A brutal fantasy tale of piracy, friendship, romance and revenge on the high seas…
In a surprisingly short time, the choppers reckoned the wreck to be free. Jack couldn’t hear what they had to say, but their gestures were interesting as they cajoled, or bullied, the Spanish contingent into putting their shoulders to the wreck. They must have all pushed together as the skeleton of the Santa Hosefina shot out of the clutches of the reef like a cork out of one of the bottles of fizzy wine the hidalgos so prized. The pieces of ship floated quite nicely, which was more than could be said for the mercenaries, most of whom still wore their steel breastplates. It looked as though the sailors on the reef were trying to reason with Gobby in the matter of the fate of the sinking Spaniards.
Jack mentally wished them good luck with that little project, before turning his attention to the approach of the Pink Pig. He knew he need not worry, and that Mary’s seamanship was of the highest order, and she was at the wheel herself, but he had just seen a ship tear herself apart on the unforgiving coral. He had to force himself to breathe as the Pig manoeuvred her nose into the gap. Almost before he had chance to really worry the sleek little barque was bobbing gently in the quiet water of the lagoon. The crew furled sails before ‘out oars’ was called.
As soon as she came alongside, Jack leaped aboard.
“Nice sailing love.”
Mary grinned. “A bit less dramatic than yours. Or the eeejit in charge of the galleon. What was he thinking of?”
One of the huddled sailors spoke up. “Gold. He were thinking of gold. A lot of gold.”
“That’d do it.”
Jack wandered over to where Don Esteban lay tied hand and foot and with the beginnings of a prizewinning bruise blooming on the white skin of his jaw.
“I’m glad you belted him, love, but I’m curious to know why.”
“Oh him. See the sailor over there with the bandaged leg?”
“Well. Your proud hidalgo there slashed him so he’d bleed in the water and attract the sharks. If it hadn’t been that you’re so set on killing him yourself I’d have made his face bleed and chucked him in the water as shark-bait hisself.”
“Oh he is a brave nobleman ain’t he. Do you think he’s still asleep? Or is he pretending?”
Mary’s grin grew just a bit vicious and she snapped out an order. Two of her brawny girls picked up the hogtied nobleman and carried him to the side of the boat. They tied a rope around his ankles and threw him into the sea headfirst. After a minute or so they pulled him up sufficiently so they could see his furious face. Mary looked at Jack.
“I reckon he’s awake now.”
“I reckon he is my love. Would you mind telling the girls not to hurry pulling him in. We fight an hour before sunset. Once I’ve killed his ass for him we should be able to catch the turning tide and get our ships out of this lagoon.”
Mary snapped a sarcastic salute and Jack retaliated by pulling her head down to his level and kissing her with embarrassing thoroughness. She came up for air with pink cheeks and slightly unfocused eyes.
“I’ll get you for that Jack Stainless,” she promised.
He grinned unrepentantly and leapt back onto his own ship.
One of Mary’s bolder girls looked at her captain and winked. “You bit off a mouthful with that one. If you ever needs a hand…”
Mary laughed and aimed a halfhearted blow. “That’n’s mine. Hands off.”
“It weren’t my hands I was thinking of.”
There will be more from Bony Mary and her crew next week…
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