Part the Thirty Second: From On The Run, Into The Drink
By the time Osei finished working his way to the bow and back, Hope watched Captain Sanders as she looked behind her. By now, the Casa had disappeared beneath the horizon, and the sky was turning orange as the sun went down.
Hope watched as Sanders leaned hard into the till and brought the Gale to port. She adjusted the till by steps to head into the beam and still get as much from the wind as possible.
“A bit longer to go,” Captain Sanders said aloud as she directed the heading for the Gale. “Not much more to it, but ye be keeping us alive with your playing.”
Hope gave a quick glance behind her to make sure the Casa was out of sight. Seeing the end in sight for her performance, Hope strummed harder to get the crew to move. She closed her eyes as she played, to concentrate more on the music, letting the two note bars fill her ears and smother her senses…
“Musician, belay that playing!” Osei screamed. Hope jumped back as she opened her eyes and saw him tower above her, those crew now not on station laughing at her; she wondered how many times he’d tried to tell her to stop before that. “Ye did a fine job of it,” said Captain Sanders to Hope as she handed the till to another crewman.
“Ye all did yourselves proud, me boys. Those Spanish bastards could no more catch a drunken wench in port than they could a real ship!”
The crew laughed a loud taunting laugh. Hope felt better that for all the derisive glee they got from her behaving like a frightened child, they had worse to give to the Spanish.
“We best be whetting ourselves after that,” said Captain Sanders as she handed a tankard to Hope. “Ye certainly earned yer keep for that, Hope.”
Parched and without thinking, Hope took the tankard and drained it in one long draught.
Hope had all of a few seconds before the ship started to tilt from under her. She felt a spreading warmth flare in her throat, sliding down her gullet to her stomach. The pain in her fingers dulled as she lost the feeling in them.
“Ye took that rumbullion quickly, there,” said Captain Sanders.
Hope was too busy feeling the flesh on her bones heat from the inside. The loss of feeling in her fingers was slowly spreading through the rest of her body.
The laughter of the crew rose again, but it sounded more distant, receding the way the Casa had before. Hope raised a hand to try to see if changing her stance would improve her hearing.
Hope wondered where that breeze that knocked her backwards had come from, a warm breeze that made her feel snug and flushed but didn’t even move the Gale. She wondered why she had fallen backwards and not felt the sharp thud of her backside meeting the wooden decks.
Hope wondered why she was looking up at the mainmast. And she wondered why her breasts felt someone’s hands covering them, the fingers on those hands trying to clamp on her-
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan