The Captain opened the door and walked onto the main deck. Burt was tied arms wide, from the main mast. A stream of profanity spewed from his mouth.
“Enough!” Captain H snapped. “Was he told the rules Smithy?”
Smithy stepped forward. “Aye, Captain,” he said. “I told him myself that the girl was not to be touched, that she was yours.”
The Captain nodded his understanding. He walked round in front of Burt, and looked the man in the eye. He clenched his teeth, disgusted. He wanted to tear him limb from limb, but he must show restraint. He raised his voice now so everyone could hear. “This man laid hand on my prize. What be his punishment?”
As he knew there would be there were several shouts.. ‘flog ‘im,’ ‘haul ‘im,’ ‘the plank,’ ‘mek ‘im a maid.’
The last made him smile, Jones did have a flair for the dramatic.. and castration held a certain appeal he thought. But truth be told he wasn’t sure he was clear headed enough to make this decision. He wanted the man dead, never had he felt such a rage.
“Smithy?” He said.
“What do you think be fair?”
40 lashes then let the sea decide his fate. 40 lashes then twice under.”
“Smithy you are wise and fair,” said The Captain clapping him on the shoulder. He looked about, “Bosun? The punishment is decided. Let it be done.”
Peg stepped forward. “Aye Captain, consider it done,” he said. “Jonesy get me the cat.”
Jones left quickly and return with the Bosuns whip in hand. Burt had gone deathly pale and was mumbling, begging for mercy. He’d be begging alright thought Captain H. He wanted to go back to Martha but he couldn’t. His place was here, watching this punishment. It wouldn’t be enough. He wanted to hold the whip and carve the flesh from this bastards back. Peg looked at him and he nodded.
The cat fell to the floor. The men moved back. Peg raised his arm, stepped forward.. crack. The 9 tails of the cat cracked in the air before finding their mark on Burt’s back. Burt screamed. Maybe it wouldn’t be a total loss though Captain H.. not if he screamed like that ..
By the twentieth strike Burt was incoherent. His back was bloody and torn.
By the fourtieth he had passed out. Smithy threw water on him to wake him back up, but not before they had taken his body off the mast and tied his wrists and feet. Jonesy and Bird had painstaking run a rope under the hull. While he was out cold they tied one end of this rope to the rope binding Burt’s hands together.
Burt was helped to the side of the ship, and a second rope tied to his feet. Smithy spoke to him. “You’ll go there and back,” he waved his hands to indicate under the ship and back again. “Then you’ll be done. Take a breath.”
Smithy shoved him and he fell over. The men pulled the rope at the other side of the ship, dragging it under the hull and out again. It looked easy but Captain H knew it wasn’t. The rope was heavy and wet. The ship wasn’t moving but the man tied to the rope would be struggling as his body was cut by the crustations on the ship.
“He’s up!” Someone shouted. Peg he thought.
The men dropped the rope and picked up the second rope ready to pull him back under. As they did the rope fell slack.
Smithy looked over the side. “He’s up here too, well his feet are. Cut the line lads, the sea ‘as ‘im.”
With a satisfied smile, Captain H turned and walked back to his cabin, and Martha.
If you liked this please consider buying me a coffee to support my work.