Abigail pushed herself farther back into the crack between the big crates where she was hiding. Her heart pounded and she waited, it seemed she’d been waiting forever. It was the silence that bothered her the most. She’d been down in the dark for hours surrounded by such a horrible array of sounds that the near silence seemed worse for the lack. She had no idea what had happened up above, but she knew it wasn’t good.
When they had first spotted the sails on the horizon Captain Maynard had seemed nervous, but he calmed and soothed her and explained it away. Then when the ship had drawn closer, barely visible to the naked eye and the lookout called down her colors the Captain had blanched and instructed Abigail to go into her cabin. She’d been in there for an hour, a nervous wreck, filled with anxiety about her father and about this ship no one would talk to her about.
Then a knock had come to her door, a sailor, pale and grave under his sun bronzed skin had told her the Captain wanted her to go with him. As she passed down into the hold behind him she caught a brief glimpse of the Ship that was in pursuit of them through one of the portholes. It still seemed so far off. She wondered if Captain Maynard wasn’t giving up hope too easily. But she went; her father had taught her to obey the orders of his captains.
She’d been shown this spot, a small space between two well batted down crates with a canvas cover over them both. She crawled into the space, cradling her precious Violin which she’d refused to leave behind in her cabin. And there she’d sat. The creaks of the ship and the settling of the cargo were sounds she was long accustomed to so they faded into nothingness soon. She strained her ears listening for some clue of what was happening above. The usual sounds of a working ship were easy to make out, muffled voices, random thumps and bangs, nothing to tell her what was happening.
She might have dozed, she wasn’t sure. She remembered reflecting that it did take a long time to out run a ship. Then the thought occurred to her that perhaps they had out run the ship and in the confusion they had forgotten they’d stashed her away. She was just about to peek her head out and make her way topsides when a loud boom shook the air followed by an impact and the crashing of timbers. She screamed in the hold, she couldn’t help it. She listened and heard the sounds of men screaming, other men yelling and chaos above. She cradled the Violin close and bit her hand to keep from screaming again. The sounds assaulted her, made worse by their lack of visual. She thought that the screams and the cannons and the dying would never end. But it did.
After far too long the horrible sounds ended and the silence came again. She could hear her heart thumping, her ragged terrified breathing and nothing else. The ship was silent. She tried to slow the terrified whirling of her thoughts but it was difficult. Tears had long since dried on her cheeks and she felt raw all over and her legs were cramped from being crammed into such a small space. She wondered if everyone were dead and if she were drifting in the middle of the ocean on a ship of dead men. These were not good thoughts to have.
She listened some more until she thought she might go mad from it and had just about made up her mind to get out, go above deck and see what had happened when she heard a new sound; the creak of a foot on the steps to the hold. Some instinct held her tongue, made her realize that were it a sailor from her Father’s ship they would have called to her. This quiet, stealthy step meant no good for her. She held herself absolutely still and tried not to breathe. She thought for certain they’d find her by the beating of her heart. Further sounds came to her, each one quiet, each one deliberately muffled. They were searching the hold. She closed her eyes in the dark and prayed with each beat of her heart that they might miss her, might pass her by.
It was not to be so. She had almost come to believe her prayers had been answered when with no warning, the canvas covering of her hiding place was ripped aside and the blinding light of a lamp shone in her eyes. She let out a scream and held her violin close, waiting for the violence to come.
When the look out had spotted the ship on the horizon that had been a round of cheering. It'd been a while since they'd had any action. And even if it was another ship like their own that didn't mean that they couldn't have a little fun with it before things slowed down again. And that was exactly what their captain thought.
William called out orders to the other's, making sure that they weren't going to avoid the other ship. And he was pleased to see that when they got closer that it was indeed not another pirate ship. It was always a good time for a nice little raid. That's what he'd loved about being a pirate and he was going to be damned if he gave that up when it was so easily presented to him. He even enjoyed that they were starting to give a bit of a chase, but there was no way that they were going to out sail his ship. No way at all.
He stood near the wheel with his helmsman, watching the canon fire and the muzzle blasts that came from the muskets. He didn't move towards any of the action until the boarding planks had been thrown across and he charged with his men across to the other ship, cutting down anyone that put up a protest. Though they were wise and most of them surrender to at least save their lives if not the cargo or freedom.
His men searched the cargo hold and the below deck areas of the ship as he waited. The one who'd uncovered the girl who was hidden there let out a startled sound for just a moment. He was young, not used to this sort of thing. The other men laughed at him and one of the older ones came over to see what he'd found. "Lil spider gonna jump out at ya and startle ya next to too?" he said as stopped in front of the boxes and looked down. "Oh now, what do we 'ave here? Pretty little lass all hid up under a tarp?"
He reached down and took hold of her arm and pulled her roughly up to her feet, not letting her gain her own footing. "That that ...thing from her..." he said to the younger man, he doing as he was told before the older man dragged the girl after him giving no mind to her struggles, to the ladder well down in to the ship. "Captain got a surprise for ya!" he called before he pushed the girl up the ladder ahead of him.
Will turned his head back from the discussion that he'd been having been in conversation with his first mate about what they should do with the men they had tided up just now. He looked towards the opening, waiting for whatever it was that was his surprise to appear, big hands resting heavily on his scimitar, the slight splater of blood over his already freckle splatered faced and dingy off white shirt.
Abigail felt herself being dragged out of her hidey hole roughly, coarse men surrounded her and one even pulled the violin out of her hands. She dove for it, shrieking as he took her prized possession but when she saw she wasn’t going to get it back and that further struggle might make the clumsy oaf damage it she subsided. She shot him a hate filled glare was largely ignored. The older of the two men pushed her down the hall towards the ladder that led up. At the bottom of the ladder she was roughly shoved up. She tearfully climbed feeling vulnerable with the two coarse men below her. As she climbed one of the men followed her up, calling “Captain got a surprise for ya!”
All sorts of possible fates for her swam through her mind, none of them good. When she reached the top of the Ladder, she was roughly seized again and she heard a chorus of cat calls and crude remarks. The sunlight hit her eyes and she had to blink her eyes rapidly, because of the tears but also because of her long stay in the dark hold. As her vision began to clear, she squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. She would not cow before these ruffians who plagued the sea, opportunists who profited by taking goods from honest men like her father. She looked across the deck at the man to whom every else looked now that the surprise of her arrival had worn off.
She found him surprising. He was tall and broad shouldered and surprisingly clean cut among this rough band of men. His clothing had seen better days, even before the fresh spatter of blood that decorated it and he didn’t seem the sort to hold the command of these men, but as they all looked to him what else was she to think? Beyond them on the deck was a group of her father’s sailors, tied and gagged. Among them, much to her relief was Captain Maynard. She snapped her eyes back to the leader of this pack of rats and addressed him in the iciest tones she could manage.
“By what right do you attack this ship? I demand you let me and my father’s men go this instant. I shall have the queens navy down on your throat for this.”
She knew it was futile, she knew she sounded foolishly brave and that they would only laugh at her but she refused to be meek for these carrion crows. She held her chin aloft and waited to see what this scoundrel would say.
The pirate captain stood looking down at the girl they'd tossed at his feet. She had a mouth on her that was for sure. Feisty and full of spirit. And pretty. Also obviously very rich by her actions and clothes. And she'd said it was her father's ship. Maybe she'd be a nice little addition to his crew for a bit. A sly smile spreed up his lips before he laughed out loud at her.
"Oh dalrin'," he said as his laugh died down to a chuckle. "I don't need any kind of rights to attack anything. I'm a pirate, that's what we do. We even attack each other. There's no honor among thieves, right? And at this moment, you don't have any power to put behind those silly demands and threats of yours." He smiled still, and slipping from the pommel of his scimitar as he paced forward, keeping his eyes only on the girl in front of him.
"Wanna know why?" he pressed, reaching out and pulling the girl towards him him, then wiping away a smug on her cheek from her tears. "Because I'm the captain of this ship now. I'm your captain now. And you can holler and threaten all you want. But no queen's might, no father's men, and no one else is going to stop me from doing what I want. The only authority around here is mine and who ever I deem worthy enough to give it to."
He looked away from her at least, barking orders over his shoulder at his first mate and few others. The ship was then buzzing with busy men going about taking what they thought of value and moving it over to the ship they'd come in on. He looked back to Abigail, smiling at her with an plan flashing in his eyes. "Now follow him over," he started, his first mate appearing at his side to take the girl away, "and say 'yes captain, thank you for sparing me.' " He knew he was being very cocky, knew he wasn't being horribly like himself with her, but he liked to play this kind of game of matching tongues and wit with someone and it was rare that he got anyone around him to do that, let alone a pretty girl.
She stared at him as those awful taunting words fell out of his mouth. Her eyes narrowed and she felt heat fill her. She knew she was about to lose her temper, it had happened before and every time it had gotten her little but trouble but every time she had seemed unable to stop herself. This time was no exception.
When he demanded that she call him captain and thank him she lost it. Moving faster than she thought possible, her arm snaked back and she slapped him with all her might. There was a satisfying “crack” that fell into one of those rare moments of silence and everyone turned to stare. She watched with satisfaction as a perfect red handprint started to form on his cheek.
She straightened her shoulders and looked him in the eyes, her green ones alight with fury.
“I understand perfectly well that you have me at a disadvantage. There is little I can do to stop you from doing what you want to do. But you are a fool if you think I will passively sit by and watch it happen. You are an even bigger fool if you think I will thank you for it.”
She turned, walked over to the fool who had taken her violin snatched it from him before he could react and turned to Captain Maynard who was tied and gagged.
“Captain Maynard, please do not trouble my Father with this detail. If something must be done, please address his solicitors about it.”
She turned and moved back to the man who had been directed to take her across. She stood in front of him and gestured for him to lead the way; she never once bothered to look at the “captain” as she went.
Will was rather surprised by the smack to the face. He'd said a lot of things to get him smacked over the years, but not normally so fast and for so little as that. Oh she had a temper that had a fuse shorter than his. And he would have probably hit her back without thinking about it if he hadn't been so damn shocked that she'd slapped him in the first place.
