A gleam of light slivers itself into my eyes, and I blink myself awake. A stress on my wrist makes me sore, where as my ankles are bound together as well. The ground beneath me is wet and wooden, and a sticky substance is glued to the left side of my face, making the left eye sting. A fly buzzes by and lands on me as if I were a dead piece of meat.
A rocking sensation makes my head tremble with unbearable pains to my head.
The light source was a small crack in the darkness, perhaps in a wall next to me.
Tip. Tap. Tip. Tap. Tip. Tap.
Droplets are dripping nearby. Not so near that it hits my face, but close enough that it’s not the echo that I hear.
Wait. Scratch that.
Tip. Tap. TIp. TAp. TIP. TAP.
The sound comes closer, and nearer and closer, and nearer until the leather of worn boots are skinning my face. They nudge the back of my head and body twists to see the owner of the ragged boots.
A women of high caliber leers at me with a single cocked eyebrow. Carefully, with my arms bounds together, push myself up, and sit as well as I can without tipping over. I strain my eyes to examine her in the cold darkness of wherever the hell I was. She was, not really what I would say short, but actually shorter than short. She was miniaturized. The arms crossed on her, make her chest stick out in a way where she looked as if she was pouting. The shadow of her curls reminded me of a firework in mid burst. The light that was cast on her face, was like a slit, so I could only see her piercing jade eyes.
“Get up.” She commands in a way where her voice could see right through me. My hands tremble from her voice ringing in my ears.
Who knew that those two words could inflict so much fear?
“But, um miss,-” I pause, and rethink what I’m about to say. Best case scenario? She does it. Worst case? She doesn’t. Fuck it, let’s do it. “-my feet and hands are bound so it would be excruciating to get up. . .”
She is silent for what seems like a million years.
I done fucked up now.
And then. . .
And then an eruption of laughter utters from her lips. It’s starts off with a slight grunt, then a couple of chuckles and escalates into a full on hearty laugh.
Perplextion finds itself on my face and it was like a question mark formed next to my face. My head cocks to the side as if I were to inquire about her laughter. And after a bit, her laughter begins to slow, and she stops and smiles.
She kneels down, so that we are inches from each other.
“Ya know, young lassie, most grown men, some twice your size, some have LOOKED into the face of death and haven’t trembled, would be scared out of their wits. But you. You haven’t even shaken at all.”
Maybe it’s because I have no idea who the hell you are lady!
“And I, will give you mercy for that. Why hell! The world needs more strong ladies like us to show who’s boss!” A snort chuckle grumbles in her throat.
Why, isn’t she so happy go lucky.
She reaches into her pocket and grabs my knife. Wait. WAIT. MY KNIFE?
“Hold still, this won’t hurt unless you’re going to squirm around. Then, you may lose a finger or two.” She laughs as if that was the funniest joke in the entire seas.
My blade cuts through the thickly and tightly tied ropes around my wrists as if it were paper being ripped in half. She moves onto my ankles, and again, with ease, the ropes are split.
I roll my wrists in circles, because, well, who knew that arm cramps could be that bad. I do the same for my ankles.
When I look up again, her arm is extended towards me in means of helping me, and I gratefully take it. We walk towards a cracked doorway, and I can feel my feet slosh through a layer of water in this place. The floor creaks after every step I take.
Click. Clack. Click. Clack.
The sound of her boots makes it seems as if they were heeled, and it’s like a light in this pitch blackness that I’m wandering about in. My boots, however, are the deafening creaking sounds followed by each step I take.
“Watch ye step,” the mysterious lady growls. Her growl was more of a deep voice erupting from her throat, but with a gurgling ending. It had a hint of sincerness, and warning, and yet it was as if she was hiding the fact that she was looking out for me. I guess you could say that she was shy about her motherly nature. Well, that’s all I could tell, for I still had no idea who this lady was.
I feel a plank of wood inches from the ground as I follow her, and I take the steps up.
“One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve.-” I mumbled to myself, as I counted the amount of stairs. I stop on the twelfth, as the lady had stopped too. Her arm twists, and opens a dook.
The soft pale light streams in, and I see the deck of a ship rocking back and forth. The moonlight was like light streaming from stained glass in the religious houses. Colors danced around my feet, and I felt like a child again with the light.
