“He got what he deserved.” Sylvester shrugged and pried the scrolls from Sinlar’s fingers
Uncle Nathan, Baruch, and Shimshon followed Sinlar to the outskirts of the city. Sinlar disappeared into a cave, one of the many leading into the mountains shrouded in darkness. As they began to follow the pirate inside, they were startled to hear hoofbeats behind them.
Sylvester was charging at them on horseback, flanked by two bodyguards. His massive black dogs ran alongside his horse.
“Surprise!” Sylvester said with glee, pulling up in front of Shimshon. “I told you there’s no escaping my grasp. My reach is everywhere, and I have eyes and ears everywhere.”
“How did you find us?”
“More important question… where are my scrolls?”
“Your scrolls? They’re not yours!”
“Do you really want to argue with me, boy? Look at my men, my dogs… Just give me the scrolls and I’ll leave, and you’ll go unharmed.”
Sylvester let out a low, soft whistle, and the dogs began to move toward Shimshon.
“Threaten us, will you?” Uncle Nathan pulled out a whistle and blew it hard.
When nothing happened after a few moments, Sylvester laughed loudly. “And what was that supposed to accomplish, old man?”
“That.” Uncle Nathan pointed. Several men on horseback were galloping to Uncle Nathan’s aid, bearing the symbol of his royal family on their sleeves.
“All right then, now things are starting to get exciting!” Sylvester was breathing a bit faster now. His men drew their swords, as did Uncle Nathan’s men. “Let’s see which side will win, shall we?”
Then, more hoofbeats. A passing patrol of the king’s men had spotted the brewing conflict, and hurried over angrily.
“What is this? A brawl in the middle of the night? It’s pirates like you who cause so much of the lawlessness that take place in this city! Put away your weapons this instant, or we’ll arrest all of you and throw you in prison!”
The soldiers left, and the swords returned to their sheaths.
“Now we’re all in a pickle, aren’t we?” Sylvester smirked. “Shall we attempt to talk this out?”
“The pirate who stole the scrolls has disappeared into that cave, over there.” Shimshon pointed. “If you want the scrolls, let’s work together. Help us get the pirate, and then we’ll make a copy of the scrolls, writing each word out on a separate parchment for you. Deal?”
“Okay, then. Deal.”
They all entered the cave. As their eyes adjusted to the darkness, they saw Sinlar sitting on a rock, taking a swig from his bottle of rum. He spotted them, leaped to his feet as the bottle shattered on the floor, and began to climb.
“Get him!” Sylvester screeched.
His men began to climb, but were too burly to advance fast enough to catch the nimble pirate.
Shimshon leaped onto the rocks and began climbing. He heard someone breathing far below, and saw Sylvester climbing after him, his long, lanky body making the climb easier for him than his men.
“Get him, Shimshon! I’m right behind you!”
Shimshon finally caught up with Sinlar at the peak of the cave, where there was an alcove. In it was all the treasure Sinlar had plundered over the years.
“Give us the scrolls, pirate,” Sylvester gasped, as he pulled himself over the ledge, just seconds behind Shimshon.
Sinlar picked up the scrolls from among his treasures, shook his head, and then turned and ran into a narrow passageway. Shimshon and Sylvester plunged after him, following the sounds of the pirate’s footsteps echoing around them inside the pitch-black passageways that twisted endlessly in all directions.
Finally, they cornered the pirate at the edge of a cliff jutting outside the cave, far above the ground. Seeing that he was cornered, Sinlar held out the scrolls. Shimshon leaped forward to grab them, but his movement startled the bats sleeping inside the cave. The bats swarmed out, flapping their wings, startling Sinlar who stepped backward and fell off the cliff….
Shimshon and Sylvester made their way down the mountainside. At the bottom, they stood around Sinlar’s body together with Uncle Nathan and Baruch, and the other armed men.
“He got what he deserved.” Sylvester shrugged and pried the scrolls from Sinlar’s fingers.
And then, out of the mist surrounding them, the soldiers returned, and found a most incriminating sight. They didn’t even ask what had happened. Assuming that there was a fight and Sinlar had been the unlucky casualty of the conflict, they promptly arrested the entire group, and threw them all into prison.
“Sylvester, give me the scrolls. They belong to my family!” Shimshon held out his hand to Sylvester, sitting in the shadows in the corner of the cell.
“You’ll never get the scrolls, Shimshon. Because you’ll never again see the light of day.”
“What makes you so sure? If we’re going to be sentenced because of Sinlar’s death, you’ll be getting the same punishment as the rest of us!”
“Really? What if I told you that I have no intention of being punished?”
“There’s nothing you can do to get out of here, Sylvester.”
“Watch and learn, little boy. Watch and learn.”
Sylvester motioned to the soldier standing guard outside of their cell.
“Soldier. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t bear another moment in this horrid cell! I’m willing to tell the truth. I wanted to protect him, because he’s just a child, but I just can’t anymore.” Sylvester pointed at Shimshon. “He’s the one who pushed the pirate off the cliff!”
The soldier slammed his key into the locked prison gate and yanked it open. He grabbed Shimshon roughly by the shoulder and dragged him outside.
“He’s lying!” Baruch roared, throwing himself against the bars. “Shimshon is innocent!”
“He’ll have a chance to prove his innocence,” the solider said, not very convincingly. He pushed Shimshon up the stairs, and the group had no idea where he was being led.
to be continued…
Exciting announcement! Yehuda Bromberg’s website is now live! Check it out for all of his audio stories, including content exclusively offered there! https://www.ybproductions.shop/. Brand new stories are being added to the site!
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 963)
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