A brutal fantasy tale of piracy, friendship, romance and revenge on the high seas…
The demise of their leader effectively robbed the few remaining Spaniards of any desire to fight. In compliance with the rigid rules of piracy, they were herded into a longboat and provided with water and food. Whether or not they made land was in their own hands.
As the last grizzled veteran climbed into the boat he raised puzzled eyes to where Gobby was halfway up the main mast maniacally waving a huge cutlass he had liberated from the body of a dead sailor.
“Why ain’t that rat dead? I seen the hidalgo run him through. Why ain’t he dead?”
Jack grinned. “Gobby? He is dead. Been dead since forty-four. He’s just too stupid to notice. There’s that many holes in his gut that when he takes a tot of rum it runs out and the fleas get drunk.”
As the longboat pulled away, Jack’s attention was drawn to some sort of a commotion emanating from the forecastle cabin. Bony Mary came out onto the deck with something or someone in her arms. The huge woman appeared to be crying, which was unusual enough to have Jack pushing his way to her side. She was carrying the frail body of a young woman cradled tenderly against her brawny chest.
“Look what the bastard was doing,” she said bitterly. “Just look.”
Jack looked. The young woman was deathly pale, except for her slender neck, which was discoloured by deep bruising and multiple bite marks.
“Oh,” he said softly. “So that was his game.”
“What?” Mary demanded. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying that somebody needs to behead the corpse of the Don. And that we’ll be taking it back home and giving it to the obeah woman to burn. Because, if I’m not mistaken, and I’m not, he was regularly drinking the blood of a virgin in a bid for immortality.”
Mary hissed and one of her ‘girls’ hastened to hack off the corpse’s handsome head. After a few minutes’ effort she stood up holding the head by its immaculately curled hair.
“What now, Jack?”
“Have some of the boys put the body in a sack and load it on the Runner. You lot take the head. We’ll give them to Mama Ouija when we gets home.”
With that decision made, the pirates got down to offloading the treasure and Jack looked with some pity at the girl in Mary’s arms.
“Carry her onto the Runner. There’s nowhere to rest her on the wrecker. She can have my cabin, and one of your girls can stay with her. You, if you like.”
Mary’s smile showed a lot of very white, very even teeth. She patted Jack on the top of his stockinet cap. “For a one-legged dwarf you ain’t a bad sort.”
Jack sighed. “I’m only a half dwarf. If I knew who my father was I reckon I’d be in a mine or a smithy somewhere earning an honest living.” Then he showed his own teeth in a rueful grin. “Or maybe not…”
“At least they built you a decent false leg.”
“The contentious little shits just about had to, as I lost the real one saving their bloody foreman from a rock fall. But that’s all water under the keel. Right now I got work. You take the girl to my cabin and I’ll have someone bring you some wine. Get her to drink it. She needs to rebuild her blood.”
Back on Retiro de Ladrones, Jack made sure Don Carlos was disposed of in such a way as to ensure he couldn’t rise from the dead, then promptly forgot all about him. There was pirating to be done, and he was never more alive then when he stood on the deck of his ship feeling her timbers move through his one good foot and smelling the tang of salt in the air.
There will be more from Bony Mary and her crew next week…