Part 39

Part the Thirty Ninth: Hope Has a Fantasy
The second day after they left the Cay, Hope took Abigail’s advice.  When she finally came out on deck, adjusting her breeches again and again, and then again, she tried to keep her self-conscious concerns about exposing her lower limbs from distracting her.


There was a brief moment as some of the crew noticed Hope taking her position at the base of the mainmast and stared.  Their stunned paralysis came and went quickly, and they resumed their duties, attending to the rigging and the decks.
Taking her position on the deck, she found a further distraction; getting used to not having her skirt on which to brace her cittern.  A few times too many, she would put the body of the instrument on her leg and see it slide off her thigh onto the deck with a dull thump.
Hope took a second to close her eyes and lift her head to smell the sea air.  She considered the stares she had gotten from the crew, admittedly fewer than she feared and not a single lust-driven reaction that she anticipated from some of them, and weighed them against her need to mount a mast to remove herself to safety when the Gale went for another prize, and all the other reasons she would need her legs free from a skirt.

The scenarios she considered were enough to prompt her to find the right spot on her thigh where her instrument would not slide as she played it.  With that done, she started with a few chords that she soon coupled, trying to turn them into a fantasy.


She started slowly, deliberately picking out which notes she would go with.  Hope played two major chords with the rise of the Gale‘s bow, and two minor ones with her fall, strumming a pattern that she used to set up the rest of the piece.


From there, she started to pick notes on her cittern between the chord strums, putting more into each bar with every cresting of the waves.  Hope even worked into the piece as an underlying voice the groans of the rigging as it went taut alee, catching the winds from astern as they sent her forward.


At four notes per chord, her fantasy started to take a life of its own.  Encouraged by her quick composition like a child learning to walk on her own, Hope tried to go for five notes per chord, and quickly thereafter six.  Each bar became heavier, and each got harder to recall when she came to the end of a progression.  The composition got more difficult to perform as she found her fingers twirling over the strings, and soon the fantasy fell apart.


As the piece fell apart, Hope was sure the crew would see through her and find her a fraud.  She imagined she and her cittern soon going over the side as the pain in their heads drove them to madness, the blood running down their jaws from their ears-


When she opened her eyes as she stopped playing, the crew was still at their tasks, and she was safe.  Hope actually felt that for all its faults, the fantasy came out fine, and for a moment a sense of satisfaction came over her.


Which she found hard to accept…


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All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan


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