He was too busy looking at the spot where she'd been to react to her storming off to grab her possession back from the other pirate and stormed off across the deck. "I didn't hear my thank you!" he snapped as she climbed over the boarding planks.
With something of a growl he turned back to look at the assembled men. "Who wants to join my crew? Any one who chooses to remain a law abiding slave to the crown is singing their death sentence." He looked horribly serious about his threat, it coupled with his anger about what Abagail had just done to him and he was not in the mood to play with fools.
The first mate that walked behind her was chuckling under his breath. He was a few years older than the captain was, obviously not one for captaining himself or he could of been running the crew himself. He was just what came inherited when one man took over the leading of the ship. "Miss I'd watch do things like that if you'd like to not be down in the brig with the other smell sea rats. You keep you temper down and he'll let you stay in his room which is a much better fat for your senses even if you can't stand his presence."
She cast a scornful look over her shoulder. She supposed the man was just trying to be helpful but her temper was up and she hadn’t had a chance to soothe herself and wasn’t likely to get one. She supposed in a situation like this anger was an armor she could ill afford to lose.
She turned to the man and said in tones dripping with ice, “I have no intention of being civil to that brigand, rats or no.”
She said as she stepped off of the plank and onto the deck of the pirate ship. She kept her face hard and refused to wipe at the tear tracks that tightened on her skin as the wind dried them. She had no more tears for now.
“My cabin is the one to the left of the Captain Maynard’s,” she said. “I will need some things. I suppose you will be raiding my Jewelry box but as you’ll have no use for my dresses I want them brought to me as well as my toiletries.”
She looked at him and waited, as if impatient for her orders to be carried out. It was time to set the tone for this little adventure.
The first mate held his ground looking at her as she gave out orders. He looked like he was taking them well, like he might actually convey those orders over to one of the other and get her things brought over to her. He nodded his head some and smiled at her. "Not a chance," he said still with that smile on his face. He was a nice guy, nicer than most of the crew and frankly far nicer than most of the pirates you'd ever met. But he knew that that wasn't going to happen. And the only chance that she'd see her things again they would be being torn to shreds and burned by the captain's orders.
He stepped forward towards her, taking hold of her arm and started walking her back towards where she was suppose to be going. "I'm a nice guy, don't get me wrong, but that is not going to happen. What also is not going to happen is you bossing me around, either. I have not spent all of my life working my way to this position to have two captains." He pushed her more, not hard, but encouraging her to move back and get on her way. "You'd be best to learn to keep those orders to yourself from now on. This isn't your father's ship anymore and there is no one below you in rank."
The man walked her along and up the steps to the upper deck where the captain and his quarters were at. He pushed open a door into a short hall with other doors, walking her down to the very last one and into a very nicely furnished room with a big bed and one smaller one tucked above a set of drawers below a window.
He smiled at her again as there was sounds coming from outside the door again, the other's returning with the goods and any of the men who decided to join them. "Stay put, keep your mouth shut, and if you touch anything, I'm sure the captain won't hesitate in cutting off your hand. So don't. Really, miss, you're best off to learn you place." And with that and a final little push into the room he closed and locked the door on her.
“Really miss, you're best off to learn you place.”
The words echoed through her head as she stared at the closed door. She knew the wisdom of the words, she really was powerless here. But it had felt good to try and she refused to regret the attempt. Her anger bubbled inside her and she took a few deep breaths to steady herself. She needed to calm down, and fast. She hugged her violin case to her chest, grateful that it hadn’t been taken back. That detail at least was worth the effort of gaining control.
She turned and looked around the room; it was well appointed and surprisingly clean. She with an eye for a place to sit and perch and immediately ruled out the big bed. It would be far too improper for her to sit on what was clearly the bed of the Beast who orchestrated this whole mess.
She walked to the small bed that sat below a window and climbed up. She looked out and saw nothing but the empty sea behind the boat. That was something of a relief. She took out her violin and with practiced fingers ran the bow over the strings. She quickly tuned it and without preamble launched into an angry song, nothing written, but a quick flurry of notes she threw together. This is how she calmed and soothed herself when her temper got the better of her. She kept her eyes closed and played from her heart, soothing her temper and filling the time until someone came and told her what was to be done with her.
Will stood outside the door to his room and listened to her play. It sounded very angry, like he expected that she was. He'd be angry too if he was in her place. But he wasn't, so he was just horribly amused about the whole thing. And she wasn't half bad either. He could probably get her to, if by force, to play for the rest of the crew and hopefully keep them calm and calm enough about having a woman on board.
He let her go on for a few more minutes before he pushed open the door to his room after unlocking it and stepped into with a sly smile on his face. So many thing popped into his head to say and none of them were nice or un-perverted. Not that it would really matter, she'd have to hear them and he didn't care if she was bothered by his words or passes at her. Eventually she'd cave in. He closed the door loudly to get her attention since her eyes were closed and he tossed what looked like a pile of clothes onto his bed.
"You gonna be my cabin boy now?" he asked with no attempt to cover over some of the less innocent meaning in those words. He took heavy steps over to stand in front of her, making sure that there was no way that she could get away from him just that moment.