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Under A Renegade Flag (Part Three)

Novel By: achristop
Action and adventure

Tags: 18th, Century, Sea, Story

I went to my "mick" that night full of mixed emotions!
Pleasure and anxiety, satiation and contentment....there were
dozens of questions I would like to ask of Carla...but most, I
knew I would never mention! The feelings of contentment and
well-being won through and I slept like a baby!
I woke early next morning, and after a cold water wash, a
couple of ship's biscuits, and some saltpork jerky, made my
way to the gangway at 0900, there awaiting me were Moses, the
Captain and Benney the shipwright...I apologised for my

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Submitted:Feb 3, 2007    Reads: 239    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

I went to my "mick" that night full of mixed emotions!
Pleasure and anxiety, satiation and contentment....there were
dozens of questions I would like to ask of Carla...but most, I
knew I would never mention! The feelings of contentment and
well-being won through and I slept like a baby!
I woke early next morning, and after a cold water wash, a
couple of ship's biscuits, and some saltpork jerky, made my
way to the gangway at 0900, there awaiting me were Moses, the
Captain and Benney the shipwright...I apologised for my
tardiness, but, as it happened, the Captain had arrived just a
few minutes before me...so nothing was problematical!
We landed, and awaited Monsieur Baptiste and the boat in which
we were to be ferried across to Port-de-Paix....After much
muttering by the Captain about French bad manners, surliness
etc...we decided at 1000 that there would be no boat coming
for us!!! Just as we were about to go below and change back
into our working gear...a call from the lookout announced a
boat bearing down on us from the bow end! As we had expected
the ferry to cross to us from the mainland, it was quite a
surprise to see it coming from close inshore....
"Ahoy Captaine! Bonjour! I apologise for the delay..., but I
needed to negotiate the purchase of a bale of fabric for the
re-uphostery of furniture in the Captain's quarters on the
"Squalus"!!..I trust this was not too inconvenient...(this all
shouted from a distance of 25 yards....the Capt was looking
around anxiously in case we had an audience)....!
"Glad to see you Baptiste!! I had given you up!! Can we make
best speed please...I have a lot of business to attend to in
"Certainment Captaine... mais oui! Of course! "
The boat neared the narrow step ladder that ran down the side
of the jetty, as it did so, 2 rough looking boat hands hauled
in the lugger style canvas...to expose a huge roll of Gold
coloured broccade material, and.....a lovely young lady
sitting in the stern sheets!!!! The boatmen secured the fore
painter to the wooden ladder, and we proceeded to descend the
green, seaweed covered, slippery ladder steps...The Captain
first, Moses second, then Benney, then me following up the
rear....As I climbed into the bow of the craft, the boatman
cast off the line, and, using an oar...fended us off, passed
the oar to his companion, who proceeded to row us out into the
wind.....I looked aft to where the girl sat mutely....she was
a vision of Gallic loveliness, tinged, I felt with Latino!!!
Beautifully dark hair the colour of mahogany wood, she looked
the essence of divinity...perched in the sternsheets...a
rather worn dress, ragged at knee level...and calf length
boots, suggested she might be the wife or girl friend of one
of the boatmen....Then I heard Baptiste introduce her to the
Captain!...She was his daughter!!!
Eventually, when it was my turn to meet this vision, Captain
Baptiste stepped forward...."And this is Monsieur Allen! He is
Steersman on the Zee Schwalbe!....Monsieur Allen...this is my
daughter Anna!"
"Bonjour Madamoiselle! Enchante! "
"So Monsieur! You speak Francais?"
"Unfortunately not Madamoiselle! I would like to learn
someday, but have never found the time!"
"You should monsieur!" She looked at me with coy
amusement.."It is such a romantic language N'est pas?"
"Oui Madamouiselle Anna! I thinks so too!"
"Anna has come to fit the new upholstery material in the after
cabin of the "Squalus"....it needed replacing....She is very
good with needle and yarn...an excellent upholsterer! If I may
make so bold!!"
She blushed beetroot red!..." Papa!! Non!!! (then a flurry of
