Tim Law

Tim Law is an author of fantasy, horror, detective and general short story fiction as well as the occasional poem or two. He heralds from a little town in Southern Australia called Murray Bridge. A happily married father of three children (plus four cats and a rabbit), family is very important to him. Currently working at the Murray Bridge Library in the role of Library Manager he has dreamed since his early high school years of becoming a full-time author. Working for a library, surrounded by so many wonderful authors it is difficult not to be inspired to write. Tim finds inspiration from playing board games, family movie night, family time and the world around him. The greatest inspiration of all for him comes from asking the golden question “what if?”

The Jolly Rover

“Look lively lads!” called Scrappy the Cabin Pup from high up in the crow’s nest. “The Captain’s on deck and he looks like he means business.”

The black and white flag depicting a Terrier’s skull with a crossed over pair of cutlasses beneath flapped as erratically as an excited Kelpie as the wild wind played.

“Right o’ Scrappy!” barked the motley crew of sea dogs, even louder than the wind’s mighty howling.

Black Patch limped his way from the open door of the Captain’s Kennel to the wheel on the upper deck.

Squeak, thump! Squeak, thump!

The contraption Old Gramps the Saint Bernard had rigged up for Black Patch’s back legs needed a few drops of oil. He’d see to that later. For now he had a hunch of where Captain Boot Chewer’s treasure might be found. It was time to steer the ship again.

“Ruff seas, Captain,” growled First Mate Scamps, a mongrel of a pooch as bloodlines go and just as much a mongrel in a scrap.

“That be just the way we like it, Scamps,” growled back Captain Black Patch as he confidently took the wheel. “Yaaarrrr!!”

“Yaaarrr indeed, Captain,” answered Scamps as he relinquished control of the ship. “The ruffer the seas are the better it be for us sea dogs!”

A great wave came up over the starboard side of the boat and washed over the lower deck. A half a dozen loyal pooches madly mopped at the sea water. Captain Black Patch smiled a fang filled grin with his pink tongue flopping out the side of his panting maw. He was indeed a lucky captain to have such a pack of loyal scoundrels.

“Land ho, Captain Black Patch!” cried the high pitched squeak of Scrappy the Cabin Pup.

“Weigh anchor, lads,” cried the captain. “We’re going ashore.”

“Could this be it, Cap’?” asked Old Gramps as he loomed up beside the flanks of Scamps and the captain.

The Saint Bernard’s beady eyes widened with hope.

“We won’t know until we get ashore,” answered Black Patch. “I have a hunch though that our search may be over.”

“You truly think so cap’?” asked First Mate Scamps.

“Scamps you’ve sailed with me since we were both pups in the same crew,” stated Captain Black Patch. “When I say my fleas are telling me this island is the one then, you know it must be true.”

“Aye Captain Black Patch,” howled Scamps with a canine grin. “Those fleas of yours have never lied yet.”

“Put yer back into it yer litter o’ she-cat!” growled Scamps.

The two rowboats that had been launched from The Jolly Rover were making good speed through the ruff surf but Captain Black Patch did not want to risk a capsize resulting in the need for doggy paddling. First Mate Scamps though was far more eager to have all four paws on terra firma.

“Steady as we go there, First Mate Scamps,” growled Captain Black Patch from the first boat.

“Right you are Cap’,” called back the First Mate as a great wave rose and fell pushing the two boats closer to the shore.

There was a loud crack as the boat containing Scamps and four other dogs struck a reef.

“We’re taking on water, fast, Cap’,” cried the First Mate. “Abandoning our vessel and paddling to shore.”

“Good luck!” called back Captain Black Patch.

“Steady lads, be aware,” the captain then added to the four sea dogs in his own rowboat.

“Aye, Cap’,” called back the quartet. “Guide us in with yer keen eye.”

“Hard to port!” called the captain and the boat verged left.

The bow narrowly missed a piece of reef just jutting through the sea.

“Starboard lads! Starboard!” called the captain in the next moment and the boat cut right.

There was a horrid crunch and water began to dribble up from the boat’s center.

“Row lads! Row like the dogs that ye are!” barked Captain Black Patch.

The Poodle, Great Dane, Boxer and Shepherd gave it their all. Helped along with another massive wave the rowboat crashed upon the shore before it took on too much sea.

“Job well done lads,” roared the captain. “You’ve all done this mongrel mighty proud.”

All five of the dogs shook the worst of the salt water from their coats. As a pack they keenly scanned the ferocious ocean to see if it would release any more of the motley crew.

The Saint Bernard was first to show his muzzle followed by a little Terrier and then, to Captain Black Patch’s relief there came his First Mate Scamps.

“Huzzah!” called the four who watched with their silent captain.

“First Mate Scamps, back on yer feet!” ordered Captain Black Patch. “Tiny Tim, same with you me lad!”

“Aye, Captain Black Patch!” yapped the Terrier.

Black Patch smiled. That little go getter had a big heart. Tiny Tim would take down a bobcat if his captain asked.

The First Mate coughed up a fish and groaned.

“Leave me here to die, captain.”

“Me too, cap’ I cannot go on!” growled Old Gramps.

“Get up, ya big lug,” Captain Black Patch laughed as he gave the Saint Bernard a playful kick.

Scamps groaned again and then rolled over. After shaking himself savagely to get rid of the worst of the sea and sand the First Mate was ready to continue the adventure. Old Gramps took a little longer to get going but after a nip from the liquid stored in his barrel the Saint Bernard was back on his four feet.

From within his piratical jacket Captain Black Patch did retrieve a compass upon which there was marked a single rune where the N for north would normally feature. It was a rune that could best be described as a B if such a letter were scribbled by a pup, sprayed with a wolf’s wee and then buried in the dirt by a mongrel mutt. The arrow contained behind the compass’ glass resembled just what it was, the phalange of Old Mad Dog Brutus, the toe claw from his left back foot, the very foot that the tyrannical scourge did use to flick the last of the dirt that cover his nuggets and his enemies. Legend did state that the magical compass of Captain Brutus would lead the bearer to the largest haul of meaty bones ever. Some dastardly dogs thought this naught but a pup’s tale told by she-dogs to their young. Black Patch thought different though. He believed in the legend from his very incisors through to his stumpy tail. He felt it in his humors that this island was the place where such a treasure would be found and his loyal crew believed the same.

“Five hundred and fifty paw prints northwards, lads,” cried their captain and the crew obeyed.

“Right you are, Cap’in!” barked First Mate Scamps.

“Huzzah!!” howled the rest of the pack.

“But keep yer cutlass, yer musket and yer claws at the ready lads,” warned their captain. “This island be crawling with manic monkeys who will stop at nuffin’ to prevent us finding them bones.”

A Red Healer growled low and long.

“I hates me them monkeys,” the loyal hound barked.

“Aye lad,” agreed Capitan Black Patch. “We all feel the same… Them monkeys they be worse than fleas.”

With pistols locked and loaded and their cutlasses held firmly between their jaws the motley crew bashed their way through the jungle’s thick undergrowth. There was a chattering in the air as the piratical pack stumbled across a river.

“What now, Captain Black Patch?” asked First Mate Scamps and then the others.

“Compass points across the water lads,” replied their captain.

There was a chorus of groans and a spattered muttering regarding baths and the universally shared dislike of such an unnecessary activity.

“Look lively, lads,” snapped First Mate Scamps. “If ye all don’t want to go for a swim then we’ve got one choice remaining and that is to build a raft.”

With jungle vines, dug up roots, fallen tree branches and lots and lots of fetched sticks a sturdy vessel began to form. Captain Black Patch watched on proudly as the hours passed by and through team work the pack, his pack, produced a fine looking raft. As it was pushed into the fast flowing river the pirates all scrambled aboard.

“Now paddle, lads,” ordered the captain and the race against the river’s flow began.

There was a moment when the Red Healer fired off his pistol and the pack stopped paddling.

“What the devil?” demanded Captain Black Patch.

“Crocodile,” barked Red in reply.

The scaly beast floated to the surface and the pack began paddling again.

By the time the raft slid up onto the opposite bank of the river Captain Black Patch estimated that they were around a hundred paw prints off course.

Casting his eye over his pack the captain selected two, the oldest and the youngest of the dogs.

“Old Gramps and Tim, you two remain here and guard our raft,” Black Patch ordered. “We’ll need it again once we’ve found Brutus’ loot.”

Tiny Tim was not so keen to stay behind but Black Patch could see the relief in Old Gramps’ beady eyes.