My words tip over each other. “W-Wait, h-h-ho-ld U-P MISS! I HAVE TO GO BACK!” I stumble a little, and my foot slips, and I crash down those twelve stairs.
“Ye, now’ I can’t have no time a wastin’ cause I gotta get me and me crew outta here! And well, ye lassie seemed like ye had no nothin’ to get back to! So me crew and me took a likin’ to ye and brought ye aboard. Better to be here then out in the streets, ye?” She moves up again, and steps onto the deck of this godforsaken threshold.
Shock and frustration erupts onto my face. I can feel my face boil, and my hands clench into fists. Tears begin to well up in the corners of my eyes, and I quickly wipe them away, for the sake of not showing weaknesses. I jump up and race up the stairs again.
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. And into the open, until I stand about arms length from her bosom.
. . .
“Papa! Papa! A kid hurt me! H-he tr-i-iped me and- and,” My seven year old self wails. His eyebrows furrow and I can see him grip the ends of his armrests. They relax again and his smooth slikey voice coaxes me.
“Wipe your tears away, and straighten that back. Show them Zeliana. Show them that whatever the hell they do, you won’t back down. And they should back off. But not with your fists, with your words.”
I rub my tears away, and stand up straighter that I had ever done before. I can still feel the tears form in the blackness of my eyes.
. . .
“HOW? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME? I HAVE A HOME! I HAVE A FAMILY! I HAVE A PLACE TO GO BACK TO!” Words spill out of me before I can really think about what I say.
A confused look turns onto her face for a split second, and then it becomes neutral. No sign of anger, or passion, or sadness. None, whatsoever. And then she opens her mouth.
“Well, if you want to go home that badly, then jump off this ship, and swim back.” The threatening tone makes me shiver and regret everything I ever said. I shrink back and step away with my head held down, in shame. The tears I wiped away seem to form again and I don’t bother to wipe them again.
“I’m sorry.” I whisper in a barely audible voice. “I’m sorry.” My knees weaken, and I slump down. I hear her shoes begin to move away, and I know in that moment, that I truly am alone. For good. My head tucks under in between my knees and my hands start shaking.
And for the longest time all I could hear was the sniffling from my nose, and the water crashing on the side of the vessel.
Splash. Crash. And all those other background noises. In my head I could hear an imaginary clock.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
The insufferable sound of it made me feel like jumping into the ocean was the only way to get out of this impossible to solve situation. And then, the oh-so-familiar sound of clickly-clack heeled worn out boots started approaching.
Click. Clack. Click. Clack. ClICK. ClACK. CLICK. CLACK. And then?
And the silence.
I look up, with my puffy red eyes, and see her powerful legs behind a rusty bucket with sea rocks running along the edges.
I look up some more, and see her a soft smile, and a warming gaze upon her face. And then her mouth opens.
“Ok, ye’ ca complain all ya’ want, but yer gunna hava to do a workin’ here and a thar’ to be on this baby until we bring ye’ back a home? So get ya butt up, and starts a mopin’. When ya done’ find me, or chat with Phon-” She point to a familiar looking guy.
Wait. Isn’t he? Oh fuck. He is.
His all too familiar cocky smile, and long ponytail behind him, made him all too familiar. He was wearing a dark brown vest, unbuttons, so his loose shirt underneath tumbled out a bit. The shirt was a cream color, and was tucked into a pair of flowy pants. A distinct bandage was wrapped around his right thigh. Hints of blood in the messy wrapping hits my gut feeling, and I feel guilty all over again.
“Me or le lassie will take ye to yer bunk area. dosn’t matter none if ye is a lass or un lassie, but yer all gunna hava sleep in the same decking below! So the faster ye wash le deck, the faster yer gunna hava been able to sleep. Oh, here ya, I kept a hold on yer belonging strung on ye belt so ye wont get yer crap stolen.”
She tosses me my handy man’s belt (a belt lined with pockets and hooks for easy slipping for small trinkets and tiny knives), and for the first time that day, I realized that my familiar weight on my hips wasn’t there. My eyes no longer feel puffy, and instead I feel a hint of adventure, an indescribable feeling of lust for excitement and new beginnings. My hand runs along my belt and checks for each and every single thing.
