Part the One Hundred Seventy Second: Blood is Spilled On the Water
Warm. Warm and sticky.
No matter how many times she was spurted with blood, Hope could never get over the initial shock of its touch. It had happened so often, she wondered why she was not used to it by now.
She even wondered why, after all the blood she’d been slathered with, bathed in and nearly drunk that she hadn’t developed the ability to tell by taste who had bled on her by now. Admittedly, there were some answers that were probably best they remain unknown, but for what she thought might be her last moment the topic seemed more urgent than anything else to be considered…
She gripped Charity’s hand, concerned that it was her blood on Hope’s face and sorry that their last words to each other had to be those.
When she felt her fingers tighten in response, Hope willed her eyes to open despite the blood sewing her lids together.
The man with weapons in both hands had gotten all of a step closer after the blood hit Hope. She caught brief sight of the tip of a sword emerging from his stomach before it retreated into his body, spattering both her and Charity with more blood as the blade left.
When he fell forward, she saw Abigail in mid –motion with her blade, retrieving the sword that killed the assailant and bringing it up quickly to parry another blade. With a quick motion, she brought the sword down and lunged before her new opponent could get ready, getting him in his gut.
Hope turned to Charity. The shock and spatters on her blood-bathed face seem to mirror her own.
“Let me get you out of here,” Charity said as she led Hope away from the storm wall of the battle.
“But there’s less than a day’s food in here for all of us!” Jean Herbert protested as he was forced into the launch with the thirteen men who stayed loyal after they lost the engagement.
Abigail said nothing. She just nodded to Osei who lowered a bag down to them.
“And what’s in that?” he asked.
“There be six pistols with a shot already loaded in each,” she said. “You may figure out how to use those to your best.”
Campbell, Mesnil and the others with blunderbusses trained on the launch readied their weapons on them to make them think twice about coming to some conclusions on their use.
“You are truly cold, Madame,” Jean Herbert called as the launch. “Une femme glaciale, indeed.”
Abigail nodded and turned away.
Then turned back, leveled a pistol and fired.
Jean Herbert spouted blood from the hole where his right eye had been before he fell overboard.
“That should fix how they distribute their rations,” she said to no one before she gave a nod to have the launch cast from the ship.
As the launch shoved off, the survivors’ fear displayed on their faces, there were no sounds above the cries of gulls. The fins of sharks drawn to the carnage were thick in the water, and two of them could be seen making their way to Jean Herbert’s body.
As the sharks reached the opposing captain, Charity cast a glance at Hope.
She responded by silently taking her hand.
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan