Part the Two Hundred Sixty Seventh: Blowing the Men Down
At first Hope could not acknowledge the guns.
She heard them, yes, and even saw flashes of fire from their muzzles, but they were in her sight, not in her mind. They were there but not accepted, as real as a dragon flying overhead breathing fire down on her, something to think about but not entertain as a fact.
It was only as Abigail’s hand slipped off her shoulder that she started to accept the possibility that yes, she and her crew had been fired on by muskets in the hands of de Colera’s men.
As she slowly accepted that the crew had been under fire, she came to realize that some of the flashes of vision she briefly held were not worries but realities.
That yes, she did indeed see de Rojo’s head snap to the side with a fountain of blood coming from his temple, where a musket ball struck him dead.
That yes, there were three volleys in the fusillade that found de Barrer, two absorbed by the torso and a third opening a vein in his leg.
What brought it all to the fore was de Flanders’ long anguished cry as he watched de Barrer fall. He was the first member of the crew to move after the ambush, and it was to the side of his friend and companion to try and staunch the bleeding.
The fact that he ran to de Barrer probably saved his life, Hope realized, as she watched the Spaniards emerge into sight. They looked less like horrible monsters or proud Conquistadores on their way to seize the New World, than they did like farm hands catching trespassers on their property whom they were resisting.
The image was of little comfort to Hope, though she wondered if, had they actually been horrible to behold, if she would have accepted this turn of events better…
The shock gone, she finally turned her attention to Abigail, whose chemise bore a crimson stain spreading along its bottom.
“Deja tu cargas y estar quieto!” someone in the crowd commanded, and slowly the crew allowed what they carried to drop to the ground. Hope watched de Colera’s men press their advantage over her crew as some of them stepped forward to take back what her men almost stole away with.
Leading the soft charge into her men’s midst was their leader. De Colera himself walked into the crowd, one of a pair of pistols that hung by a rope from his neck in his hand, passed the sullen and stunned faces of Osei, Samuel and Charity, and stood over Abigail and Hope.
Slowly, Hope rose to look de Colera straight in the eye, mustering what courage she could to face him head on…
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