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The Big Fat Mermaid, Chapter 17

This is chapter 17 as it was originally written. It included a mutiny scene and several characters, with names, who were only in this scene. The chapter was cut, with the necessary content moved to a prior chapter, because our beta readers felt that the battle sequence was too long.


Chapter 17

Release the Kraken


The Lucky Duck was a small, single masted fishing vessel which held about twenty sailors. It’s bowsprit* was in the unique shape of a duck with a pair of dice in it’s mouth.


*(A bowsprit is that pointy thing at the front of a sailing ship. It’s not meant for ramming, like you might think, but is actually used to tie sails to. - Pallie)


“Why do we get stuck with this mission?” complained Ernst, a young man with two piles of muskets at his feet, a bucket of metal balls, and smudges of black powder on his hands and forehead. “Can’t the big ships scout ahead?”

“Quiet, boy!” shouted Captain Visser, a man thick arms and a big floppy hat. “Keep your mind to the task.”

The Lucky Duck, along with another small fishing boat, The Iron Hook, had been sent ahead of the main fleet to bait the sea monster into revealing its position.

“Cap’n,” said Rumpaye, a silver stubbled sailor, “Don’t ya think we gone far enough? Maybe we oughter just turn back now...”

“No!” said Visser, striking his hand on the gunwale (the railing that goes around a ship). “We haven’t seen a trace of the beast. We go in closer.”

Rumpaye shrugged at Ernst, who rolled his eyes and loaded another musket.

“This monster...” said the captain, “Her reach not be as long as old Ahab’s been spinnin.’ We get in real close, see? Then we blast the beast in the face, and then there be no end to the rewards the prince’ll shower down on our heads. Today will be a lucky day on the Lucky Duck.”

A gentle splashing sound came from off the port side of the ship.

“Look,” pointed Ernst, dropping the muskets and rising to his feet. “What’s that?”

A gangly woman, a mermaid, danced her way up through the surface of the water, bouncing her hips from side to side with her hands raised over her head.

“Loo lee boo bee,” sang the mermaid in shrill random syllables.

“That can’t be that monster what scared old Ahab!” said Rumpaye.

“No, I reckon not,” said Captain Visser, pulling off his droopy hat. “She almost be more like one of them enchanting sirens that have been told of old.”

“Sirens?” asked Rumpaye.

“Aye,” said Visser. “Sirens be beautiful creatures, with voices so enchanting that they turn men mad.”

“But this one,” said Ernst, shaking his head, “Ain’t the least bit pretty, and her voice sounds like a seagull’s!”

“Aye,” said Rumpaye nodding in solemn agreement, “She be more like a harpy.”

Booan, the black haired mermaid, stopped dancing suddenly.

“Hey!” she shouted furiously, “I can hear you, you know!”

The sailors looked at each other shame facedly.

“I was just going to make you swim out to me and make you drown,” the witch continued, “But now you’ve done it!”

She turned her head and yelled a series of biting and barking noises then crossed her arms and looked to be waiting.

In moments ten sharks rose up out of the water. They were all different species, but they all had fierce looks in their eyes and huge mouths full of sharp teeth. Stranger, they held spears with their fins and they all wore bronze helmets with sharp points on the tops.

Men had gather on the deck of the Lucky Duck and were frozen in shock at the armed sea animals.

“Sharks…” ordered the willowy mermaid, “Charge!”

Clutching their spears tight, the sharks shot forth into the water at full speed and swam towards the boat.

Ten shark fins sped ominously toward the Lucky Duck.

CRASH!

The ship shuddered mightily and immediately began to sink.

A man ran up from the bottom of the boat.

“Captain!” he yelled in a panic. “Sharks! Sharks rammed through the ship! In one side then out the other! Little helmets!”

Rumpaye, Ernest, and the other gathered sailors looked spellbound at what they had seen.

The captain stared at the men in stunned disbelief for a moment, glanced at the mermaid, who was sneering smugly, then shouted, “Abandon ship!”


*****


Men screamed and bells sounded aboard The Iron Hook as they watched the Lucky Duck rammed through by sharks, seemingly at the command of an old hag of a mermaid, and sinking into the water.

“Helm, pull us back to a safe distance,” barked Haan, the young sea captain.

“Aye, aye, captain.” Came the response of the helmsmen as he began to turn the ship around.

“Cap’n, we can’t just leave them to their deaths!” boomed de Groot, a big man covered in tattoos.

Nods and murmurs of agreement came from some of the sailors, which began to gather around the defiant sea dog.

“Have you no sense at all?!” shouted Captain Haan, stamping his foot. “This is not a war galley, it boat designed to catch fish. Sailing out to fight some smart ship-sinking sharks is suicide! It’s mad!”

Much of the crew clapped in agreement, but a few bold men met the captain’s gaze.

“You hear that?” asked de Groot, putting his hand to his ear. There were screams and creaking of wood from the ruin of the the Lucky Duck. “That’s the sound of our duty calling us to action.”

“I won’t let you do it!” shouted the captain. “You won’t destroy my ship!” He pulled a pistola from his side and pointed it at de Groot’s chest.

Stubbs, the short, old, second mate, ran from the captain’s side and stepped in front of the gun.

“Captain,” Stubs pleaded, “There ain’t no need for violence. These dogs ain’t havin’ a mutiny, they’re just following the sailors code.”

“The sailor’s code,” said the captain, “Says that any sailor that falls behind, is left behind.”

“Aye,” said Stubbs, “But it also says sailors ain’t cowardly swabs.”

“Ya know,” interjected a sailor tentatively, “The code is really more like a guideline…”

“Yeah,” added another, “That code’s just what they print on those napkins at the tavern.”

The captain ignored this. He lowered his gun, and put it back in his holster.

“Well,” said the captain to Stubbs, “What do you have in mind?”

“Send ‘em out on the row boats. This ship stays safe and they get the chance to rescue their comrades. Everybody wins.”

De Groot nodded slowly. Haan scowled for a moment, then he smirked and nodded.

“You got it,” he said. “Say ‘hello’ to Poseidon for me, you’ll meet him soon on the seafloor.” The defiant crewmen looked back in disgust at their captain, and turned away to ready the boats.

“Oh, and one more thing, Mr. Stubbs,” said the captain. “You will lead this rescue force.”

Stubs nodded gravely, then kicked into action. Two rowboats were quickly prepared and manned. They made sure to grab ropes, swords, and guns. Within minutes the boats were ready to launch.

“I wish ye lads luck,” said the first mate, a dignified silver-haired man, “And may God's blessings go with you.”

With this the first mate gave the order to launch.

The Iron Hook had already turned and was ready to escape at full speed when the two boats dropped roughly in the water, nearly knocking the sailors overboard.

The men on the boats began rowing out to the wreckage of what was left of the Lucky Duck. It was wild.

Captain Visser stood on a piece of wreckage and was using a hunk of wood to bat away a shark. “Bad shark!” he yelled, sounding like he was scolding a misbehaving dog. Rumpaye was standing on a shark’s face, with one foot on the top jaw and the other on the bottom jaw, close to falling into the shark’s open mouth at any moment. A boy with an armful of muskets was shooting off the guns one by one, aiming for a shark that was swimming around and teasing him. Another sailor was holding on tight to the fin of a shark as it swam circles in the water.

“Quick,” commanded Stubbs, “Throw out some lines!”

The men fixed some coiled ropes to the sides of the boat and then hurled the lines out to the men.

ZZZPOW! POW POW POW!

Green light shot through the ropes and exploded them on contact.

“Ha, ha, ha!” cackled Booan, her hands outstretched and a ring glowing on each hand.

“Oh, I’m sorry, my dears,” she said in a fawning voice, “Did you want to save your wittle friends?”

“Ready the small arms!” ordered Stubs as he stood up in the middle of the boat and began passing out muskets to the others on board.

Within moments…

Bang!

Bang!

Bang Bang!

Men shot at the sharks. One shark took a shot to his side, causing the sharks to retreat nearby to regroup.

“Lally, lally,” Booan sang, dancing again. “You can try all you want, but you cannot stop us. You cannot stop… your doom...”

Bang!

De Groot fired a musket ball, sending it straight into the witch’s arm.

“AHH!” screamed the ugly mermaid in rage, clutching her arm and no longer singing and dancing. “You little bunks! I’ll show you what for!”

The crone pointed her ringed hands toward herself shot out two shimmering black energy bolts.

She threw her arms out and they immediately began to stretch and split into multiple strands. The color of the mermaid’s fin spread up her body, turning her skin black as it travelled up to her head. Her eyes became huge and moved down her head, which grew and grew.

Her arms split off into six separate tentacles and the witch began to look more like a squid. She continued to grow in size, first the size of a rowboat, then a fishing boat, then finally slowing as it became almost as large as one of the prince’s ships of the line. Her tentacles were long, themselves reaching twice as long as her body, and strong.

The monster reached out one of her tentacles and grabbed de Groot, picking him up, high above the water.

“I’ll show you who’s a harpy!” boomed the giant squid in a deep voice.

Booan hurled de Groot with immense speed and power to the other side of the sea. He screamed as he flew off to certain doom.

The next target of her fury was the escaping boat, The Iron Hook. Reaching up one of her powerful tentacles, she smashed down on the ship, which was just barely still within her reach.

The Iron Hook ripped in half as the tip of the tentacle tore through the wooden hull.

“Ha, ha, ha,” laughed Booan. “You humans have been bothering the fish for too long!”

Her rage not sated, Booan reached up another tentacle and smashed the ship again.

The monster’s other tentacles slithered below the water, and the sea boiled.

Loading up the survivors of Lucky Duck as fast as they could, the two rescue boats rowed away as fast as they could possibly manage, away from the monster’s attention.

Booan’s destruction of their own ship, The Iron Hook, was just the distraction that the scouting crew needed get away with their lives intact.