A Second Chance: Part Five
Yara gazed up to see Jane's big, melancholy eyes pleading at her. She suddenly felt a strong, compassionate urge in her heart that she had never felt before. She realized that she was the last hope for this poor, dismal Maraquan Aisha child.
"How did you get separated from your owner, Jane?" Yara inquired.
An expression of profound regret and sorrow appeared on Jane's face. She blinked and recollected all the happenings that proceeded that fateful night when she escaped from Mystery Island.
"I had a great desire for the sea, Yara," replied Jane quietly. "I wanted to live in the ocean, not along it. I ran away from home to visit Nereid, and she gave me..." Her eyes glanced down at her tail swaying slowly in the current, the scales torn from her exhausting travels.
"Fins," Yara finished her sentence in comprehension.
Jane nodded as a glittering tear trailed down her cheek. Ashamed, she wiped it away with her clamped hand. "But I paid the price and didn't look back. In the beginning, I was so happy. I can't even describe how happy I was! But, a year passed without seeing Abigail, my owner. My carefree days at play were dried up. There was danger at every corner, no matter where I went... it followed. Ever since, all I now desire more than anything is to walk on the sand and reunite with Abigail again. I know she misses me... and I miss her too!"
Sorrowfully, Jane began sobbing bitterly in her palms. Yara was somehow softened by the Aisha's crying; though she was strong, she was also tender-hearted. Yara swam up to her shoulder with sadness painted on her face. The Mutant Jetsams inched their way closer to Jane with their long red tentacles, reaching out to comfort her. However, the Maraquan Aisha was frightened at first, but Yara calmed her.
"Fear not, Jane. They will not harm you," she said soothingly. "Their names are Zolan and Harpo. They are outcasts like me and they have protected me from any predators and hunters. They are my friends. And after what I have experienced today, so are you, Jane."
Jane's head perked up upon Yara's words. Drying her eyes, she gripped Zolan's red tentacle as he nudged her affectionately. Yara smiled and glowed a radiant beautiful blue.
"You will return to Abigail. I will give you back your legs with the exchange of your fins," she replied.
"You will?" Jane said breathlessly.
"Indeed, Jane. You are going to see your owner again very soon," replied Yara.
"Oh! This is wonderful, Yara!" Jane exclaimed ecstatically. "Please, send me to the surface!"
Yara laughed lightly. "Your gladness itself gives me joy, Jane, for I am able to finally use my powers after one hundred years. However, with this thrill comes a little pain. You have lived in the sea for an entire year and have forgotten what it is like to walk on two feet. You will be rather clumsy and you will also experience unbelievable pain."
"What kind of pain, Yara?" asked Jane fearfully.
"They say the discomfort feels like sharp swords with every step you take. It will be agony, Jane, but it lasts for three days."
Gritting her teeth, Jane shivered at the mere thoughts of the tender, chilling stabs, but she knew she must endure it bravely. "I will do anything to see Abigail. Even walking on swords."
"Very well," Yara replied in a confirming tone. Zolan and Harpo slightly bounced backwards on their tentacles, causing Jane to become slightly apprehensive. "Are you ready, Jane?"
Before answering the little water faerie, Jane took one last, long look at her blue fins. At that moment, she was saddened that she would never have fins again once she would return to the world above the sea. Nevertheless, her future was brighter up there where she belonged.
Gulping, the Aisha slowly nodded her head. "I am, Yara."
"This is farewell, Jane. Forever," Yara said. "After I change you to a land dweller, I will send you on the fast track to the surface, or else your body will collapse from the pressure. I will remember you always for giving me the chance to use my great powers so you can unite with Abigail."
Jane smirked. "I'll never forget you either, Yara. And thank you for my second chance."
The two friends smiled at one another as Yara's encircling blue glow became brighter and enlarged remarkably, allowing Yara to stretch her strength. Jane protectively shielded her eyes from the blinding light that lifted her up and swallowed her entire body. She took a deep breath and shut her eyes when she heard the peculiar, dreadful sound of the scales on her long tail gradually ripping apart. She gasped at the cold tearing that slowly formed two legs out of her fish's tail. She clenched her teeth to mask the pain; her heart raced seemingly out of control and shoot clear out of her chest.
Shortly thereafter, because of Yara's unmatchable power, Jane fell faint from the rush. Yara knew there was no time to waste, for the Aisha would die in the cavern. Lifting her tiny hands up, Yara sent Jane with her new legs straight through the roof of the grotto with the water force of a geyser. She stared up at Jane who became smaller the higher she went; and though she was exhausted, she smiled broadly that Jane's second chance was now given wings.
It was long past dusk and the shadows of night rested upon the Salty Gale, dancing with the light that shone down from the swinging lanterns. The chilly nip of nightfall reigned on deck, bringing enormous relief to a sea sick weary Abigail who gazed at the dark horizon. Nonetheless, she found comfort in only the coolness of the sea air and in the somehow reassuring words that Malcolm said to her earlier that day. He had disappeared hours ago and where to Abigail had no trace, which created greater feelings of suspicion than ever before.
Despite her sickness had fortunately subsided, she was rather weak and did not desire a morsel of food. Malcolm insisted that she dine with he and the crew, but Abigail even so declined his polite request; she only wanted the fresh air to revive her strength.
The stillness of the silent deck calmed Abigail for an untold period of time, but the endless roar of the sea always came and went. It was then Abigail could not help but notice sounds growing louder from below. She recognized it as voices in the ship's dining hall laughing and talking along with the clatter of plates and drink glasses. While the cool breeze ruffled her short hair, Abigail's curiosity sparked. The young, intelligent girl scanned the main deck for a trap door or any such portal to gain access to the chambers inside the Salty Gale. Despite her fear of the sea, Abigail knew parts of a ship quite well due to her father's frequent sailor stories.
