Ever since Sam was a little boy he knew one thing: He would be a great pirate Lord some day. Unfortunately for Sam, he was born in the tail end if the 20th century a mere hand full of years before the turn of the millennium. This of course meant either he had to resolve to building the next great file sharing app or move to Somalia. Neither really evoked the glamorous lifestyle that moves and TV had shown him growing up.
So Sam did the next best thing to his mind and became a historian. Not just any historian, he became an expert in pirate history. Not the myths mind you, he never held much stock in them, but the true tales of battles and real treasure.
This profession lead to countless treasure hunters knocking on his door, trying to get rich quick. All of them were dismissed out of hand except for one. Buck Mathison.
Buck was an old man of the see. Fishing, scuba diving, free diving; he had done it all over the years. Even had himself a good collection of Spanish gold he'd recovered. But that wasn't what he brought to Sam. He'd brought a map. Nearly 300 years old and sealed in oil skin.
"What is this?" Sam asked the man, his hands shook at the thought of seeing a new piece of history.
"A map and star chart," Buck replied, his voice dragging out the R. "From the San Miguel. It shows their last position before all hands were lost."
That was all Sam needed to hear. Buck already had a crew, gear, and a ship lined up. All he needed was a respectable name and the government grants that came with it. The voyage was uneventful, save a bout of sea sickness for Sam during a storm. It took eleven days to reach the area where the map ended, the wreckage was found the very next day. The crew celebrated their finding with a lavish feast of canned goods and a single bottle of champagne. The dive would commence in the morning.
On the morning of the thirteenth day Buck gathered Sam and the other men who would dive to explore the ruined ship. "Remember boys: coins, cutlery, dishes. Bring back nothing more from that ship. We'll not be taking belongings of the dead." Everyone nodded solemnly, so Sam did as well despite not understanding what the big deal was. They were dead, what use did that have for trinkets and baubles?
It was long before they were ready. SCUBA gear, masks, lights, nets, wet-suits, ballasts and floats all ready and in order. One by one the men rolled backwards of the side of the craft and in to the water. Sam was last, dropping behind Buck though the hazy depths. Soon lights began the flare in the murky depths and the bones of the San Miguel came in to view. Sam couldn't believe his eyes and nearly started to hyperventilate in excitement. A sharp hand gesture from Buck returned his focus to the matters at hand and he quickly calmed himself, there would be time enough for that back on the surface. The other men were already filling a large net with gold coins, dishes, and cutlery by the time Sam and Buck settled down next to them.
Sam began to explore the wreckage, moving from cabin to cabin when something caught his eyes. One cabin still had the door closed and intact. He reached for the latch, the metal crumbled at his touch and the door fell in, hinges disolving in the salt water from centuries of rust. The room stood bare save for a single char, occupied by a skeleton. The left hand was extended out, a gold chain with a ruby pendent dangling from it's finger tips. Almost unconsciously Sam begain to reach for it when he felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned to see Buck shaking his head and making a quick, cutting hand motion. Sam noded his understanding and Buck turned to round of the men. It was time to surface.
That night Buck shook Same awake, "Ye fool! You took it di'nt ye!? Di'n't ye!?!?" Before Sam could answer a high pitched wail followed by a splash was heard. The two men rushed on deck to behold a sight not meant for motal eyes.
The first thing that came to Sam's mind was the ruby necklace in his pocket, the second was that she was beautiful. The apparition of a woman floated above the lifeless forms of the crew, their veins standing out in stark contrast to their now pale while flesh. Buck began to cross himself and mutter prayers to all the gods of the sea. Sam was enthralled with we hair, white and shining in a halo around her face. Her, while as hollow and empty as the void were oddly pleasing to gaze upon. He body lacked substance, but you could tell she was quite the lady before...what ever had happened to her.
That was until she heard Buck's prayers. In the blink of an eye she changed, her rotting flesh, exposed rib cage, greasy tufts of hair and dead eyes turned on the grizzled sailor as she rush to him and then through him. A single choked gasp was all the man could utter before dropping to the deck. His skin was white as porcelain, veins standing out in stark contrast. Sam screamed and fainted right there on the deck.
"What happened then Uncle?"
"Well that's the end of the story dear."
"But Uncle," the young girl whined adorable.
"I'm sorry Sarah, that's the end, now off to sleep with you," her uncle replied, "if your mother finds out I've been telling you ghost stories before bed again, she'll kill me." He chuckled.
"Okay," Sarah conceded and snuggled down in to her mountain of pillows and sentry stuffed animals.
Her uncle planted a kiss on the young girl's forehead and walked out of the room, leaking the door cracked just a hair. Went out to the living room, her mother wasn't really his sister, but he had taken her under his wing some years ago. "Goodnight Kathrine," he said, giving her a hug and making his way out the door.
As he opened his car door, he saw it. He should have expected it. After all, it had been 50 years of trying and it always returned. He could sell it, the money would disappear and there it would be, on his dresser like it never left. One time he threw it in to the ocean, only for it to be found in his pocket. He gave it away once. Never tried that again, the memory still tormented his dreams. But there was, a find gold chain with a ruby pendent. It followed him, like the the death of his family when he came back from that trip. And the the deaths of his friends and colleagues. Everyone he had ever know since that trip. Except for Kathrine and Sarah. He sighed, at least she seemed to like them.
He got in to the his car and started the engine, taking the chain from the rear view mirror and placing it in his breast pocket. He didn't need to look in the mirror to see what was behind him. He knew. He always knew. Butt he always looked.
"Sam," she whispered harshly, "It's time."