My father, William, is a cobbler by trade. It is a fine profession, but it was not what I desired to be. During my childhood, I found other interests besides shoe making. For instance, I can clearly remember old Mr.Handel’s dog, Sprout. He was a spirited one, he followed me around wherever I went. I would try to play hide-and-seek with him, ducking through the alleyways and jumping into empty barrels. He’d always find me though, such a smart dog.
I lived a happy life as a child, at least for the most part. My father worked very hard to support us both, I only wish I could have helped him more. People only go to a cobbler if they need shoes, and if no one needs them, well, you see where that leads.
I loved my father’s workshop, it was like a playground to me. He’d always tell me not to climb the shelves, or play with any of the tools, but I did anyway, much to his annoyance. I bet he would have gotten his work done a lot faster had he not been chasing me around the place!
Yes, it was just me and him in our hut by the harbor. Nothing fancy. My father treated it with the utmost care, saying, “Mother would ‘ave like it this way,”. I agreed with him, even if I wasn’t sure how true it was. I have never met my mother, but from how father described her, I wish I could have.
Such times were peaceful, when the only real trouble I got into would only cost me an apology. Now, I face much greater risks. If I could go back to those times as a child, I would, but know that to be impossible. On the cold, lonely nights, I would wonder how different my life would be had it all not happened as it had. Maybe I should tell it to you, give an explanation. Then maybe you might understand why today, I am a pirate.
My father had come back from his workshop after a long day’s work. I had been sharpening my best blade, when he stumbled inside, quite startled. Quickly, he said to me, “Nicolas, get under the table,”.
I sat where I was, gave a chuckle. “You can’t scare me, father,”.
He threw off his bag, marched over to me and grabbed my arm. “Don’t play with me this time, boy! Now do it!”.
I saw his eyes, I’ll never forget them, they were nearly bulging out of his skull. My father got mad every now and then, but this time was different. Reluctantly, I crawled underneath.
No later than a second, the door to our hut slammed open. I peaked under the tablecloth and saw a burly man, well over twice my height. He carried a wooden stick in his hand, along with a nasty grin on his face. His dark hair was wild-looking. It scared me, and clearly my father as well.
He stood at the entrance, glancing around at the room. I saw my father’s feet take several precious steps backward.
Finally, the intruder spoke. “Mr. Harlow, pleased ta finally meet ya,” he said, in a thick, coarse voice.
My father hesitated to respond, which angered the visitor. He grabbed a rocking chair next to him, and with incredible strength, picked it up and threw it against the wall.
It had been my mother’s chair, and now it was a pile of splintered wood. I would have jumped out from under the table and attacked the monster, but I remembered what my father had told me, and figured, at least this time, I should listen.
The intruder angrily walked towards my father, who had managed to grab a pot in an attempt to defend himself. “I know ya’ve got me money, now where is it?” He bellowed.
“I’ve told ya I hav'nt got it, now leave!” My father said firmly, though in a shaky voice. He held the pot up to his face and snuck a glance over at me. I locked eyes with him, and I could tell he wanted me to run.
In an instant, I popped out from under the table and made a mad dash for the open door. Outside, the sun was just about to set on the harbor. I made it to the doorway-
I was yanked back. The man had grabbed me by the shirt, and now his beady eyes were staring straight into mine. He gave a grotesque grin, and I could smell his horrid breath. I've yet to smell anything worse in my life!
“What ‘ave we got ‘ere?” He said, turning to my father and hold me up. “A lil’ youngin’ huh?”
By now my father was on his knees, the pot beside him. “Please, put ‘im down! I'll ’ave your money inna fortnight, I swea’ by it!” He begged.
The large man scoffed. “Too late, Harlow! Time to pay your dues!”.
Then, a BANG! A scream erupted from the brute holding my shirt collar, and he quickly released his grip. Instead, he cradled his wrist with his other hand. I took off running, but got a chance to glance back and see that my dad had given the man a hard hit with the frying pan. Before I left though, I grabbed a shard of the chair lying near the wall by the door. I wanted to keep some part of my past with me. I wanted to remember this day.
It all happened in mere seconds, but it felt much longer. Once out the door, I took a left, towards the main part of the harbor. There I figured, I could get lost in the crowd. Despite it being almost dark, the harbor was alive with the hustle and bustle of last minute shoppers and fishermen returning with their catch. I slowed down in order to check if I was followed by the angry man, and I saw him pushing through the crowd only a few yards away, still enraged. I hoped my father was alright.
Being the nimble child I was, I easily ducked and slid by the people. However, I wasn't the brightest, and unconsciously went towards the edge of the water. I was surrounded by crates on one side, a wad of nets on the other. I peered over the wooden dock, the water yards below. This area was for the much bigger ships, ones that took voyages across the Atlantic.
The man soon reached me, and he smiled with all three of his teeth. My heart was pounding, I could hear it in my ears.
He held out his hand and knelt down to my level. As gently as a beast like him could, he said, “now, young man, come along with me, and you won’t-”.
I didn't bother listening to him (as I do with most people), and began to climb the crates beside me. Realizing this, he immediately tried to grab me by the leg, but I was too quick. this time, he didn't bother being polite. “Get down ‘ere, boy! Or you’ll regret it!”, he shouted, drawing the attention of some nearby sailors. I ignored him and kept climbing, until I reached the top.
I knew I was truly stuck. Nowhere to go except down, but that was quite a ways down from where I was. The man realized this and let loose a cruel cackle. I looked all around, until I noticed, about a yard away, was the railing to a massive ship. It had noticed it when I was on the dock, but now I saw the true size of it. I got an idea, a dumb be it, but it was my only chance. I said a quick prayer,
I made it, but was not out of trouble yet, I was still hanging over the side. I heard the man scream profanities of all colors, and a few gasps from the people below.
With all my strength, I pulled myself up, and over the railing. I sprawled out on the deck, and heaved a sigh of relieve.
That is, until I felt the ship move.
Less than a minute after hopping on the ship, I felt it heave forward. Standing up, I watched as slowly, it turned away from land and pointed towards the open ocean. Panicking, I grabbed the rail and was about to swing over until I thought better of it, knowing I wasn't a good swimmer.
I waved a silent goodbye to my home land, my father, and hope of leading a peaceful, virtuous life.