5th Grade, 1st Place (tie)
by Benjamin Heiss,
Friday, March 13, 1733
We have been in this tropical storm for days already. All of us are tired of the endless rocking and giant waves crashing against the ship. I hope we survive this storm. I can hear the men calling for me. I have to go.
290 years later
Friday, October 13, 2023
I went for a walk on the beach to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the evening. Then I saw a light out in the water and thought it must be a buoy. But as it came closer I saw the faint outline of a galleon ship. A lantern was lit on the stern, and I could just make out the East India Trading Company flag waving in the wind.
I stared, straining my eyes, for fear it would disappear if I blinked. I squinted at the flag and noticed the canton was on the bottom rather than the top—a distress signal!
Then I saw a gash on the side of the ship.
I blinked and the ship disappeared . I must have been imagining it.
The next day I went back to the beach and saw the boat again. Gathering storm clouds washed the sun away from its domain in the sky. Everything went dark.
When I woke up, I found myself in the hold of a ship, leaning against a wooden barrel. The yellowish light of a small lantern flickered and went out. I sat in the dark wondering how I was going to escape when suddenly I was dragged to the deck by invisible hands.
Half-blinded by the sun, I shielded my eyes. I heard boots crunching on rotting wood and a man appeared before me, with a fiery red beard matching his red coat. The sun glinted off his flintlock pistol.
I recognized this man!
It was Captain Firebeard, a British privateer with the East India Trading Company. I had seen his portrait at the museum. He died in a storm 290 years ago on Friday the 13th.
“We have a live one, lads!” he bellowed. “What shall we do with him?”
“Tell him of the curse,” they said synchronously.
“Fine,” Firebeard began: “Long ago I drowned on my way back from sea. My son cursed my name, for his mother died of heartbreak. The only way to end the curse is to see my wife again. Can you help me?”
I agreed and found myself back on land.
I dashed to the museum, found his wife’s portrait and took a picture of it with my phone then returned to Captain Firebeard. I showed him the portrait, he smiled, there was a *pop!* and the ship and the captain were gone.
I began again to wonder if I had imagined things, but later I was scrolling through pictures on my phone, I came across the picture I took of his wife and I noticed something was different. The captain was standing next to her.