Part the Seventy Ninth: Sink in the Drink
“And the bit regarding you and Akua, then,” Abigial asked her stowaway, all the while as Hope nodded, “when we found ye?”
“That was for me le moment décisif,” said Charity. “I had never been easy with the trade in human cargo, and my experiences back in port in Normandy still stung me. So when I met Marcel, as he was known to me, after coming aboard that ship, and finding he was purchased for unspeakable services, I became a mutineer, leading a crew in revolt consisting of one.”
“Which is why you were in the hold in irons,” Abigail said as she nodded.
Hope found herself still nodding along, doing so involuntarily without forming an opinion one way or the other regarding Charity’s tale.
“I was of course easily defeated,” Charity continued, “and would certainly have faced unspeakable acts had there been time. But luckily for me the Raging Gale did deliver us from evil, at which time I shared my suspicions regarding the captain’s stash in the bilge. Luck certainly was with me both in you coming and providing my reason to stay with you.”
“At which point you pressed your precious luck by risking your disguise,” said Abigail, “in going after the ship’s musician.”
“Mon capitaine, if I were to pass myself off as a lad, what better way could I establish myself than to behave much as any young man would, no? Would I have been less convincing had I not noted her glorious visage, those wondrous eyes with which she spied the world? Could I have really passed as a man and not be stirred by her as surely as others on your ship had been?”
“Others on my ship have more manners and self-control than you exhibited, lass,” said Abigail. “If ye had been a real man, ye would have run against me for not staying in your place.”
“For such as the like of she, il serait en valeur lui,” said Charity.
Without warning, Hope’s insides served to contrast Charity’s observations of her appearance. The spatter from the contents of her stomach disgorging over the cabin floor nearly doused the candle, little flecks of vomit and bile hitting Charity, Abigail and most anything within range of the discharge.
“We have no scuppers in here, so ye best be taking that to the sides,” said Abigail, the look on her face leaving Hope to suspect that she anticipated this event. “And have Osei find us someone deserving of this duty here when ye finished making your offering to Neptune.”
Hope barely remembered anything between receiving that command and finding herself over the gunwale to starboard, releasing the last of the rumbullion she had to the waves. The burning in her mouth and stomach so disrupted her humors that it threatened to send her over the side after her vomit.
Part of Hope thought that such a fate would indeed be a blessing were it to happen…
All content Copyright © 2008 James Ryan