Suns Ablaze - Story One: Part One
A storm was approaching. The tide had been rising high and falling for most of the day. The opaque pink sun was setting just beyond the sea, throwing rays over the murky water that washed up onto the shore. The clouds hung low, almost reflecting on the sand of the beaches, turning the grains grey. No weather could have seemed more perfect to the inhabitants of a small patch of land, what some might call a twin island, off the shore of Krawk Island. The storm was a clear symbol to Rego, as he pressed his claw upon the sand, drawing it up and watching the imprint wash away with the incoming wave. A bolt of lightning flashed across the sky. The Krawk inhaled deeply, his skin tingling with anticipation.
There would be no better time to head out to Krawk Island and land at the Cove. The dark, tormenting storm ahead would act as a shield for them. Soon, Rego would feel the weight of his life work slip off his shoulders. The tension would glide off of his Camouflage scales and he would turn his prize over and feel the weight of it on his claw.
A movement of the palm trees being pushed back from within the island caused Rego to flash open his brilliant green eye and peer over his shoulder. A familiar face walked over to Rego, the other Krawk’s face bright. Suman stood alongside Rego, facing the Cove.
“Molly is here,” Suman said, his untrimmed hair falling over his face.
“It’s about time,” Rego exhaled, turning his back to Suman and the waters of destiny.
Rego walked through the trees, the ground growing more firm and dry as he reached the center of the island. The small houses of the very few inhabitants of the island littered around a small gazebo that acted as a make-shift meeting place. Molly stood facing one of the smaller houses, recently painted white and its awning restored. Her wings were still, her green eyes focused on the paint.
Rego had met Molly on a trip to Krawk Island in his youth. The Buzz enjoyed much of the same mischief he did. The two found trouble naturally and, after realizing they had a knack for the lucrative business of smuggling, formed their own smuggling union. Their smuggling became more frequent but they didn’t run in the same category as pirates. No, Rego and Molly searched for items as keepsakes for their adventures – the most rare, the most elusive, and the most valuable. Tonight would prove to be their most daring escapade.
“Molly,” Rego said, walking over to his Fire Buzz friend, her green eyes turning on him, the flame of her hair a shade more crisp, and looking as if a touch of a strand would cause a third degree burn.
“Rego, you look too confident for words tonight,” Molly countered, gaining a smile from the ever determined Krawk.
Suman joined the group, his hair whipping fiercely in the wind, the scar on his claw more prominent than ever. He earned it on a smuggle in Mystery Island. Competitor pirates had aimed at the spot on the same day that Suman and his former crew had sought to outwit any competition. The smuggle, worth over eighty thousand dubloons led to a scuffle among Suman and a pirate. The pirate Lupe lunged at Suman with his dagger, nearly ripping his claw away. The scar was left from that day as a reminder of his work and Suman’s dedication to the lifestyle was no question for Molly or Rego.
“So,” Rego began, twisting his claws together, “tonight shall be the night of our glory. There is no question of what we seek because we shall find it if it takes all night. I do have reason to believe we will not be the only ones sailing in tonight, however. But no matter, because it is of little consequence to us if others would like to face the wrath of Suman.”
Suman bellowed a great laugh, and slapped the air.
“Got that right, Rego,” he said.
Molly watched with delight Suman’s antics and nodded with enthusiasm.
“Now, I feel I should say that this could go both ways in terms of things. I do try to be realistic but...” Rego broke off, not knowing how to finish his sentence.
“You know I have been doing my homework on this situation for a very long time, Rego. I think we should consider the possibility of the myth, at all costs,” Molly countered.
Rego’s face grew dark and he cast his eyes at Molly. How could she say such a thing! There was no doubt about it – the Lutetium Dubloon existed. He had first heard of it as a child, living on Krawk Island. It had almost been like a precious gem to the islanders. Some searched for decades, but its hiding place had always been a secret. Some years ago, after Rego met Molly, the secret was unearthed in buried letters off the cost of the island. Only smugglers and pirates dared to go near the Cove, the declared resting spot of the Dubloon. There was no doubt about it in Rego’s mind that it existed.
“We could,” Rego said, his face flaring, “but then it would negate all prior thought about it so what good could that be to us?”
“Some. Do you not think the Lutetium Dubloon would have been found as well, seeing as its location has been no mystery?” Molly continued. “I feel that if we cannot find it, as we have been guided, then it is gone or never existed. I do try to be realistic, too, and I know what it means to you, Rego.”
“That’s why it’s so disappointing you don’t feel the same way,” Rego whispered, staring off at the palm trees shading the island like a protective canopy.
Silence ensued. The beating of wings could be heard in the sky above; the salt of the sea carried to the nostrils of the crew.
“Are we ready to sail?” Rego asked, turning to Suman.
“Ready as ever,” Suman replied. “I painted the boat black as you asked. We sail without a flag today, as well. I docked it over by Ono’s house. It’s quite solid, Boss.”
“Very well,” Rego said, nodding at Suman. He turned to Molly as she made her away down the gazebo heading west to the ship’s resting place. The couple followed suit.
Ono’s house was the nicest on the small island. He kept a clean house; the road leading to it was planted with delicate perennials. The sea washed against the deck, foam setting as the high tide whipped from the incoming storm. Ono usually sat in front of his home, his stature more imposing than most Krawks could ever achieve. His eyes lit up at seeing the trio and he called out:
“About time! Rego, you have not come down here in some time, yeah?”
“Forgive me, Ono. It’s been business as usual. How’ve you been?” Rego asked.
Molly nodded at Ono and slipped off to the back of the house with Suman. Ono’s eyes carefully looked over Rego and breathed in the salty air.
“I’m doing alright. I’ve been relaxing here and making a living with business, as usual.”
Ono’s use of Rego’s own quip made Rego laugh.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, Rego.”
Rego slapped Ono on the shoulder as he thanked him and headed to the back to meet with the others.
Suman was unfurling the small black boat’s ropes and settling in the craft, making sure it was sturdy by pressing his claw onto the bottom. Molly whistled and after Suman gave a small shoulder roll, he climbed into the front of the boat, threw down an orange tool bag, and grabbed a grey oar. Molly followed him in, sitting sideways on a very subtle bench. Rego climbed in behind the pair and the boat tipped a little as he settled in. Suman peddled the boat into the imposing black fog.
The air seemed to thin as the trio approached the Cove. The black fog had not thinned out and it was impossible to get a good look at the Cove. The group had to rely on memory to navigate into the treacherous waters that they so adored. Rego looked out, his eyes boring into the imposing vicinity. Molly shifted her weight to look back at Rego. As she did this, the boat was shaken and almost toppled over. Suman grabbed the oar and pressed into the shore to prevent the boat from flipping. The group was a bit shaken as Suman looked back at Rego and said, “Boss, we hit a large plank near the shore here. We’re close enough, though. We just have to head out by foot now.”
Rego nodded and gently exited the boat, his body landing in the sea water. He edged toward the shore and beckoned the pair to follow him. Suman swung the tool bag over his shoulder and pulled the boat behind him, Molly pushing the floating debris away. The impenetrable fog made it impossible to see the opening of the cove and Rego felt his way along the rock, light drops of water falling from the sky. Eventually, his hand hit the opening and he slipped in. Suman was close behind. He pulled a brass lantern from the tool bag and fired it up. The light threw the shadows of the trio across the Cove. Molly’s eyes were bright. They heard thunder rolling outside.
“So,” Suman breathed, “we made it.”
To be continued...