Part the Fifth: The Captain Examines Her Prize
Hope Harvey looked into the eyes of the large dark man who had just informed her the captain of the Raging Gale wanted to speak to her. She looked desperately for any sign in his eyes that if she complied she would be released, but found none.
“It not wise to keep her waiting,” said the dark man. “She is known to treat those who disobey her quite harsh.”
“Would you know,” asked Hope, “what the captain has in store for me?”
“That is the captain’s business,” he replied. “She will tell you herself, so long as you do not keep her waiting so long that she just have you slit open for that.” And when he added the gesture of sweeping his hand in the direction he wanted her to go in, Hope complied.
She found the captain on the quarterdeck, her left arm wrapped around the tiller, leaning from side to side every few seconds to move the rudder as she corrected course. The captain said nothing as she made a few more adjustments before commanding, “Steady her true,” at which three crew grabbed on to the tiller taut so that the ship would keep this direction.
“So, lass,” said the captain, “let’s hear it from ye.”
“What?” asked Hope.
“I expect you have threats to throw us, about how we won’t be getting away with it, how we be a’going to hell for our acts, all that bilge.”
“It seems you must kidnap many people at sea,” said Hope.
“Usually the threat of kidnap makes the prize more willing to offer up what they have. Either you were very light, or that uncle of yours is stubborn and proud to a fault.”
“So this makes me… your first actual hostage?”
“Hold that steady, lads,” the captain shouted to the men holding the tiller.
“So what happens to me now? What are you and your men going to do to me?”
“Well, yer not worth much value to them if ye come back to them two months later the worse for wear.”
“And after the two months goes by?” Hope asked with a slight tremble.
“If they be wanting you back, there best be seven stone worth of gold waiting for us at Gran’ Bahama. We will drop you there, and you can head on back to the farm.”
“And if there’s nothing for you to pick up there?”
The captain called to the front of the ship, “Sight ye anything, Mister Kelly?”
“Nay,” replied the bald man perched at lookout halfway up the bowspirit.
“Sighting, Mister Bosfelt?” she yelled to a man with blonde hair atop the forward mast as she stepped away from Hope.
“Nr,” he called back. “No zeilen, cap’n.”
When the captain did not turn to face her after receiving that bit of news, Hope let out a deep sigh…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan