Ben sighed as he swabbed the deck. Not that it was very effective with this clunky old mop- the water seemed to evaporate almost instantly on the warm wood, and the dirty strands on the end of the mop looked like they were making the deck dirtier instead. He eyed the bucket hopefully, checking over his shoulder to make sure no-one was looking as he wiggled his fingers and it tipped over, spreading evenly over the deck, moving up and down in relatively straight lines.
There was the sound of two footsteps from behind him and he gasped, turning around fearfully as the water hissed and evaporated again.
The bucket rolled on the deck with a metallic clanging noise and he breathed a sigh of relief.
“No need to freak out, its just me.” Tailynn gave him a half smile and he laughed quietly.
“S-Sorry Tailynn.” He apologized, quickly picking up the bucket and putting the mop inside it, looking over the sparklingly clean deck.
“Oh, its okay. I wouldn’t want them knowing about the gifts either. God knows what they’d try to make us do.” The lightbrown haired girl reassured him, scratching her back of her own hair anxiously.
Both of the children looked a fairly sorry sight, wobbling slightly as the boat rocked and bounded over a sanddune. It had been tough getting used to the movement at first, and the crewmates had laughed at their new deckhands, calling it ‘dunesickness’, a similar phenomenon to seasickness. In fact, many things about this ship were akin to one that rode the seas- the reliance on wind, the bright, burning sun, the lack of good freshwater, and the feeling of isolation and slight insanity that most crewmembers seemed to have.
Ben and Tailynn looked the part, too. Their shirts were sunbleached, sandblasted, seams were coming loose, they were soaked in sweat and sand daily (as everyones clothing was). Shoes had been forgotten after they got in trouble for taking time out to empty them of sand too often, and they were both sporting a nice tan (or perhaps it was just a large amount of freckles melding together to appear as a tan from a distance). Tailynns normally nicely brushed curly hair ran wild in strands in the wind, and Bens hair…Actually Bens hair looked the same, but drier, slightly fluffy and crispy.
“Curls, Chubs!” A voice suddenly boomed from behind them, and Ben started a little, whirling around.
The man standing there was their primary source of pain for the last week and a half- standing quite a few inches over both of them, the scruffy barechested pirate was as battlescarred and unforgiving as the environment he lived in. At his hip, like always, was a gleaming scimitar. On the other side was a flask.
“What ar’ ye two solidearthers doin’, lazin’ about!” He barked at them, and Tailynns eyes flicked to Ben.
“J-j-j-just, swabbin’ the deck, sir!” Bens voice piped in reply over a sudden rush of wind.
The sails caught and the ship bounded upwards again, leaping over a sand-dune with a creak of wood and crashing down the far side with a spray of sand.
Ben turned around. The deck was covered in sand again.
The pirate grinned, one gold tooth flashing as Bens shoulders drooped.
“Bett’r git ye to work, Chubs. It don’t look clean ter me.” The pirates voice rumbled playfully, body language portraying a threat, rather than a suggestion.
“And you, curls, git back below. The cooks a’waitin’.”