Day 6 – 3045 words and a total of 9126 words! I had quite a lot to make up for, so I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote today, and have almost caught up!

Spray and roaring water were everywhere, enveloping the crew of the Resolution. Stif and Stib fought against the tiller as it bucked and yawed. The two had to shout their reply to Stikky at the top of their voices. “Are you sure about this, Stikky?” they yelled in unison.

Stikky nodded. “Just keep her heading for the edge of the whirlpool, and then, when I give the order, we’ll turn! Got it?”

Not waiting for them to nod, he turned around, made his way onto the main deck and spoke to Steik. “How far off is The Rogue now?”

Steik sloshed his way towards him. “Less than forty shiplengths, and bearing down fast on us!” His voice was cut off as two petrified stickmen behind him began to wail.

“We’re gonna fall off the sea into that pit!”

“We’ll never see the light of day again!”

Stikky and McRhoddy untangled them, the old stickman unable to tear his eyes from the maelstrom, which was hardly more than six shiplengths off now.

“I always wanted to see what was at the bottom of the ocean!” McRhoddy said. “I suppose we’ll be findin’ out soon enough!”

Shaking his head grimly, Stikky patted the old stickman on the shoulder. “We won’t, I’m afraid. No, that’s where The Rogue is heading!”

The Resolution seemed to be almost tottering on the brink of the whirling water tunnel now. The terrifying greeny-gray walls revolved at a breaktaking speed, a gaping hole reaching down into mysterious depths.

“Stikky, here she comes!” Leddy’s voice rose above the melee. “The Rogue’s sailing straight at us. She’ll strike the centre of our ship soon. Look out!” Expertly Leddy caught the first grappling hook that shot out from The Rogue’s bow and hurled it back, ducking a volley of arrows. Captain Azrog’s jubilant roars rang above the thunder of the gigantic whirlpool.

“C’mon, me buckoes—she’s ours, she’s ours!”

Sprinting up onto the quarterdeck, Stikky took Stib’s place as he and Stif swung the tiller over together, calling out his orders: “Lash those starboard sails tight; let the wind catch her. Leddy, Steik, slack off the sails on the larboard side. C’mon guys, we can do this!”

Leddy laboured furiously, trying to get his cold, spray-soaked hands to work on the ropes. Steik toiled alongside him.

Steik’s feet left the yardarm momentarily as a sail caught the wind and billowed it out. “What’s Stikky doing, Leddy?” he cried. “He’s managed to learn all these ship terms randomly out of the blue, and now he’s expecting us to know them all as well? He must have been taking lessons from the twins!”

Leddy’s weatherbeaten face creased into a smile. “I don’t either, mate. That’s the thing about being crew, we’re not here to understand, just to obey orders. Though I think he’s left it a little too late. Duck!” Arrows hissed viciously overhead as they ducked.

The stickmen of The Rogue were only a boatlength away. They crowded the bows of their ship, snarling viciously as they fired arrows and whirled grappling hooks.

As Stikky held the tiller hard over, Stif and Stib secured it in position with a rope halter, the larboard sails fluttering loose as Leddy and Steik slacked them off. The Rogue’s bowsprit was a fraction from striking the Resolution amidships when Leddy’s plan paid off. The first six grappling hooks caught it as it happen.

With a groaning of timber and creaking of rigging, the Resolution began to lean sideways as she turned to avoid the edge of the whirlpool, narrowly avoiding being swept into it.

Pulling the sword from his belt, Stikky beckoned to Leddy for him to do the same. Both stickmen sprang to the railing, shearing the taut grappling lines with single strokes of their finely honed swords.

The twins stared wordlessly as The Rogue shot by them, her decks crowded with silent stickmen, numbed with shock as their ship caught the spinning edge of the maelstrom.

Halfway around the whirlpool it spun, hanging for a split second in midair with its entire keel visible, then it tipped headfirst into the dark abyss. The Rogue was gone into the depths, never to be seen again.

