The Fountain of Youth
It’d been a long, hard journey, but now, gazing at the crystal droplets spattering near their feet, they could all say it was worth it.
It had seemed worth it at first.
“Alright, let’s make a list here boys. Gather ’round.”
“List?” Piper asked. Being the youngest and all usually had him questioning everything, almost as if he was sure the old captain was out of his mind every time he gave out a command. And usually, he was. But no one ever told Piper that. “Why a list?”
The Captain gave him the evil eye, causing the rest of the members to cross themselves. One of these days, the Captain would go too far and they weren’t going to get caught up in that. Not after loosing Sanders.
“To make the order of who drinks when, obviously.”
Piper nods. That was sane enough, he supposed.
After a bit of scrambling around, the Captain holds a scrap of paper and blunt pencil in his hands (There’s a moment of sheepish meekness when Kitt hands him the scrap as there’s remnants all along the edges of tic-tac-toe matches – champion still undetermined.)
“Alright, who wants first?”
There’s a momentary pause. No one had even considered going first. Usually, that was the unavailable spot, the Captain having claimed the position ever since their first raid.
Lee raises his hand. “We can go first, sir?”
The Captain nods. “Of course. Why not?”
They all look at each other, perplexed. This was just not normal. Was it a test? What were they supposed to do? They weren’t prepared at all. What was the proper etiquette for this kind of thing?
Finally, the brave Lee speaks again. “We’d rather you go first, Cap’n.”
“What? Why?” Narrowed eyes make them all take a step back, leaving Lee to brave it alone. “Is there something y’all know about that I don’t?”
“No,” Lee says, choosing his words carefully. “We’d just rather have you go first. It makes things a lot easier for us.”
“Easy how?” The words are soft and menacing, with a hint of suspicion. “Why do I have to go first?”
No one could respond and really there was no saving the situation for now the seed of doubt had been planted. And it was only made worse when Piper made noted aloud that the water seemed to be changing colors.
And well, after that, everyone stepped carefully away from the fountain’s rounded edges.
“Why do you suppose it’s doing that?” the Captain asked, attention now on the purple, well red, no blue, wait green water. Was it just him or were the changing colors changing faster?
Kitt shrugged in response and pushed Piper forward. “The youngest can go first then. We can all take turns after.”
“Hah!” the boy snarled and struggled backwards. “I’m young, but not stupid. Besides I’m not the one who needs the drink the most. Why don’t you go first?”
They begin shoving back and forth, close to breaking out into fists and kicks, until suddenly a voice calls out from the outskirts of their group. “I vote Dave goes first!”
“In your dreams!”
“Then why not Lee? He’s the brave one.”
Defending himself quickly, Lee swiftly swings a punch at the offender’s face. “How about no.”
Meanwhile, observing the men from afar, the keeper of the fountain rubs his temples and sighs. He had really thought that this group had potential. That finally, he’d get to see for himself what would happen to those who actually drank from the water. Supposing that pirates were brave men was apparently a fool’s thought, since none of the men seemed to have the balls to even try the water.
He was a fool though, he supposes. It shouldn’t have been a surprise to be deceived again by promising words and tough talk. And now if no one ventured to drink from the fountain anytime soon, this old fool would have to go down there himself and see what’s up. Which was not something he any desire to do. Who knows what could happen to him if he did.
But, hopefully, someone else would come by looking before then.
This was in response to a writing prompt from reddit:
Someone found the fountain of youth, but after all the hype no one dares to get in.
Posted on August 13, 2014, in My Writings, Prompts/Challenges, Short Stories and tagged creative writing, pirates, Prompt, reddit, short story, the fountain of youth. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.