The Treasure of L’Olonnais (May Promptathon #2)
Updated: May 7
PROMPT: Beach, Murder, Treasure
TIME: 45 minutes
The Treasure of L’Olonnais
Francis had heard the legends of the lost treasure of the L’Olonnais. The buccaneer murderer who hacked his victims to pieces, popping their eyes from their sockets and other grotesque pastimes. Rumor was, when me met his end at the hand of cannibals, they offloaded his loot onto the beach, hauled it up the mountain and offered it to their gods.
Having sailed the Caribbean his whole life, Francis was sure he had finally discovered the island L’Olonnais had met his gruesome end. The treasure had to be there.
The sun burned bright and high, glinting off the pristine blue waters lapping at the wooden hull of Francis’s modest one man sailing vessel. The anchor dropped into white sands.
Leaping from the deck, Francis landed in the shallows, brine lapping at his waterproofed leather boots. Crabs scurried and snails burrowed for cover. A human had not landed on this small spit of land for a month. Not since the inhabitants had been wiped out by the Europeans to clear their trade route.
A ghostly whisper caressed his skin as his boot made contact on the cursed island. His hair prickled and pulse sped up. He was trespassing. Not welcomed. Yet, it did not matter. Fortune was to be his.
Confidently, he marched into the small jungle adorning the terrain. Captains told of a false light that would glint day and night. Something metallic had to be atop the sheer mountain reflecting the sun and moon. Hopefully gold…
The comforting sound of the ocean cut off abruptly as soon as the foliage wrapped around him, swallowing him whole in their embrace. All the big game had been hunted in the raid, but smaller animals fled in terror.
Shadows of people flitted between the trunks.
“Hello?” he called out. Only the chatter of birds answered him. Mournful tunes dripping from their beaks. Phantom caresses dragged at his ankles along with roots and underbrush. They grew more incessant as the sheer rock face came into view.
Unfurling his climbing supplies, Francis finally heard the first human words of his lonely journey.
His blood chilled in his veins, a shiver wracking him. Money was worth it though. Ghosts were figments of the imagination.
Donning his gloves and securing his picks, Francis set off up the mountain.
Hand over hand he climbed. Stone roughly pulled along his skin through his gloves, tearing through their protective barrier. How had the treasure been brought up to the summit in the first place? No matter.
A scream startled him, losing his purchase for a second as a bird dived past his head. Small dislodged rocks fell to their demise as he struggled to get a better grip.
Hours of struggle and sweat drenching his shirt, Francis finally crested the top. Clouds had descended, shrouding everything in a haze. The glint was now visible to him. He held his breath as he approached his dream. The summit of possessions. The peak of wealth. The highest point of the mountain had been gilded in molten gold, bouncing rays of light through the clouds like piercing spears.
Francis stared in awe, placing his hand upon the repurposed treasure of L’Olonnais. It would take months to chip pieces away from the thick metal mountain cap and carry them down to the shore.
A frigid wind whipped through his hair.
“Who dares to touch my treasure?”
Startled, Francis spun to see a ghostly apparition of L’Olonnais brandishing a sword. His severe face held no mercy. The blade was stained with the gore of his enemies.
“You’re dead. You’re not real,” whispered Francis while backpedaling towards the edge of the cliff.
“The locals cursed me to never rest when they ate me. I do the same to those who attempt to take what is rightfully mine.”
The ethereal blade sliced through his chest, dividing his ribs in an agonizing strike.
Screaming, Francis fell backwards, his head over the ledge. “No!”
L’Olonnais reached down, spreading the ribs wide and thrusting his hand inside.
The torture was too much for him. Back dots spread across his vision as he screamed and tried to fend off the ghostly apparition, only to have his hands swipe through the suspended droplets of cloud giving him form.
With a triumphant cry, L’Olonnais held Francis’ heart aloft. It was still beating, thick red blood oozing from the ripped arteries. A crazed look spread across L’Olonnais’ face. He brought the organ to his mouth, sniffed it, and took a large bite of the offal.
Francis’ limbs grew cold as he witnessed the spectacle, words failing him. In his bid to keep the treasure for himself, he had not told anyone where he had gone. No one would mourn his body, assumed to be lost at sea. He did not live long enough to see the gold gleam red, beckoning the next treasure seeker.