(Next Chapter)

The stickmen sailed onward, and after losing sight of the gigantic whirlpool—which they had decided to call the Rogue’s Bane—they saw nothing except the greeny-blue water of the Stykk Ocean, stretching out into the distance on all sides.

It was the fifteenth day since they had left Destick’s Island, and Stikky was sitting alone in his cabin, writing in a book he had dedicated to keeping the ship’s log in.

It has now been fifteen days since we left Destick’s Island, he wrote. We have sighted nothing except countless kilometers of transparent, blue water. The supplies are getting low. There has been no wind, and the days are getting unbelievably hot. We think if we don’t find land in a couple of days, we might end up-

The door suddenly opened, and Leddy popped his head in.

“Hey Stikky!” he called. “The twins think they saw something. They’re not sure what it is, but they think you should probably come and have a look.

Stikky nodded, shut his book, tucked it in a bookshelf, and followed Leddy out onto the deck of the ship.

As he emerged through the doorway, the blinding sun hit him directly in the face. The next thing to come was the heat, so hot it felt like stepping into a gigantic oven. Stikky immediately felt like turning around and going back inside to his nice cool cabin. But he didn’t.

Normally there would have been a refreshing breeze, or at least some slight wind to cool the Resolution and its crew down, but today there was none. It was a dead calm.

Stif and Stib were leaning against the railing of the ship, waiting impatiently for Stikky to come. As soon as they spotted Stikky walking towards him, they jumped to their feet and began both talking at once.

“Stikky! You’re here finally! Listen, I saw something weird over in the water to the left of the ship!”

“It’s called port, you moron! And actually—obviously—I saw it first!”

“You did not, thank you very much! I—obviously—did! And anyway, I’m not used to all these nautical ship terms! Why can’t we just use left and right and front and back?”

Stikky interrupted them, sighing. “Guys, we’re all getting used to using these words, and it doesn’t really matter what you call them. And anyway, I thought you guys had learnt all this stuff before we even set sail! But anyway, what’s this I hear about something in the ocean?”

Stif got in ahead of his brother. “It wasn’t really too clear, sorry. I was just looking into the water at a group of fish that were following us, when there was this weird, metallic-like groan, and all the fish suddenly darted away in fright.”

“Then,” interrupted Stib. “I thought I saw a big looming shape pass through the water beneath us. I’m not quite sure what it was, or whether it was alive or not, but it looked like it was covered in some kind of metal plating, though it might have just been scales-”

A panicking suddenly shouted something from the other side of the ship, and they all turned to hear what he was saying.

“There’s something in the water ahead of us!” He shouted, fear filling his voice. “Something big! And it’s heading straight for us!”

Stikky bolted forward into the bows where Leddy was, leaning forward while grasping the bowsprit. A huge, dark, worm-like form was moving rapidly through the water towards them.

Just as it was about to collide with the ship and smash her hull, the mysterious object sank into the deeper depths of the ocean, disappearing underneath the keel of the Resolution.

Stikky and Leddy stared at each other in horror, both shuddering violently as cold chills ran down their spines.

“You guys… don’t happen to know what this is, right?” asked a voice from behind them, and they turned to see Steik standing between the twins, his arms folded across his chest.

“Unfortunately, I’m afraid we do.” Stikky replied grimly.

Stif raised an eyebrow. “Any chance you can clue us in too? I mean, like, I’m pretty sure everyone else wants to know, including us.”

Leddy glared at him, then nodded to Stikky, who continued.

“When we were inside Destick’s base,” he explained. “We got to have a look in their inventing room. One of the giant blueprints on the wall was for a robotic sea serpent.”

A gasp of horror went up through the whole ship.

“That…” Steik replied weakly. “Is a sea serpent?”

“It’ won’t attack us, will it?” Someone asked.

“Well…” answered a voice, and all eyes turned to the speaker, McRhoddy. “I’m afraid it’s most likely gonna. Ya see, Destick’s the kind o’ guy who uses everything he makes for a purpose. And, unless our lads here ar’ mistaken and this isn’t what we think it is-”

Suddenly a huge, metal head burst out of the water to their left, spraying water in all directions as everyone stared at it in horror.

As the water ran off its gigantic head, they saw that the entire body of the monster—or what they could see of it—was covered in black, metal plates shaped to look like scales. Two huge red eyes stared out of its head, positioned on either side of a bright white X. A huge gaping mouth hung open, gleaming silver teeth just visible inside.

“I think Leddy’s right.” Stikky muttered to McRhoddy out the corner of his mouth. “And I really hope you’re wrong.”

It was as if the metal monster had heard Stikky’s words, for directly after he said them, it plunged back into the sea and disappeared.

“See?” Began Stikky. “What did I tell…”

The words faded away in his throat as the robotic sea serpent reared out of the water on the other side of the ship and, letting out a robotic, high-pitched shriek, latched onto the bowsprit at the front of the ship.

Instantly a shudder ran through the Resolution, and a moment later the deck began to slant up as the ship started to tip down into the water.

Stikky’s feet slipped out from under him as he began to slide towards the bow of the ship. In horror, he realised that Destick’s destructive creation was attempting to sink the Resolution by pulling her down into the sea.

Yanking his sword from its place in his belt, he sunk it firmly into the wooden deck of the ship, stopping his descent.

“Stiiiikkkkkkkkyyyyyyyy!!” A voice squealed.

Reaching forward, Stikky grasped Steik’s hand and swung him over towards the rail. A moment later he too had stopped, suspended by the railing beside Stikky.

“What can we do?” Stikky asked, pointing with a finger down at the torrent of water that was slowly rising towards them; the Resolution was sinking.

“Well…” mused Steik, attempting to scratch his head, but finding that he needed both hands to hold on. “The sea serpent is only holding on to us by the bowsprit, and if we can somehow get rid of that-”

Without waiting to hear the rest, Stikky yanked his sword out of the board it was embedded in and started sliding down the deck towards the front of the ship.

Just as he was about to enter into the bluey-green waters that were beginning to fill the ship, he leaped forward and managed to grab a loose rope hanging from somewhere in the rigging.

Quickly climbing a metre or two up it, he began to swing forward, until, with a great jump, he landed firmly on the railing and managed to leap up onto the prow where the bowsprit was located.

Lifting his sword, he hacked away at the wooden spar, barely centimetres away from where the gigantic mouth of the sea serpent grasped it.

The monster instantly saw what he was doing and, opening it mouth slightly, lunged at him.

Leaping back to avoid the gigantic head, Stikky grimaced as a wave of cold water splashed over him, but continued to hack away at the bowsprit.

At last, with a loud snapping sound, the spar broke, sending splinters in all directions. With another groan, almost at the same time as the first, the Resolution tipped upright once more, pouring all the water that had found its way on deck back into the sea.

As Stikky regained his footing, he saw the robotic monster spit out the remnants of the bowsprit in disgust, then plunge back into the ocean.

Looking around, he saw that miraculously, almost every single stickmen had managed to stay on the ship, and the few who had fallen into the sea where quickly pulled back aboard.

“Is it gone?” Asked a voice Stikky knew to be Leddy’s, and turning around, he saw his friend standing beside him, looking into the blue depths of the sea.

“I think-” began Stikky, but stopped as once again the gigantic head reared out of the water, its gleaming fangs extending from its half-open mouth.

“Or not…” he muttered, hurrying after Leddy out of the prow of the boat.

Suddenly a shout came from the rigging, and they turned to see the lookout at the top of the mast pointing at something far in the distance. “Land ho!” he shouted, and they could all see it was true. Far away on the horizon a tiny dot of land was just visible.”

