Part 188

Part the One Hundred Eighty Eighth:  The Spaniards Strike!

They poured from their ship like the roof falling off a burning house. 

The sudden Spanish surge turned the attackers into defenders as the galleon’s crew went on the offensive, suddenly bringing the fight to the Gale.  Desperate men with blades, clubs, even their bare fists, set on the pirates, their numbers matching, then surpassing the boarders that were supposed to have pounced on them.

“Sink me!” proclaimed Abigail as she watched the initiative slip away from her.  “Hold her steady!” she commanded, without assigning the task to anyone as she readied a pistol.

Without thinking, Hope grabbed the tiller and tried to keep it from moving.

Abigail went to the head of the stairs like the mistress of the estate about to make an entrance at her own ball.  She fired a pistol to kill a Spaniard who had rushed the quarterdeck, then drew her sword to take the fight to them.

“Get me that line there,” Garland said to Samuels as he went to the aft starboard corner to retrieve a rope.  “We’ll secure the tiller to free you up,” he said to Hope, adding, “We’ll need all hands for this.”

Hope just nodded, keeping her grip until she could be relieved.

Below her, on the main deck, the sounds of the melee were fierce.  Cries of pain punctuated the growls like solos rising from within the choir, the din of battle building ever steadier.

“After we get this tied down,” said Garland, “we’ll need to join them below.  I hope you have arms ready for it.”

“I…” Hope started to say, not sure how to finish.

He sighed.  “We’ll get that all straightened-”

Hope gave a shriek when she saw him; a Spaniard had found his way up the mainmast and was moving with agile steps along the boom, avoiding the fight below and balancing himself by using one hand to slide along the main sail as he worked his way to the quarterdeck.

Garland tried to ready his cutlass just as the Spaniard leapt for the quarterdeck, spitting his dagger from his mouth into his hand, but dropped it at his feet.

Hope took a step astern past Samuels.  He muttered, “Qui viae asciscae,” and moved ahead towards the Spaniard. 

Samuels only had time to lock eyes with the interloper before the Spaniard lunged into the surgeon.  Blood splayed from the wound as he jiggled the knife to widen the cut.

The surgeon put his hands on his assailant’s shoulders and leaned into him, threatening to pull him onto the deck.  The Spaniard let go of the dagger, leaving it stuck in the throat it was buried in, and tried to get out of Samuels’ grasp.

He managed to get one hand off him before Garland, his cutlass now in hand, delivered a blow that hacked away a large piece of his upper arm like meat cut from a pig.  For good measure, Garland raised his blade and brought it down on the Spaniard’s neck.

Hope went to Samuels’ side as Garland took a moment to make sure there were no other attackers on the quarterdeck.  “Can you find safe quarter here for you?” he asked.

There was no hesitation in Hope as she held the rammer like a staff and went to defend her ship…

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All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan

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