Part 261

Part the Two Hundred Sixty First: …Without Cracking a Few Eggs

It was over before she could see how bad it had been.

She turned the corner to find two of de Colera’s men who had been guarding the henhouse dying.  One of them expired with a look of surprise stamped on his face, with wide eyes that were clouding over.

His arm was extended, his hand holding a sword.  In the limited light from the lantern that hung by the door of the henhouse, she could see blood running along its blade.

She quickly found out whose blood, as she saw Turely trying to staunch the wound in his side with his hands, fighting back the urge to cry in pain.

“Who else did we lose?” Hope asked.  “And where did Nina go t-”

She nearly slipped in the blood from Nina’s wounds.  She noted a large piece of Nina’s shoulder was missing.

“Drag everyone out of the light!  We can’t be seen if they look over here!”

The party regrouped at the side of the henhouse, the wounded and dead together with the survivors.

“How did she get away from you?” she asked Osei.

“She leapt up and kicked off from my knee,” he replied.  “Took me entirely by surprise.”

“But why?”

“Maybe she thought you were going to use her as a buckler, no?” Charity pointed out.

“I tried to tell her to hide, while looking for where I could tell her to go.  I barely whispered a word before she made a run for it.”

“She must have panicked,” said Mullins.  “I’ve seen men lose their nerve and run to their deaths before.”

“Like Mister Turley?” Samuel asked.

“Nay, quite the opposite.  He rushed the guard to keep him from raising alarums, but didn’t see or get out of the way of the Spaniard’s sword.  His first reaction to being stabbed was to put his hands up to keep him quiet.”

Hope noticed that Turely was not straining to stay quiet any longer.  She noticed that he no longer had enough strength to cry out, and was slipping away with every weakened breath.

“I couldn’t save Nina from her own fear,” said Osei, “but I did take down the man who took her life.”

Hope looked at Turley’s and Nina’s bodies as she listened for sounds beyond the hard breathing of her crew.  She got some comfort when she could not hear a stir off in the distance that would have been caused by the confrontation.

She sighed and said, “Not the way I hoped this would unfold.  Still, onward; let’s check them for the keys to the lock.”

“And who holds the rest of their possessions?” asked de Flanders.  “Until we split them among us, I mean.”

“I think Hope should have a sword,” said Charity.  “Now that we know what we are up against, it makes sense that you should be better armed.”

“But what if it slows us down while-”

Charity put a hand on Hope’s shoulder and said firmly, “Ne pas être un imbécile; armez-vous.

With a sigh, Hope took the hilt, its guard feeling as thought it had the heft of a four-pound round shot as it rested against her clenched hand.

“Right,” she said, “on to the rescue…”

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All content Copyright © 2010 James Ryan

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