Part the Two Hundred Seventieth: Saying Goodbye
Hope didn’t remember going to her knees.
She suddenly found herself there amidst the discharge of gunpowder and screams around her.
She looked down her front, wondering if she was on her knees because she had been shot. It was hard to tell by sight; de Colera’s blood had sprayed her chest and stomach, drenching her so deeply that her clothes had become a second dark red skin that gave her no shred of modesty. She ran her fingers over herself, found no curves or ridges that should not have been there and relaxed slightly.
In front of her, the body of de Colera was on its knees as well, propped up by the sword she plunged into him. He still stared at her, though his eyes stopped focusing and his pupils had opened wider than the width of a penny, small dribbles of whatever blood had not bathed Hope trickling down the corners of his mouth.
To her side, Abigail looked up at her, trying to grasp her hand. Her eyes were still alive, still emotive…
…Hope couldn’t tell if her eyes were tearing or not, and if so why…
Hope tried to put her hand over the gunshot wound, but the act required her to hug Abigail close in to her to get her fingers to contain and stay the bleeding.
Hope closed her eyes. It felt like any last iota of who she had been the day Abigail had seized her from aboard the King Charles was being snuffed from her soul, bleeding out from her in the blood she wore that was caking and becoming a new skin. Any last conceptions and expectations from the days before her kidnapping sailed over the edge of a dark horizon.
She cradled Abigail in her arms, putting her head in the crook of her arm.
“G-going,” said Abigail.
“Going?” Hope asked.
“Going. Have to… go now…”
“No, no you can’t. I risked my life, I risked everyone’s lives, to get you. What I had to go through, after the Gale was sunk; I, I did it all for you.
“And I didn’t bring everyone together, and risk it all, just to see you die here. That’s… that’s just not happening. I refuse it! I deny it! You are not going to die here, I won’t have it!”
“Hope,” Abigail finally said after taking a labored breath.
“Did ye sail here all this way to come for me, then?”
“Y-yes, I did,” Hope replied.
“Then ye best g-get me to your ship, because I don’t want to be on this damned estate a moment longer than I need be. The sooner we b-be gone from this wretched place, the better.”
Hope started to react. She couldn’t tell if the sound she made was laughter or crying…
Nor could she continue to make the sound as a heavy hand gripped her shoulder…
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