Click here to read Part One.
“The Isle of what!?” cried Matt Baker in horror.
“The Isle of Dread, of course,” said Mr. Tickleten. “Why do you sound so surprised?”
“That’s the island no ship has ever come back from!” Matt shouted frantically. “I don’t want to die!”
“Matt, we told you all about this trip yesterday,” said Mr. Smith slowly. “And it was all in your contract. Didn’t you read it before you signed? Weren’t you listening?”
“Well, um, maybe not as well as I should have…” replied Matt, not quite sure which question he was answering. “I thought this was a sea voyage, not a death exploration!”
“Yes,” said Mr. Smith. “A day’s sail to the Isle of Dread, and that is where your mapmaking skills will be needed. You really didn’t understand that?”
“No!” blurted out Matt.
“Well, in that case…” said Mr. Smith, preparing to rip the paper Matt had given him.
“Wait just a minute!” cried the younger Mr. Franklin, walking up and snatching the paper out of Mr. Smith’s hands. “Just because this boy isn’t too bright, we can’t be held responsible for his stupidity.” Matt blushed and hung his head as several of of the crew members jeered. “We need a map maker, and this boy signed our contract. It isn’t our fault he didn’t know what he was getting himself into, but he is coming!”
Mr. Smith’s eyes burned with anger. “Do not insult this lad like that, and he is not coming if he doesn’t want to!” he said with clenched fists.
“Gentlemen, gentlemen!” cried Mr. Tickleten, squeezing in between the two men. “That comment was out of line, Mr. Franklin. You shouldn’t pick on people that you don’t even know...” Mr. Franklin’s face contorted in anger. “But,” said Mr. Tickleten, turning towards Mr. Smith, “Mr. Franklin does have a point. We have been waiting a long time to go on this exploration, and we need this lad to complete our goals. I don’t want to force him to do something, but perhaps we should ask him what he thinks is fair.”
All eyes turned on Matt. “Well,” said Matt, sighing, “I definitely don’t want to go to the Isle of Dread.” The crew hung their heads in disappointment. “However, I gave my word that I would come, so... I’m in.”
Mr. Smith nodded. “Thank you lad.” He turned to the crew. “Well men, it’s time to sail!”
Matt breathed in deeply, realizing what he had gotten himself into. With a fake grin of confidence, he followed the others to the ship.
Had Matt fully understood what would happen, our story most likely would have stopped here as he ran away with his tail between his legs. But as no one can ever see the future, quite an interesting tale awaits us.
“Welcome to the Bella Fawn,” said Mr Tickleten, helping Matt up onto the deck. “May not be the biggest vessel, but in the 6 years she’s sailed for us, not once has she let us down... except for that time last year with the giant eel, and several years before that with the storm, and the first adventure we went on with her when her steering got us completely lost, and last week when we found a leak. But, other than that, she’s as good as gold.”
Matt gulped, “Thanks for the reassurance.”
Despite the Bella Fawn’s misgivings, the day unfolded better than Matt could have hoped. All through the morning and afternoon, there was nothing but smooth sailing. The crew was a very kind group of men overall, and they were so glad to finally set sail that they let Matt believe that his knots and steering were almost sea worthy. By the time night rolled around, Matt had not only become friends with just about everyone on the ship, the exception being Mr. Franklin, but he was second guessing his hesitation to come in the first place.
That night, Matt slept in a room full of snoring stinky men on an unsafe ship, sure that he was by far the luckiest 16-year-old boy in the world.
The next morning, he woke early and walked out on deck to find Mr. Tickleten at the wheel. “Why, good morning, my young fellow,” he said cheerily. “Hope the snores didn’t keep you awake.”
“It was great; all of the crew has been so nice.”
“Indeed, you couldn’t find a better bunch even if you located every piece of fruit in Ildathore,” he chuckled at his own subtle joke and turned to see Matt’s blank face staring back. “You’re a very down to earth young man, aren’t you? ”
“Actually, I’m pretty tall for my age,” replied Matt.
Mr. Tickleten grinned. “That’s what I thought.”
Matt looked up at the crow’s nest to see the outline of a man looking out ahead of them. “Who is that up there?”
Mr. Tickleten sighed. “That would be Mr. Franklin. He likes to get away from everything sometimes and take some time to think.”
“Oh, can I ask you something?”
“Well, if I were to take your question literally, then yes, you can and you did ask something, but I will permit another.” Mr. Tickleten smiled. “What’s on your mind?”
“Why didn’t you get in trouble for intervening in your boss’s business yesterday morning? I don’t know anyone who could get away with something like that.”
“Well, that is mainly why they hired me,” said Mr. Tickleten. “I always speak my mind, and when it comes to important matters, I tend to choose the reasonable approach. I knew the young Mr. Franklin and Mr. Smith long before they started working together. Then one day, each asked me to meet, and each seemed rather upset. So, at noon, I went to see Mr. Franklin, and he told me that he’d met with his new business partner for the first time and he was absolutely terrible! He complained about how his new partner would actually rather help people than make money, ‘Imagine that!’ Well, that night, I went to meet my friend Mr. Smith, and before long, he was all fired up about how his two new business partners were dreadful and how they wanted to make money more than be fair. ‘Imagine that!’
“Well, I’m no genius, but lucky for me, it didn’t take one to solve that puzzle. I continued to calm them down whenever I saw them, and before they knew what was happening, not only were they working together, but the business was a huge success. Then, a few months later, I lost my job and my dear friends both offered me one at the company. Now, though it isn’t in my job description, I continue to help them compromise since they both respect me.”
Mr. Tickleten laughed quietly to himself. “What’s more is that I am such an old friend to each of them that I don’t believe either has caught on. Isn’t life ironic?”
Before Matt could answer, Mr. Franklin yelled from the crow’s nest, “Land ho, land ho!”
“Well,” said Matt slowly, “it’s time!”
Mr. Tickleten clapped his hands together happily, “Goody, goody! Isle of Dread, here we come!”
Written and Illustrated by Sabina B.
Edited by The Flabbits
Copyright © 2018 by The Flabbit Room
Welcome to The Flabbit Blog! Here you will find writings by the many members of The Flabbit Room, most of which will be set in the world of Ildathore.