Part the One Hundred Ninety Fifth: The Faulty Flight
Hope did not let go.
Abigail tried twice to pull away, but Hope kept hold of her.
“If this is how you want to stage a mutiny,” Abigail said, “I’ll have ye keel-hauled the moment I break your arms off.”
Hope released her. “Of all the moments for this-” she said.
“Such be our lot. If you wanted a life less prone to interruption, you should have stayed ashore.”
“What, and miss all this?”
Abigail smiled. It was a sad smile, but a smile nonetheless, and for that Hope cherished it.
“What see ye?” Abigail sang out as she and Hope rushed out of the captain’s cabin.
“Sail to close port,” Goddard called down. “She’s trimmed like a galleon.”
“Damn…” Hope heard Abigail say under her breath. “Keep your eyes on her and let me know what you see, when you see it.”
“They came after us,” said Hope.
“They were damned likely to,” Abigail replied. “I’d have thought we’d have more time before this.” She shouted to the crew; “Run her full close-hauled! Better we be rid of them and in Port Royale to enjoy our booty than having to fight for it again!”
Hope followed her up to the quarterdeck as the crew manned the ropes to get the Gale trimmed for the run. Abigail grabbed the tiller and started to bring her ship around to best catch the winds from the east.
“Shall we ready the guns should she catch us?” Osei called up from the maindeck.
“Aye!” she replied. “Round shot, extra powder; the further we can keep her from us, the better!”
Hope could tell with a casual glance how much trouble they were in. Abigail’s usual soft footwork as she stepped side to side to nudge the Gale on course were replaced by a series of many hard shoves in a row, just to get the slightest bump of a course correction. The groan she made as she leaned into it sounded like she had been wounded with a sword.
Worse, with every passing moment, the galleon made her way ever closer to the Gale. Her mainmast rose from the horizon with every agonizing moment like a sea monster raising its head in search of a meal.
Above in the rigging, Herbert and Goor heaved to the lines in the top mainsail. Ahead of them, Bosfelt and Garland frapped the foresails, desperately drawing every breeze they could to put more distance between them and their pursuer.
To her surprise, Hope felt less fear than she thought she would. She wondered if all the other times, not knowing if she was in danger of dying was where the fear came from. By contrast, this was something else entirely.
For now, knowing that her death was imminent, left her with a sense of certainty that was remarkably becalming…
All content Copyright © 2009 James Ryan