Part the One Hundred Thirty Sixth: A Pique of Anger
The murderous intent on the faces of the Gale’s crew twisted slowly, split between anger at the interruption and vigilance in defending against the intruders. The news that the Casa del Sol was once more upon them made everyone to a man give at least a pained grunt, punctuated by a frustrated cry of anguish.
Hope felt it too in her guts; enrobed in the fear of the Casa, she too felt building anger at the Spanish ship that threatened not only the lives of the Gale’s crew but their livelihood as well. It felt like a dictate without reason or authority, an injustice that could not be borne. No matter how dubious the right to practice the sweet trade was, the act of being denied was a sharp pain that no one aboard the Gale was ready to bear.
The one who bore it least well was Abigail; Hope watched in horror as the anger that bubbled inside her captain came out in a high sharp roar. She had never seen her this angry, had never seen her stomp the deck with her foot trying to split the quarterdeck.
“Man the guns!” she commanded. “Heave hard to starboard!”
There was a brief moment of confusion at the command as angry men looked to each other to determine what was to be done.
“But we can’t fight the Casa!” Hope finally said aloud. “You yourself said so!”
”Aye, we can’t,” replied the captain, “but we can’t let her think she rules the waves! If we not be having this prize, then no one shall have her! Better she be on the bottom than able to tell the Carib that the Raging Gale got scarred off of her!”
At that the crew gave an angry roar, growling like wolves about to pounce on a stag. Anger led to action as the orders were attended to in double time to make up for their explanation.
“Keep your side arms at the ready!” Sanders bellowed. “If the Casa does close fast enough before we be done, then we’ll give her a reception she’ll never forget!”
Unsure if a drum was needed, let alone audible over the battle snarls of enflamed pirates, Hope went to the quarterdeck to get out of everyone’s way. She watched as the gun crews rechecked their powder and shot, grimly waiting the moment to fire and take out their anger on the other ship.
Along her way, Charity stopped her briefly. She cupped her hand on her shoulder and looked at her before letting her continue; it was a look that tried to say a lot in too little time. And when she went back to running down the powder line, all Hope had out of the encounter were some questions and a smudged blackened handprint on her shoulder.
“Ready!” Sanders cried as she corrected the Gale’s heading, placing her on course to cross the former prize’s bow.
The gunners to port rolled the four pounders into position. Kelley manned the swivel gun, training the barrel on the other ship.
The former prize turned slowly to port, trying to avoid collision with the Gale as she crossed her path.
Despite her new heading, the other ship took its new course with an air of doom about it…
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan