Part the One Hundred Thirtieth: Red Sanders and the Blonde
Hope returned a slight smile to the sloop after one of her crew relayed a compliment to ‘Captain’ Zoutman, a smile that grew larger as she maneuvered closer to the Raging Gale and readied her gangplank.
On the quarterdeck, Zoutman’s cajoling with offers of drinks and gossip were given with much friendly brio while trying not to overdo it and make them suspicious. To Hope’s left the real captain, in a dress, which was the first time she’d ever seen her in one, was keeping one eye on the crew of the sloop to entice them to come aboard while the other watched her own decks to make sure her plan was being carried out. To Hope’s right Charity also had one eye on the sloop; she didn’t want to think about what the other one was looking at…
After the gangway was lowered by the sloop and secured on the Gale, the master of the other ship and his close cadre came aboard, slowing making their way up the incline while dealing with the difference between the two decks’ heights above the water line. When they finished their slow ascent, they were greeted by Zoutman and ‘his’ first mate Osei.
“Are you English, by any chance?” one of the visitors from the sloop asked Hope out of the blue.
“Welke een wonderlijk vraag , welk,” Abigail cut in quickly to deflect attention from her.
“Forgive me,” he added, “but we heard word we’d heard by way of Bahama of a young captive. A blonde woman seized by pirates.”
Hope just nodded, trying to smile her way out of the encounter
“What of her?” asked Charity. “This blonde captive?”
“Only that the pirates demanded seven stone worth of gold for her. There are rumors about it.”
“Well, that the gold is waiting in a secret location in the Bahamas for her. That, or there’s a clever trap waiting these pirates should she show there. Either way, it’s a jolly tale to tell over drink at nights, trying to guess what might happen.”
“And what of these pirates, English?” Charity asked as she edged seductively closer to the man with the rumors. “You are English, no?”
“Why, yes. The pirates- well, they say it was Red Sanders, a pirate with blazing red hair. They even say that Sanders is a she, though I myself think that may be just the fancy of the drink talking.”
“A woman captain,” said Hope with joviality. “How odd!”
The English smuggler smiled for a bit at Hope’s repose, but Hope watched with horror as his face slowly betrayed his mind’s assembling all around him into the truth.
The smuggler turned to his master, who was busy speaking with ‘Captain’ Zoutman, and said, “Sir, I beseech thee, we must go!”
“Go? But why? We’re about to have drinks with Captain Zoutman, maybe share some good company,” he nodded to the ladies.
“Sir, I must insist!”
“Zodoende simpel somwijlen , zulks mens,” the master said to Zoutman, before he asked his English mate, “Just what is wrong-?”
He saw for himself; by then Abigail had pulled forth the pistol she had hidden under her skirts and leveled it at the visiting crew.
And with that the truth was revealed…
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