Caribbean Adventure

By Aaron Gao, age 9
Caribbean Adventure Aaron Gao Is a 9-year-old writer. He lives in New Jersey with his mom, dad, grandma, grandpa and sister. His favorite book series are the Chronicles of Narnia, written by C.S Lewis.

“After what felt like ten hours, when I lied on my back to try and do the backstroke, I found an abandoned row boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.”

It all started one ordinary day in the morning. I spent the early morning flipping through a book on geography to study for my test. I read for a few hours then slid down the staircase for breakfast. After breakfast, I started helping my Dad clean up our inn. The Whisky River Inn is usually busy and full of drunk men, but today was Sunday and the inn was closed. After finishing all the chores and church service, Mum and I took a short walk from the community baptist church to the lobster bay to catch some seafood for the inn. Mum had just started rowing back when disaster struck.

“AAAHHH ROW! IT’S A GIANT WHALE!” screamed another fisherman.

The great white whale splashed water and sent a huge harbor wave that engulfed me and Mum. Mum made it to the dock, but some force was pulling me out to sea.

“HELP! HELP! HELP!” I cried and screamed, but no one came to my rescue.

My mum screamed, “Lancelot!”

After what felt like ten hours, when I lay on my back to try and do the backstroke, I found an abandoned row boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

“HUZZAH!” I cried for joy. I jumped on and began rowing back.

Night fell quickly and I had no bed, no food, no shelter and no water!

SPLASH! SPLASH!

It was a ship! It was a huge galleon and I started jumping up and down on the rowboat.

I was saved. But I was wrong.

There was an explosion. I felt the boat disintegrate under my back and I passed out. That was the last thing I heard that night.

I woke up in a bed made out of linen cloth and a pillow with feathers of a turtle dove. At first, I thought I was home on the island of Key West, but then I saw a shark head on the wall and then it hit me. I was on that ship. I jumped out of bed, but a strange clunk followed. I looked down at my feet and almost screamed. There, on my left leg, there was a wooden leg, one that a pirate wears. I freaked out like crazy. I almost screamed and my stomach dropped all the way down to Tartarus. Look, if you woke up to a wooden leg, you would freak out too.

Then footsteps made me jump into bed, pull the covers back on and pretend to sleep. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a pirate coming in and adding a strange gadget to my wooden foot. Curiosity overtook me and I found myself blurting, “Who are you???”

“Ah me! I’m Captain of the Hispaniola, the galleon you’re on right now,” answered the Captain coolly.  “You all right? A foreign pirate ship holding the famous Blackbeard fired a cannon at you.”  

I looked around again and felt a weird sensation like the room was bobbing up and down. I got up and followed the Captain on the ship deck.

Wow! I thought. The deck itself was HUGE. When we got to the other side the Captain told me to stay on guard at the tallest post on the 50-foot mast. I climbed up and immediately I saw something suspicious. Three ships with pirate flags were firing cannons at each other and one was bearing the British flag. I rushed down to the deck and burst into the captain’s office.

“Captain! Pirates and British ships!” I panted. The captain jumped up and rushed on deck. He immediately started barking orders.

“You! Turn and sail to those ships! You! get a group of your friends and go on the mast decks to search the landscape of the  battle. Hey, Lancelot! Go down and get the cannons ready and fire when I signal!”  

“Aye-yah  Captain!” I yelled back. I rushed below deck and got a few barrels of gunpowder and loaded the cannons. A few other ship members came to join me later and ducked under the cannons. I heard a whistle and fired my cannon at the nearing ship.

BOOM!

The cannon blasted me backward and the other ship caught fire and started sinking. At the second whistle, I fired and ran backward so I couldn’t get hit again by the force. I made it back just in time to see the ship sink away.  I rushed up the deck and greeted the British captain who happened to be a whaler. Our captain was arguing with another sailor and we heard he was convincing (threatening) him to stop sleeping late in the morning. Then the British captain left and we sailed on.