“Here, take this,” said First Mate Scamps as he handed the tough Terrier a flare gun. “Fire it off if ye run into trouble, otherwise we’ll fire ours when we have the treasure and you can fire yours to guide us back.”

“Right you are, Scamps,” Tiny Tim agreed reluctantly.

The little Terrier seemed happier now that he had an important job to do but he was still not pleased he was being left behind.

“Wake me when they’re heading back,” growled Old Gramps drowsily, the sentence drifting into a pattern of almost silent snores.

“Come on the rest of ya, follow me,” ordered the captain as he checked his compass again.

Cutlasses hacked and slashed at the thick vines that seemed to be everywhere. Chattering and screeching was a constant distraction, mixed in with a chorus of bird calls. More than once a member of the crew growled and snapped at the dog in front, hackles were raised. It was especially so when Black Patch announced he had misread the compass’ instructions and it was deemed necessary to retrace paw prints for at least a hundred or so. There was almost a mutiny. By pure luck Scamps stood beside his friend and captain and settled the pack.

“Yer like a litter o’ cats the way ye have turned on our Captain Black Patch,” growled the first mate. “Y’all heel now, sit, yer all BAD DOGS!”

The worst of the howlers had taken the scolding badly, they silently stepped in line behind First Mate Scamps with their tales between their legs if they had tails. Captain Black Patch felt terrible as he saw their heads lowered shamefully.

“Heads up, lads!” the captain ordered. “We shall be back on the trail in no time and I need all eyes on the jungle.”

“Aye, aye, Captain Black Patch!” barked the motley crew.

Almost an angelic transformation the pack of Jackals all became Bloodhounds, snouts in the air and beady eyes searching the forest’s dark for the first sign of trouble.

“Fifty paw prints south, south east,” muttered the captain. “A hundred and twenty paces due west…”

As a pack the motley bunch shadowed their leader, the occasional growl and nip from the first mate keeping the most troublesome in line.

Another hour passed as the crew made their way through the dense, hot jungle. As the sun began to set, the sound of monkeys finally ceased.

“Peace at last!” growled the Red Heeler.

“Be careful what you wish for…” announced First Mate Scamps.

“Flea bitten primates,” murmured Captain Black Patch.

The jungle then erupted as what seemed like fifty grey chimps swung in on branches and vines, all eager for a bit of dog meat. Each of the island natives brandished a sharp looking spear.

“Fire at will, lads,” ordered the captain.

Muscat muzzles flashed and ball bearings whizzed, not one striking a target. Monkey spears thrummed as the nasty sticks flew seeking blood. As they vanished into the jungle’s dark so too did many of the motley pirate pack. Each dog a puppy at heart it was very difficult to resist a thrown stick, even one that was aiming to kill you. Only Black Patch and Scamps kept a clear head. As a pair they launched in amongst the throng of primates. As cutlass blades flashed and the two dogs growled and bit the monkeys screeched in fear and pain before vanishing back into the jungle’s darkness as quick as they had appeared.

“A fine fight was that one, cap’,” suggested Black Patch’s first mate and friend Scamps.

“Right you are, Scamps,” agreed the captain. “Those monkey islanders will not mess with the likes of us any time soon.”

Checking the compass again, a panting Black Patch then gave his friend a grin.

“We are here, Scamps!”

“Where, cap’?” asked Scamps, confused.

“We are standing upon the very place where Old Mad Dog Brutus’ haul of bones is buried,” announced Black Patch.

“I shall go and round up the pack then cap’ and we can start with the digging,” said the captain’s friend.

“Right you are, Scamps,” agreed Captain Black Patch. “Right you are.”

The crew came quickly scampering back as First Mate Scamps barked the orders.

“This is the moment, me lads,” then murmured the captain. “Somewhere below us all is history, delicious, meaty history.”

The mysterious compass was showing signs that the dogs had finally arrived. With a nod of their captain’s head the pack began to claw their way through the dirt. As darkness settled in one of the dogs finally scrapped on something wooden. It was a little chest. Then another, larger chest was found and finally a great big wooden crate was discovered. As a team the dogs all worked together to free the chests and crate from the earth.

“I don’t know about any of you other dogs,” said Red the Red Heeler. “But to me things smell a little bit fishy.”

“It may just be the age of the meat?” suggested Captain Black Patch, he too had detected the unexpected smell of seafood but he did not want to believe it.

“Get that crate open!” ordered First Mate Scamps.