French which left me floundering)....!...I am sorry Monsieur!
Papa is so ebullient about my meagre achievents! I am not that
The glint in her eye...the coy smile...made me catch my
"I am sure he is right in every respect Madamoiselle Anna!"
took her proffered hand, bent and kissed the
fingers...slightly scented skin....cinnamon!!!
"Please gentlemen...call me Anna! I shall repair the
davenports and chairs in the cabin...and be out of your way
later today!"
I wanted to protest that she would be far from "in the
way"...but thought better of it!
"What happened to the furniture upholstery Baptiste?" I heard
the Captain ask.
"Bloodstained Capitaine I am afraid!!....she was boarded,
raided and sold on! I bought her because she has a fine line!
She is a fast ship!!!"
I saw the look of distaste on Anna's face...she was aware of
what fate had befallen the Squalus....I wondered what it was?
I didn't have long to wait...as I settled into my position on
the thwart next to Baptiste (who was engrossed acclaiming the
virtues of the ship) Anna leaned and whispered to me "Slavers
raided her Monsieur! Or we all think it was slavers! They
killed all the men...and abducted the 4 women on board, then
left a prize crew to bring her into Port-de-Paix....Papa
bought her! He defied my wishes!! I hate to think what
happened to those poor women!!"
"Me too!" I thought almost aloud! We were nearing the Port
now, with the fair wind, and tide.....as we rounded the outer
harbour quay...there moored alongside was the most beautifully
proportioned ship I had laid eyes on...she looked like a fast
clipper ship that carried the teas from the Far East, but was
smaller in stature! Her Canvas, though furled, looked snow
white...she was a beauty..Black with a white trim along the
gunwhales...gilt painted nameplate on the bow....polished
sprit and masts...and to set it off....a Mermaid sat proudly
at her prow....with green fishtail and golden hair...a fine
ship indeed!!!!
She was the perfect ship, big enough to serve as a workhorse,
small enough to be fast and easily handled. We stood off from
her for an age, whilst M. Baptiste gave us more than ample
time to take in her fine lines and provenance, all the while
pronouncing, with great animation from his hands, all her
Eventually, we came alongside her Port side, and tied to the
companionway hanging just above the water....Van Eike was the
first to jump aboard, quickly followed by Baptiste, then
Moses, Benney and me....Anna waited until we had all climbed
the ladder, before making her way slowly up to the break, and
stepping through the gate....I took her hand and helped her
down the 2 feet onto the deck, and received a smile for my
effort! Her smile would melt ice I thought!
We started our tour of inspection at the fore
ends....everything was polished oak, or fine polished timber,
brass work was immaculately polished, I saw Benney bending to
inspect the caulking of the deck seams...."Hmmmm!" I heard him
utter under his breath....he was obviously surprised at her
seaworthiness and state of repair. He climbed to the foremast
truck and down again.."Hmmm!" another sotto voce comment of
surprise....we gradually made our way from for'ard to
aft...wherever we looked she was surprisingly clean and
smart...her ropework and cordage was in good repair, well
spliced and tended, her running rig, greased and free...my
part of ship (the steerage platform) Compasses and binnacles
were immaculately polished with the brass head pin
shining....she had been well looked after....very well looked
We inspected the lower decks and found little, that was not
either standard, or above standard !! Benney raised the point
about armament....what were her limitations regarding cannon?
I was surprised to hear that she had no cannon!!! She had
never had cannon fitted, and, if she had, it might have made a
difference on the day of her capture!! So!...Benney and the
skipper went on to inspect the deckheads of the cargo holds
below us to see if they were strong enough to take the weight
of heavy armament?...after much taking of measurements,
writing of notes and drawing of sketches, the eventual
prognosis was that...Yes! She would take heavy armament (32
Guns in 2 banks of 16 on one deck)...but the deck would need
to be reinforced with new oak knees, stringers, elbows
etc....new gun ports would have to be made in the sides...talk
of camouflaged ones abounded.....By 3pm that afternoon, most
