This short story was written by one of our students, at only 10 years old! We thought it was totally amazing and he kindly agreed to let us (anonymously) publish it on our blog. Happy reading!
I didn’t know how I got here, nor did I know when I arrived. Looking around, I realized that I was in a damp, uncared-for storage facility and I felt my motion-sickness acting up. I tried to recall the events of last night. I remembered going to the shop to buy some wine for dousing the pork — I assumed that it wasn’t strong, so I gulped a mouthful down my throat and felt as if I had swallowed a ball of flaming, swirling, red-hot fire. The ground spun all around me and then… inky darkness.
Now, I was slumped amidst mountain ranges of boxes, topped with snow-like duvets of lint. Then I realized where I was: the storage of a boat. Due to my stomach wrenching and screaming, it occurred to me that I must’ve traveled thousands of miles from my homeland, and I was starting to wonder if I ever would see my homeland again. My stomach was now on the path to vomiting and if I didn’t get off this ship soon, I’d be drowning in stomach acids.
Would I see my family again? Would I be able to touch the wood of my home, or walk the gravel pavements of my town? These thoughts were suddenly punctured by a yell from behind. I peeked over the boxes and saw a face with Bahama blue eyes, a square chin, and a look of bewilderment dawning upon his face. His hair looked as soft as silk, and his features had folds and creases among his pale face, like valleys showing historic features of the world. He spotted me.
I was to be brought to the captain. I hoped he would take pity on me and let me travel with him. These hopes, I knew, were too good to be true, so I sighed a sigh of grief and despair and carried on being half-walked, half-dragged to the captain’s room.
I was greeted by many faces, all staring at me, eyes glued to me while mine remained fixed to the ship’s flooring, as I knew I wasn’t to be a welcome visitor. The person who was dragging me half-heartedly dumped me upon the wooden floor of the captain’s room. I looked up and a wave of distress, self-pity, and despair crashed upon me, like a hopeless flock of crows plummeting to their death.
He was the captain of the ship that was to sail around the world, greeting people with gold and silk galore. He was chosen by his deeds and hands. When I say ‘hands’, I’m talking about how he manages to maneuver the biggest ships through the strongest winds. He was like the God of hands. I felt my end nearing me. I was thinking of all the punishments they were to give me: Hanged? Fed to the sharks? A tear welled in my eye and fell across my face… But the punishment never came.
Instead, as furious as the captain looked, he took pity on me and said in a soft tone,
‘Let me get you some tea and discuss what you have done,’
and he brought me to the tea room and poured us some green tea for both of us in porcelain cups that could have been worth a fortune. He asked me, politely:
‘What brings you upon our ship? And how?’
I sipped some of my tea and explained everything.
After my pitiful stream of apologies and explanations, he paused for a moment. He was deep in thought and had a look of consideration on his face. He looked at my face and from his puzzled appearance, I could see that he was looking for any suspicious expressions. He couldn’t find any and slowly but surely, his mouth crept into a smile, so broad and wide, his wrinkles were creasing into more broader ravines of flesh. He said,
‘Let’s get you to your cabin, shall we?’
I was shocked and grateful for this kindly man. I had gotten drunk, wound up in a boat sent by the emperor himself, and this man was giving me a room out of pity? I was about to thank him when he batted away my praises and told me,
‘No need to thank me, God is forgiveful, is he not? Now, get to your room and wash in hot water that my sailors have brought. It’s nearly supper time.’.
I wandered to my room, doing as his kind-hearted, silk-soft words told me. His grace could make a man as stubborn as a mule comply to his every command. When I went to my room, my jaw dropped from the luxury of it all. The walls were painted with flowers, there was a toilet all for me in the next room, and a double bed just for me, Peter, a drunk fellow who has stumbled upon so much luck, even the Gods would praise him. I thanked the God of luck and dashed to the bathroom; I was going on a voyage across the world.
I hadn’t enjoyed a hot bath in what felt like centuries. I savored and relished the feeling of it all and called back memories of when my mother would bathe that frail, baby body of mine. The feeling overwhelmed me with joy. I then dressed into the silky fabric clothes the captain had provided for me and questioned myself on how in times of stupidity, there still can be hints of kindness and selflessness in this cruel world of ours.
Supper was a luxury. It was fried goose drenched in soya sauce for a main, rice for a side, and rice pudding for a dessert. I could sense everybody’s eyes upon me, apart from the captain’s, for he was sitting elegantly at the end of the table tucking into his main course — but this time, I didn’t care. I ate like a king. After everyone had gotten bored of me and eaten, the captain stood up and called for the crew’s attention. He boomed, with so much impact, the cups looked like they were shivering,
‘This is Peter. He is to be a welcome guest on our ship and to be treated like a regular person.’.
I grinned at him and he beamed back to me.
I slept like a log. The richness of it all was more than any daydream or writer could concoct for a man. But then I awoke to the sound of footsteps. I opened my eyes and crawled to the door, to take a glance at whatever racket was waking my slumber. I peeked outside to see what was causing the noise outside but I was clobbered around the head and then… Darkness.
I woke up the second time but now, tied to a rock. I looked around me, noticing about a dozen people in total, scowling and making rude gestures around me. I heard someone exclaim,
‘Time to give him the traditional death, eh’ boys?’.
The others cheered but whatever was going to happen, I wasn’t going to like it. Then, they pushed me over the side of the deck and I plummeted end over end into the ocean, engulfing me as I sank deeper.
I noticed that they couldn’t tie a knot if they wanted to, so I tried to escape. I wriggled out of the watery hands of death and swam to the ship, cursing at the crew in my mind. I then managed to scale the slippery walls of the boat’s hull with my bleeding fingers and flopped on deck like a beached whale.
I spotted the crew dancing in a circle and I screeched,
‘You’re not getting away with this! I’ll inform the captain,’.
They froze like statues. One of them was smart and started to creep away but just as he got to the second exit the captain came in and asked,
‘Is this a party? I adore parties. Let me join you,’.
Then I asked him to come outside and let me speak to him. I told him the whole story.
He was furious. He told to the crew that they couldn’t eat for a week. I snickered to myself while the captain told them off like little children. Afterwards, he said, ‘I’m sorry about my crew. They are going to have a taste of their own medicine.’. He paused, then continued,
‘After all your suffering, I think you have earned a place in the crew. The co-captain is a very honorable place to take. Do you, Peter Johnson, accept my offer?’.
I stood there, trying to grasp what he said. After many considerations, I obediently spluttered,
‘Then we have work to do young friend!’, he boomed, ‘It’s time to write history!’.
‘Thanks for all your help, sir,’ I suddenly said.
‘Don’t call me sir,’, he replied, the same warm smile he gave to me on my first day creeping up onto his face once more, ‘It’s too kind. Call me Zheng.’.