The next few days were like normal days. I did chores and ate and talked to my fellow sailors. All was well until…

BOOM!

“WE’RE UNDER ATTACK!” I rushed down below decks and kept lighting and firing the cannons. The attacker was a ginormous pirate ship and they had cannons on every square inch of the ship. Soon, all the gunpowder was used and the ship still wasn’t damaged, not even a blackened area of smoke!

BOOM!

The ship’s mast swayed and fell onto our ship! The pirates stormed across and I grabbed a silver sword to prepare for the attack. I fired the cannons one last time and rushed upstairs and started dueling the nearest pirate.

The pirate was quick, but I was strong. I pushed him back and into the waters below. I grabbed a nearby pike and pushed mast into the water so the pirates couldn’t climb here anymore. After the last pirate had fallen off the boat, the ship sped off. Every few days, we were attacked by pirates, but always we were able to fend off. After five months of this, we saw a shiny substance at the bottom of the ocean. GOLD AND JEWELS!     

The captain ordered me to lower a boat and to dive for the riches. I did this silently. I came up with pounds of gold, emeralds, diamonds, lapis lazuli, and amethyst. The captain was thrilled and agreed to give me a pound of all the rare stones once I arrived at Key West Island.

The next day, I woke up to the sounds of a rainy day. I grabbed my leather coat and rushed on deck. The rain pounded on the deck and the thunder broke the silence immediately. The captain was the only other soul on deck and he greeted me warmly.

Flash! Boom!

The wind howled as I rushed off the deck and joined my friends at the bar. Days past, the wind howled and the rain splattered the deck days on end. After the raining season, disaster struck.  

A pirate ship attacked us and the ship sank.

“GO! GO! GO! GO!” the captain screamed and yelled out orders. For no exact reason, I grabbed a handful of  salted meat and ran for the cannons.

Suddenly, a huge blast and the ship blew to bits. I found myself stranded on an island.

I tried to get up but I felt as if I weighed a million pounds. I dragged myself onto a stone and fell asleep.

I didn’t know how long I had been out, but when I woke up, it was dawn and the sun streaked red and orange lines across the sky. I stared and stared until a sudden sound snapped me out of the staring contest. A huge coconut had fallen off  a nearby tree and started rolling down the hill. I was suddenly full of energy and I started sprinting toward the coconut like the time I was ten feet from the finish line and first place. Just before it rolled into the waves, I pounced and grabbed the coconut. After I got my breath back, I found a sharp and jagged rock and cracked it open. It split in two and inside was delicious coconut milk. After I was done, a yellow cluster of fruits caught my eye and I had only one thought: Bananas. I ran and jumped just in time to grab the bananas and tumbled into something furry and soft.

Wait, furry!? I slowly turned around and I came face to face with a full-grown leopard. It growled and started sliding toward me. Frightened, I gave the leopard a bit of the salted meat I grabbed before the ship was blown to bits. The leopard tilted its head and bit the piece of meat. It chewed it and purred like a cat.

I had tamed it, I realized. I started to walk back to the beach, but the cat wouldn’t leave me.

I spent the rest of that day playing with the leopard. Even though I got covered in sand and I smelled like rotten meat, I had the greatest day of my life. Soon, night fell and I curled up on a bed of moss with the leopard which I had named Leonardo after my great great grandfather, who founded the inn which had been in a great financial state at that moment.

I woke up to the sound of a whimpering leopard (Leonardo). He was obviously  hungry so I gave him a bit of  the same piece of that strip of meat. I had a strip too but I was missing too many calories so I had some more coconut milk (same tree, different coconut) and another banana.

Once I got used to being alone, I took the time to realize what had happened in the last two days. The ship had been blown up, I had landed on this island and tamed a leopard. The days went by, then weeks, then months. The meat was gone by the second month but the island was huge and there seemed to be an unlimited supply of coconuts and bananas. By the end of the fourth month, I had lost almost all hopes that someone would save me.

