Here we are, my other story. Enjoy! Michael stared out towards the lighthouse, into the seemingly unending water. Wondering what lay beyond this mere speck of landmass, what was out in the world, beyond his own. He had always wished to leave, to take what he needed and just sail into the unknown, toward whatever was across the shimmering surface. But he had ties here, ties that were important to him. He couldn’t leave his family, his community. It wasn’t much, but it was home. And besides, how would he survive out in the world, he had only turned seventeen, he didn’t have an extensive education beyond being home-school, as everyone else on the island had been for generations. But his hunger for adventure yearned freedom, struggling to escape from the shackles of isolation. Had he realised what an adventure he would have, he may have thought twice about leaving home. It had been only three, maybe four days after, when a vessel moored in the harbour. Its sails savagely torn, the bow splintered by an attack. The crew, scared half to death, quickly went to work, unloading the supplies from the mainland. Ships were arriving every month with commodities that couldn’t farm, mine or construct, but this one had been over a week over schedule, and some feared that the ship was ransacked for its goods. The sailors’ stories were weaved with tales worse that anyone had imagined. It had no effect on Michael, however, who insisted the next day, after finally convincing his family that he was ready, that he could tag along and help the crew. Two days later, the ship left the harbour, with Michael in tow, and sailed back toward the mainland. Part way through the second week of the voyage, the ship had been sailing in near-perfect conditions when they saw a storm in their path, as wide as the horizon. Many men feared of the ship being severely damaged while attempting to navigate the through the storm. Michael, however, was oblivious to the potential threat, for he had never experienced a storm as severe as this. He had only seen heavy rain with a possibility of hail, but never any lighting. He had only heard the sound of rolling thunder from a distance, barely audible to some. He was under the ship’s deck when the first crack of thunder pierced the air, sending a chill through his spine. Then there was a mad rush to the deck, where men wrestled with rain-slicked ropes, trying in vain to reduce damage to the sails. The white spray from the ocean neared the deck as waves battered the ship, rocking it to and tho, puddles started to form on the deck as Michael ran, panic-stricken, to try and help the other sailors. Suddenly, a near deafening crack echoed from the above them, as the mast was struck by lightning. It split almost down the centre, causing the left side to topple over the side of the ship. Men leapt over the side, attempting to escape the wooden structure’s wraith. Michael had, just moments before, had sprinted underneath where the partly broken mast now lay and just for a brief second, stared at the spot where he had cheated death, before another loud crack snapped him from his trance. Seconds felt like eternity, as the crew battled against incomprehensible forces. Many prayed for their lives, muttering under their breath as the worked furiously to do whatever they could to save the ship, as well as themselves. It had been nearly a week since the storm. Nerves were frayed and tensions were near breaking point. Michael, being the newest crewman, was given monotonous duties cleaning and cooking for the sailors. His role was not suiting the glamorous lifestyle that he had envisioned many a time. He felt that there were better things that he could do, more interesting roles that would be required of him. He had imagined a life of freedom, wealth, power and meaning. A life where he was not only unquestioned, but followed by many, where people would see him and congratulate him for the life he leads. But he was stuck, doing what he dreaded, day in, day out. Appreciated by no one, feeling left out, rejected, lost and alone, even when surrounded by others. Sea life was not as he had hoped or imagined. A fortnight later, they had arrived in the port of [insert name here]. The bustle was a change to Michael’s former life, but one that was welcome to him. But he had little time to take in his surroundings, as he was to help the other crewmen prepare the ship for the new cargo before they disembarked. Michael said his final farewells to the crewmen when they finished, then set off into the city in search of excitement and adventure. He strolled down the cobble streets, glancing excitedly from building to building, looking for the Mariner’s Office the crew had told him about, where they said he could get a start in the seafaring trade.