Part 298

Part the Two Hundred Ninety Eighth: Hope’s Shot

Hope didn’t believe that she’d been shot.

The pain she felt, as intense as any she’d ever felt, confirmed that yes, it did happen.

And she did admit to herself that the possibility that this would have occurred was damn well likely.

Still, that it did happen…  That was hard to accept.

And yet, she had, quite so.

The pain from being hit by the musket shocked Hope as she went down.

She went forward down on her knees, the Casa del Sol looming before her as the launch kept coming closer.

It took a few moments for her to realize that the musket that got her had snapped the cross bar holding the lug rig’s sail, leaving a thin piece of wood before her.

Like the sight for a backstaff, directing the boat against the galleon.

Hope gave a slight laugh at the irony, working something like Abigail’s instrument in her last moment.  It was a slow laugh, trying not to aggravate the sting that enrobed her entire body.

And it was also, she noticed as she listened to herself, a laugh that was truly a laugh, and not a gurgle.

The fact that she did not sound like blood was filling her lungs felt like her feet touched the bottom before she could drown.  Quickly, her hands raced up and down her torso, fingers drumming her skin to look for the entry wound.

It took a moment to find the blood, and its source:  There was a gash just over her left shoulder, midway between her neck and arm.  She put her hand on it, and laid her finger over the wound; there was barely enough of a groove in her flesh for it to sink deeply into the rut.

Her laugh became heartier as she realized that while she had been shot, it was not quite the calamity she had thought it to be.

Quickly, she took in what was happening around her: The launch was closing in, its momentum still propelling it to the Casa.  The crew aboard the galleon were starting to realize that they did not kill her and were reloading to fire again.

Hope took the matches that had been made for her and applied their end to the brazier.  It took a few precious seconds for the heat to spark them-

Two shots rang out above her.  The closest hit the corner of the launch, throwing splinters into the air.

She watched the matches burn, trying to give a musician’s count to gauge how long it would take to burn down to the ends-

The next three shots all hit the charge.  One of the musket balls hit the package at an angle with enough force that it bounced up and came within a foot of her head, leaving an indent in the charge without breaking the surface.

She whistled in relief that the powder did not go off, took one more count and looked at how close she was getting to the Casa.  She placed her fingers at the spot she estimated she wanted the matches to burn to, and thrust them into the covering up to that point, then slid them down slightly-

Right as the next volley was fired…

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All content Copyright © 2010 James Ryan

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