Lights? Yeah. Pocket watch? Yeah. Locket? Yeah. Knives? Yeah. Cool, got everything.
I stand up, and brush the dust of my trousers. And grab the mop.
“That’s the good spirit lassie!”
“Don’t call me ma’am! Call me Captain!”
A beaming smile blinds me, and a warm feeling in my chest grows. And then I feel a slight hit at my bum, and a cackle. A blush sweeps onto my face and I quickly get to work, dunking the mop in and out of a old bucket, and sliding it around the floor.
Dunk. Wipe. Wipe. Wipe. Dunk. Wipe. Wipe. Wipe.
Oh, I wonder if- Hm, maybe perhaps he does. Not sure if he thinks I’m just being a rebel again or a troubled soul. Either way, he wouldn’t care. After all, it’s not like we’re blood brothers. Pft. As if he would worry. He’s probably going out and bringing women home, just because I’m out!. Why, that may be the only reason he let me go out! That little bastard! Or maybe he actually does worry. Maybe he actually cares about me.
I begin to hum songs that I hear from the festivals, and market hymns. The crashing of the waves begin to get louder, and louder.
Crash. CRash. CRAsh. CRASh. CRASH. CRASH!
Tiny droplets begin to fall, but I don’t notice for I was too busy mopping back and forth.
Drip. Drip. DRip. Drop. Drip. Drop. Plink. Plonk. Drip. Drop.
And then it’s just begins to pour, out of nowhere. I grab the bucket and the mop, and run to the door where as I came from. Other crew members crowd around me, as I open the door. We scatter downstairs and I sprint to an empty spot, in the midst of the commotion.
The room was technically a room. It was more of a hallway, that lead to other places. A pleasant smell catches my eye, but I resist because hell, I was on a godforsaken vessel, and it was sailing right into a storm. And I had no idea what the fuck to do.
I run to the right, and check every room till I find the directions room. And as I check every room, I take note of them in my small notebook:
First door; a room of supplies, perhaps writing supplies? Saw some stacks of journals, and papers lying about.
Second room; food storage. Nuff’ said.
Third room; the source of that delicious smell, the kitchen.
Fourth room; bunk room, with four already taken beds.
Fifth room; more taken bunks.
Sixth room; the boiler.
Seventh room; lead to a ladder, which lead to a lower deck of cannons.Yeah, not going in there again.
Eighth room; The sick bay. Yikes.
Ninth room: Was labeled Captain’s room, not going to even open it.
Tenth room: Said Do not enter, and was locked. Hmm, wonder what that was.
Eleventh Room: Medical Supplies, best not to mess with those.
Twelfth room: Mostly empty bunk room, perhaps I could it? Yeah, perhaps.
Thirteenth room: The Directions room, where the clinks and clonks happen, and the where’s and the whats are answered. Directions room, where a person finds out where the heck they are!
I take a step, and another step towards that thirteenth door. The tension builds up on my back, and my hand shakes as I reach out to knock the door. It raps on the creaking wood and a shuffle of feet come in a response. The door shifts open and the Captain stands in the doorway with a glint in her eyes. In a split second, it fades, but I swear I saw something, I just know I did. She takes a step forward and smiles. And a shiver runs down my neck. Was she… Is she..? Mad? I couldn’t tell, not with her stone face and my lack of knowledge of her.
“Do you,-” She pauses. It wasn’t like a natural pause, it was an awkward one. Like the type of pause your parent makes before they tell you that your dog died. “Do you want to see your sleeping quarters?” Confusion sweeps over my sense, and I find myself unsure of what to say, what to do and how to feel.
“Sure.” A sliver of a smile slides onto my lips, and in that moment I had no idea of what was to come, and what to expect. She lead me down and out of the room, down the creaking wooden hallway into a small room hidden behind the stairs reaching from the upper deck. It was like my own hidden safe spot. I went in, and she left me. Left me to explore what I would call home for awhile.
The room was small, like I had expected. A desk with a dim light, and a bed overhead. A ladder was propped against the wall, and that was it. A bed and a desk. And there and then, I truly felt alone. Like no one will care for me, and no one will remember me.