A Bother no Longer – Chapter 5
Song of The Mermaids and The Great Escape
“Oh buggers Drew! What have we got ourselves into?”, whispered Willie. He had tears in his eyes, and was trembling with fear. All he could think of now, was how he wished that he had never left home. Drew felt much the same, but tried his best to keep a stiff upper lip. Even though his thoughts were of his Dad and Mum, and the world of worries that he would surely cause them this time.
The storm swiftly approached as the ship turned hard to starboard. Lightening crashed. The wind howled. Sheets of stinging rain beat against the face of sailors that struggled with every task. Waves of water crashed over the deck. Some so big, that the boys thought sure to see the ship broken up and swallowed by the ocean.
Drew turned to Will and asked… “do you still have your knife?” Willie pulled it from his pocket and flicked it open. “Never without,” he replied. Drew peeked over the edge of the boat and watched for a chance to make a break for the yardarm, to free his grandad.
“Alright then, what about this?” said Drew. “We need, a distraction first… a chance to jump down and make our way over to Pop.” Willie’s big eyes were wide with fear. He held the knife up in his cold shaking hand. “B… brilliant. What kind of distraction?” he asked. Drew thought hard for a moment, then snapped his fingers with a great idea. Although, it came to him just a moment too late.
The boys were suddenly yanked up into the air by their tails, and shaken violently about. It was a big ugly bull frog sailor that had them. The one who captured Pop, and rowed them out to the ship.
“Little Shrew stowaways!” he barked. Then he held them up and gazed into their eyes. “I been watching you two from the crow’s-nest. What luck! This makes three in one day. And what’s this you got here?” He was gazing hard at the key dangling from Drew’s neck.
“I’ll take that, if you please,” he said as he snatched the key, breaking the leather string. Just then, an enormous wave crashed into the ship, and broke the top of the forward mast. It smashed against the deck, with sail and rigging whipping in the wind, and was swiftly washed over the side by another sweeping wall of water.
“Bloody heavens!” cried the frog. He held tight to the boys as he jumped from the row boat and down to the poop deck. Grabbing a stray swinging rope, he swung all the way forward, and quickly tied the boys to the yardarm right next to Pop. “You sit tight!” he barked. Then he ran off to help his comrades, who were struggling to control the ship.
Pop turned to Andrew and Will. “Boys, what the devil! Are you alright?” he asked.
“Cold and shaken, and sorry Pop. So sorry that I ever ran off from home,” said Drew.
The hard rain beat down as they shouted to be heard above the storm. And as the wind howled louder and louder, it began to take on the sound of a chorus of voices. Familiar voices. Howling voices, that seemed to be almost singing in an eerie harmony.
Where are youuuuuuu… my wee boy!
Wheeeeeeeeew! Grandpa Shreeeeeew!
Bring home to me… my wee boy!”
Looking out on the ocean, at the top of the rising waves, the three prisoners saw what appeared to be… a group of beautiful, long haired, half-serpent creatures. They were riding the tops of the rising waves, with their arms outstretched and their mouths open wide with song.
“It’s my worried Mum!” shouted Drew. “She’s calling out to me! I’m here Mum! With Willie! And Pop! I’m right here!” he cried.
“It’s MY Mum! cried Willie. “I’m here Mum! I’m Here!”
Pop knew, that the song of the mermaids was heard different for each. And he knew, that he had to calm the boys and try his best to save them from danger.
“Come on lads! Let’s put our heads together and wiggle free of this mess!” he cried. Drew and Will then winked away the tears. They used all their strength to squirm and squeeze their wrists about until finally, Willie was able to pull his right hand free and reach for his pocket knife.
“Good boy!” said Pop. “Now cut yourself free. Quickly lad!”
Willie started cutting. “Good thing I always keep her good and sharp,” he said. And just when it seemed that things could get no worse… the forward cabin door slammed open, and out walked the Commodore with his two smelly mates.
“What’s all this talk of stowaways, and keys?” he shouted.
Pop let out a frantic whisper to Will… “Hurry lad, he’s coming for us.”
Quicker than you can shake a stick, Willie had cut the rope around he and Drew, and started straight away to free Pop from the yardarm. But the Commodore spotted them and called out… “the Shrew! They’re getting away! Stop them I say! Stop them!”
Every sailor on board had now dropped whatever they were doing, and were coming from every direction with clubs swinging, and knives drawn.
The storm still raged. Lightening crashed. Thunder boomed. Enormous waves crashed over the ship. And angry sailors were coming fast. But, the ropes were cut and Pop was free. The three frightened Shrew were on the deck, running through water and wind as The Commodore cried out again… “Stop them now or I’ll have your heads!”
Our three brave little rodents made their way to the fantail, and stood on the railing. They looked out at the raging storm, and the dark, mighty ocean. Then back, to see the crew coming on fast. They knew what the choices were. Stay and be captured again, or abandon ship!
Then, just as one of the froggish crewmen had reached out to grab hold of them, the trio looked into each other’s eyes, and jumped into the sea.
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