Part the Two Hundred Sixty Fourth: The Grand Plan of de Colera
Hope wondered why Abigail insisted on acting in so queer a manner.
The last thing she thought would happen would be that she’d react to her own rescue with insisting that a bag be placed on her head and that she pace out of her jail, as though counting off steps on a map for some treasure buried in the yard.
The brief glimmer of a thought that there might be a buried treasure involved gave her some hope that this would turn out for the better…
“Two doors afore you say?” Abigail asked.
“Yes,” Hope replied. “As I said, it looks to be a deserted chapel.”
Abigail removed the sack and marched up to the door. “Now, did any of ye find a big key?”
“Check the men we killed,” Hope asked de Barrer and de Flanders.
“So ye finally took a life then?” Abigail asked her as she put her hands on the large lock.
Before Hope could find a way to deflect the question, de Flanders returned with a large iron key. “He had it tucked in his pants,” he noted.
Abigail grabbed the key, put it in the lock and gave it a firm twist.
Quietly, Hope wished that behind the door were piles of seized silver and ill-gotten gold, and that the men would not be tempted to question why they were there for her…
Abigail opened the door and stepped inside. “There should be candles to port and afore,” she said as she entered the building.
Hope entered just as the wicks were lit, and gaped at what she saw inside…
Before her, a sheet with enough area to be the mainsail for a galleon was pulled taut. As her eyes adjusted, she could make out images and writing, much of it in Spanish and a good deal of it in small type.
She didn’t worry about the rest of the crew’s reaction, as she could see they were as stunned as she was by this… this…
“What is it?” Mullins asked.
“Is he mad, too?” de Rojo asked.
“Is this… a map?” Samuel noted as he stepped closer.
“A map?” asked Charity. “This?”
“Look, see here,” Samuel started to point at the more prominent features. “The way that line in the corner curves, is like the coast of Nueva España. And when it comes there, like Florida, and the spot under it is shaped like Cuba. Don’t know why it needs to be so large, however…”
“Notations,” said Hope, her voice starting to rise. “Notes about coasts, depths, currents… He’s doing what I think he is, isn’t he?” she asked Abigail.
“Aye,” she replied. “With considerable threat of force and shame, when he’s not withholding food, he is.”
“Doing what?” asked Mullins.
“Don’t you see?” said Goddard. “He’s trying to recreate her rutter.”
“No, no,” said Hope, “it’s worse than that. It’s not just what was collected in the book here, it’s everything she knows. The map in her head; that what he’s trying to take from her.”
“I’ll give de Colera this,” said Samuel as he stared at the large map of before him, “that he certainly shows considerable talent as far as coming up with a grand plan.”
“No pun intended, I hope,” said Abigail.
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