Saturday, 29 May 2010

Childhood: The Pirate Ship

A few blogs ago I told you how I had come second place in my first ever creative writing competition, and so this is my story. As always I've found loads of things that I could change when I read it back, but if it got second then I'm proud of it as it is!
p.s- the tree house is real!

At the far end of the garden, hidden amongst the leaves and branches, is a magnificent tree house. The walls are hand made from the strongest wood, and the roof that was originally made from thatch was covered with a thin layer of plastic, to protect it from the weather. The beams are chipped and beaten, and the ladder is rickety and unstable. But inside, the walls are painted to be camouflaged against the bark of the tree, and the ceiling has been covered in flowers and moss. The furniture is hand carved and the small picnic table is cluttered with games, toys and dressing up props. On the opposite side to the ladder is a bright blue slide, which takes you down to the hole in fence that leads you through to next door’s vegetable patch. In the centre of the tree house, the trunk of the tree breaks boldly through holes in the floor and ceiling. It is decorated with fairy lights and homemade posters of fairies and wildlife. Three branches stick neatly out from the tree trunk, and they are a natural ladder up to the roof of the tree house, where you can squeeze through and sit on the very top of the tree if you are small enough. This old tree house is the best for miles around, and it has never grown to be unsafe, dusty or forgotten.
Everyday at half past three or first thing in the morning at weekends, the tree house was invaded by a rowdy party of pirates. They scramble up the ladder, slide and branches, scraping their knees and getting splinters in their hands. The eldest pirate is the captain, and he scales the tree trunk to look out for enemies, and the other two pirates begin to prepare the after school feast, which consists of a few chocolate bars and freshly picked strawberries that had sneakily been taken from next door’s food supply. Often, there was an extra pirate, who had come over for an hour after school to play. They would scramble up the rigging and through the captain’s living quarters, admiring the ship in amazement.
“Enemy ahead!” the captain shouted from above. The pirates rushed to their spy holes, and the captain produced a toy telescope, that only let you see a few centimetres in front of your nose. “Prepare yourselves shipmates,” he said, “They may want to invade the ship.”
At the top of the garden, the children’s mother stepped quietly out of the back door, carrying an armful of washing and a bag full of pegs hung loosely around her wrists. She walked over to the washing line and hummed gently to herself as she put the clothes out to dry. She loved the peace and quiet, and cherished the precious moments away from her hectic life.
Back in the pirate ship, the captain was preparing his men for an attack.
“The enemy has a thin wire rope, and is attaching material to it, be careful men, this could be a trap. Lucy, check the horizon.” The youngest pirate, barely six, flew up the tree trunk, quick as a flash.
“She’s coming closer Jamie,” she called down. Lowering his telescope, the captain turned solemnly to his first mate.
“Prepare the canons,” he said softly.
Their mum bent down swiftly and retrieved the cotton handkerchief that had been blown out of her hand by the wind. She brushed off the mud, and as soon as she had smoothed out a new crease from the fabric, she was hit on the shoulder by a water bomb. She jumped to the side, gasping dramatically. From above her she heard muffled laughter. Gingerly she made her way to the tree house.
“The enemy’s still approaching Jamie!” The youngest pirate called down in shock. The captain pulled back the slingshot and another water bomb missed the enemy by a few inches. The youngest pirate opened fire with her water pistol, and at the same time, she hoisted the skull and crossbones, in the hope of warding off the enemy.
“Jamie!” the enemy shouted angrily. “Get down here right now!”
“Ignore her shipmates,” the captain shouted, “She is guarding shark infested waters.”
“We could make a compromise,” the first mate suggested. She crawled sluggishly over to the window. “Mum, just five more minutes, please.”
“You’re in your school uniforms!” the enemy shouted. “If you get them dirty I won’t have time to wash them.”
“We won’t get them dirty then.” The first mate laughed.
“Don’t be cheeky young lady. You can carry on playing after dinner.”
The youngest pirate slid down the tree trunk as the first mate moved away from the window in a sulk. The captain ordered the pirates to stop the attack, and abandon ship. The youngest pirate stepped onto the gangplank first, but the ladder wasn’t securely against the wall of the tree house, and after wobbling precariously in the air, the youngest pirate fell into the deep water below with an almighty splash.
“Man over board!” The captain shouted. The pirates shot down the slide as quick as a cannonball, and rushed to the youngest pirate with the lifeboat. They pulled her aboard and mopped up the salty water that had gotten into her eyes.
“That’s enough now,” the enemy said, “You can play again tomorrow.”
Mum picked up her youngest daughter in her arms and gave her the handkerchief she held in her hand. Her other children slouched behind her and once inside, told their Mum about their boring day at school whilst eating their dinner. Later that evening, Mum took them all up to their bedrooms and settled them down in their bunk beds. She watched as her children gave in to sleep and entered dreams that were powered their colourful imaginations.
Outside in the garden, the pirate ship rested, tethered at the harbour until it was time for the pirates to set sail tomorrow evening.

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