But you have all the freedom anyone had ever wanted! echoed the small voice in my head. You have no chores, no bullies to worry about, and no parents to scold you. I pushed that voice out of my head and left and went to play with Leonardo. Every few days I made an occasional discovery, but the biggest was a tall cave that went straight into a huge cavern that was covered with shining gems. Every few days a wild animal would charge through the beach and jump into the water but I was always in a tree or in a lake or on the other side of the island. I felt like this island was the safest island in the world. Boy, was I wrong.

On the 134th day, a huge buffalo came charging out of the jungle and reared its hind legs and came smashing down onto the sand. I jumped up and started sprinting into the jungle. I pushed past a tapir when I came face to face with another buffalo, twice the size. I swam through a lake and jumped over a crevice. I ran up a tree, grabbed a leaf and started fanning all the parrots and colorful birds out of the way. I must have made a beacon with all those birds because a stampede of buffaloes came crashing through the jungle. My wooden leg was slowing me down so I decided to take a slimmer route. Bad idea!

The buffaloes charged in a horizontal line and head-butted all the trees so I had to dodge all the falling trees. My wooden leg was seriously slowing me down. I was ready to run. I was ready to hide. But was I ready to fall a million feet into the earth? I tripped over a big root and landed face down onto the dirt. The dirt gave way and I found myself tumbling to my death.

The fall went by in slow motion, but I blinked and I found myself in an underground stream. I was so happy I fainted. I came to right before I was going to burn up in lava. I hopped off the stream and saw only five buffaloes on the chase. I saw one on the ledge, two burning up and all the rest were stuck in a tight spot. I found the cave I found and started climbing.

The cave was sloping slightly and long stalactites and wide stalagmites forced me to lodge myself into weird and unbelievably uncomfortable. I climbed for what seemed like ages before I found myself in the brilliant sunshine. Leonardo was licking his paws and I saw my moss bed. I was back on the beach. The cave blew up when five buffaloes charged and head-butted the cave entrance. I stumbled, grabbed Leo, and sprinted away. I was saved when Leonardo jumped out of my grasp and bit one of the buffalo on its head.

He must have bit the leader because after that the buffalo ran away bleeding, all the others followed swiftly. I was just resting when the beach started to shake. Earthquake! The earthquake stopped as suddenly as it started. But I had no time to rest. A tsunami was pushing right to us. I grabbed Leo and ran toward the jungle. I hid behind the tree and closed my eyes.

The tsunami crashed onto the island. Water sprayed everywhere and I held Leo and prayed that this tree wouldn’t fall on me. Sand, coral, wood, stone, moss, smashed bananas, crushed coconuts, and a dead shark pushed their way through the dense forest. Dead animals were flying through the air. It was so gruesome I turned so I faced the wet and cracking tree. After the water retreated, I ran to the beach, spraying wet sand everywhere.

Leonardo growled which probably meant, “You covered me in water and squeezed me so hard and smashed my face into a mushed up banana so you don’t deserve my respect.”

Then the island shook and I heard an explosion before I passed out. I came to on a rock, with flowing lava surrounding me. The island was a volcano!

Suddenly one of the buffalo that survived the chase came pelting out of the burning jungle with a burning tail. The buffalo slammed down on the rock and laid spread-eagle on the rock, on top of Leonardo! I saw Leonardo kicking the buffalo but the buffalo was too heavy. Leonardo gave way. I kicked the buffalo five times and managed to push the buffalo into the lava and off Leonardo. I knelt down beside Leonardo. He felt cold and he wasn’t breathing! No! Then his head rolled and his eyes became glassy. I hugged him and cried tears of sadness that no one else would ever hear. I had a feeling that was a cross between hatred, sadness, and misery. I felt so bad I didn’t eat anything that day but everything changed.

