Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 31

Sam ran for Darrick. Her heart raced as she listened to the thunder clapping overhead. It grew loud right along with the shouting coming from the pirates.

She ducked out of sight of the men surrounding Flint and Alissa. Darrick had been thrown to the floor and was slowly pushing himself to his feet when Sam rushed to his side. She reached for his arm and helped him stand. Instead of wasting time by asking how each other was, they moved away from the crowd.

Jonah was waiting for them by the door leading to the captain’s quarters. He seemed frantic and in a hurry, desperately trying to pry open the door to release the others. The knife in his hand was weak and the metal was bending as he used it to pry the door open. It took a few tries, but the latch eventually gave way and the door swung open.

“C’mon we gotta go!” Jonah shouted to the two prisoners hiding inside.

Rusty grabbed Sarah’s hand and ran with her to the doorway. With tears in her eyes, Sarah braced herself for the fighting on deck. She stayed close to her man and glanced to Sam, making sure her best friend was okay.

Lighting flashed brightly through the sky and Jonah said to the others, “We don’t have much time. We need to find a boat and get the hell off this ship.”

Metal clanked from the sword fighting pirates across deck. Many of them were too busy watching their captains battle to the death to pay attention to the escaping prisoners. They shouted and cheered after each time the swords banged together.

They kept their feet light as they raced across the deck toward a lifeboat attached to the starboard side of the ship. Jonah knew exactly what to do and got to work getting the ropes untied and the boat ready to be lowered. He urged the others to climb inside while he and Rusty worked with the pulleys.

Flint shouted in pain and Sam looked over her shoulder. He had fallen to the floor with blood gushing from a wound on his shoulder. Alissa’s blade had sliced him clear to the bone and she stood over him with a happy rage on her face.

“Sam,” Darrick called to get her attention, “We have to go.”

She nodded, but felt something holding her back. An unknown force kept her in place, unable to leave the man to die so she and her friends could get away.

She stepped away from the lifeboat and found a dead pirate on the floor a few feet away. A gun was stuck in his grip and she snatched up, then stepped toward the group of pirates. She raised the weapon and took aim, letting the sharp blast fill her ears and end the cheering from the men.

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Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 30

Sam kept the barrel of the pistol pressed against her temple. Her heart raced and her hands trembled. Her eyes never broke with Darrick’s and she feared what she thought she had to do in order to save him and their friends.

Darrick’s eyes pleaded with her not to do anything crazy. He was being held down by one of Alissa’s men, unable to break free and rush for Sam. For a woman he barely knew, he already had strong feelings for her, enough to never want anything bad to happen to her. He needed to protect and felt weak knowing he couldn’t at that moment.

Flint gripped the handle of the sword as his eyes darted back and forth between Sam and Darrick. He saw the love building in their eyes and knew she would never feel that way for him. He turned his gaze to the amused Alissa and grimaced. The woman he had loved for so long seemed like a stranger invading his ship.

He turned toward her and steadied his hand with the sword. The longer he stared at the beauty on her face and the hatred gleaming in her eyes, the more she became the enemy he needed to destroy. He was the captain of that ship and Alissa was trying to take it over. He grit his teeth, tightened his fingers around the hilt of the sword and stepped forward.

Lightning took over the sky and the wind steadily picked up. Flint let his feet rush to Alissa and he wrapped his arm around her body and held the sword to her throat. In one swift movement, all of her men raised their weapons at Flint, completely taking their guard away from Sam and Darrick.

“This ship belongs to me!” Flint shouted. “I will not have you and your pathetic excuse for men destroy it. Either all of you leave or I’ll kill you Alissa.”

Alissa chuckled and said, “You drive a horrible bargain, Flint. I’m sure you don’t want to start a war between us here.”

“Then leave.” He replied, turning his eyes to Sam, directing his speech to her. “Take your men and get off my ship.”

Sam raised an eyebrow out of confusion and the gun slowly lowered away from her head. She noticed that the other pirates paid her no attention and Darrick had been released. Flint shouted an order to leave once more and she quietly jumped down from the railing.

Alissa’s men had them surrounded with their weapons raised high. They were ready for a fight to the death to win whatever battle would start between the conflicting captains. Flint’s own men prepared themselves, gathered whatever sword and gun they could find, and inched closer to the enemy.

Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 28

Lightning took over the sky with thunderous roars erupting in their ears. The clouds weren’t threatening with rain or an oncoming storm. The wind wasn’t picking up nor were the ocean’s waves getting more intense. It was strangely calm during the bright flashes of light.

Sam continued her struggle against the tight grip of the pirate’s hand. She managed to free her right arm and dug her fingernails into the skin of his arm still clasping on. She clawed him enough to break the skin and blood began trickling down, but he still held on. She glanced to the sword fight for a short moment and her heart raced faster.

Darrick was able to block another blow coming from Flint. He held the sword with shaky hands, feeling weaker by the minute. He was short of breath and knew he wouldn’t last much longer. The gash on his arm still bled and the pain radiated through his entire body.

Flint stood strong, cracking his neck from side to side. He saw that his opponent was wavering and soon he would fall. Then he’d get the chance to make the last strike and Sam would be his forever.

He stepped closer to Darrick and took another swing which was blocked, “You’re getting tired, boy. You might as well give up and let fate take its course.”

Darrick shook his head, swung the blade wildly through the air, and said, “I’ll die before I ever give up.”

Flint laughed and stepped out of range so Darrick couldn’t hit him. Darrick sliced the air again with his sword, spinning around with his arms. Flint stepped back and Darrick missed once more, but this time Flint struck his back with the handle of the sword. Darrick cried out in pain and dropped to his knees. Flint kicked him down and the sword slipped from his grasp. Before Darrick could reach for it, another pirate kicked it away.

Flint laughed deeper and moved to stand in front of the boy, “It looks like you’ll be dying sooner than you think.”

Sam pried on the pirate’s fingers until his grip finally loosened. Before he could grab onto her again, she slammed her elbow into his gut and dashed away. She pushed through the crowd, moving away from the fight. She stole something from a fat man’s belt, he didn’t notice, and she got away.

Darrick stared at the shiny blade mere inches from his face. Sweat beaded on his forehead and he awaited what was to come. He searched the faces for Sam, only so he could see her one last time. She wasn’t there and he began to wonder where she went.

A loud whistle burst through the air, catching the attention of the pirates, including Flint. Everyone spun around and faced the cause of the noise. Sam stood on the railing of the ship, appearing strong and beautiful. She held something in her hand, pressing the barrel of it to the right side of her head.

Pirates of Hardwood

Chapter 27

Darrick raised the sword over his head just in time to stop the blow coming from Flint’s blade. The steel clanked together, the sound echoed through the air all around them. His heart was pounding harder than he’d ever felt as he stared into the eyes of a man wanting to kill him.

It took all of his strength to push Flint away. The man stammered back a pace or two then laughed at the fear he saw on the boy’s face. He brought the sword up and sliced it through the air once more.

Darrick saw the move coming and jumped backwards to get out of range. He heard the sword cutting the air mere inches from his chest. He tightened his grip on his weapon and swallowed the fear rising in his throat. He took an angry step forward and swung the sword like a baseball bat.

Flint blocked the hit with his sword and threw a return. The blade struck Darrick’s arm, slicing a long gash into his skin. He grunted from the pain, but fought through it. He glanced at his arm and saw the blood, then his eyes drifted to Sam.

There were tears in her eyes as she struggled against the pirates grip. She pried at his fingertips but to no avail. Darrick knew he had to win for her.

Lightning lit up the clouds in the sky, scattering across the heavens like a spider web. Sam looked up and saw the familiarities between that lightning and what they saw the night before the pirates showed up. She had a feeling that they might be connected. She struggled harder against the grip of the giant man while Flint and Darrick fought for their lives.

“I have to stop this.” Sam whispered to herself and her mind jumped into action.