Adventures of Three Sisters

A few months back when I decided to start writing stories, my husband, who is a big Mac fan and loves technology in general, suggested that I write a story, have my daughter Abigail illustrate it, and publish it on iBooks.  We’ve been working on that project for a couple months, and it will be a couple more months before it is finished.  But I’m at the point where I have written, read, and revised the thing about a hundred times and I need more pairs of discerning eyes to tell me where it still needs to be improved.  So I will be posting it here, one chapter at a time, every Friday, and I would really, really appreciate it if you would read and tell me which parts you like, and more importantly, which parts need work.  I hope you enjoy it!

ADVENTURES OF THREE SISTERS- PIRATE ADVENTURE                                  by Kathryn Cunningham

Chapter 1- Pirate Preparations

Abigail, Macaylie and Margaret were sisters, and they were the best of friends.  They were also great adventurers.  Abigail was smart, Macaylie was strong, and Margaret was brave.  They were an unbeatable team.

One afternoon when their dad was at work and their mom was folding laundry, Abigail exclaimed to her sisters, “Mateys, this be a fine day for a pirate adventure!”

So the sisters buckled their pirate swords around their waists and tied their pirate scarves around their heads.  Since she was the oldest, Abigail got the captain’s hat.  Macaylie was first mate, and Margaret was the cook.  With these most important jobs assigned, the sisters turned to the task of outfitting their ship.

With sheets and blankets they rigged their bunk bed with sails.  The skull and crossbones flag was hung on the front, and an old steering wheel cover made the perfect helm.

“Arrrrr!!” they all growled, and leaped aboard.  Captain Abigail was at the helm, First Mate Macaylie was in the crow’s nest, and Cook Margaret was below in the galley.  Then, with a jolt and a shudder, their ship took off!  It flew right out the window and into the ocean that had appeared outside their house.

“Avast, ye scurvey dogs!” cried Captain Abigail.  “Let the search for the Lost Treasure begin!”

“Aye, aye, Cap’n!”

Chapter 2- Shark Attack

The ship rocked as the wind filled the sails and the waves heaved about them.  The sisters breathed in the wet, salty air and scanned the horizon in search of clues that would lead them to the Lost Treasure.  They were also on the lookout for dangers that would surely meet them out on the open sea.

“Captain!” called out Cook Margaret from below.  “What are we going to eat?  I’m hungry for a snack.”  (Margaret had a hard time talking like a pirate.  She was the youngest, after all.)

The sisters all looked at each other for a while.  They had been so excited to get going, they had forgotten to bring food.  Now they were in the middle of the ocean, and it was too late to go back for provisions.  First Mate Macaylie started to cry, but Abigail was smart, and she thought of a plan quicker than you can say ‘Jolly Roger.’

“What be ye, a pack of sniveling land lubbers?” she barked.  “Thar be fish in these waters!  Get the nets, throw ‘em into the sea!  We’ll have fish for supper or I’ll be swashbuckled!”

The sisters scurried to find the fishing nets and push them over the side of the ship.  The water was indeed teeming with fish, and the nets were soon overflowing.

“Shiver me timbers, the nets!” wailed the Captain in despair. “They’ll break for sure and we’ll have nothin’ but empty bellies for company all the way to Davy Jone’s locker!”

Cook Margaret threw up her hands and howled, but Macaylie was strong.  She grabbed hold of the nets and heaved and pulled with all her might until she hauled every last one of those tasty fish aboard their ship.

Unfortunately, a gigantic man-eating shark had also been hauled up with the fish.  It thrashed around angrily on the deck, snapping its powerful jaws fiercely at the pirates.  First Mate Macaylie scrambled up into the crow’s nest to hide, Captain Abigail retreated behind the helm in terror, but Margaret was brave.  Skillfully, she whipped out her pirate’s sword and her Cook’s knife, and with a slash and skewer, chopped that whole shark up into bite-sized pieces.

“We’ll eat shark soup tonight, mateys!” she called triumphantly.  Then she pulled the teeth right out of the shark’s mouth, strung them on a cord and wore them as a necklace the rest of their voyage.

Cleaning and storing all those fish and shark bits took a long time, and it was dark before they were finished and enjoying bowls of delicious shark soup.  First Mate Macaylie closed her eyes contentedly as the warm broth travelled down her throat and into her belly, warming every bit of her.  Captain Abigail told blood-curdling tales of sword fighting, plundering, and sailing the high seas. Cook Margaret leaned her head back and sighed in wonder at the billions of stars in an endless expanse of sky.

“To bed, me hearties!” ordered Captain Abigail.  “I’ll take the first watch.”

“Aye, aye, Cap’n!” they replied, and went to their rooms.

And so they slept as the sea rocked their ship like a cradle, taking turns on look-out duty in case a giant squid or rival pirate ship tried to attack them.  When the sun peeked over the rim of the ocean, the sisters were up and ready for adventure.  It was not long before adventure found them.

Chapter 3- Skeleton Hearts

“Ahoy!” shouted First Mate Macaylie from the crow’s nest. “Off the port bow!  Shipwreck!”

