Jacob stared slack-jawed at the group of pirates surrounding him. He looked to Fred. The old farmhand gave him a grumpy look in return. “Bastards stole my costume idea!”
“So…” Jacob turned back to the captain. “We’ll just get going. I mean, if it’s all the same to you…”
“It’s not!” The pirates cheered behind Jacob and Fred. “Ye board me boat without permission. Then you try to plunder me gold! Now you jest wanna be wandering off.”
“We all should be wandering off, about now.” Fred jabbed a bony finger off towards the starboard side of the ship.
Approaching swiftly was a sleek, black galleon like their own. It ran orange, web-like sails. It slid sideways in the water to come broadside to their own ship.
“Hell and damnation! To arms, men! To arms!” The captain turned to Fred and Jacob. “You will fight beside us, or I will put you to Davy Jones right now.”
Jacob shrugged, grimacing. “Yeah, sure! Sounds great.”
Fred spit on the deck. “Can I just watch?”
The captain growled, pulling his pistol. The deck shook beneath them before he could do much more. “They’ve opened fire!” He ran towards the starboard side of the ship.
“To arms! Run out the canons and give them hell, boys!” The captain shot his pistol at one of the ninjas on the other ship.
“Wait… They’re fucking ninjas?” Jacob looked at Fred.
The old farmhand shook his head slowly. “We’ve been doing this for a while now, junior. Gotta admit I’m a little off that you’d be surprised by this point.”
Jacob raised his eyebrows and looked off to one side. “Fair point.” The deck slid violently underneath them. “What in the hell?”
“They’re boarding us!” The captain cried out to his crew. “To pistols and cutlasses! Don’t give up the ship!”
A dozen or more black-clad ninjas jumped and rolled from one ship to the other. They kicked, punched, and pinwheeled as they squared off with the pirates. Cries of “WaaAHH!” and “ARGH!” broke out across the deck of the ship as pistols fired and padded feet thumped off chests.
The captain leveled his pistol and fired off a shot, hitting one of the ninjas. He screamed dramatically before flailing overboard. Another ninja back-flipped up to the captain and kicked the pistol out of his hand.
“ARGH!” The captain pulled out his cutlass and laid open the ninja’s chest. Another ninja kicked the sword from his hand. The captain wheeled around and punched the ninja square in the face, knocking him out.
He shook his fist out and picked his cutlass up from the deck. “There’s too many to put down, lads!”
Fred turned around wearing red and blue 3-D glasses. “This shit looks so real!” He turned to Jacob. “Hey, where’s yours?”
“Aye! You… magic man!” The captain pointed at Fred. “Surely you can do something!”
Jacob nodded. “Yeah, Captain Jackass! Save us already, would ya?”
Fred puffed out his muscular chest, red spandex stretching. A long blue cape billowed out behind him. The black silhouette of a donkey was painted on the front of his shirt. “Captain Jackass to the rescue!”
The farmhand-turned-superhero ran forward, bellowing as he went. The captain pumped his fist, grinning and yelling. Fred pushed the ninjas to one side and leaped right over the edge of the ship.
Jacob ran up to the side and peered over. Fred quickly disappeared under the water, sinking like a stone. “He’s run off! That stupid son of a…”
“HEEYAHHHH!” One of the ninjas dropped a karate chop across the nape of Jacob’s neck.
“OW! You dick!” Jacob shoved the ninja back and pulled out his broadsword. The ninja ran forward right onto the tip of the weapon. He collapsed onto Jacob, pinning him to the ground.
Two other ninjas ran over and started kicking at him. Jacob pushed and shoved at the dead ninja on top of him in a bid for freedom. All three men froze at the sound of an earth-shattering roar.
Jacob looked across the deck. A ninja stood with his foot sitting squarely on poor little Shadow’s tail. The kitten looked… upset.
Shadow’s head suddenly grew by several orders of magnitude, its gaping maw full of glistening, needle-like metallic fangs. He sank them into the ninja’s leg and shook his head violently.
The rest of Shadow’s body grew to giant proportions, muscles rippling and contracting. He tossed the ninja’s severed leg into the air and swallowed it whole. He turned on the other ninjas, which started backing away nervously.
Jacob shoved the dead ninja from him and pulled himself up. The captain came to his side. He was staring wide-eyed at Shadow. “That’s uh… That is one interesting pet ye have, there.”
“Yeah…” Jacob grinned. “He’s a… special breed.”
Shadow jumped from one ninja to the other, mauling and eviscerating them as he went. The ninjas fortunate enough to have avoided the enraged kitten wisely chose to run for their own galleon. Shadow finally sat down and watched patiently as the remaining ninjas jumped ship.
The remaining pirates cheered as the ninja ship pushed off from their own and put distance on it. Shadow rippled and shrank back down to his former diminutive self. He let out a small mew as Jacob scooped him up.
“Not bad, little fella!” He put the wee kitten back on his shoulder. “Sure glad you’re on my side.”
Everyone jumped as a spout of water shot up beside the galleon. In it rose Fred, who arced through the air and crashed down onto the deck. He immediately sprang to his feet, brushing his cape back. “I have returned once more again!”
The captain stepped forward, grimacing. “Ye scurvy dog! Ye ran off and hid while the rest of us fought for our very lives!”
“Yeah! The god-damned kitten saved us!” Jacob smiled at Shadow.
Fred stared. “The cat… Jacob, did you get hit on the head again, son?” He turned back to the captain. “And I did not hide! I’ve been down below saving your lives!”
“Right! How’s that, now? Did you ask the mermaids fer help, then?” The captain sneered.
“Naw. They wouldn’t talk to me. I flipped ’em off!” He spit to one side. “Nope! I pulled the plug.”
Jacob shook his head. “I’m scared to ask, but… You pulled the plug?”
Fred nodded proudly. “When you want to be done playing with yer bath toys, what do ya do? You pull the plug!”
“Oh, god.” Jacob ran over to the side of the galleon and stared down. A funnel was forming between the two battered ships. The galleons had begun to slowly spin around it.
The captain stood beside him. He had gone white as a sheet. “Are you fecking mad!” He turned to his men. “VORTEX! We’re going down, mates! Get right with god, for you’ll be meeting him in short order!”
The other pirates started shouting. Some ran around in circles. A couple jumped overboard, hellbent on ending their suffering quickly. The captain bounded into his cabin and slammed the door shut.
Jacob ran back to Fred and shook him by the shoulders. “What in the hell were you thinking!”
Fred looked nonplussed. “Well, it always worked when I was a kid.”
“We’re not toys!” He grabbed at his his hair and stared at the deck. “What do we do?” He looked up. “What happens when we reach the bottom?”
“Hmm… Hadn’t thought about that.” Fred rubbed at the stubble on his chin with his thumb and forefinger.
Jacob raced back to the side of the galleon. The wind howled as the two ships raced along the edge of the spreading water funnel. He could now clearly see a cavernous hole at the bottom.
“I guess we’re going to find out real soon.” He stared at Shadow. The kitten mewed questioningly.