Even in the dark the dogs could easily scratch open a wooden box. The two chests opened fairly easily also.

“Fish heads!” howled the dogs. “The chests and the crate are filled to the brim with fish heads on ice.”

“Wait a minute!” cried the captain causing silence.

“What is it, cap’?” asked Red, the rest of the pack eagerly listening.

“Ice would have melted, even if the treasure was buried underground,” considered the captain.

“Aye, cap’ that be true.”

“Then we’ve been hoodwinked lads and not by monkeys,” growled the captain.

“I smell feline,” stated First Mate Scamps.

“Lead on!” ordered Captain Black Patch.

“Reload yer muskets lads and follow me,” ordered Scamps.

“Huzzah!” howled the pack.

There came a flash in the sky and a shower of pink sparks causing the crew from the Jolly Rover to look up.

“Hurry up lads, Tiny Tim and Old Gramps have had a run in with some fierce felines I suspect,” ordered Captain Black Patch.

“Aye, aye, Captain!” cried back the motley pack.

Racing through the jungle at double time the pack soon found themselves back with the little Terrier and the Great Bernard.

“We’re so sorry captain,” whined the Terrier. “We were overrun by a pack of flea bitten alley cats.”

“Aye cap’ and it smelled to me like they had our treasure too,” added Old Gramps.

“We’ll not stay sitting and waiting then,” announced the captain. “Let’s hit the water and paddle after that treasure.

The captain watched his loyal crew leap into the river. He considered doing the same but his wheeled contraption would prove to be too heavy. Instead he ran alongside the swimmers calling out encouragement until the river took them all out of range of his bark.

“I’ve not thought this one through,” growled the captain of the Jolly Rover as he found himself alone in the middle of the jungle at night.

“No you have not,” said the jungle in reply.

“Who goes there,” growled Black Patch, his hackles raised and his musket ready.

“An old friend,” answered the voice as a Rottweiler appeared before the captain.

The light of the full moon picked out every silver hair on the big dog’s ancient coat.

“Impossible,” gasped Captain Black Patch. “Old Mad Dog Brutus?”

“One, two, three feet,” growled the old Rottie. “It’s me alright.”

“You must be a hundred dog years at least, now,” stated Black Patch in awe.

“Aye, it has been ruff living on this island and watching over me treasure but I’ve not been doing it alone,” growled Brutus.

The Rottweiler’s stump began wagging as beside him appeared the monkeys, each one giving the great dog a brief embrace.

“You’ve trained the islanders?” whispered Black Patch.

“No, not trained,” explained Brutus. “I’ve befriended them.”

“I see,” muttered the younger mutt, skeptically.

“It was the only way to survive as I’d lost my crew to jungle fever and almost died myself,” continued Old Mad Dog Brutus.

“The island has taught us its secrets and we in turn care for it and help it to flourish,” screeched one of the monkeys, the oldest one as far as Black Patch could tell.

“There was no way off for me so I had to learn to adapt,” Brutus said.

“Oh aye, that makes sense,” agreed the captain. “But now we can find your treasure and take you back to your old life.”

“Oh I’ll help you get my treasure back,” agreed Old Mad Dog Brutus. “The monkeys and I will even help you and your crew back on board your ship.”

“But you’ll not come with us?” asked Black Patch.

“No,” replied Old Mad Dog Brutus. “My life is here now, the monkeys are my friends.”

“So why help then?” asked Black Patch, curious.

“We’ll help you and your crew because we hate cats too,” screeched the old monkey and the other monkeys hissed the word CAT behind him.

Captain Black Patch nodded.

“Lead the way then,” he barked.

“Good dog,” said Old Mad Dog Brutus. “This way, don’t fall behind.”

Squeak, thump! Squeak, thump! The oiling had worn off and that cursed wheeled contraption was causing a racket.

“Huzzah!” cried the crew of the Jolly Rover. “Captain Black Patch has found us at last!”

The crew was all tied tightly to the capsized raft. Their efforts to gnaw through the ropes had been foiled as Ceeanna the Snow Leopard and her band of feisty felines had smothered the ropes with fish guts. Every dog hated fish guts.

In the light of the dawning sun Captain Black Patch made short work of the ropes with his sharp cutlass. Swish! Swish! The blade nicked the ropes and they sprung away.

“Be aware, cap’!” warned First Mate Scamps. “I smell them monkeys again.

