Chapter Three

Chapter Three

A Chapter by Chantel

And now we meet Jasper :)


          “Jasper? Jasper!” called the voice of Captain James Porter.
          “Coming,” Jasper Storm called back as he ran to where Captain Porter was standing.
          “Ah, there y’ are,” Captain Porter said, smiling. The captain was generally a cheerful man, and he smiled easily. He was somewhere in his mid-forties, Jasper guessed, although he had never really asked him. The sun had turned Captain Porter’s skin a dark brown, freckled and wrinkled, and his sun-bleached blond hair was always cut oddly because he cut it himself with the knife he kept with him all the time. “Jasper,” Captain Porter said now, “I was goin’ to talk to ye earlier, but I didn’t have the chance. I was wonderin’--does ye
enjoy jumpin’ off ships?”
          Well, that wasn’t what Jasper had expected to hear. Shocked, he shook his head. “No sir,” he said, confused.
          “Then tell me, son,” said the captain, because for some reason, he always called Jasper “son,” “why is it that we’ve found ye tryin’ to do just that lately?”
          Jasper frowned. “Um…I didn’t do that, Captain.”
          “Some sailors have found ye walkin’ around the ship in the middle of the night these past few nights. Said they caught ye just afore y’ jumped ship!”
          Jasper still looked confused. “I don’t remember that, Captain…”
          “Then was ye sleepwalkin’? I recalls now me good sailor Jacob sayin’ ye looked like ye was sleepwalkin’.”
          “Um…I guess so…maybe,” Jasper said slowly. “But I don’t think I’ve really sleepwalked before…at least not before these past few nights, I guess.”
          “Aye, and neither do I remember ye sleepwalkin’ afore, but then, I haven’t really been yer captain that long.”
          It was true. Jasper had only been working under command of Captain Porter for a couple of weeks--not because Jasper had just signed onto the
Marrielle, the ship he now sailed on, but because Captain Porter was the new one on this ship--he’d been hired to captain the ship after the last captain had died mysteriously.
          “Well…maybe it’s a habit that just started randomly,” Jasper suggested. “I guess it could happen.”
          “Oh, aye, that could be it, I s’pose,” Captain Porter said thoughtfully. He looked around for a bit, thinking to himself, and then scowled at one of Jasper’s fellow ship’s boys who was tying some knots hideously wrong. “I’d better go and set him straight. Can’t have the whole ship fallin’ apart.” He looked back at Jasper, smiled, and tousled his dark brown hair. “Take care, son. And next time ye go about sleepwalkin’, try not to get yerself killed.” Then he turned and left, yelling, “Obadiah, what in the name of hardtack and horse meat do y’ think yer doin’, tyin’ those in slipknots?!”
          Jasper smiled to himself, thinking about when he had first become a ship’s boy and had been as clueless as Obadiah--then he recalled his conversation with Captain Porter and frowned again.
Some sailors have found ye walkin’ around the ship these past few nights, Captain Porter’s words came back to him. Said they caught ye just afore y’ jumped ship!
          Jasper sighed and sat down on the deck of the ship. This was so strange! He hadn’t sleepwalked in all the 13 years of his life so far--at least, not that he could remember. Or if he had, no one had told him…and sleepwalking was the kind of thing people were usually told about. His blue eyes wandered to the silver ring on his finger. Another mystery. He couldn’t remember a time in his life when he hadn’t worn the ring. And he’d never seen anyone else wearing one like it…even when his friends tried his ring on, it didn’t fit them. It didn’t fit anyone but him. One of the ship’s boys who worked with him on the
Marrielle swore he’d seen the ring change size when he tried it on and when he gave it back to Jasper, but Jasper didn’t really believe him, and nobody else did either. The boy who had said it was known for his storytelling anyway, so he wasn’t exactly a reliable source.
          And what about the writing engraved in it? Jasper had met with enough people who knew enough languages that he could almost say he’d encountered all the major languages of the world, and quite a few minor ones, too. But of everyone he had asked--which was almost everyone he had met--no one could translate the writing engraved in his ring. And it bugged him. Badly.
          The ship’s boy, Obadiah, looking very sheepish now, walked up to Jasper meekly. “Um…time to clean the captain’s cabin, Jasper. You’re to show me how it’s done.”
          Jasper sighed quietly and stood up. The new ship’s boy looked up at him. “So it’s your turn to learn,” Jasper said. He smiled a half-smile. “Finally. I’ve only been doing it for about two years now.”
And on different ships for two years before that.
          The little boy grinned. “Well, Cap’n Porter says if I can’t tie knots, I can at least clean his cabin. An’ seein’ as you’s the better sailor than me, I guess you’ll be tyin’ the knots for awhile instead o’ me, until I learn proper-like.”
          Jasper laughed. “I already do that. But come on, we’d better hurry up.” He and little Obadiah walked to the captain’s cabin, Obadiah chattering happily, but Jasper couldn’t keep the thoughts of what Captain Porter had said from his mind.
          Said they caught ye just afore y’ jumped ship…

© 2010 Chantel

Author's Note

The "hardtack and horse meat" comment is pretty cheesy, I guess, but I couldn't bear to take it out, because it's just Captain Porter's character--he just likes to talk like that. :)

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Added on April 12, 2010
Last Updated on November 28, 2010
Tags: jasper, captain, captain porter, pirates




I like to write stories, especially about pirates, and I also like to write poetry and write and play songs. I am a college student living in the Pacific Northwest. more..

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A Poem by Chantel