The Dark Detective:Part Two
"On the plus side – the rain has stopped.” Dark the Darigan Draik said cheerfully, as his best friend was bent over a bucket, the tips of her fluffy pink ears visible – and slightly green. She heaved again, and he patted her back soothingly. “And we’ll be at the Cove soon – just another hour or so. It’s all coming up Dark, Elena.”
“I’ve told you before –“ Elena gave a loud hiccup into the bucket. “– that expression does not work if your name is Dark. Dark is not a happy descriptive word.”
“Never mind.” He gave her another pat, as a pirate Blumaroo poked his head around the corner of the wall.
“Caught this little guy trying to jump overboard again,” he said, holding up a wriggling orange Meepit.
“Sebastian! But I put him in the cage. How did –” Dark glanced at the little cage up beside him and took note of the chewed bars. “I didn’t know Meepits could chew through metal.” He stood up and took Sebastian from the pirate, and the Meepit flopped in his arms in a dead faint. At least it would have been a dead faint, if he didn’t keep peeking out from underneath his closed eyes up at the Draik. “Sorry, Len. I really thought I had him pinned down that time. I’ll have to find something else to tether him to this boat.”
Len grinned at him, flashing his golden tooth.
“We’ll be landing at the Cove in about forty minutes. I think your friend could do with some fresh air.” Elena nodded into the bucket.
“Thanks, Len. We owe you one.”
“Aye, it’s alright. You swabbed that deck pretty good!”
Dark fluttered his wings with pride as the Blumaroo hopped away, his strong tail propelling him.
Dark wrapped his striped scarf around Sebastian, pinning his arms by his side and holding him on his lap. Who knew Meepits were such good escape artists?
“Hey, Elena, do you think –”
What Elena did or didn’t think Dark never got to ask, as at that moment there was an almighty crashing noise, and the boat gave a sickening lurch to the side. Dark and Elena were thrown across the room, and Sebastian and the bucket went flying.
There were shouts and screams from above deck, and the distinct clatter of the clashing of swords. Dark felt his heart plummet to his stomach, and Elena groaned feebly as the boat gave another lurch.
“Dark! What’s happening?” She gripped the Draik’s scarf – still tightly wound around Sebastian – and held on as the overhead hanging lantern fell from the ceiling and shattered on the floor beside her. She yelped, and yanked Sebastian up into her arms away from the glass.
“Elena!” In the new darkness, he could no longer see the Cybunny. “Elena, stay there!”
There was another loud crashing sound from above deck, and more shouts.
There were more clanging metal sounds, and Dark felt an icy cold hand reach out and squeeze his heart.
“Elena,” he said as softly as he could to be heard above the din. “I think we should be very quiet.”
“Shh!” Straining his ears, the Draik heard a final clang, and felt a thud above them. “Elena, you have to trust me. Keep a hold of Sebastian and don’t make a sound.”
There was a soft squeak – either Elena or Sebastian, he couldn’t tell.
Feeling his way up the wooden steps, Dark pressed his ear against the door. He could hear muffled sounds from the other side, and he put his hand on the bolt latch and slid it across as gently as he could. Tiptoeing back downstairs, he felt carefully with his feet to avoid the shards of glass, and reached out to touch Elena. He wrapped his arms around her shoulder, and helped her across the cabin. Sitting down on the bed, he took Sebastian out of her arms and settled him more comfortably on his lap.
“Now, I don’t want you to freak out. But I think we have been boarded by rogue pirates, and there was a fight. I don’t know which side has won, so we are going to wait here for a few minutes. If Len or Roland or Arlie come to get us, we’re fine. If they don’t, we need to start planning our escape. Are you with me?”
There was another squeak, and Dark knew it was Elena that time. He reached for her paw in the darkness and gave it a reassuring squeeze. “If it is bad pirates out there, we will steal a lifeboat and row to the nearest island. Len said the Cove was only forty minutes away, we can make it there easily. Don’t worry, Elena. I’ll look after you.”