“All hands on deck!” came the order from Captain Abigail as she whipped out her spyglass and pointed it toward the mangled remains of a distant ship.  Her crew rushed to obey and were soon at her side, ready for action.  “Scuttle me buckets and blow me down!  This be no ordinary shipwreck, ‘tis a graveyard!”

The captain was right.  As they altered course and neared the wreckage, the splintered remains of hundreds of ships bobbed eerily in the water.  The sisters’ bones chilled as a mysterious fog swept in and surrounded them, making it seem as if the world outside the ship graveyard had disappeared and all that existed was endless miles of broken masts and torn planks.  Then they saw the skeletons.

“Blimey!” was all First Mate Macaylie could say before she fainted dead away.  Captain Abigail’s face was green and her knuckles were white as she gripped her spyglass and tried not to cry.  But Margaret was brave.  She fetched a bucket of water, which she splashed on the First Mate to waken her. She took her sisters by the hands and turned her eyes defiantly back toward the water and said, “Courage, mates!”

Being the youngest, Margaret didn’t always give big speeches and use fancy words, but her fearless heart inspired the other pirates.  Captain Abigail squared her shoulders with new determination and declared, “The Lost Treasure be on the other side of this cursed graveyard, for certain!  On, on to the treasure!”

On they went, through the fog and the wreckage and the skeletons.  Suddenly, First Mate Macaylie leaned forward, squinted, and exclaimed, “What be glowin’ thar inside those skeletons?”

They all leaned forward and whispered, “Arrr….”  A mystified silence settled over the ship as they realized that in the exact place where a heart would have been if these skeletons had been living men of flesh, not just bone, was a great glittering green gem.

“Treasure!” shouted Cook Margaret in triumph, and she nearly threw herself over the side of the ship and into the water in her eagerness to collect the jewels.  But Abigail was smart.

“Wait, ye scallywag!  Ye’ll be fish food if ye try to take one of them green beauties!  Thar be magic in the heart of a skeleton!”

“Cap’n, what do we do?” asked the crew.

“The trick be to touch the heart, but not to take it.  Do that, and ye’ll have magic powers!  Just watch!”  With that, Captain Abigail lowered the jolly boat into the water, hopped into it, and rowed toward the nearest skeleton.  She reached out, stretching her fingers through the ribs, and gently touched the skeleton’s sparkling green heart.  A green light flashed through the Captain’s body, starting at the fingers that touched the gem and zipping through every joint and limb and finally fading back into the fog. Then the Captain stood, stepped out, and walked back across the water to her ship, dragging the jolly boat from its rope behind her.

First Mate Macaylie and Cook Margaret dropped their jaws in amazement.  Then they took turns rowing out in the jolly boat to touch the hearts of different skeletons.  The green light flashed through them just like it had with the Captain, but they did not walk on water.  They could feel that there was new magic inside of them, but they would have to wait until later to find out what it could do.

Chapter 4- Stormy Seas

All the pirates returned to their ship and continued their journey through the graveyard.  Soon they were through, and searching the horizon intently for any sign of the island where they would find the Lost Treasure.  They were positive that they were almost there.

“Let’s have some music, ye swarthy knaves!” bellowed Captain Abigail.  “We’ll sing us a tune to speed the ship along!”  They sang loudly and heartily, as pirates should, their good spirits swelling their song and carrying it on the wind to the dolphins and the jellyfish.

“Hey ho, blow me down,

Toss me on the sea!

On a pirate ship

Adventure waits for me!”

Suddenly, the clear blue sky filled with billowing black clouds and the world went dark.  Torrents of rain poured down, and lightening flashed like a spear piercing the gloom.  A raging wind whipped at the sails and tossed the ship to and fro on the waves like a toy.  The whole boat shuddered and creaked and Cook Margaret went below to make sure everything was secure in the galley.

Half a heart beat later, Cook Margaret raced back up screaming, “There’s a leak in the hull!  She’s going down, abandon ship!”

“We’re all bound for Davy Jones’ locker!” wailed Captain Abigail.  “Save yourselves, mates!  As Captain, it be my duty to go down with the ship.”

But Macaylie was strong.  As the ship began to sink into the sea, she said, “I know what my magical power is!  Captain, go below and fix the leak, I’ll keep the ship afloat!”  With that, she dove into the ocean and started breathing underwater.

A few dolphin kicks later, and she was under the ship.  She placed her hands on the underside of the boat, pushed up with her strong arms, kicked hard with her strong legs, and kept the ship from sinking.  Meanwhile, Captain Abigail fixed the leak and Cook Margaret lugged buckets of water out of the hold.  Together, they saved the ship.

Chapter 5- Island of the Lost Treasure

When the leak was repaired and the storm was over, First Mate Macaylie came back aboard, put on some dry clothes, and took her place in the crow’s nest.  Her eyes strained to catch a glimpse of the Island of the Lost Treasure.

“I see it, I see it!  Oh, I mean, ahoy, avast, look, look!”  First Mate Macaylie nearly fell out of the crow’s nest, she was pointing so enthusiastically.  Captain Abigail had her spy glass in one hand and with the other, she steered the ship toward the dot on the horizon that was their island.  Cook Margaret gripped the side of the ship and leaned out as far as she dared, grinning fiercely and laughing.  All the pirates were nearly shaking with excitement and anticipation.