“Lancelot!” The familiar voice lifted my spirits 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times. The captain! I saw a huge galleon in front of me with the captain we saved on the ship, waving his cap around his head. I couldn’t help but laugh. He lowered a boat and I scrambled onto the boat and the British captain reeled us in. Captain and I laughed at the sight of me. I was blackened by the smoke and there was mud, leaves, feathers and bits of rock all over me. The captain said I looked like Christopher Columbus when he landed on Cuba and we both laughed.

That night I had a nightmare. Mum was screaming for me and Dad was trying to put out the fire in the bar. Soldiers were running in every direction. Fire burned all over the island. In the distance, a volcano erupted and ash and smoke filled the streets.

“Noo. Nooo, NOO!” I woke up panting. The captain was sitting on the bed stuffing herb water into my mouth. I blinked and went back to sleep. I woke up to screams. The ship had fissures springing all over the place and water poured and splashed into the ship. We were in a whirlpool and the ship’s mast was ripped. There was a terrifying sound of wood cracking and breaking and the exploding of nails. The entire ship was breaking apart. Then there was a huge explosion and sawdust dusted the bed from top to bottom. I looked up, stunned. The bed was floating and the captain was on a single piece of wood! I called his name but he had passed out. The whirlpool swirled us around. A swarm of sharks was circling the bottom for dead bodies. Then the bed tipped me into the freezing waters.

“Lancelot!” The captain awoke and paddled toward me and lowered himself into the waters. “Stay on this as a last favor!”

“ No,” I answered flatly, tears in my eyes, “I’ve had enough grief the past days. I cannot take another loss like this. You did all those things to help me and it’s time to do a favor back.” Tears were pouring down my face and my whole body was trembling but the captain jumped into the water and lifted me onto the board. I tried to pull him up but he disappeared into the howling whirlpool.

“NOOO!” I screamed and hollered until my voice got hoarse. I had just suffered the biggest loss in my life. Both Leo the leopard and the captain had died to save me. I swore if I survived this, I would write a book about this adventure and about Leonardo and the Captain.

My heart was permanently damaged. Emotions swirled around my head. All my positive feelings gushed out of my brain.

I managed to paddle out of the swirling water and into the calm waves. I had studied the captain’s map and I seemed to be on the north equatorial current which hit a monsoon current and the path I would take would lead me to Africa. I wasn’t pleased. Even if I were heading home on this little board, I would die of thirst and hunger and even if I managed to not die of those, I would go straight into a five-month period monsoon. The chances of me surviving were slimmer than outrunning a cheetah.

I drank salt water that burned my throat to keep me going but by the sixth week I couldn’t even sit down. I ended up lying down with my feet in the water. By the time I made it to the first month, I could just lie down and turn my head to drink water. My body was pushing my brain and urging my heart and forcing my lungs to stay awake.

I spent an unknown amount of time on that board before I saw a ship. It was drifting out of the clouds and lightning looking as if it just returned from the trojan war. Its masts were ripped, there were fissures in the wood, and the bronze mermaid on its tip had no head. I had no energy to stand up and yell and wave my arms. The only thing I could do was mutter “Help!” and try not to die. I felt like the biggest miracle happened. A group of thunder clouds was blocking the way they were going and were forced to turn my way! I just lay there smiling weakly.  I heard them shout, “There! A kid!” And I saw them lower a raft for me. A few sailors were paddling and the rest were craning their heads to look at me. When they got there, a sailor pulled me up and asked, “What do you want?”

“Water,” I groaned, and one other sailor pulled a flask out of his pocket. I gulped down the water in one sip.

“Where are we going?” I groaned.  The head sailor said, “Home lad, we are going home.”

The End   

***

Acknowledgments

Thank you, Mom, Dad, and my writing teacher Kira for supporting me throughout this writing semester and my everyday life. I gained lots of knowledge, experience and a universe full of imagination.

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