. John handed it to her. “And the gold?” Luke gave her his stash. Then Emily pulled from her shawl all the important papers and documents, and before the widening eyes of the crew, handed the whole of their loot to the captain.
He gasped. “You managed to bring all this to me under the very noses of the pirate captain and crew?” he asked.
Emily nodded. “They thought we were merely children who would do no mischief.” She flashed a smile. “They were wrong about that though.” She paused. “We need to hide all of this somewhere…someplace they won’t think to look. You know, just in case they come down here to search us again. And we’d better get tied back up again, for the pirate captain is sure to not be satisfied.”
The captain agreed, and the siblings were securely tied as well as the valuables safely hid away in the hull. And not a moment too soon, for almost immediately after the things were hid there was a stomping up above them before the pirate Hopkins opened the trapdoor with a clang.
“Where’s the kids?” he demanded. Emily calmly stepped forward, closely followed by her brothers who stood around her protectively. Hopkins grabbed them again. “The cap’n wants ye.” He said by way of explanation. “Ye’ll heff to come w’ me.” If the pirate noticed the different knots applied to the children’s bonds, he made no comment.
Once again the siblings were on the deck of the ship, and this time dragged the other direction. A door banged open and then they were shoved in, and the door closed behind them.
An unpleasant aroma of stale whiskey and burning kerosene greeted their senses, and the siblings found themselves face-to-face with the pirate captain. From him they could expect no mercy.