The wind was with them, and soon the dot became a speck, and the speck became a blob, and the blob became the clear outline of an island.  They sailed toward it the rest of the day and into the night, and when the moon glittered like a giant crystal ball on a bed of blue velvet, they dropped anchor off the coast of the Island of the Lost Treasure.

The first light of day saw the three sisters in the jolly boat, rowing steadily toward the shore.  When they hit the sand, they overturned the boat and carried it further inland, tying it up by the palm trees.  Then they began their search for the treasure.

“Step smart, mates!” ordered Captain Abigail.  “The Lost Treasure be close at hand, I feel it deep in me bones.”  They marched onward, pulled by instinct as all pirates are pulled when great treasure is nearby.  They tingled from the tips of their toes to the ends of their hair, and before too long they could all feel that they were almost there.

“Steady now, me hearties.  We know not what dangers await us, nor what dark powers guard the treasure.”  The crew nodded in agreement with their captain, and they tiptoed  forward until they stood in a clearing and beheld the most amazing thing they had ever seen.

Chapter 6- Guardians of the Lost Treasure

In the exact middle of the clearing was an enormous chest overflowing with treasure.  Glowing golden coins, sparkling precious gems, strings of milky white pearls, a mountain of wealth was contained in that chest.  The three pirates felt their hearts leap in their chests and their cheeks glow, so great was their desire for the booty.  But it was not theirs for the taking.

Guarding the treasure were two gigantic eagles.  Their talons were like spears, and they clawed the dirt, ready to strike anyone who got too close to the treasure.  Piercing, intelligent eyes watched them intently, daring them to take another step.  They tossed their heads impatiently, and their fierce hooked beaks snapped the air.  One gave a bone rattling screech and then everything went eerily still.  They all waited.

Captain Abigail and First Mate Macaylie looked at each other, their eyes questioning.  They had no idea what to do.  But Margaret was brave.  She raised her eyes and looked straight into the great golden eyes of the eagle closest to her.  She took a step forward.  The eagle cocked its head but never looked away.  Margaret took another step forward.  The eagle raised its talons to strike, but hesitated, the power of Margaret’s steady gaze holding it paralyzed in mid-air.  The second eagle let out another screech, but Margaret never flinched, blinked, or looked away from the first eagle.  She took another step forward.

Very slowly, the eagle lowered its talons, lowered its gaze, and backed away, overpowered by the strength of her courage.  Margaret walked steadily forward until she stood beside the treasure chest, and still she never stopped staring intently at the bird.  Suddenly, Margaret knew what magic power the skeleton heart had given her.

“Eagles,” she said, and she could tell by the way the eagles shook their wings and twisted their heads around to look at her that they understood what she was saying. “We are here for the treasure, and we are going to take it, but we will not hurt you.”

The other pirates heard only screeches in reply, but Margaret understood that they said, “Please do not take our treasure.  Look in the chest and you will see the treasure that is most precious to us.”

“Captain, look in the chest!” Margaret prompted, and Captain Abigail and First Mate Macaylie moved forward until they were also close to the treasure, so close that they could scoop it up and fill their pockets with it.  But they didn’t dare.  The eagles were still too close.

“Blimey, Captain!” exclaimed First Mate Macaylie.  “Look what’s in the treasure chest!”

Captain Abigail leaned forward to see and there, nestled in between a pile of coins and a stack of bracelets, was a nest with two giant golden eagle eggs.  Very slowly, very gently, Captain Abigail reached forward, lifted the nest, and handed it to Margaret.

Still gazing directly into the eagle’s sharp eyes, Margaret said, “Take your treasure, eagles.  We won’t steal your babies from you.”  She set the nest carefully on the ground at the feet of the first eagle and stood before it for a moment.

The eagle lowered its head until its eyes were looking directly into Margaret’s, then it tenderly touched its beak to her nose and whispered, “We were prisoners here.  It was our curse to guard this treasure until someone willingly returned our greatest treasure to us.  Thank you, we are free.”  With a tremendous flapping of wings and rushing of wind that nearly knocked the pirates off their feet, the eagles took off into the sky and soared away.  The nest was clutched gently in the claws of the second eagle.

Alone again, Captain Abigail, First Mate Macaylie, and Cook Margaret looked at the sky for a moment, then lowered their eyes to behold the Lost Treasure.  It was lost no more, it was their treasure, and they were the greatest pirates of all time.  With a whoop and a holler they threw themselves into the treasure chest.  It was so big, they could all fit in easily. They danced and swam and threw handfuls of gold up in the air in celebration.  They shouted “Arrrr” at the top of their lungs and sang all the songs they knew and were so drunk with happiness that they never stopped to wonder how they would get hundreds of pounds of treasure back to their ship.

As it turned out, they never did have to worry about that, because at that very moment, their dad came home from work and walked into their bedroom to say hello.  “Arrrrr!” they all growled, and leaped into his arms, knocking him to the floor in a giant bear hug.

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