Wow. My second story is finally online. Bit by bit, The Ghost of Denny Bowersox will be known to one and all... Alright, so maybe it won't be known to one and all. But still, if I get a couple readers, I'd be happy. Got the idea for this story from the actual little hilltop overlooking the Lake Ontario between the US and Canada, where I was on a trip with my father. There is actually a little grave that said "Denny Bowersox", and a little red swing. Thanks, Denny, for the inspiration for this story!
Hope you guys like this. It's not like I'm working my butt off to write it, but now and then I get creative ideas and work on them. However, if I get lots of reviews, I'll know people are reading it, and I'll finish the story sooner. I appologize for the variating chapter lengths. I will try to make them better as I go along!
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the Ghost of Denny Bowersox.
Chapter One: A Long-Gone Storm
A gentle sway awoke a man from his peaceful dreams. It took him a few moments to remember where he was: the top hammock, third row, below deck aboard the Cricket.
"Come on, lad, time to get up. Our shift is startin' in a couple o' minutes." Advised an older man in his mid-forties. "Up, boy, up!" Repeated the man.
Denny opened his eyes to one of the faces he despised the most: a thin face wrinkled with age, bald, but with gray hair above his ears and at his chin, and the coldest blue eyes one could ever stare into. Alas, old Seymour had the short temper to match.
Seeing Denny's eyes open, Seymour turned away to go above deck, assuming Denny would be right behind him as he had been most days. However, it wasn't until his bunkmate flipped him out of his hammock that Denny gave in to the start of the night's duties. Grumbling quietly, the sailor of early twenties pulled on his jacket and boots and went up the steps onto the main deck.
A blast of cold air hit Denny full in the face. He had forgotten how chilly it got here at night. He pulled the coat tighter, and then began the task of climbing the riggings of the foremast. It was a dangerous climb; only the best of the crew were allowed to keep watch in the crow's nest. One misstep would send sailors plummeting to their deaths, either on the deck or in to the water far below. It had taken Denny years to learn enough to be allowed up, and it was a privilege he was proud to have.
Reaching the crow's nest, Denny told the sailor on watch that his turn was done. Standing aside, he kept his eye on the exhausted sailor the whole way down before turning his gaze to the horizon ahead. After a bit, he rested his head upon his hands, elbows on the rail. Denny longed to go back to sleep, to a place where war had no effect on hi besides his few nightmares. There had been no fighting, no hate, and no death. Just peace. Thinking about his dream, he almost slipped back asleep, but then something on the horizon snapped him out of his trance: lightning.
Denny waited for the lightning to repeat itself to be sure he wasn't seeing things. At the second flash, he turned and looked down. "Hey, someone go wake up the Captain! Storm ahead!" He shouted. Another sailor raised his head at the shout. Though he had not heard the full message, he had at least understood to retrieve the Captain, and ran below deck to do so immediately. A minute later, the sailor came back up to return to his duties, the Captain coming up after him.
Jack Bulker was a tall man, a full head bigger than his crew. He always had been, and always would be, a captain of pride, power, and dignity. However, it seemed as though Denny had just been the one to find his moment of embarrassment. Captain Bulker had just gotten out of a bath, and was ready for bed. His black hair, usually tied back, was now dripping all over his bath robe, and he was hastily tying his pants, or rather, pajamas. As soon as his pants were on, the Captain drew himself up in a pompous pose, hands on his waist, glaring up at Denny as he tried to maintain what dignity he had left. Lucky Denny; looks couldn't kill then any more than they do now. "Aye, lad, wha' yeh drag me from me room for?!"
Denny tried his best not to laugh at the Captain's appearance. "Lightning ahead, Captain! Looks real bad!" He shouted down from the crow's nest. "An' approachin' fast, sir!"
The Captain chuckled. "Lookie 'ere, boys! Th' lad's afrai' o' a li'le drizzle!" Mocked the Captain, and as usual, old Seymour was the most amused of the lot.
Denny went silent, waiting for them to stop laughing. "Truly, sir, the storm's comin'!" He repeated, worried now.
The Captain sighed, shaking his head. "Alri', boys, le's humor th' lad. We'll make 'im swab th' deck on his own come tomorrah. Le's go, reef th' sails, loosen th' lines, ge'-" He looked at them all standing around, staring at him. "Move i'!" He yelled, and they dashed off. The Captain's worst punishment-by-embarrassment was swabbing the deck alone. He had not enforced this punishment on many, and certainly not in a long time. The deck was big; it would take a full day or two to do the whole thing.
The sailors got into position not a moment too soon; the storm was upon them just minutes after Denny had sounded the alarm. Men ran here and there, pulling in sails, tying down ropes, and catching things that were rolling side-to-side as the boat heeled. The Captain stood in the middle of all the action, holding tight to the aft mast and shouting orders, his bath robe flapping about, threatening to either strangle him or become a personal sail and carry him off on the wind.
Denny clung to the crow's nest, now not just afraid of flying off, but also afraid of the lightning. He clutched the rail hard, eyes shut tightly as he tried to fight off the fear. Taking a chance, he opened his eyes and looked ahead of them to see the one thing he had desperately not wanted to see at a time like this: rocks. A shore. Death. He tried to scream a warning to the Captain to turn their course towards the safety of the open lake, but his voice was lost among the pouring rain and booming thunder. No one saw the cliff up ahead. No one saw death coming. No one but Denny Bowersox.
Well, folks, that's the first chapter. Yes, yes, there are a few historical clashes with what has happened aboard the Cricket. I hope you'll accept my appology, but it was amusing, was it not? No?... Sorry. I've got Chapters Two and Three written up. Two will be shorter. Again, my appologies. Three will be longer, and I'm already starting on Four.
Of course, the usual request: Review, please! If you want to see more of this story, you have to let me know you're reading it. I don't care if it's not a review. Give it a bad review rate, and all you have to say is, "Yeah, I read it." or whatever. You don't have to actually review the story. I just want to know I'm getting some readers... Though if you'd like, reviews would be nice.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? E-mail me ( e-mail is on my profile ) or instant message me on AIM ( exoticplatapi ) or Y!M ( rachgutt )... Thanks!