Words can’t describe his horror at the thought of dying by choking to death on a lungful of soapy bubbles, and it was this fear that dragged him back to his feet and forced him to think. He pulled his shirt up over his mouth and took long and calm breaths, and behind him his men followed his example.
Through streaming and squinted eyes he began to see rays of light break through, bouncing off the bubbles like the dancing flickers of a flame. He only hoped that they would emerge into bright and fresh daylight, and to a vast blue sky, as open and as magnificent as the deep blue depths below them, and not into Davy Jones’ Locker.
The well endowed and poorly carved mermaid that fronted the ship broke through the hellish bubble storm and the ship itself, along with its crew, sighed with collective relief and took deep, gasping breaths of the fresh tangy air. The ocean was slightly more alive on this side of the fog. Above them many birds flew past them and into the fog, leaving tiny holes in the immense face of it as it towered behind them.
To their amazement, they could see the channel that their ship followed carved into the bubbles the whole way through, and they could see the blue sky at the other side. The tunnel slowly began to collapse in on itself, and again the bubbles became a giant solid shape. If they hadn’t of seen it with their own eyes (The Captain with just one eye) they wouldn’t have believed such a thing could happen.
The Captain stared, mesmerised for a few moments, when suddenly there was a shout from the crow’s nest, etched with fresh fear and panic. It seemed that they might yet find themselves a watery grave to lie in tonight.
“Cap’n! Dead ahead!”
He spun around to face forward, his leg scraping a whisper on the wooden boards as he turned. There was something dead ahead indeed, but his one good eye left couldn’t make out what it was. It seemed to be a bizarre shaped island, towering high above the very reaches of the human eye and into the clouds above. It seemed to be made of some sort of rock that was the pale pink colour of human flesh. The island rose almost straight upwards, and from this distance through the shimmering mirage of sea spray and heat haze, it looked almost human, and it looked like it was moving.
The Captain swallowed, his dry throat clicking like a musket being loaded.
“What be it, man?”
The man in the nest stammered again, The Captain wondered vaguely in the back of his mind why he ever let such a lilly-livered landlubber onto his beautiful vessel.
“I-I-I don’t know Cap’n! It looks like an island-“
He was drowned out by cries of ‘Land ‘ho!’ by the rest of the crew, they hadn’t seen land nor another vessel in almost a month and supplies and morale were running mutinously low at times. The Captain felt excitement rising in his chest despite his niggling doubt and trepidation at this turn of events. He also felt the old feelings of exploration and conquest rise within him. He joined the chorus of his men.
“Land ‘ho men! Set a course, tonight we slumber on dry land!”
Cries of ‘Arr!’ met his announcement, and the men began their work in an excited frenzy, their battle stations abandoned and the bizarre wall of choking and suffocating bubbles almost entirely forgotten. The Captain turned to face the tide again, but the excitement on his face was replaced with a stony gaze. The more seasoned members of the crew would know this as his ‘thinking face’, and the last man who bothered The Captain while he was wearing his thinking face was keelhauled.
It usually meant serious business was afoot, and he had kept this particular face tucked away in the wardrobe of expressions in his mind since their last encounter with a Kraken, where he lost 10 good men because of his own selfish desires for revenge. The Captain was feeling the same disturbing mood in the air as he felt that morning. Death was whispering on the wind, and it would claim some, or maybe all of his crew before the sun set. Maybe it would even claim him, and maybe he would welcome it. He would rather die at sea, in action, than slowly suffer and fade away in a filthy bed, covered in sores.
The wind caught the sails favourably, and ferried them towards the island (though The Captain still felt reluctant to call it this) with greater and greater speeds, and it seemed as if even the wind and waves wanted them to reach this strange place. Birds continued to move past them and away into the distance, almost like they were moving away from the island.
One of the crew members caught a glimpse of what seemed like a massive group of huge sharks moving deep beneath the waves, again away from the island. Fleeing them was a school of dolphins, completely unafraid of the sharks, and the sharks subsequently taking no notice of them. He rubbed his eyes and they were gone, and he told himself that he should stop drinking so much rum and listening to so many ancient sea tales from the other men while working the graveyard shift.
The Captain kept a steady watch, standing at the head of the ship, as they drew ever closer to the weird mass of land. He had snatched the telescope from the crow’s nest, and what he was seeing was chilling his old sea weary bones. The island was moving, there was no doubt about it.
It was more than just moving, it was alive. It seemed to be a living creature. He had terrible visions of a Kraken that dwarfed those that he had seen before, dwarfed the clouds and the gods themselves and made them all look as insignificant as plankton, but this creature seemed almost human in appearance.
It’s top half was hidden by the clouds, but he could have sworn that he could see arms and fingers flailing wildly and dangerously in the far distance. As they moved ever closer, it became painfully and impossibly apparent what they were seeing, but no one dared say it until one man uttered it, and this opened the flood gates.
“It’s a human! It’s alive!”
“Neptune’s beard, be it Neptune?”
“Avast, it’s colossal!”
“it’s Davey Jones, come to claim our godforsaken black souls!”
“Nay, it’s merely an infant!”
“Merely? Are ye blind in the eyes? Look at the size of-“
“Shut yer traps ye sissies.” The Captain cut across all of them, taking command but nevertheless feeling like a bit of a sissy himself, but trying his best not to show it. It was almost as if the giant infant responded to this, as it turned and faced them, squinting. Its humongous baby blue eyes focusing on them, peering through the clouds that partially covered them like twin blue moons in a clear night sky.
A giant hand began to move slowly and surely towards them, with fingers that were each at least 5 times as wide as The Captain’s trusty vessel. Surely they were doomed.
“Turn, damn you! Turn!” The Captain bellowed. The men began to turn the boat, different ways at first, but then they all agreed that right seemed most promising way to go. They looked at their trusty, crusty leader for further instruction, but as if they needed to wait for him to shout,
“Full speed ahead, flee this foul beast!” Foul beast was maybe a bit harsh, but The Captain really hated children.
The infant was so unfathomably huge, that even despite its size, its progress was extremely slow, and the hand crawled slowly through the air moving down towards them, whipping the fluffy white clouds aside. The wind was again on the side of The Captain and his now seemingly microscopic vessel, and they began to move away from the beast at a good clip. Behind them they saw it’s island sized hands continue their slow progress after them. It was amazing that it could even see them from so high up, but unlucky for them, somehow it had caught a glimpse and was curious.
The creature belched heartily and the sound make the very world shake, and The Captain almost clapped his hook into the side of his face in an attempt to cover his ears. He still wasn’t used to the damn thing even after all these years. All the men made silent prayers to whatever god they believed in, most of them suddenly finding a faith after years of piracy.