Kahlo's eyes traveled down to the shackles encasing her wrists. The cold and heavy metal seemed to laugh at her foul fate. She slowly tilted her head upwards towards the crowd of excited onlookers. Public executions always seemed to be quite an appealing event to people of these small lake towns.
A sharp jab to the back tore Kahlo away from her thoughts as she lurched forward, catching herself before she hit the ground. The crowd let out a quiet, but still audible laugh. Kahlo sneered, glancing back before stepping towards the long rope that rested in front of her. The executioner slowly wrapped the noose around her neck, tightening it to ensure she wasn't to escape.
"Leocadia Kahlo Mell Hadley, for your crimes against the crown, and your crime of piracy, you have been sentenced, on this day, hung by the neck until dead. May God have mercy upon your soul. Do you have any final words?" His voice was monotone, lacking any form of emotion and sympathy.
"Just stop with the talking and let me go" she spat, glaring back at him.
The commander merely smirked and chuckled before signaling to the executioner. She inhaled sharply, feeling the rope's almost present urge to end her. And before she knew it, the floor fell out from underneath her. The air left Kahlo's body as she struggled against the rope. She fumbled with the ropes holding her hands together, in hopes she could get them off and free herself. But it was no use. Kahlo's body slowly felt weaker, fear encircling her. Kahlo's heart was louder than her body's will to live.
Pain cascaded through her knees as she realized she was on the ground, under the gallows. The noose now hung loosely around her neck, the end had been cut short, signaling she had been shot free. She gasped, her lungs screaming for air. Before she could make sense of the situation, a pair of hands wrapped around her arms, before promptly closing over her mouth tightly. "Do anything stupid, and I'll kill you" A voice hissed against her ear.
The man's voice was littered with age, and he reeked of brandy and blood. He released Kahlo and cut the noose from her neck. She whipped around to stare at the man. He had cold eyes and a long beard. His eyebrows were furrowed and he was frowning. Her eyes trailed to his waistband. A gun and a sword. Not good.
"Come on before they hang all of us" He hissed before kicking one of the boards that had entrapped us in the box hidden under the gallows.
The board fell and the man slipped out, she was close to follow. She soon realized that she had run straight into a war zone. Muskets fired and the sound of metal grinding against metal filled her ears. It looked like the prisoners had revolted. Not prisoners, Kahlo realized, pirates. "She's getting away! Kill her!" The commander's voice hollered in her direction.
That's when the bearded man grabbed Kahlo by the arm and broke into a sprint. Bullets flew past the pair, with one nearly catching her in the ear. The man dragged her towards the dock, the British army, and she assumed the man's partners trailed after them. A large ship rested in the nearby water. The man shoved Kahlo into the water, before jumping in himself. He began to swim in the direction of the ship, which she assumed she was to follow. She waited before he turned back with a glare, so hesitantly she followed. Swimming with bound hands is a lot harder than she would've liked, but she was escaping, so she'll take what she can get. A large climbing net was cast into the water, the man began to climb up, so she followed. Kahlo almost fell back into the water, but hands grabbed onto her shirt, and she was yanked on board. Kahlo fell face-first onto the deck of the boat. Pain bit at her face. She quickly sat up, fear scattering Kahlo's body. The bearded man was scowled down at her, before turning his attention towards the rest of the crew as they boarded the ship. The British yelled all forms of insults and attacks toward us as they hurried to their boats. Almost immediately the boat began to move. Kahlo inhaled sharply as the netting was pulled back onto the deck, now knowing she could either risk it with the British or whoever these men were.
"Aye welcome aboard Neptune's Thrall." A voice called out to her in a condescending tone.
It was a different man, but an altogether much scarier one. An eye patch rested against his right eye, scars surrounding the wound, leaving her hoping not to find what was underneath it. He had dark brown unkempt hair that was cut sloppily around his head. He had a thick beard, hiding a majority of his mouth. He had brown eyes that seemed to stare into her soul, monitoring her every movement. A large hat was placed precariously atop his head, the small sight of a head wrap could be seen from the distance. He was older than I, and certainly looked more terrifying.
"I'm Captain Mad-Eye. 'pears you've already met her first mate, Ramsden" He motioned towards the man who had saved her from the British.
"Aye- gotta say though, if you saved me assuming I'm a wench. You're sorely mistaken." she frowned, pushing myself to her feet, eyeing Mad Eye's cutlass.
