Author: Anouk Pollet
The sunset was particularly gorgeous that night, as if the sun was doing its best to give a spectacle worthy of attention. The sky blazed blood red and got darker by the second, even though the sun stretched out its fingers and tried to stay for as long as it could, desperate to keep its eyes on the world. But sank it did, providing a fine last sight for the day. On the calm ocean waters, a ship floated. At first it would seem like a picturesque picture, until a few things were noticed. First and foremost, the pirate skull and crossbones flying at the top of the mast. Then, secondly, the deck. Oh, the deck itself was normal enough, if you discounted the drying bloodstains and the dead and dying laid out in a neat line. There were many among the crew who would not live to see the next day.
Lying at the stern of the ship, facing the horizon, was a girl. A young man sat down next to her and held her hand in both of his. Two katanas lay next to her, beautiful precision weapons that seemed to be made for her. “Take them, Elwin. I hate to see a good blade go to waste.”
He smiled for her sake and nodded.
“Tell me a story,” she whispered pleadingly.
“There was once a pirate captain called Delia. She was one of the best pirates to ever set sail, and definitely the most beautiful. She had hair as black as the darkest part of the night in which she so often attacked and skin as white and silky as moonshine. Her lips were blood red, but it was her big almond eyes lashed with long black lashes that were the true wonder. They were a kaleidoscope of colours that hypnotised anyone who looked into them. They shifted between black, grey, purple, blue and green, but no matter what colour they were they always had these little gold flecks in that danced in the light.”
Delia smiled faintly, but her voice was even weaker than her smile.
He carried on regardless.
“Many men lost their hearts along with their jewels to her, and thousands of young men asked her to marry them. She sent them away quickly with her sharp tongue, which many said was sharper than her two katana blades. She was so well renowned for her barbed wire tongue that she became known as Captain Delia Devil Charm and was nicknamed Siren by her own crew. One day,
though, she met a man that she didn’t immediately dismiss. She found her cold heart thawing in his company, and soon fell in love with him. She and her lover, a boy called Elwin, promised to never leave each other’s side. And they never did. Her stories passed, as they so often will, into legend.”
He looked at her swallowed hard as the light died suddenly. Captain Delia Devil Charm had left the world smiling wickedly, as she had lived. Elwin had to carry on for her sake. He almost saw her spirit sitting next to him, waiting for the end.
“But one day her ship was attacked by a pirate called Captain Drakoulis. The attack was brutal, and in the end, although she tried to remain standing, Delia fell, her body pierced by two swords and an arrow. She died on the deck, and the sun set as she did, as if it too could not witness the life that had been extinguished before its time. There was no victory that day for the crew of her ship.”
He raised her hand to his lips and brushed a kiss across her cold knuckles.
“You said that you’d grow old with me.”
Tears streamed down his face and sobs wracked his body. Elwin shuddered uncontrollably, then dropped her hand on to her chest. His friend William walked up and helped Elwin up, then looked down at Delia sadly.
“She was a good captain.”
Elwin nodded, and William steered him to the ship’s rails, which Elwin leaned on gratefully. With his head down, he almost didn’t see it, but William cheered from beside him, which made Elwin look up. His face broke out into a proper smile, even as he cried still. For a ghost ship was anchored next to them. Dolphins played around the hull, and steering the ship was a figure that he recognised all too well. “Call me when its your time,” Captain Delia shouted, and the crew yelled.
“I’m in need of the best crew that I ever had!” As all of the crew who had died hoisted the anchor Delia leaped across the gap and stood in front of Elwin. She threw her arms around him whispered in his ear, “I love you, Elwin.”
She stepped back, wiped her eyes discreetly, and kissed him one last time before grabbing a rope and swinging back across to her ghost ship. She blew
them all a mocking kiss, then turned around and waved the ghostly versions of her katanas.
“Where to, Captain?”
A girl called Viva who had just died called, and Captain Delia smiled wickedly again.
“Past the horizon!”
They sailed away into the sunset, with Delia at the hull of her beloved ship the Siren.
Captain Delia sailed everywhere around the world, but whenever one of her crew whispered her name when they were close to death her ship was instantly there, waiting for them to come aboard. Slowly her crew grew, until there was only one person left to make it complete. She heard his whisper and the Siren sailed there as quickly as it could, which was faster than the howling north wind. They anchored next to the real, alive version of the Siren, and lowered the gangplank for the ghost standing on the deck.
The newcomer ran on and they immediately started sailing away. Delia waited for him to mount the steps, then flung herself at him.
“Its so good to see you,” he whispered into her hair, and she smiled.
“Elwin. You never change, do you?”
He shook his head and murmured something, but she wasn’t paying attention to his words. Together, still holding each other, they sailed away into the sunrise, content with their afterlife with each other.