Part the Two Hundred Fifty Second: One Last Piece
Hope wondered if this sunset would be her last.
It had been a long time since she felt this much uncertainty, this much dread and fear. It wasn’t the terror of old, the paralyzing touch that she immediately surrendered to at like a child scared of the dark-
She stopped herself. Thinking about children made her mind wander over towards Edward, which would not do. She didn’t discuss with these people back in Port Royale what she learned from John of Mersey when Henry Morgan tortured him, then took from them their ideas on how to rescue Abigail, and sailed the last few days to get here, just to go back to bad habits on the verge of the biggest gamble in her life.
And yet her stomach started to tighten, her palms started to sweat, and her breathing got harder. It was as though the King Charles had never been set upon, and Uncle James was taking her to the plantation; all of this had been a horrible dream…
And that made Hope really depressed…
She forced herself to take a deep breath and try to sing one last piece. She hadn’t counted on it being tougher to do without a cittern at hand, and it came almost too soft for her to hear herself:
All ye, whom Love of Fortune hath betray’d;
All ye, that dream of bliss but live in grief;
She found her breathing steadier as she got more air in her lungs, and continued fortissimo:
All ye, whose hopes are evermore delay’d,
All ye, whose sighs or sickness want relief;
Lend ears and teares to me, most hapless man,
That sings my sorrows like the dying swan.
As sad as the piece was, she found herself in the act of singing, her nerves steadied as her lungs filled with air.
She noticed as she looked around that the crew of the Black Swallow had stopped what they were doing and were listening with intent. She looked around what might have been her last audience and continued:
Care that consumes the heart with inward pain,
Pain that presents sad care in outward view,
Both tyrant-like enforce me to complain;
But still in vain:for none my plaints will rue.
Teares, sighs and ceaseles s cries alone I spend:
My woe wants comfort , and my sorrow end
The crew said nothing as she finished. Her fingers twitched a little; under ideal circumstances this would have ended with a sus chord being played, something else de Colera had taken from her among other things.
She took in the moment with a deep breath and her eyes closed. No one else aboard the vessel dared interrupt that brief moment.
“Of course,” she said, “if we really wanted to let the Spanish know we were coming, we could have fired a few rounds…”
That got a few laughs coming from the creeping darkness that enshrouded the Black Swallow.
“I think this is dark enough,” Samuel noted.
“Yes,” she replied. “Now’s the time to go for de Colera.”
All content Copyright © 2010 James Ryan