When Martha woke again it was still light, so she hasn’t slept long. He was not on the bed with her and she rolled onto her back staring at the ceiling. The wood was old, dark and warm. Slowly she sat up. Her wrists were still unbound, and her eyes moved around the room.
She hadn’t really looked at it. Too frightened yesterday and this morning – she stopped those thoughts dead in their tracks. Da was gone. The Captain had said she would never see him again. Could he possibly understand the relief those words had caused her? What he had saved her from?
She released that she had started to think of ‘Him’ as ‘The Captain’ despite her intent not too. When had that happened? She decided it wasn’t worth the effort to try and work it out. While she was alone she would use the privy. It would be nice to be alone.
After she had relived herself she walked to the windows that were looking out onto the wake of the ship. Wherever the sun was she couldn’t see it. She sat on the window seats beneath the window, wrapped her arms round her legs and, hugged her knees to her chest.
She hadn’t been above deck on ‘The Fany’ and their bunks had afforded no view of the sea. When her Ma had passed they had simply taken her body up to the deck and tossed it, she assumed, unceremoniously into the sea. Her Da hadn’t shed a tear as far as she knew, but he had told her she could take her Ma’s place when they arrived in America. That he’d need someone to look after him as her Ma had done. She had no doubt what he’d meant. She had heard Cathy crying when he would take her to the barn, and her Ma would hold Cathy and say it was the curse of being a woman. Martha had wished so hard to be a man. After Cathy left she had feared he would make her go with him to the barn, but he had turned to the local tavern instead. Working farm less and less. He had stopped her Ma working at The House too and although Martha had continued as an under-maid at The House when her Ma and Da had been evicted for not paying the rent they had had no choice but to sail for the Americas. It was sail or the poor house for them. Her Ma had begged her not to come; told her to stay behind but she had resisted not wanting to abandon her Ma.
When the crew of ‘The Fany’ had started to shout that a pirate ship was approaching, she had hoped, dreamed really, that her prayers were answered. A young pirate would take pity on her and take her away. Take her to his home where she could be a maid in a grand house, far away from her Da.
When they had been taken on deck she had instinctively pushed the children behind her. Will was frightened by the burly looking men, Mary and Bess were too young to understand what was going on; they were just overwhelmed at being on deck. Her Da was hidden somewhere.
When The Captain had walked past her his face had been hidden, not only by his hat and the shadow it cast, but by the blinding sun, which her unaccustomed eyes were struggling to adjust to. He was not too tall, and by no means the largest of the men but he had something about him, something that made her very aware of him. It was clear he was in charge and yet he hadn’t said a word.
When she saw him properly, her first thought had been how large his hands looked. She imagined they could keep her safe. She’d imagined him defending her. Martha smiled to herself as she remembered these things. She’d thought herself a fool, a romantic idiot. And yet. And yet. He had. He had punished her Da. ‘Aye, and he punished you too,’ that little voice was back. Shut up she told it defiantly.
Her gaze settled on the sea. She was very confused by the spankings. She wasn’t sure punish was the way to describe it, how she felt when he stroked her behind. She didn’t understand why her body relaxed into his. Why she felt so, so, safe.
The waves forming in the wake of the ship were calming and she watched them drift away. She didn’t know what would happen in the coming days but surely it would be better than what would have happened to her had she stayed with her Da? Something grey jumped out of the water and she screamed. As soon as the as noise issued from her mouth she clapped her hand over it. She had been so absorbed, so quiet, it had startled her that’s all. She heard a shout from nearby and foot steps approaching the door.
Martha contemplated going back to the bed, but her hesitation cost her the necessary time. The door opened and The Captain strode in.
“Are you well?” He demanded.
“Ye’ yes Sir,” she stammered. “I’m sorry something jumped out of the water. I was frightened.”
He closed the door and came to stand beside her, looking out of the window.
“There,” he pointed, “see them? They are dolphins. They travel in families and like to swim around the ships. We’ve seen this family before and the crew throw scraps to them.”
Martha followed his hand to where he pointed and saw three of the grey creatures emerging from the water. Two larger ones and one that was clearly an infant. Martha couldn’t help it, she twisted around so she could kneel up and looked out, her face close to the glass.
The Captain produced a key and unlocked the latch on the window, opening it so she could lean out a little. She smiled and as she did his sex swelled, damn she looked so good kneeling there, smiling, her eyes bright with curiosity. He settled onto the seat and watched her watching the dolphins. She cried out at their antics and counted them. She bombard him with questions, what did they eat, which was male and female, endlessly curious, and he enjoyed it. He couldn’t help but think however, that his view would be much improved if her backside was bare, and pink.