Old Ben walked toward his house, dogs and children recoiling when he walked by. Old Ben walked down the dusty road. He passed bland, brown houses with dirty windows, with children looking out them, staring. To them, he was a walking, living, breathing legend. He was known all over their small fisherman town, ever since the boat. He had been only twenty then, seemingly thousands of years ago. As he passed a dock, he stared at Devil’s Rocks, the cause of his adventurous life. He remembered the salt on the air, green plants and silver fish weaving through the depths. It all seemed so distant. He glanced at the busier part of town, and heard the shouts of people selling fish all around him. He thought about all the children that would be all around his door, waiting for the same story they heard every day. He turned down the wet, muddy alley towards his house.He heard the group of children before he saw them. They were loud, rambunctious children, all of them special to him. Though he saw them everyday, they were just as eager as the first time. All of the gang went deathly silent when they saw him. He was a hero to them. He had survived Devil’s Rocks, and the only person that ever had.One brave boy walked over to him.
“Are you going to tell us the story?”
” I dunno. Should I?” replied Old Ben, with the same excited twinkle in his eye.
“Yes!!” shrieked the children, forgetting how quiet they were in the beginning.
“Okay then.” Old Ben said, sitting on a crate.”I was young then, and a bit stupid. I had walked down this path,net and oars in hand, ready to earn my days living, selling fish. This was forty-two years ago, and I’ve walked this path for all those years. The air had been windy, but I knew the fish would still be out. I t started raining, but all I could think was ‘perfect….more fish…’ I stepped into me small, two passenger boat,and shoved my oars to the bottom of the rocks. My wife ran towards me, waving my lunch about, shouting wildly.
“Your lunch!! You forgot it!”
Tears trickled into Old Ben’s eyes, remembering his wife, who had died from cancer seven years ago. He quickly wiped them away, not wanting to show his feelings.
“Anyway, I jumped out of my boat, to collect it.”
“You forgot it…..again!!! Can’t you remember?” She had laughed.
“Of course! But then you wouldn’t bother to see me off!”I had said to her.
“The waves were huge, but I’d seen bigger, so it didn’t bother me. I jumped back into me boat and set off, waving to her. She had looked worried, because she had seen the current heading toward Devils Rocks, but didn’t tell me, but I guess she thought I’d notice it. I didn’t.
“I paddled toward the place where the schools of fish were. I glanced behind my back at Devils Rocks, the place where everyone of Sea Side town feared. I forgot about it soon, and followed the school around, catching a couple herrings when I got close enough to the weaving,gliding and seemingly scheming school of herrings. I didn’t know that I had turned around and the current had been throwing me toward Devils Rocks. It went to fast, so when I looked about me, about to give up on this school, the wave hit me. It sent my small fishing boat, and me, flailing toward the rocks. I remember my flash back, me watching my dad, and dozens of me, women and children being thrown and shoved to Devils Rocks. None, you all know, ever where seen again. Their paddles, oars,shoes,lunches, and all belongings eventually washed up, but never them. So all I saw, was Death spelled out to me. I hit the rocks, and was senseless immediately. After that, all I remember was waking up, wet, bloody and sore, on a huge rock platform.
I got up, my throat aching. All I could think was how sore I was and how I needed to get back to my wife.Sharp, dagger like rocks jutted about me, prison like. The thing that made them so dangerous, I realized, was had twisted, spiky,and sharp they were. They seemed to laugh at me, trapping me. I crawled down and peeked down at the water. Just as I thought. sharp, dagger like rocks, their sharp needle points just brushing past the water. But also,their was sea life beyond my imagination. fish. thousands of them, starfish, crabs and sea creatures I had never seen or heard of before. Kids, that’s what comes of being untouched by humans. They had went their for protection.
“Anyway, I saw pieces of my boat floating around, curios fish nibbling at it. I shooed them away and grabbed the biggest piece of it. I was small, not big enough to carry a grown man. But, resting and the gently sloping piece of wood, I pushed off. I saw a cave that looked familar to me, leading into the same entrance I had been forbidden to go to, because it was a cave that led to Devils Rocks, called Devils Cave. I shoved myself in, not knowing how long it was, but I did know that I’d better breathe now, the water carried on to the tip of the roof. Hopefully there might be air pockets.
I swam in, knowing that I’d better go fast. I wasn’t very good at holding my breathe. By now, my lungs screamed for air, and then I went unconscious. I woke up on the mouth of Devils Cave, and threw up much water. I knew that there would be no people around, because they all feared they might somehow end up dead there. I crawled, half dragging myself to town, where everyone jumped and ran to help me. I was, by now, senseless. I woke up in Sea Sides Hospital, people murmuring and wondering where I had come from. When I was well enough, I told them.People gasped and most didn’t believe me. I didn’t care. Anyway, now, I have many scars to prove it.”
The little boy, named Methusalah, jumped up and cheered, soon joined by the rest of his gang, called The Fourteen Fearless Figures.
A little girl, Annitah, said shyly “We all believe you!”
The rest of the awestruck children nodded their heads vigorously. They all were jumping about and chattering noisily. Methusalah jumped around and yelled “Onwards, FFF!”
The children ran after him, Leaving Old Ben to chuckle to himself, muttering ‘Children!’ He rubbed cautiously at an annoying scar on his side, one that had never properly healed.It had been given to him by Devils Rocks.
He got up and walked into his hut, chuckling.