Ol’ Bloodbeard – A Short Story

Once I was a  fisherboy always looking for the big catch. Travel the seven seas, I would, for that fish, but I always steered clear of one area. Those waters where the dread pirate Ol’ Bloodbeard grabbed ahold of your boat, plundered ye treasures, and ate your flesh. Even in those days Ol’ Bloodbeard was a legend, but a legend ye heeded. Never would I have crossed his cursed boat if not for those fish. Not one, but a score of them. Each bigger than the next. If I could have kept one of them fish, landlubbers around the world would sing songs of joy about me, they would. And I had one of them fish in me hands, I did, but then I felt a bump. A bump from a large boat with one passenger, the great sea dwelling pirate, Ol’ Bloodbeard.

         “’Ahoy!” he shouted. “Ye have entered the waters of the great sea dwelling pirate, Ol’ Bloodbeard.’

         He jumped aboard my wee fishing boat. He stole my fish, even the one that would make me a hero. He was a monster. A bloody red beard, teeth shooting in all directions, and a dead eye that would not look at ye when he spoke. I was a fright. He grabbed ahold of me, sunk my boat and brought me aboard his. Said he’d eat me, he did. He tied me to the gallows and showed me the pots he would cook me in. Then he told me the story of how he became Ol’ Bloodbeard.

He once was a young whaler who didn’t mind where his captain sailed. Ol’ Bloodbeard found them, sank their boat, and brought the boy aboard. Said he would eat his bones, but first he gave the whaler a chance to kill him. Ol’ Bloodbeard gave him a warning, ‘If ye kill me, ye shall become me.’ The whaler had no choice. He killed Ol’ Bloodbeard and became the new Ol’ Bloodbeard.

         Like you, I wondered why Ol’ Bloodbeard was telling me this tale. Then he turned to me and said, ‘I tell ye this story, because I will give you a chance to kill me before I eat your bones. Remember if ye kill me, ye shall become me.’

         I paid no heed to his warning and drove a knife through his heart. His last words were ‘Ye killed me, now ye become me.’ and he placed his hat on me head.

         I longed to throw his corpse overboard, but I chose to keep it as proof I killed the great sea pirate, Ol’ Bloodbeard. I journeyed home, but the great fog that came with Ol’ Bloodbeard’s vessel refused to lift. Hungry days passed and I could not catch a fish, nor fathom which direction to veer. I would have perished if not for the body of Ol’ Bloodbeard. I cut him up and ate him whole. He tasted quite delicious, but I could not escape that voice ‘Ye killed me, now ye become me.’

         When I ate the last marrow from his corpse I threw the skeleton overboard. There I spied me reflection in the calm water. A bloody red beard grew from my chin, I had no control of me left eye, and I longed for the taste of human skin.

         Since that day I have been the great sea pirate, Ol’ Bloodbeard. Searching the seas for treasures of human flesh. Never able to return to land because of the eternal fog.

         Now that ye know me tale, I give ye a choice. Ye may kill me or ye shall be eaten. If ye kill me, ye shall become me!

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