The Pirate Apprentice, Chapter 6: Officer Puppy and the mischief of rats

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Now, I don’t really think Mrs. Apothecary was being totally fair with Officer Puppy. I’m sure there was a perfectly good reason for him to be having a night out on the town, doing whatever, when he should have been at home protecting me. He was probably off keeping the city safe from the evil schemes of the rats. And keeping an entire city safe is more important than keeping one person safe, even if that person is me.

In fact, I’m sure that’s what he was doing.

How do I know?

Well, because he told me one night—ummm … over a nice warm bowl of stewed mutton. It’s his favorite.


His story went something like this …

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The Pirate Apprentice, Chapter 5: Mrs. Apothecary explains

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There, she’s asleep now. Please let her stay that way. The poor dear has earned at least that much. You can question her in the morning.

That’s a good dear.

For now, let me tell you what I know.

She is a lucky girl, though I am sure she might disagree with me on that. She had a miserable time in this day just past because everyone had forgotten her birthday, what with the events of the day before and all.

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Stupid ideas, or how Evernote sold me on OneNote

I am, or was, a pretty dedicated Evernote user. Not hardcore, but I keep grocery lists as I think of things, track PLUs at the grocery store, jot down dreams in the middle of the night to add them to a dream journal the next day, track code snippets, book recommendations, things to explore, all those little things where I needed to note something down, and all across devices, no matter where I am.

This worked just fine until last weekend. I was sitting on a plane, with no particular need to pay for WiFi since I was mostly reading, when I had an idea. So grabbed my iPad to record it and was greeted with a message telling me I had to upgrade my account to access my notes while offline. I could neither edit old ones nor add new ones.

I was … annoyed.

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The Pirate Apprentice, Chapter 4: A broom in the dark

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I spent the night of my thirteenth birthday wrapped in dark, uncomfortable dreams. They weren’t nightmares, and Mrs. Apothecary was there to keep me safe, but they weren’t happy dreams at all. They were dark and murky and confusing.

All I really remember of them was Mrs. Apothecary trying really hard to explain something to me. It was something terribly important that I needed to understand. But all I really remember from it all was her saying, “Of course I knew dear, but there are some things you have to do by yourself.”

I remember those words because, right after she said them, she slapped me with a hard, sweeping backhand. The shock of her hitting me, and the sudden pain across my cheek, launched me right out of my dream and out of my bed with a gasp—driving my head straight into the stomach of someone standing over me, just as they drove a sharp knife down into the mattress where my neck had been.

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The Pirate Apprentice, Chapter 3: Darkness comes sweeping

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Thirteen is an important age in the city, and in the empire. It’s the age when you are supposed to be apprenticed to someone and learn a trade—at least if you’re a regular sort of person who needs to work for a living. It’s a big coming of age time.

Even though it was my birthday, and even though the end of the school year was only a week away, I didn’t have an apprenticeship lined up yet. Not because I didn’t try. But Ornery would just tell me over and over that there was no such thing as an apprentice pirate. I think he said it mostly to get me to stop asking if I could be an apprentice pirate. “You’re either born a pirate or you ain’t,” he would say. Then he would point out where I lived and who my mom was.

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The Pirate Apprentice, Chapter 2: The day of the knife

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I should probably begin at the beginning, shouldn’t I? I mean, not from the very beginning—when the Sisters, who came before all things, were walking about in the barren void and probably decided that more than anything they were really bored—but the beginning of the story.

Stories work best from the beginning. Starting from the other end just confuses people. And if I don’t start from the beginning you’ll never know why the pirate Pirate was chasing us, or even how he ended up with a stupid name like the pirate Pirate. Yes, I could just plain out tell you why, but that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?

So …

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