Her eyes lit up when they landed on a trap door latched tightly closed; although, it was not locked. She smirked to herself and walked to the door, bending her knees to unlatch the metal hook. As she opened the door, the volume of the sailors' voices loudened to the point where she could virtually understand them. Defeated by an internal, secret interest, Abigail took a quick glance around the deck, and, without a sound slipped below.
Abigail entered the cabin as she carefully shut the trap door behind her, beginning to make her way down the small staircase. Fully aware of her surroundings, she remained sharply alert, careful not to step on any creaky floorboards. She looked ahead to discover a passage way that lacked a door, leading deeper into a dark hallway lit by a dim lantern. The voices were crisp and audible, tempting and tugging Abigail to follow.
She walked attentively down the elongate hall, seeing nothing but the bare walls. After a long and tedious walk down the hall, she was met by a series of doors. Abigail attempted to turn the doorknobs and enter the room unknown to her, but they were all inevitably locked. The distinct, gruff voices of the crew had diminished, and she had gotten nowhere but lost. Abigail began twisting around in every direction for an exit, but every way looked exactly alike. She continued down the ship's inner hall in desperation, wondering why there was no one here below the ship. Confused and suspicious once more, Abigail walked faster until she came upon the ships' brig and cargo hold. There were potent smells of fish and food. She observed great stacks of wooden crates and multitudes of barrels that emitted a strange and sickening sweet aroma into the air. Arching an eyebrow, she felt the urgent need to turn around and flee. Her senses were warning her of sinister danger.
Her breathing became heavy and panicky as she whipped around on her toes, sprinting down the hold. Her frantic darting was brief for she stopped dead in her tracks when her eyes beheld a startling sight. Hidden amongst piles of crates was Malcolm himself with his hands and feet tightly bound and his mouth gagged with a white cloth. The agitated Shadow Gelert twitched and turned in his bonds, trying hard to attract Abigail's attention.
"Malcolm!" she cried and fell on her knees to him. Hastily, Abigail yanked the cloth out of his mouth that previously suppressed his speech. "Malcolm, what happened? What are you doing here?"
"Abigail, don't ask me any questions. You must flee, and you must flee now! They're coming to get you!" Malcolm exclaimed while he caught his breath.
Confused, Abigail frowned. "W-Who is after me?"
Malcolm's features fell contrite and sorrowful, but he could not bear to reveal the horrible truth to her. "There's no time to explain! Just get off of this ship!"
"I-I can't leave you here!" Abigail proclaimed and proceeded to loosen the knots he was tied in.
"No, Abigail, go! Just go!" Malcolm practically screamed and tried pushing her away.
The Shadow Gelert lifted his eyes up when he saw, out of the corner of his eye, a tall, looming figure approaching Abigail. "No..." Malcolm muttered under his breath.
As Abigail tried to untie Malcolm, something grabbed her by the back of her shirt and roughly pulled her flat on the floor. She cried aloud from the shock, landing on her back. Flipping the hair from her face, she heard a deep, sinister chuckle ringing in her ears.
"Well, lads, our bait was quite successful in drawing our prey," came a gruff, hoarse voice.
Abigail shot her head up and gaped in utter shock and horror. Surrounding her in a tense, inescapable circle were pirates of all grotesque shapes and sizes. Standing above her however was a very bold but menacing Pirate Gnorbu with a long, dirty black beard, a polka dot red bandana around his head, and dozens of earrings piercing his ears. He gave her an intimidating glare but somehow managed to pull off a crafty grin, showing a few gold teeth. He possessed the conspicuous look of a pirate captain.
"Captain Gunpowder George..." Malcolm hissed loathingly.
The Pirate Gnorbu chuckled. "That name sounds better when said in such hate."
"Malcolm, what is going on here?" Abigail questioned in bewilderment, looking back and forth from him to the Gnorbu.
Gunpowder George let out a loud obnoxious laugh and turned to Malcolm, "Ye haven't told the lil lass the cold, hard truth, 'ave ye?"
The Gnorbu, in tall black boots crusted with sand and salt, pushed his way between Abigail and his crew and swiftly threw off Malcolm's cloak hood. The Gelert madly twisted and turned his head to avoid facing Abigail, but Gunpowder George harshly grabbed his long ears and forced his head up high.
Abigail's jaw dropped as she gasped and slapped a hand over her mouth. A horrifying series of deep, black scars marked Malcolm's features, obviously made from the cruelty of continuous pirate sword slashes. His dark eyes gazed at her sadly.
"I'm sorry, Abigail," he whispered quietly.
"This pathetic weaklin' fer a man is a liar and a turncoat. Only a mere fisherman who decided to cross paths with we pirates!"
Malcolm grunted as he was pushed roughly to the ground at Abigail's feet. Gunpowder's crew of misfit pirates chortled aloud in amusement, but Abigail glared up at them.
"What do you want from us?!" she demanded bravely.
Gunpowder George chuckled as his burly chest heaved up and down. "Ah, miss, that is fer us to know and ye to find out." The Gnorbu fiercely turned to his snickering men, who were automatically silenced by his commanding stare. "Throw 'em in the brig. We'll need 'em later once we get to tha cove."
Before Abigail could think twice, she and Malcolm were seized by the overwhelming numbers and quickly taken prisoners, led deeper into the dungeon of the Salty Gale.
To be continued...