“Go and get a few of those rocks over there. I’ll use this piece of sharp
seashell.” Fiona saw Elspet looking at it.
“Is that the seashell that…”
“Yes, Elspet. This is the one that killed the octopus. Try not to think
about it. Go and find a rock and let’s break this open.” Fiona sat in the
sand and dug the shell’s point into the clam. She scraped it back and forth.
“I think it’s starting to work. Hand me a rock.”
Callum had one in his hand. “Use this. Hit it like a hammer.”
Fiona stuck the shell’s tip in and hit it with the rock. It went in. “You’re
doing it. Keep pounding,” Elspet said.
Fiona hit it and hit it. A gush of smelly water squirted out of the clam.
All three of them dropped their rocks and scooted back out of the way.
“It’s on my arm. Is it poisonous?” Callum ran down to the water, but not too
close to the incoming waves. He splashed it on the clam’s juice. “Get it
off. Get it off before it burns through our skin like acid.”
Elspet ran to help.
Fiona sat still and sniffed it. “It’s nothing. It’s not poisonous and it’s
not acid. It’s just clam water, that’s all. What a couple of babies you
are!” She stood, brushed the sand off her legs and picked up the rock and
shell. “Come on. Help me!”
After they’d washed themselves clean, Elspet and Callum ran over to help
Fiona. “Hold this shell. I’m going to hit it hard. If it squirts on you, for
Pete sakes, don’t worry.” She hit the shell and cut further into the natural
“What about the third spell? There have been three spells each of the other
two jewels we tried to get. If we open it, something bad might happen,”
Callum said, reminding them of the danger.
Fiona stopped. “You’re right, but what choice do we have. We’re away from
the sea, so we can’t drown. There is no way an octopus can get us. There are
no trolls here or earthquakes.”
“There are giant millipedes and bugs. Jacques told us, remember?” Elspet
looked toward the trees. “There’s probably a giant thing hiding in the
bushes, just waiting for us to open the shell so it can come and eat us.”
Fiona ignored them and kept prying open the clam. “If I stick my hands in, I
can pull it open. Here goes.” The top shell pulled away from the bottom
shell making a squishy, suction sound.
Elspet was first to notice. “The sand is moving. I can feel it vibrating.
Stop opening it, Fiona, please.”
Ignoring her friend, she used all her strength and opened the clam all the
way. “Holy cow! Look at this pearl. I’ve never seen one this big before,”
Elspet didn’t look. Her eyes moved back and forth, watching the sand
Callum, who was paying attention to Elspet, lost all thoughts of the sand
when he saw the size of the pearl. “It’s as big as my steely marble. It’s
covered with shiny stuff that looks oily. It’s pretty.”
“It must be worth a million pounds,” Fiona said.
A foot away from Fiona’s back an arm burst through the sand. Held in the
hand was a silver sword. Another arm appeared behind that one and another
behind that. Fiona jumped up.
Elspet shouted, “I told you. I knew something was under there.” She ran
toward the bushes.
“Wait for us.” Callum ran after her. He turned to look back. “Pirates!”
Men clad in black and white striped shirts with red scarves tied over their
head and torn black pants climbed out of their sandy graves. Each held a
sword and wore a patch over their eyes. “Run!” Fiona rushed past Elspet and
Callum into the trees.
“They’re after our treasure,” one of the pirates shouted. “Argh. Let’s catch
them and make them walk the plank.”
Another pirate said, “What plank, you stupid fool? Where’s our ship?”
“Come on. Let’s get the brats!” The dozen or so pirates ran after them,
waving their swords above their heads and shouting
“Just great. First it’s Vikings and now it’s pirates. When we get home,
we’ve got to talk to Jimmy and Jesse about these traps,” Fiona said, not
stopping. They ran through the thick mass of vegetation, scratching
themselves on prickles and thorns. When they came to a clearing, they
stopped. “Pirates! What next? They all look the same, did you notice?”
“I read about pirates. They weren’t the brightest bunch of men alive. Maybe
we can figure out some trap for them instead of them being a trap for us.
They’re stupid,” Callum said, “and their dead.”
“They might be stupid and they may have been dead before, but they’re alive
now and carrying steel swords,” Elspet said. “What’s with the eye patch and
saying ‘Argh’ and all that? Is that the way real pirates used to speak? I
thought it was just the way they did it in cartoons and at the cinema.”
“Who knows? Which way should we go?” Fiona looked at her watch. “Oh no! The
sea water ruined my watch.”
“Mine’s waterproof,” Callum said. “We’ve only got 45 minutes left until
Jacques comes back to get us and we’re not even near the pick up point.”
“Let’s head that way and hope we lose the pirates,” Elspet said.
“Not likely. They are part of the trap. They know we’ve got the pearl.
They’ve got a spell on them to hunt us down,” Fiona said.
“Do they think we took their treasure?” Elspet heard noises.
“It would seem so. They’re coming. Come on, follow me,” Fiona said.
They ran as fast as they could, chased by shouts of “scallywags” and “walk
the plank.” Bats flew overhead, but nobody cared. Giant bats were the least
of their worries now.
“The pirates are getting closer. I can smell them,” Callum said.
One of the pirates sang, “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.”
“Pirates aren’t very smart. It’s no wonder. All they think about is rum and
walking the plank. Aren’t there any smart pirates?” Elspet laughed.
“Aye, ye scallywags, there’s one smart pirate in the bunch and that be me.”
The kids came to a screeching halt when the ugliest of all the pirates stood
in front of them, blocking their way. “What’s this? Surprised I’ve got a
brain? Argh!” His face needed a shave and dark brown greasy hair stuck out
from under the bandana.
The other pirates caught up with them and formed a circle around them. “What
should we do with these scallywags, Cap’n Will?”