She squeezed his hand in return and promptly threw up onto the floor. Dark refrained from commenting. She was frazzled enough.
“We need a plan,” he whispered, as Sebastian started struggling against his constraints. “We need to get to a lifeboat. To do that, we have to go out there. Where the pirate are…”
“Great plan, Dark.”
“I’m working on it! There is a lifeboat close to the cabin, we can get there unseen if there’s no one outside the door.”
“I see a lot of flaws in this plan.”
“How can we disguise ourselves?” Dark continued musingly, rubbing his tail thoughtfully. “There’s nothing in the cabin except a bed and a bucket. We could cover ourselves in the sheet and pretend to be ghosts.”
Even in the darkness, he could tell Elena was rolling her eyes.
“Elena! You have magic! You can turn us invisible!”
“What! What makes you think I can do that?”
“You turned the toaster invisible that time. It was super annoying.”
“Turning a single object invisible is totally different to turning three whole living beings invisible. It’s way too complex.”
“What if you did turn a single object invisible?”
“I’m not following.”
“The sheet! If you turn the sheet invisible, and we all hide under it – we’ll be able to get to the lifeboat!” Dark was supremely impressed by his genius thinking.
“It could work…” Elena sounded doubtful. “You know I’m not very good at magic, though.”
“You changed a whole species!”
“I didn’t mean to do that, though.”
“It’s still impressive.”
“Alright! I’ll give it a shot. Get off the bed, let me concentrate. This could take a while.”
It did take a while, and with each passing minute Dark grew more and more convinced the pirates on the other side of the cabin door were not friendly. It was only a matter of time before they checked through the rooms, and he didn’t think the bolt on the door would keep them out indefinitely.
He didn’t want to rush Elena, however, so he stood quietly with Sebastian in his arms, unmoving after having had another scarf wrapped around him. He had stopped hissing in protest, though, so Dark was glad of that.
“I think I’ve got it, Dark,” Elena whispered, and yanked the sheet off the bed. It was too dark in the cabin to see – well, anything – but Dark heard the swooshing of the fabric as she threw it over the two of them. “Either we’re invisible right now, or we’re wearing a huge neon sheet that no one will miss.”
“Fifty fifty, it’s better odds than Tyranu Evavu.” Dark shrugged and headed for the stairs. Pausing to listen, he could hear only the faintest of rumblings from the other side. Unbolting the latch, he quietly pulled the door open, and he and Elena stepped outside.
Whatever Elena had done to the sun had apparently worn off, for the midday sky was gloomy and grey, with the rain still coming down in a harsh drizzle. It only took a quick moment for Dark’s instinct to be confirmed – these were not friendly pirates. There were half a dozen of them, wearing tattered and torn clothes, streaked with grime and dirt. They carried wicked looking swords and hooks, and they grinned at each other like hungry Jetsams as they rifled through the boat’s contents. None of the crew Dark had joined were anywhere to be seen, and Len’s petpet Pawkeet no longer sat atop the mast, squawking happily down at them. They had all disappeared, and after a quick shuffle over to the lifeboats, he thought he had an idea of where they had gone.
“Dark! There’s no lifeboats left!” Elena hissed under her breath at him, and Sebastian let out a long, huffy sigh. “What are we going to do?”
Dark had to admit it wasn’t looking good for them. They were stranded in the middle of the sea, on board with rogue pirates, saddled with a Meepit and no idea how to get home.
“The pirates! Of course!”
“They had to get on board somehow – they must have come in a boat of their own. We can steal theirs!”
“Oh, Dark. Why are you like this?”
“I don’t hear you coming up with a better idea.”
“This is all your fault, Dark! We should never have come to Krawk Island!”
Ignoring her, Dark tied Sebastian’s scarf around his chest, so the Meepit was plastered against his front as if in a papoose. He had a feeling he would need both hands free for this.
“Come on, Elena. We’re going to rob some pirates.”
To be continued…