CHAPTER ELEVEN – A Jolly Good Sing-Song

Gruel pushed the water aside and stepped in. He was in a cave. It was cold and damp and very dark. The deafening sound of the waterfall echoed as far as he could hear. Gruel thought it was the worst place to get dry but the perfect place to hide your treasure.

He looked around the entrance to the cave but there was no sign of Pegleg Pete. Then he heard his voice echo out from the darkness. “Come on, kid. Follow me.”

“Why should I?”, he shouted back.

“Because we’re almost there. Just a little bit further to go and we’ll have Henry Morgan’s pirate booty in our grasp.”

“But how can I trust you. I don’t even know your real name.”

“All in good time, kid. We’ve wasted enough time yapping, let’s go.” And then Pete began to sing a jolly pirate song.

We pillage, we plunder, we rifle and loot. Drink up me ‘earties, Yo Ho! We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot. Drink up me ‘earties, Yo Ho!

Yo Ho, Yo Ho! A pirate’s life for me.

Gruel followed the voice through the dark cave. It twisted and turned, narrowed and opened up, became rocky and flattened out again. The echoey song was a helpful guide but also a kick in the teeth. He was following a common thief, not a pirate. Gruel was annoyed but decided to push it aside for now. He would get another chance to confront him later. Right now it was treasure hunting time.

The song grew in strength and Gruel began to see a light ahead. He turned a corner and was saw Pegleg smiling back at him with a gas lamp in one hand and rope in the other.

“Well done, kid. We made it. Not long to go now.”

Something was different. He looked him up and down and immediately noticed the difference. “You leg. You’ve got two legs?”

He laughed. It filled the entire cave with warmth. “Well you won’t expect a pegleg to have been able to navigate these parts now, would ya? Me wooden stump would get stuck between rocks in no time”.

Gruel was puzzled. “But, you’ve got two legs. All this time you’ve been getting me to do all the work and you’ve got both of your legs.”

“Makes me look more piratey, don’t ya think? All part of the act, kid, all part of the act.” He shuffled slightly back and landed down.

“So, are you just Pete then?”

“Yep. And now you know the truth, are you ready to become filthy rich beyond your wildest dreams?”

Gruel nodded. He was an orphan after all. He had nothing to his name. No parents, no home, no money, no inheritance, no possessions, no nothing. He was ready to have something for the first time in his life.

“Good, because its time for you to make yourself useful. Come over here.”

Gruel edged carefully over and looked down.

He couldn’t see anything, but he knew it was the one thing he had been dreading the most.

Water.

Pete smiled a toothless grin. “It’s time for another swim.”

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