“Fear not Scamps,” reassured the captain. “Them monkeys be on our side.”

“How the devil is this possible?” asked Red.

“Sea dogs of the Jolly Rover,” began Captain Black Patch. “Let me introduce to you my captain… Old Mad Dog Brutus…”

With the help of Brutus and his monkey friends the motley crew of the Jolly Rover managed to catch up with Ceeanna the Snow Leopard and her team of a dozen fierce felines. The pussy cats were loading the final chest, the small one onto a small sail boat which would fit them all.

“Hold it right there!” growled Old Mad Dog Brutus and Captain Black Patch together.

“Girls!” screeched Ceeanna. “Hold off them mutts while I set sail.

With claws out the cats hissed as one and then launched themselves into the fray. They fought like ninjas, using cunning surprise to swipe at the dogs before dancing out of the way of the cutlasses that flashed in the sunlight. Brutus chattered in monkey speak and the primates leaped in amongst the scrap. With the dogs and monkeys working together the cats were soon overturned.

“Get after that boat!” ordered First Mate Scamps but Captain Black Patch had other ideas.

“Ceeanna is mine!” the captain called.

It was that very snow leopard who had caused the accident that had crushed Black Patch’s back legs. This battle was personal.

With grit and determination the captain of the Jolly Rover wheeled his way off the beach and into the surf. The water was calmer that day and the wind was light. Ceeanna’s sail hung limp and the little boat, weighed down with meaty treasure had not drifted far from shore.

“Come at me, Patchy!” hissed Ceeanna as she feebly blew her own hot air into the canvass, trying vainly to get her boat to go.

Black Patch found the air in the wheels that replaced his back legs actually floated in the calm ocean. His front paws madly propelled him towards his adversary. He considered responding to that nickname he so hated but the blade in his jaws made talking and breathing difficult.

Soon Black Patch was nose to stern of the little boat. Ceeanna’s front paw swiped downwards and scratched him once, twice, then three times across the nose.

“You’ll pay for that, Ceeanna!” yelped Captain Black Patch.

As his jaws opened the sword fell with a plop into the sea.

With his mouth free Black Patch was able to snap at Ceeanna’s claw as she swiped again. With a yank he pulled the great cat from her boat and with a giant splash she joined him in the water.

“I cannot swim!” cried the Snow Leopard.

Feeling pity for the feline Captain Black Patch showed her how to paddle.

Safely back on the beach again the pair shook paws.

“I owe you my life,” purred Ceeanna.

“In exchange let us take the treasure,” suggested Black Patch. “You can take the fish heads and leave the island in peace.

Ceeanna agreed reluctantly.

“This makes us even then and certainly not friends,” the Snow Leopard yowled.

“Aye, agreed,” howled the piratical pup.

The dogs and monkeys watched as the cats vanished into the jungle.

“You’ll have no more trouble from them, I hope,” said Black Patch.

“And no more trouble from you either,” added Old Mad Dog Brutus.

“Aye, agreed,” replied the Jolly Rover’s captain.

Five of the dogs paddled out and brought back the boat.

“I guess this is good bye,” stated Black Patch to Old Mad Dog Brutus.

The younger captain handed the compass to the old Rottie.

“I believe this belongs to you.”

Along with the strange compass Black Patch also handed over the remaining flair.

“What is this for?” asked Brutus, curious.

“In case those cats come back,” explained Captain Black Patch. “Fire off this flair and no matter where I am in this big wide world you can count on me and my motley crew coming to your aid.”

Old Mad Dog Brutus nodded his thanks.

“Sail straight and sail true,” the old Rottweiler said. “Enjoy the bones boys, a well-deserved feast.”

“Huzzah!” called back the crew of motley canines before Old Gramps pushed the sail boat back out towards the sea and the great pirate ship they all called home.

As luck would have it the wind picked up just as the Saint Bernard clambered aboard.

“You’ve all made me one mighty proud captain,” roared Black Patch.

“Aye, aye captain,” the crew of sea dogs roared back in return.

In triumph the dogs steered the little boat back to the Jolly Rover where Scrappy waited to help them all aboard.

“Chef, we eat like wolves tonight!” declared Captain Black Patch.

“Huzzah, captain,” cried the happy crew.

“Huzzah indeed,” beamed Black Patch, giving his entire crew a fang-filled grin.

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