Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 8

The wretched stench of sweat and mold drifted up Sam’s nose when she was forced on board the massive pirate ship. The wood was stained and ocean water collected in small puddles leaving the deck permanently wet. The sails were filled with holes and she wondered how the craft was able to move along the water.

Eyes of the disgusting men gawked at her as she was shoved along the deck. Some of them hooted and hollered, shouting inappropriate things about her and what they would like to do to her. Darrick and the other two were being dragged behind, getting laughed at along the way. They were prisoners of these people now, trapped in what seemed to be a dream. Sam couldn’t figure out how any of it was real, how they could have possibly ran into actual pirates from a day that no longer existed. They were men hell bent on pillaging and scavenging for food or gold or whatever they wanted to get their greasy hands on.

Sam’s heart was pounded as she took in the horrid sights. The soot covered faces, the tattered clothing in desperate need of repair, and the many men with missing teeth who were just gawking at her like she was a massive steak they couldn’t wait to get their hands on. She glanced over her shoulder, locking eyes with Darrick for a brief moment. He was struggling against the grip of the fat man, but couldn’t break free. She wanted to be closer to him, to feel safe with him by her side to protect her. She’d never wanted that with anyone before, but with Darrick things seemed to make sense.
“Get up the stairs!” the tall man, Horse, said holding her arm barked at her with such fierce as she climbed the small flight of stairs.

They creaked under each foot as she ascended. She reached for the railing, then quickly drew her hand back once she saw the blackened pits and mold growing on it in places. The whole ship was a floating tree of decay and she was stuck on with all of her friends.

At the top of the stairs, was the steering wheel with rounded off spokes sticking out of it all around. A decently dressed man stood at the wheel, his back to Sam and the others. His coat was long and black and fairly cleaner than the other clothes she had seen. His hat was wide with two feathers, one black and one grey, sticking out of the band around it. His knee high boots were black to match the rest of his attire and a small amount of light reflected off the dark leather. A ponytail of dark blonde hair hung down to his shoulders, sticking out slightly from under the hat.
“You brought me the prisoners from that vessel.” He spoke in a more articulate manner than the other pirates and his voice sounds much less malicious.

“Aye, sir.” The tall man replied. “Four of ‘em and you might like the look of this one.”

Horse gripped harder on Sam’s arm and moved her body closer to his. She almost had to hold her breath as a rancid smell protruded from his skin and clothes. The captain of the ship slowly spun around, looking at his newly acclaimed prisoners. His dark eyes peering at Rusty, then the sniveling Sarah with red streaks down her face. His eyes locked with Darrick’s and he grimaced in disgust.

He took a step closer to Sam and stopped moving. His breathing quickened as he stared at the familiar beauty before him. He knew those eyes, that long flowing hair, and the porcelain skin that he would never forget.

Sam stared back at him, wondering how this man looked the way he did when he was constantly surrounded by a group of scurvy pirates in desperate need of bathing. He had a kind face and even kinder eyes that seemed to be hiding something. He was younger than Horse, yet was a few years older than herself. He was handsome in that sort of rugged way and, as she stared into his eyes, she no longer felt afraid of him.

“Alissa?” he whispered so quietly, she could barely hear him.

She shook her head and said, “My name is Sam.”

He smiled and passed a glance to Horse who smiled as well. Even though her accent may have changed, her voice was familiar to him and he wanted to hear more of it.

“Take the others to the brig and escort Sam to my quarters.” He ordered and Horse nodded in obedience.

Sarah screamed out for Rusty as her captor dragged her toward the stairs and Rusty willingly went along. Darrick, however, dug his feet into the deck and clawed at the fat man’s arms, shouting at him to stop. He managed to get an arm free and sent a sharp jab with his elbow into fatty’s gut, therefore freeing his other arm. He took a defensive step forward, moving closer to Sam before the captain stepped between them.

“And what the hell do you think you’re doing?” the captain asked, angrily.

“You cannot take Sam.” Darrick argued, just before the fatty grabbed onto his arms again.

The captain took another step forward and latched onto the collar of Darrick’s shirt, bringing their faces within inches apart, “You do not speak to me in such a manner, boy.” He shoved Darrick backwards, hard against the fat man, “Take him to the brig and make sure he doesn’t get out.”

“Aye.” The fat one replied, forcing Darrick away from the captain and down the stairs.

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