The ugly pirate smiled. Three of his teeth were missing; a gaping hole in
their place. What teeth he did have were covered with dark brown slime.
Fiona, Callum and Elspet could smell his breath from 10 feet away. “Aye,
Bonny John, that’s a good question. We’ve no ship so we can’t make em walk
“I say we hang them from the tallest tree and leave their bodies to the rats
and crows,” Big Tommy said.
“No! Stay away from us.” Fiona took the pearl out of her pocket. “This
here’s a magic ball. If I aim it at you, you’ll turn into a wart hog.”
The pirates laughed. “Is that so, missy,” Cap’n Will said. “You’ve got me
shaking in my boots.”
“Well, go ahead and try to get it then, if you’re so brave,” Fiona said.
Cap’n Will lost his smile. The dirty red scarf tied over his head slipped
over his eyes. The patch fell down on his cheek, revealing another eye.
“Look! He isn’t missing his eye. You’re not even a good pirate,” Callum
The Cap’n pulled his patch back over his eye and straightened the scarf on
his head. “I think I should cut your tongue out, boy.” He pulled a knife
from behind his worn leather belt.
“No. Please don’t cut my tongue out,” Callum said, weeping in fear. “I
didn’t mean it. You’re a good pirate.”
“I think you’re just a bunch of stupid pirates. Callum’s right. You’re not
good pirates. You’re bullies and I’m not afraid of you.” Elspet folded her
arms on her chest.
“Me neither. In fact, I might just have to step on you and squish you,”
Elspet and Callum looked at each other.
“You’re gonna step on Cap’n Will, are you?” Bonny John reached for Callum,
grabbing him by the neck. He pulled out his knife, pried Callum’s mouth open
and grabbed his tongue with his filthy fingers. “Go ahead and try and this
lad will be missin’ his tongue.”
Callum saw the dirt and grime on the pirate’s fingernails as they caressed
the sharp knife. A tear rolled down his cheek.
Fiona closed her eyes and within seconds grew to a height of 50 feet.
Bonny John let go of Callum and stumbled backward. “How’d she do that?”
Callum ran over to Elspet and grabbed her by the
arm. The two of them ran into the trees and disappeared.
Fiona looked down at the pirates. “You’re not so
tough now, are you Cap’n Will,” she said.
The pirates gaped at her in disbelief. “What’s going on here? How did she do
that?” They all ran off in different directions.
“Oh no you don’t,” she said, grabbing hold of Cap’n Will and Bonny John.
“Put us down.” Bonny John tried to stab her with his knife. She took a few
steps and caught up with Elspet and Callum. “Put us down now, or I’ll order
the men to skin your friends alive.”
“What men? Your men ran off. They’re cowards, just like you two are,” Fiona
said. “Now, what should I do with you two?”
“Don’t kill us, Miss. We’ll let you have our treasure. I’ll tell you where
it is.” Bonny John whimpered.
“Shut up, John. You will not tell her. I’ll cut you to pieces and feed you
to the sharks if you open that mouth of yours,” Cap’n Will said.
Fiona smiled. “That gives me an idea.” She walked down to the beach. All the
pirates had gathered there and were trying to dig up the treasure. She
scooped them all up in her hands. “I think you boys need to be havin’ a
bath.” She raised her arm and threw them all into the sea. They flew through
the air screaming like babies and landed in the sea about a mile from shore,
next to the giant octopus. “There’s your life raft, mateys.” Fiona snickered
when she saw shark fins appear. “There you go. Argh!”
She found Callum and Elspet hiding in the bushes and picked them up. “We’re
in a hurry. I see Jacques with the boat. It’s faster this way.” She put them
in her pocket and walked toward the meeting point.
“Wow, what a view. This island is beautiful,” Elspet said.
“Oh no! Not another place you want to come back to and paint! Am I right?”
“Well, it is rather lovely. I think I might come back here some day and
paint. I’m going to draw sketches when I get home, for sure,” Elspet said.
“Hold on. I’m going back down to normal size now,” Fiona said. She put the
two of them on the ground and shrunk. “That feels better. It’s weird being
50 feet tall.”
“Ahoy, Miss Fiona and crew. You’re on time.” Jacques shouted at them,
jumping out of the boat. “Did you enjoy yourselves? Find any pirate
Fiona, Elspet and Callum burst out laughing. “Oh yes. We sure did,” Fiona
Jacques helped them climb in the boat. They sat back, somewhat more relaxed
than on the ride to the island. He started the engine and they headed back
to Mahe. As they rode along in silence, Jacques pointed out sea turtles,
whale sharks and dolphin.
Elspet spotted a fin coming towards them in the water. “Look! It’s a shark.”
It swam close to their boat.
“It’s got something stuck on its teeth,” Jacques said.
Fiona looked over the edge at the shark. She smirked. “It looks like a
pirate shirt.” The black and white shirt swished back and forth in the
A few minutes later Callum waved his arms about.
“There’s Mahe,” he said, relieved to be back. “I can’t wait to have a meal.
“Me too, but I want a shower first and clean clothes,” Elspet said.
Jacques chugged into the harbor and pulled up at the dock. Fiona paid him a
generous amount. “Why don’t you go and buy a new boat, Jacques. Get one that
“With your ever-so-goodly donation, I will do just that. I think I’ll
christen her the S.S. Fiona. Would you like that?” Jacques grinned. “By the
way, Miss Fiona, you’ve lost one of your sandals. Did you run into some
trouble back there?”
“Just a little trouble, Jacques. I would be very pleased to have you name
your new boat after me. Thank you.” Fiona winked at him. He helped them out
of the boat, shook their hands and they headed back to the hotel, leaving
him to dream about a new boat.