I don’t know where this story came from. The idea has been on the cusp of my mind for quite some time now but I had no idea how it would get out. I think something snapped once I started my project of rescuing my old High School poems. I’ve forgotten proper dialogue formatting so forgive that along with any glaring errors. Chances are I’ll catch them just as quickly as you did.
Now will I finish this story? Beats me. For now, here’s something completely different.
The whole scene right now is a living, breathing cliche. Something I’ve grown accustomed to these past few years.
It’s almost sunset, a perfect dusk. I’m all alone on a beach. My car is parked a few feet behind me along the road. Almost slipped on my way down to the sand too as there’s a slight incline from the strip of grass that serves as a border between the road and the sand. Left my shoes in the car as well, I like the feeling of sand between my toes for some reason. Been that way since I was a kid, never grew up.
Glad you could make it.
I turn to my right to see the Skull Spectre again. This time, he’s not alone. I think I know her name, Sophie Altair, right? Braun told me about his sometimes crazed lover. The girl was willing to kill the world if they got in the way of her and her man. God, in that case, she must be a demon in the bedroom. She was wearing a dark red leather cat-suit. It looked like it had just been through hell too.
“So, why did you drag me out here?” I ask him.
“Because I’m a romantic?” he replies in a voice hinting at a hidden grin. “No, I’m here because of Braun’s last wish.”
I say nothing as I let him explain, hinting at him to go on with my silence.
“Braun’s last job,” the Spectre says, “was trying to secure something that the both of you could live off of for the rest of your days. He actually succeeded in the job but he was killed by competing thieves. You remember the Shadow Crux, yes?”
“How can I forget?” I replied, “Braun told me everything those bastards did. But I thought you had put an end to them?”
“I thought I had.” He starts to pace, walking towards the ocean. “They took something from me so I took it back from them in full. Still, whenever you make a mess, there’s always something left over that you still need to clean up. In this case, and you won’t believe this, this last stain was a batch of wannabe pirates.”
“As in the ones in international waters or…”
“As in people who thought that people like Blackbeard had the right idea.”
I hold back a slight giggle. I had a mental picture of what these pirates looked like, like a bunch of comic book nerds dressed as if they got in a fight with that Pirates ride at an amusement park. I knew they were nothing like it.
“Anyhow,” he turns back to face me, the ocean to the back of him, “they stole your lover’s gift and slightly modified it.”
Just then the air is filled with a loud roaring noise. As if some jet was firing up its engines. I look up and my jaw drops. Words can’t do this thing justice but I suppose I’ll have to try if you’re to have any idea: What descended into the sea before us was a giant old-time barge. Outfitted with engines, the ship is in the midst of landing in the ocean as the three of us–Myself, the Spectre, and Sophie, watch in awe. The entire ship, from top to bottom? Pure gold. The sunset reflected against the belly of the ship and for a moment, I lost myself in it. If I had to guess the time period, I want to say this ship looked like it came straight from El Dorado, the City of Gold. The jagged architecture and the colorful decorations kind of back me up here. I would later be proven right about this but there was more to this ship that I thought. All of those details, however, aren’t important right now, are they?
The ship finally touches down and the Spectre tells me a bit of its history. I’m still lost in its radiance as it slowly sails towards the shore. The Skull Spectre would say two words to bring me out of my trance.
The waves crash against the rocks.
“…W-What?” I turn to face him and Sophie once more.
“As I said, Maria, this was supposed to be Braun’s gift to you. He was thinking you could sell this to a museum and use the money to never have to work again. He told me that should something happen to him with this last job, that I do everything in my power to get this back.”
I look back to this golden barge that is now suddenly mine and flashes of Braun in my memories speed through my mind. That stupid man of mine. That stupid man of man of mine died getting me a golden ship. A bloody golden ship! Braun, can’t you just come back just for a night so I can yell at you for doing something so reckless and then thank you?!
“If anything,” Sophie perks up, “I’d say you were a lucky woman. Darling here would never do that for me…”
The Spectre laughs, “Are you jealous, my dear? Need I remind you we have a flying castle of a fortress that rivals this….”
Sophie gives him a playful pouty lip. “W-Well yes….but I want a golden ship!”
The two of them laugh before the Spectre gives her a peck on the cheek.
“Right…..but what am I supposed to do with this?” I say, interrupting. “I mean, what if I don’t want to sell it?”
“It’s yours, Maria.” He says, walking towards me. “You can do whatever you want with it. If you do decide to sell it though, I know of a few people who can give you double what any museum or would give you. Either way, you would be a wealthy woman. The both of you will never have to want for anything.”
He places a hand on my stomach. As if to let me know that he isn’t talking about Braun’s reanimated corpse. He then traces his hand upwards until it’s in front of my face where he suddenly makes a piece of scratch paper appear from thin air. I take it from him and gaze, assuming that the names and numbers on it are that of the people he mentioned. All of this is so sudden. I don’t know what to think or what to say. At that moment, it seems like my tears want to do all the expressing right now but I fight them back with everything.
I look up to see the Spectre, now with Sophie as the two of them talk amongst themselves about the ship.
The two of them look at me.
“Why, Spectre? I cursed you, I hated you….I was right with the world in thinking that you were a monster that deserved nothing. Why go through all the trouble for a person like me?”
“Because I am a man of my word. Say what you will of me but let it never be anything to slander that one quality.”
The waves crash against the rocks.
“Good evening, Mrs. Romanov.” he said, bowing his head slightly.
Sophie looks back at me and winks with a wave. Awkwardly, I wave back before she swings her left arm around the Spectre’s right and the two walk off into the distance. That was the last I ever saw of the both of them.
The sun is almost completely gone now. The street lights behind me are flickering on one by one as I’m left alone on the beach again, a giant freaking golden ship now docked before my eyes and a list of names and numbers that I’m crinkling up as my fist tightens up. The entire scene gets foggy from my eyes watering, me finally giving up and letting the tears flow. Damnit. Damn you, Braun. Why couldn’t you have more normal friends? No. Why couldn’t you have more friends like him?