Part the One Hundred Eighteenth: Hope on the Beach
Hope’s flight from Cayonne down the beach into the night with Charity went by in a blur. She felt nothing, not her feet hitting the sand nor the bruises she had received from Andrews. When she was not focused on keeping sight of Charity dragging her through the dark, she kept seeing Andrews’ face, both as he hit her and as he died.
By the time the two were nearly at the site where the Raging Gale careened, Charity slowed her run gradually down to a stop. She let go of Hope, bent over and started to catch her breath.
When she stopped, Hope started to feel everything again.
At that, she went to her knees, crying uncontrollably.
“C’est tout exact, it is all right,” said Charity as she got down to her side and placed Hope’s face against her shoulder. “He will not harm you any more, I swear.”
Hope continued to cry. When her lungs started to run out of air her bawling turned to moaning as her tears flowed like the blood out of Andrews’ stab wounds. So total was her pain that she had no sense of time as she drowned in the worst of her despair.
Sensations came back to Hope like a drowning victim’s first gasps of air on breaking the surface, disorienting her. Water on her hands; the sound of waves; the lapping of the surf on the beach where she had collapsed to her knees, she realized.
The smell of sweat; someone else’s hair on her face; another hand stroking her head; Charity giving her comfort, she gathered.
From there, the rest came back into focus.
Hope’s breathing became easier as she saw the waning light of the moon on the ripples of water coming into shore. She focused on the rhythms of the light on the water, the waves on the beach, Charity’s hand on her head…
“C’est tout exact, c’est tout exact,” said Charity soothingly.
Hope finally found the strength to slowly lift her head up from Charity’s shoulder. She asked in a low voice, “He’s dead, isn’t he?”
“You killed him.”
“Hmmm,” Charity replied.
“Did he have to die?”
“I could not let him hurt you. I saw what he was doing, what he wanted to do. C’était inacceptable.”
Only the ever-present sound of the waves filled the air. Charity held Hope closer and closer, slowly rocking her back and forth.
“I want to go,” Hope finally said.
“Le bateau is just down the beach. We should be there shortly.”
“No. I want to go. Go home, to England.”
Charity slowly released Hope from her tight hug. Hope couldn’t tell her mood in the moonlight.
She imagined the worst. Having told her she wanted to give up being a pirate and return to England, knowing how she felt about her, she waited for the reaction. And she was sure it would somehow involve a knife…
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan