This is part 2 of one of my short stories – read part 1 here first!
It was market day and everything was filled with sound. Vendors proclaimed their prices while buyers haggled tirelessly. A young boy with dark hair and sharp blue eyes weaved through the crowd, in pursuit of a cinnamon-coloured dog.
“Travis!” a woman shouted.
The boy stopped abruptly and turned toward the noise.
He approached the tired-looking woman and took part of the load she carried. They walked side by side, leaving the sights and sounds of the marketplace behind.
10 YEARS LATER
He never came back.
It had been ten years since that fateful day when Travis and his mother left the market early to wait for his father’s return, but they knew nothing of his whereabouts. Travis rummaged through his possessions, cramming most of them into an old blue satchel. He had grown tired of waiting for news, of desperately clinging to the whispered words that the salty sea wind brought with every ship that arrived at the docks.
“Must you go?” his mother stood in the doorway, wringing her hands with a worried look on her face.
“Yes, mother.” He repeated, for what seemed like the millionth time.
Satchel on his shoulder, he left the house behind and made his way to the port. There, he boarded the Mannin, an old ship that would take him from Breizh, his homeland, to Kernow, where his father had been headed.
The days passed, and after what seemed like an eternity, a small speck of land appeared on the horizon. It grew bigger and bigger, emerging from the foggy strands that surrounded it and revealing itself to be much larger than it had seemed at first. From that same fog, a smaller speck appeared. As they drew nearer, it became apparent that the speck was, in truth, a ship. It was a boat with worn sails and seaweed protruding from the winged snake that decorated the prow. A boat that Travis remembered all too well.
“Boy” The first mate called, interrupting his thoughts. “This is as far as we go. That land is cursed and only fools dare approach it. If you wish to go nearer, you’ll do so on your own.”
Travis gripped the oars of the leaky rowboat he’d managed to obtain from the crew of the Mannin. As soon as it touched land, he jumped from the boat and ran to the old ship. He clambered up the starboard side and began searching the cabins. Room after room he searched, but all were empty, until he came to the Captain’s dining room. There stood a man, with a tangled, black beard, a half-ruined tricorn and the eyes of a lonely soul, now focused on Travis’ face.
“What is this? Cruel mirages of my past, back to visit me again. Eyes so like those of the one I loved and left behind.”
The boy took a step forward.
“Stay back spectre! Torment me no further! What pleasure do you gain in reminding me of what I lost?”
“Are you Captain Rick of the Cymru?”
“Many years have passed since I had a name, but that one was once mine, yes.”
Travis’ eyes widened.
“Captain… do you know who I am?”
The bearded man stared at him in silence.
“Here, this might help.”
Travis pulled a thin chain from under his collar. A simple ring was threaded through it, but the sight of the simple golden loop finally shocked the captain into movement.
“Where did you get that?” he whispered, almost fearfully.
“My mother gave it to me.”
“Travis?” the captain finally asked.
“Yes” his son smiled.
“Travis… you…” the captain faltered “You can’t be here. She’ll know. She’ll find out. She’ll come and she’ll bring her daughter and she’ll take you away from me again!”
“I’m not alone here” the captain whispered “There’s…”
Suddenly, a thud rocked the boat. The captain whipped his head towards the ceiling, an expression of terror blooming on his features.
END OF PART TWO