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Kevin G Hare

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The Curse of Past Ages

July 5.

We left port nigh a month past.  We’ve not seen even a mirage of our destination on the horizon.  Tis all I can do to keep the crew’s spirits from dropping into the depths of which we travel.

I know they speak ill of me in their quarters.  They have doubt; they fear I have led them astray with my meanderings of treasure promised.  I made them believe in my word, showed them not but the coin that proved it was there, the coin that shows the way.

We lost another man today.  Porter Hodges spoke a foul piece to Jim Briggs and Briggs run him through without a flinch.  As Captain, it were my place to chain him up for wrongdoing but I could not.  Not our way is it?  Not since I, Captain Gallow took command of the Grim Mary.  Not as men brandishing the black banner noting our place as pirates.  I am not ashamed to admit it either with one less man on board – better rations for the living.  That’ll keep some spirits up.

 

July 5.

Three weeks, four days and nine hours since we discarded New Britain.  Few ships tread these fierce waters any longer, which suit my purposes greatly.

The men have been following orders diligently, motivated only by something to fight for.  Life is cruel ad unfair in times of war.  There isn’t much worth fighting for in these dark ages but for seeking gold.  It seems to be the only precious resource left.  This and this alone drive the men on.  It is gold that buys them freedom, it buys them life.

I have shown them that life.  I, Captain Gallow, have proved my word as solid as the coin I held before them as they signed the roster.  I did not promise them death or a means of escape from the futile efforts of a collapsed society.  I offered them life aboard my vessel and the Seeker will take them there.

 

July 17.

Hard times fell upon us this past week.  The cursed British caught up with us finally and attacked our port side.  We suffered greatly at first but the boys found some fight within themselves to draw a cutlass and jump in swinging.  We kept the guns blaring along the hull of the Imperius save for one cannon that kept aim at her mast.

The guns of the Imperius fired randomly at our hull but we took her main sails down within five shots.  It was a glorious sight indeed as it fell, piercing its own hull as it went.  The boys pillaged what they could when the British relinquished their fight.  They brought the Captain to me and I made him watch the last of his ship and his crew sink to depths of Davey Jones.  The boys laughed as the Captain shed but a single tear before we aided him off the plank.

Bust the worst was still to befall us.  The damage was too great for the Grim Mary as she took on more water than we could bale out.  By nightfall I ordered abandon ship and we loaded what dinghies were left and cut loose of the Mary altogether.  As I watched her drop into Titan’s realm, I could not help but think that the Captain of the Imperius was yet awarded with a small victory.

 

July 17.

The mood of the crew has been dampened.  The wrath of an unforgiving sea unleashed its fury upon us.  The men swear that Titan himself reached up to try and claim us.  Many were lost in the battle against the storm.

The Seeker took heavy damage as well.  The engineers tell me we may not get full power back to the engines, we may only get enough to keep us moving – but we need to find land quickly.  There is only one patch of land we seek though.  The rest we’ll worry about later.  The curse of the coin holds us tightly and I mean to see it through to the end – at all costs.  It points the way.  Handed to me from generations past, only I dared to seek its treasure.  I have followed the map diligently and I know we are close.  I can feel it.

 

July 24.

Land.  Three of us remained to claim the treasure of the coin.  We searched the wild landscape before us, following the map of the coin all the while.  The isle was small, doubtedly if it be any map in the Queen’s govern for sure.

We came to a cave in the hillside.  We fashioned some torches and ventured inside.  The cavern we found was larger than the hull of the Grim Mary but what we sought was there, one chest on a mound of jewels.  The curse took over quickly.  Briggs and Starney started cackling like rum soaked wenches and were soon at each other’s throats.  I watched as they killed each other right there on that mound of jewels.

It was then I vowed not to let the madness take me any longer.  I lost my ship, my crew and any sense of a man that I had.  There was only one task I could do to salvage my only hopes for salvation.  I only wish I’d brought that other coin with me.

 

July 24.

No sooner had the navigation systems came back online and a small island was found five miles west of our position.  It was my island, the coin brought me and salvation was within reach.

The island was small and densely covered in foliage.  We’d almost stopped the search for the day when we found the cave.  It was smaller than the warehouses in the shipping yard but with searchlights in hand, we ventured into the depths.

It was there.  One chest on a pile of stones – didn’t seem like much.  Berkley and Stevens went for it, no point in wasting time I suppose.  They found some old bones of a man on the other side.  He was sitting there as though he just waited for death to take him.  There was no struggle at all.  When the boys opened the chest, there was nothing, just a note.

 

To the next in line,

I spared you the trouble lest the curse of the coin take you.  Do not seek the treasure here for it will not bring you the salvation you seek.  He with the coin, know this – I am to blame for the start of this hunt that I passed onto you.  I beg you to end it.  Mine was the first coin, yours is the last.  End the curse.

                                                                                                      Captain H. Gallow.

 

I gazed long at the name.  This man was my ancestor.  I am his descendant.  I looked blankly at the men who looked as lost as the riches we sought.  I kept the note and held the coin before me.  I saw a pool in the floor of the cave.  Without a word, I tossed the coin in and left.  As for the men – what they did with their futures was up to them.  I controlled mine; I was not giving that up for anything.

                      P.S.  The curse has ended.    Captain J. Gallow.