Martha woke with a scream.
Cannon fire. She was going to die. A prisoner on a pirate ship.
She could hear men shouting but couldn’t make out what they were saying. Her hands were still bound and the rope was once again secured to the wall.
She remembered the spanking and flushed. She thought that she would hurt, but she didn’t. She remembered childhood spankings, for fighting with the neighborhood children, and, she’d always been unable to sit for at least a day. But then again, she thought, last night’s spanking hadn’t really hurt.
She could hear steps approaching, and the key turned in the lock. The Captain came into the room.
“Good,” he said grimly, ” you’re awake. Relieve yourself quicky you’re needed on deck.”
He untied her hands leaving the rope attached to the wall and waited for her to use the privy. Wordlessly Martha got off the bed and relieved herself. She saw little point in resisting, he’d seen her naked and she flushed again remembering her last visit to the privy. She noticed for the first time there was a basket of rags next to the privy. They had not been there yesterday, she was sure.
“I had those made from scraps we had,” he said, “Smithy tells me his wife finds them useful in keeping herself fresh. You can wash and reuse them,” he continued, pointing at the bucket half filled with water in the corner next to where the bowl had been yesterday.
Martha freshened herself, puzzled by his thoughtfulness, again, and wondered if this Smithy’s wife was on board. Maybe she would help her escape this, this, pirate. Monster didn’t seem to fit somehow. Her brow furrowed.
“Come,” he said and motioned for her to proceed him out of the room. She walked through the corridor past two doors one either side of her and towards the door at the end. This, she knew, would open onto the main deck.
The door opened as she approached it, and the sun, high in the sky blinded her. She raised her hand in front of her eyes as she stepped forward, shielding her face as best she could. The man holding the door open murmured something that sounded like “Cap-em” as The Captain passed him and she flinched as she felt a hand on the small of her back propelling her forward. The Captain guided her to turn and indicated that she should climb the ladder to the upper deck.
Unaccustomed to the bright light and bare feet, Martha stumbled a little, but The Captain’s hand kept her steady. She reached the Upper deck and looked around. There was another ship just a short distance away and with surprise Martha recognised it. It was ‘The Fany’.
Martha turned to look at The Captain questioningly. He pointed to the mizzen mast… Martha followed his arm and froze. Her Da was tied to it. His face red with rage. As he saw her his anger boiled over.
“Ya filthy whore!” Spital dribbled down his chin. “Wha’ filthy lies have ya bin telling these braggarts. Why am I here?”
His gaze fell on The Captain who was now leaned against the rail.
“Why am I here? You wanted ‘er,” he shouted at him, sneering. “If she didn’t please ya it’s not my fault, I’ve tried teachin’ ‘er respect bu’ she’s alus bin headstrong, like ‘er Ma.” He looked around wildly, “surely tha can bring a wench to heal or is thee in need of instruction in how ta train a lass?” Her Da laughter mirthlessly and leered at The Captain who ignored him and turned to Martha.
“I told you the man who hurt you would be punished and I am a man of my word Martha,” he said quietly. “I have few rules Martha but one is that women are never harmed by me or my crew.” He raised his voice now so everyone could hear. ” This man laid hand on my prize. What be his punishment?”
There were several shouts.. ‘flog ‘im,’ ‘haul ‘im,’ but the voice she heard clearest came from behind her, ‘take his hand and send him back.’
Martha turned to look at who had spoken. It was an older man. He too, seemed relaxed. He had an air of authority, not unlike The Captain. This was Smithy she thought.
The men seemed to agree with him for shouts of agreement were coming from the main deck.
Her Da was quiet, Martha stole a glance at The Captain then she looked at her Da. He was pale, sunken looking. She thought of all the times he had beat her, her Ma and her sister. She often thought he’d killed Cathy for he’d threatened to many a time, but her Ma swore she’d ran off.
The Captain walked slowly towards him and Smithy joined him. Between them they tied a rope around her Da’s right fore arm. Her Da had resumed his cursing, now aimed at the two men. He spat at Smithy and a third man shoved a rag into her Da’s mouth. He used a piece of rope to secure it into his mouth and at the same time, his head to the mast, effectively silencing the diatribe that had been spewing forth. The rope secure around his arm about 2 inches above his wrist, Smithy looped the rope around the rail on the poop deck, and pulled, forcing his arm out straight. Her Da was sobbing now… Fear plain on his face.. The Captain whispered something to him and her Da looked at him, his eyes wide with terror, then her Da looked directly at her. Something passed across his face, but Martha couldn’t place it.
The Captain drew his sword and with a single motion her Da’s hand fell to the deck.
Martha, her eyes wide felt her stomach turn and she ran to the side of the ship.. her stomach was empty but she dry heaved over the side. Her legs gave way and she fell to her knees. There was a ringing in her ears, the world spun as everything went black.