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Tom Jones    May 7, 2024    6 min read   

A Warp-Node adventure through space and time

Tom sat bemused on the patio, but before he could gather his wits the Transitional Warp Intersecting Node (TWIN) took him, rather than bringing someone. Tom felt a little uneasy – he wondered if at any time he might be transported to a place that was no longer safe. But he was powerless to resist the thrill of embarking on another adventure into the unknown. He sighed with relief when he appeared on a sandy shore in his bare feet. Sometimes he felt like a puppet on a string.

Tom shaded his eyes and turned full circle to observe his surroundings. The gentle surf lapped against the beach with the only other sound, the seagulls as they dipped and screamed along the shore in the constant search for food. Further along the shore he saw a small dinghy and made a ‘Beeline’ towards it. (The ‘A’ line was closed due to repairs, the council notice said).

As he neared the boat, he saw a weather-beaten shack set back amongst the trees and leaning back in a ramshackle chair was a weatherbeaten man, which seemed very appropriate. His heels rested on the veranda rail while he puffed on a long-stemmed pipe. Tom could feel the man’s eyes appraise him as he approached.

     “Ho there,” Tom cried.

     “Ho there yourself matey,” came the reply.

     “I seem to have got myself lost.” Tom used this line as it allowed him time to get his bearings, and it saved some awkward questions.

     The old man took the pipe from his lips and pointed the mouthpiece towards him. “Ye is most certainly lost if ye are here, matey.”

     “Where are we?”

     “This ere’s ‘Skeleton Island’ matey, and we don’t get many visitors these days due to that Depp fella.”

     “I see,” said Tom. Although in truth he didn’t see at all. “Skeleton Island?”

     “Aye matey,” the old man replied.

      Tom heard the sound of crunching sand behind him and turned to face what was the very epitome of a pirate. Below a three-cornered hat was the four cornered head of a large man with a full beard and a half full moustache. He had a silver ring in each ear and a gold tooth in his smile. His brocade frock coat and knee length pants were complimented by the sash around his middle in which a cutlass hung handily. This, together with the patch over one eye and the fact that one of his legs looked like it had been pillaged from a snooker table sang the word “pirate” unequivocally.

       “I see ye is entertaining” said the pirate, as he stepped sideways to talk around, rather than through a cloud of smoke.

     The other man removed his feet from the veranda rail and stood up. “Not really Cap’n,” he said. “This ere landlubber appears to be lost.”

     “Lost, is it? And where do ye be lost from, may I ask, my friend?” His voice rolled the “r’s” in that wonderful Cornish way.

     This was the awkward bit, thought Tom. “I am from Queensland,” he ventured.

The pirate cupped his chin through his beard and rubbed it doubtfully. “Queensland, you say. Can’t say as I’ve heard of it. What about you Bones?’

     “Me neither Cap’n.”

     “Ere, you ain’t with them movie people is ye? Not come to hornswoggle us, eh?”

“No,” said Tom emphatically.

     The pirate mounted the short staircase that led to the veranda, and it was then that Tom noticed that the wooden leg sported by the pirate had a wheel on its bottom. The Cap’n skidded forward alarmingly and just about did the splits.

“Shiver me timbers, this bloody wheel will be the death of me.”

     Bones dodged neatly to one side and avoided the uncontrolled lunge coming his way. The pirate collided with the old man’s chair, but by some miracle ended up seated in it. “Blow me down Bones, near keel hauled me self that time.”

     “Ye near took a shot amidships Cap’n,” Bones raised his eyebrows for effect.

     “Where’s the rum then Bones?” his expression pleaded.

     “Coming right up.” The old man’s face lit up as he gathered a bottle and some glasses.

     ‘What about you stranger, do ye fancy a bit of grog?’

      Tom was mortified when the scene in front of him began to swirl and sway in its usual manner when he was about to be returned home.

     He arrived back on his patio with only the smell of salt in his nose and the taste of brine on his lips. I’d better make a cup of tea, he thought absently. He couldn’t help thinking he had missed an opportunity.  

     Back on Skeleton Island, Bones turned with a bottle in hand to find – or in this case, not to find – their visitor.

     “Ere! He’s gone Cap’n!”

     “Eh? What ye say. Well, blow me down, how did he do that? Never mind Bones, we’ll find him soon enough. I mean it’s not as if you can go far on Skeleton Island!”

Source: Milan Seitler, Unsplash.

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Tom Jones