Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 17

Midnight arrived. The steady rocking of the ship on the ocean eased Sarah and Rusty into a deep slumber. Rusty held her in his arms on the captain’s comfortable bed and their quiet snores filled the cabin.

Sam stared through the window at the moon’s reflection the water. Everything was quiet and serene. She couldn’t hear the crewmen working or anybody wandering above deck. The captain was elsewhere on the ship, he didn’t specify where exactly he’d be, but he wasn’t in the room with her.

She looked to her sleeping friends and took a deep, nervous breath in. They seemed so peaceful with their eyes closed and their minds taking them to a better place known as dreamland. As quietly as she could, Sam stood from the chair and tiptoed across the floor to the door. She wrapped her fingers around the knob and slowly twisted until the latch was released and the door swung open. She glanced at her friends once more before stepping into the empty corridor.

The hall was lit only by three candle sconces on the wall. The glass covers were cracked but they held together through the rocking of the ship. They lit the hallway enough for Sam to see as she quickly moved to the stairs to go above deck.

Darrick was out there somewhere, she was sure of it. She needed to find him and see that he was okay. Sneaking out in the middle of the night on a ship where she didn’t know her bearings wasn’t ideal, but she couldn’t just sit around while Darrick suffered because Flint was threatened by him.

The stairs creaked quietly under her feet as she ascended to the deck of the ship. She could hear men’s voices talking amongst themselves and giving orders to someone who never said a word. Sam clung to the wall and poked her head around the corner at the top of the stairs to get a look around.

Three men were standing by the mast drinking from a tall, clear bottle with brown liquid inside. Two others were standing at the bow of the ship, giving orders to a younger man she instantly recognized.

“Darrick.” She whispered, keeping her eyes on him.

They were treating him like a slave, forcing him to do the work they didn’t want to and were laughing about. They pushed him away until he stumbled into the railing and caught himself. Then the pirates walked to their friends by the mast and joined in the rum drinking.

Sam took this short opportunity to make a run for Darrick. She waited till the men weren’t looking, then stepped into the moonlight and speed across the deck toward Darrick.

Flint came out of nowhere, appearing before her like he knew she was coming, “What are you doing out here at such a late hour, darling?”

Sam opened her mouth to soak but her eyes were staring at Darrick. He noticed what was going on and was about to approach the situation. Flint had a gun and a sword attached to a belt at his waist which he had easy access to. He could take Darrick out in a second and Sam couldn’t let that happen.

“I was looking for you. I saw how beautiful the moon was on the ocean and wanted to see it with you.” She replied, speaking to the captain.

Darrick watched and listened. He saw how nervous she was and wanted to save her. He was at a disadvantage and would wind up killed in the process.

Flint smiled at Sam and said, “It is wonderful being at sea this time of night. The stars are even brighter out here. But they cannot match the beauty you bring to my world.”

Sam forced a smile to her lips and said, “Then let’s stare up at the stars and let the wonder if this night take over.”

Darrick’s heart was beating nervously as he watched Flint take Sam’s hand in his and walked to the railing in the opposite side of the ship. Sam glanced over her shoulder and caught Darrick’s eye. He needed to save her soon or else his time on the ship would run out.

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