He merely laughed in response to her reply. "Ha! To think we would save a wench from the gallows! No, no, no, you know exactly what I'm after. It's Captain Kahlo, correct?"
She gulped down a breath of air. Well, he knows I'm a captain… Well was at least. Being the woman she was, Kahlo was incapable of reading minds, so figuring out what Mad-Eye wanted was a bit difficult. I don't have any valuables with on me, they didn't take me for a wench, so what else would it be? She turned back towards Mad-Eye, narrowing her eyes as she stared into his. "Kahlo is correct, but I would like to be informed of what you so desire of me to go out of your way to save me from the gallows."
Mad-Eye chuckled and looked at me. "Come and we shall tell you."
He turned and paced towards the cabin beneath the captain's deck. A longing struck into her chest as she wished to return to her ship. Heavens, she missed the Casoade more than she missed her gold. Kahlo huffed out a sigh before following behind the man, she glanced towards the cutlass still tucked tightly in its sheath. She then turned her attention towards her still roped hands. Kahlo began to mess with the knots before a quiet, 'ahem' caught her attention. Captain Mad-Eye was now sitting in a desk as he motioned towards the open seat across from him. She joined him but didn't sit down. Sitting down would put her in a vulnerable position, and she had to be ready.
"Or stand." He answered with a quiet sigh of agitation. "Leocadia-"
"Don't call me that." Kahlo spat, glaring at the man.
He shrugged in response, unfazed from her hostility. "You have something that I want. Well, that most would want considering our position."
Realization slowly pulsated at her bones as she realized what he meant. One of her most recent plunders had put her in possession of a map and a small engraved slab of metal bent around a string, forming a necklace. The necklace was tied around her neck while the map was hidden against her chest. The items began to feel heavier as panic began to set in.
"I-I'm afraid I don't know what you mean," Kahlo answered with a gulp of cold air.
Mad-Eye laughed his cruel and unsettling laugh as he stared her in the eyes. "Oh yes, you do. Once you're ready to tell us where you placed the items, and I will release you from the brigs. Simple as that."
"And the catch?" Kahlo frowned, crossing her arms tightly over her chest.
Mad-Eye chuckled as he stood from his chair. He slowly walked over to me, his hand resting against the hilt of his cutlass. "As you are a pirate as well, you know we give no ultimatum."
She gave a small nod in response as he pulled open the door to the top deck. He ushered Kahlo out; drawing his blade he moved her across the deck towards the stairs to the bottom decks. He rushed her down the stairs towards the brigs. Kahlo released a sigh as she stared at the small cells, knowing this would be her slow and inevitable fate. Mad-Eye unlocked one of the cells and shoved her inside before closing it tightly. The sound of the lock clicking made her heart drop.
Kahlo slowly sat down on the small floor, leaning against the back of the boat. She waited until Mad-Eye left to reach into her shirt and pull out the small necklace. She ran her thumb over the small metal engravings with a groan. Kahlo wanted freedom, but it was either give up her prizes and die or die slower.
She dropped the necklace back into her shirt, the cold metal sent a shiver down her spine. If she only managed to get out, these two items could lead her to the greatest treasure she could only dream about. And by the looks of things, it was only ever going to be a dream. Kahlo closed her eyes and let out a long sigh before allowing herself to cry. It was the first time she had cried since she lost her. A feeling of weakness and powerlessness washed over her. Memories flooded back to her. Memories she longed to forget. Kahlo couldn't stop herself. Tears trailed down her face, pain cradling her heart.
Wow, you look really tough right now Kahlo. Terrifying pirate. She told herself as she wiped her dampened cheeks. Kahlo took a couple of deep breaths before curling up around her knees on the small floor. Her small spot of relative insanity. She sighed before forcing her eyes closed. Might as well try to sleep my life away. So not much will change? She steadied her breath and listened to the ocean as it gently rocked her off to sleep.
Finnigan gripped the sides of the deck, each time the boat rocked, more disgust and sickness seemed to pull through him. Being a deckhand wasn't the greatest idea he's ever had, considering the fact that he easily became seasick. His stomach lurched as he gripped tighter to the sides of the boat. He looked down at the water with a groan; slumping onto the ground, clutching his stomach.
