Part the Two Hundred Nineteenth: Breaking Bars in a Piece
“Well, isn’t this just fine,” said Hope with a sigh.
“Do ye have any sense of what ye’ve done, lass?” the drunk she toppled asked, more a growl than a question as he staggered to his knees.
“I’d say that, since you’re not smiling at having a wench vulnerable, that I knocked your drink out of your hand.”
His anger no longer beat to windward as he registered her words. “Aye, ye do understand my predicament. And it’s quite a situation ye put me-”
“You have a situation? You?” Hope bleated out, unable to control herself any longer. “I have so far undergone more trials than you could ever imagine, and that’s just today! I’ve already found myself alone for too long in a strange place, trying to figure out what to do now that my ship is gone. Maybe you’ve been drunk for so long that you don’t know or can even feel the horror of being vulnerable, of not having people you know and care for around you to give you a sense of where to go, what your place in God’s plan is!
“And in the midst of such a sensation, I have the horror of finding out my captain- my captain – is a captive, held by her enemy, an evil man with no decorum whose existence makes you question what is right and what is supposed to be, and the torture this evil man has done and, and…
“And I’m wasting my breath on a drunken satyr who probably doesn’t know the first thing about being a captain, which makes me, just, just…”
She fought her impulse to cry with an angry yell. She cared not who was now staring at her, whether she would indeed now truly be the Mad Woman of Lyme Street.
Or if this drunkard would turn angry again and kill her before she could worry about living down her reputation…
The drunk stood motionless for a moment before a bemused grin came over his face. “This captain of yours,” he finally replied, “he must be a hell of a man.”
Hope spat out, “Her name is Abigail Sanders.”
The drunk stopped smiling. “Sanders… Sanders, of the Raging Gale?”
“Yes, that is she.”
“Alive, you say?” With every syllable he spoke, the drunk threw off pieces of his inebriation.
“Yes, according to him,” she pointed to John.
Everyone in the common room took a step away from the path Hope pointed down. John’s friends got up in a hurry as the drunk made his way to John.
Hope followed as the drunk asked, “And what questions have you that he has answered about her?”
“I’ve not yet asked him those.”
“Well, my sir,” he said to John, “the lady here has a few questions for ye.”
John’s tankard trembled out of his hand.
The drunk moved faster than any sober man Hope had seen, plunging a dagger into his hand. “And where are we going, lad?” he asked.
John howled in pain.
Hope heard bones break as the drunk twisted the embedded knife. “If yer a good lad, and answer her questions, I’d need not do that again.” He then turned to Hope and said, “Ask him what ye wish.”
And Hope asked…
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