Part the Two Hundred Seventy Fourth: Getting the Shaft
It took Hope almost as long to understand why everyone kept staring at her warily, as it did for her to notice that they were.
She thought at first it was just their reaction to her proclaiming her loyalty to Abigail. She discounted the idea after a bit, knowing that every person on the crew was well aware of her devotion, as the whole purpose behind the gathering was to rescue her.
She considered whether it had been how she threatened de Flanders when he dared to suggest leaving Abigail behind. She had to admit, as good as it felt to release her frustrations on him, that her actions could have shocked even her closest friends to when they saw that. But then, she thought, since they should have known of her loyalty, her display of it should not have been a surprise to them.
“You know what would really help, Mademoiselle?” she heard de Flanders call out to her.
Hope came over to the edge of the deserted well and looked down into it. Beside de Flanders were Mason, Mullins and Redhanded Jack, using pieces of lumber they had taken with them from back of the compound as improvised loosening and digging tools.
“Did you say something?” she called down to him.
“I believe, what would really help, would be to have the big man give us a hand.”
“Osei chose to stay with Abigail, to keep her safe.”
“But I’m sure with him down here with us,” de Flanders protested, “we would make much better progress searching for the last bits left behind.”
“And how do you propose to fit him down there with you? The four of you look to form a bit of a crowd from where I stand.”
“I think we’re about done here,” said Mason, his face barely visible in what little torch light made it to the bottom of the well.
“How did you fare?” she asked.
“As the imp stated, there was some booty here.”
“Enough to be worth risking our lives for?”
“I’ve pulled worse over longer times on the road,” said Mason as he held up the sack Abigail used earlier to hood herself. It was over half filled, the size of a fair melon.
Hope sighed. “If this be the best of it, then we’d-”
“No, not yet,” de Flanders spoke up.
“And just how much more do you think there is down there?”
“At least a strong box. There’s something here I’m trying to dig out.”
“He’s right,” said Mullins. “I’m seeing the edge of her under the dirt, and this looks promising.”
Hope sighed as she bent closer at the edge of the well. “Make it quick, because I think de Colera’s men may regroup soon.”
“Aye aye,” said Mullins.
It slowly dawned on her as she straightened out as to why she was getting such stares, finally: Perhaps it was the fact that ever since that incident, she still held one of de Colera’s pistols, and used it in her hands as she spoke much like a folding fan, thoughtlessly pointing it at everyone as she addressed them…
All content Copyright © 2010 James Ryan