"Aye! Westfall get off ye arse. We midst a storm!" Commodore Delmendo hissed, tossing a rope towards him.
Finn pushed himself off of the ground, carefully picking up the rope. Rain poured onto the deck, making every step all the more miserable. He was soaked to the brim with rain, a cold shiver cascading down his spine. He gripped onto the rope, connecting the sails and pulled it back. He yanked on the powerful rope with a grunt before slipping and falling against the deck.
His nose was the first to hit the wooden ground. He yelped, gingerly holding his nose as he felt warm blood careen down his face. Finnigan was grabbed by the back of the shirt and pushed back. Commodore Delmendo stared down at him, his eyes narrowing with anger.
"If you ain't gon' help get below with the rest of the women!" He spat, angrily releasing Finn's shirt.
Finnigan scrambled to his feet, taking another glance back at Commodore Delmendo before stumbling towards the stairs leading to the bottom deck. He gripped onto the railing and began to half-walk, half-fall down the stairs. Each sudden turn, smacking him against the walls. Once he reached the bottom deck, he stumbled towards his section, carefully pressing his shirt against his bleeding nose. A few other men had taken refuge below deck, with some playing cards, with others saying silent prayers.
Finnigan sighed and waited for the blood flow to stop before removing his hands. His white shirt was now soaked with the crimson red color of blood. He winced and tried to dab some blood away, only to blot it out more. Of course, I was wearing a white shirt He thought to himself, shaking his head angrily.
"Aye- Short-Stack, ye up for a game?" One of the men motioned towards him, displaying the cards indicating they were to deal him in.
Finnigan nodded slowly before wiping the blood still staining his hands onto his pants. Finnigan crept towards the three men and joined their circle. The man who had called him over began to deal him in as he whistled a quiet tune. The melody sounded vaguely familiar, bringing a raise to Finn's eyebrows.
"What's the song?" He asked quietly, glancing up at the man.
"They say it's the song of a heartbroken siren. The story being she fell in love with a sailor, n' sang to 'im, he drowned and left her with a shattered heart." The man spoke without looking at him.
Finnigan frowned and shrugged in response. His explanation didn't seem right, but he wasn't going to argue with the man. The man began to deal out the cards with a quiet yawn. The cards were pretty basic, a few of them scarred with age. Finnigan looked at his hand, examining his cards. Queen of hearts, Ace of spades, 6 of clubs, and 3 of diamonds. He frowned and glanced at the other players.
They began to play the game. Finnigan wasn't sure exactly what they were doing, but he was able to pick it up as they went along. That's when he noticed the small slipping of cards into decks. Finnigan's brow furrowed as he stared at the man who had invited him.
"You're cheating" He frowned pointing towards the man's cards.
The man frowned and glared back at Finn. "As if I would cheat!" He spat.
Finnigan lunged at the man's cards, grabbing them from his hand. From there he dropped them in front of the other players, displaying the man had six cards instead of four. The men began to swear at each other and hurl accusations as Finn walked away with a sigh and a frown.
Finnigan returned to his lonesome spot, waiting for the storm and the sickness to pass him. He climbed into his small hammock and gently traced the sides of the light fabric with his finger. His eyes slowly moved towards his hands, which were still stained with the dark red of blood. Finn released a long breath before laying back and staring up at the floorboards above him.
Distant sounds of the raging storm outside were barely audible, all he could really hear was the men arguing near him. A longing filled his chest. A longing to go back home to Maryland and to see his friends again. Back there he was accepted and loved, but here he was an outsider. He missed the happy bark of his dog, Penny as she ran around the fields. He missed the warm embrace of his mother as he came home from a day's work. He missed his bed and the quiet life he used to live. He allowed the pleasant daydream to lull him to sleep, despite his foul day, he still had memories of Maryland. Good and wonderful memories.
As much as he would've wanted to remain asleep, the world had different ideas. A loud bang sent Finnigan leaping out of his hammock. His heart pounding inside his chest. A few more began to sound off, with the sound of breaking wood occupying the crashes. Panic overtook the ship as crew mates rushed around trying to figure out what was happening. The disorganization stopped as Commodore Delmendo called down into the darkness of the bottom deck.
"We're under attack!" He called, fear pulsing through his voice.
Finnigan looked towards the other sailors for guidance. The man who had cheated turned and stared at him cold in the eyes.