“He ought to have seen that before-” muttered Leddy from his side, and Stikky nodded.

At that moment the sea serpent struck. Stikky dived out the way just in time as the gigantic head struck the deck.

Getting to his feet, he saw that the huge metal body of the monster was sliding across the deck, dragging pieces of wrecked railing along with it back into the sea.

When the last of the gigantic bulk had disappeared back into the Stykk Ocean, he remembered his friend had been beside him a moment before.

“Leddy?” He called. “Leddy, where are you?”

No answer.

“Leddy?” He yelled desperately. “Leddy?!”

Running forward, he searched through the crowd of stickmen that were busy on deck, but none of them were Leddy.

Suddenly a panicked cry rang out on deck. “Look at it!” Someone shrieked.

“What’s it doing?!”

“It’s coming straight for us!”

Stikky looked out to sea. He could just make out the shape of the sea serpent, half in the water, and half out. It was racing through the water towards them at a terrific speed, its red eyes glowing with ferocious anger.

In horror Stikky realised that this time, the monster was not going to stop. He was powerless to stop it.

There was now only 30 metres between them.

Now only 20.

Now only 10.

Now 5.

Stikky closed his eyes. Nothing could stop it now.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!

Wooden planks and boards flew in all directions as the sea serpent struck the ship, tearing it in half and throwing stickmen in all directions.

Stikky roughly saw the front part of the ship slowly sinking into the Stykk Ocean. He vaguely saw the body of Leddy, floating facedown in the water. He dimly saw the gaping mouth of the sea serpent rushing through the wreckage towards him.

Then something struck him on the head, and he knew nothing more except deep, dark, blackness…

(Next Chapter)

The quiet sound of waves breaking on soft sand was the first thing Stikky heard when he regained his senses, followed by the sensation of lapping water on his feet.

Groggily opening his eyes, he vaguely saw the shape of a warm, white beach in front of him. Lifting his head, he groaned, turned over on his side, and vomited up a stomach-full of seawater.

Crawling to his feet, he looked around and saw he was not the only one on the beach. More than a hundred stickmen lay on the beach, most unconscious, but a few were beginning to sit up and look around.

“Stikky!!” A joyous voice yelled, causing him to turn around.

Running towards him over the sand was Leddy, he was covered in scratches, it looked like the skin on one of his elbows had been rubbed raw, his clothes were torn and sand-ridden, and he was limping slightly, but he was alive!

Hurrying towards him with a huge grin on his face, Stikky met him with a giant hug, neither letting go until Leddy began to laugh quietly.

“Don’t hug me too hard, or you’ll injure me even more!” He chuckled as Stikky let him go.

“But what happened?” Stikky asked, turning around to look back at the shore, where more and more stickmen were getting groggily to their feet and looking around them.

“When the sea serpent attacked,” Leddy explained. “I got cracked on the head by a piece of wood; I don’t know where it came from, but it managed to knock me right out. A long time past before I regained consciousness, but when I did, I was washed up on this huge island. I explored a bit, and finally found you just before.”

Stikky looked around. “If this is the island the lookout sighted right before the Resolution was destroyed—which it must be; there was no other land in sight—how did we get all the way across the ocean?”

Leddy scratched his head, wincing as he touched a bruised lump beside his ear. “My guess,” he decided eventually. “Is that we must have gotten caught in some strong current, or something like it, and after bringing us all the way over the the island, the tide did the rest!”

Stikky nodded. It made sense. A little bit.

“I see you guys have been ‘up’ for ages!” Called a voice, and the two turned to see Stif, Stib, and Steik hurrying towards them with a majority of the other stickmen.

“It’s great to see everyone’s all here!” Stikky exclaimed, grinning widely. “Once again, Destick’s plan to kill us all has failed!”

“Well…” interrupted Steik. “We’re not… all… here.” he continued sadly. “There were quite a few who didn’t make it.”