Part the One Hundred First: Coming Ashore
Hope’s arms felt like they were going to pop out.
She wondered whether that would have been a good thing or not considering the burning sensation she felt on her forearms, where the lines were wrapped. With every pull, the ropes scraped her skin, burning her like fire.
And that wasn’t half as unpleasant as the pain in her lower back from all her digging in of her heels. The strain of her labors were met with screams of pain as the aches from her body made her aware that there were muscles behind her navel that she did not realize existed before this.
“A few more,” called out Folard, who was up to his knees in water. “She’s almost above the high tide mark.”
Hope looked around to see the rest of the crew’s reactions to the master carpenter’s assessment, but found no one else willing to complain. Abigail and Osei were straining so tightly against their lines that they looked like they could have pulled the Raging Gale onto shore themselves. The others either wrapped themselves in anchored lines attached to the hull, ready to pull the ship ashore, or were in the water putting their shoulders to the keel to push her. Having unloaded the Gale and put her guns and necessary stores ashore, the careening of the ship was the last necessary task to perform before she could be repaired, and all of them were eager to finish this so they could commence their liberty.
Spared these tasks were Surgeon Samuels, who, it was felt, might hurt himself were he pressed into manual labor and be unable to practice his craft, Campbell and those crew given him by Osei, tasked with converting those treasures not easily divided whole into their fair value in coin, and Akua, whose loss of hand made him ill-suited for the work.
“All right,” said Abigail with an angry yell, “all in it now! Three… two… one…”
With yells and grunts around her, Hope gave a cry as she once again pulled with all her might, trying to drag her burden ashore, wishing it were the ship conveying her as opposed to this unfortunate reversal…
To her surprise, she felt the ship give a quick lurch in towards the beach, just before she lost her footing. Hope watched the hull come towards her like a slow wave before she tripped and fell. The lines were so tightly wound around her arms, she fell backwards and rolled fore, but she stopped pitching towards the ground with a few inches clearance under her knees.
The ship creeked once before she stopped her roll onto land. Folard called out, “Excellent! Elle est bonne, you can stop!”
Hope dangled like a puppet on strings for a moment. After the third straining effort, she untangled her left leg and planted her foot in the sand.
As she righted herself, Collins noted, “Figures ye’d be the only pirate who ever came to Tortuga and ended up swinging on the end of a rope.”
The crew laughed at the joke. Hope could not respond, not wanting to be left hanging yet again…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan