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on the untouched horizon, a boat wandered into view. its captain looked lost and white and hungry. not starving, just staring through his helmet of yellow curls. i locked my home and rushed my family out. no chance that greedy ghost was getting in. i didn’t even let my son finish his cassava.

“into the trees,” i instructed. we will watch along with the animals.

onto the shore, the captain sunk his boots into the sand and looked around. “i am hungry and i am tired and that big boat is a bore and i am not turning back.” his teeth were still milky; they glinted like pearls through the ferns. from the trees, we watched the lost captain instruct his crew. he pointed at my home and said, “there. that ugly hut.”

he used his golden locks as keys to unlock the door and he marched in, nose pinched. we couldn’t see him then but we could still hear his shrieks. “what is this white mush? it’s hot and disgusting.” a clatter of bowls on the floor. “and this one. this one’s cold. these animals don’t know how to cook.” then there was silence and i listened to my son’s unsteady breaths. there was a burp and then, “primitive food. go get me some rum.” i wondered why he had eaten the cassava still.

there was a roar then, like a jaguar, as the blonde captain yelled, “don’t these animals use chairs?” he huffed and said, “eck! the floor is dirt,” and he moaned and said, “my goddamn back.” we heard something being kicked and my son whimpered. “get me a stool, will you?” said the captain, and we saw a crew member run from the door and back to the ship.

“i really am tired,” the captain complained. very quietly, almost like a whisper, my son wondered, “don’t they have beds on the ship?”

“they do,” i said, “but you remember the stories? these white ghosts like to take. even if they already have something, they take it again so they have two.”

“greedy ghosts,” said my son.

“you hear that?” the captain yelled. we lowered ourselves deeper into the ferns. “i think those bears are out there. sweep the trees.”

“will the white ghost haunt us?” asked my son.

“yes,” i said. “forever.”

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