of the places on the ship had been inspected!! She was sound,
seaworthy, of good quality, and indeed a fine ship! Now came
the inspection of the Captain's quarters...the day cabin, and,
the sea cabin!
We arrived at the sterncastle cabins...Baptiste knocked softly
on the door...it was opened by Anna, brushing straggly, damp
hair from her eyes ! She showed us in....the room we entered
was a sailor's dream....all polished mahogany furniture, a
long sweeping table anchored to the deck....2 davenports... a
chaise longue. 2 armchairs (bolted to the deck)....a wash
stand...small chart table....the whole cabin spoke of a
woman's hand guiding a male occupant!!
"Anna has had the task of renewing the broccade of the couch
and the chairs gentlemen! I trust you will find her work
She had achieved the impossible I thought!! It was impossible
to tell that the units had been re-covered at all!!! Van Eike
spoke for us all!
"Ma'm'selle!! You have excelled yourself....I could not have
known, if I had not been told, that these items had been
re-covered! Your workmanship is of the highest quality! Second
to none! You are to be commended! I thank you for your efforts
on behalf of us all!" She blushed as he took her hand, and
bowed to touch his lips to it! She looked out from under down
cast eyelids at me...I saw the hint of amusement in them,
coupled with a slight coyness!
"Monsieur Baptiste! I have had plenty of time to appraise this
ship...I find her well found and, in all essence, the very
thing we are looking for! However, short of taking her to sea
for sea trials, I can give you no answer as to her complete
satisfaction for our purpose! What provisions have you in
place for a sea trial?.. before the ultimate purchase is
made?" Van Eike asked.
"But Capitaine Van Eike! We are gentlemen n'est pas?....You
have my word that she is, as you say, well found...a sea trial
it shall be....tomorrow bring your crew to her, acquaint them
with her rig, yards, spars cordage etc...and you can take as
long as you wish, to ascertain her seaworthiness for
yourself!!...You will not find her wanting in any aspect!!"
"I thank you Monsieur! Then our business for today is
over!...May I invite you and your charming daughter aboard the
Zee Schwalbe for a celebratory drink?"
"No need Capitaine!!! Anna dear....would you break out the
Claret for our friends? Or would you prefer something a little
stronger perhaps?? A little white coconut rum??? From Jamaica
no less!!"
Van Eike opted for the Claret... but I noticed Anna also
opened the decanter of a white liquid, which I presumed was
the coconut rum!!!....small talk erupted between Benney, the
skipper, Moses and Baptiste...I counted my blessings, and
approached Anna standing at the long table...."Anna! I thank
you for your hospitality! Your workmanship is superb!...I
would like to drink to it!!!... May I please try the coconut
"Certainment cherie!...A little glass will suffice I think if
it's your first!"
I told her indeed it was...she poured the drink, poured one
for herself and turning...handed me mine...then blushing,
bowed her head and stared at the deck!!! "Monsieur Allen...You
all flatter me! I do only my job! As long as it pleases
you...Then...I am happy!"
"Ma'am'selle!....Anna! It is excellent! And...I am very
happy!!!"....I looked straight into her eyes, she did not
waver!..." Very happy!"
"Then...Tres Bien! et....Bon Chance!...I hope..for you she
will be a lucky ship!....she is a beautiful lady Mr
Allen...Very beautiful!!"
"She is not the only one Anna! she is in good company!! And
...my name is Chris...you would honour me by calling me
She blushed a bright crimson to the base of her throat..where
I noticed a fast pulse was beating!!!..."Very
well.....Crees.....!" she paused...ran her tongue slowly over
her upper lip, and repeated.."Crees..!" cocking her head to
one side she repeated it once again..."Crees!!" I raised my
glass...tapped it to hers and we toasted " To a beautiful
Lady!".....I.... in fact, was toasting two!!!!
Next day dawned bright and clear, with a light breeze...
Northeasterly... off the island........our crew had been
brought from the island to the mainland for the sea-trials of
our new ship...I looked in vain for Anna...no sign! M.
Baptiste was his usual voluble self, proclaiming to all and
sundry, the attributes of the "Squalus" and how the future
would be rosy for anyone buying her etc!
We sailed just before 1100....Baptiste had two boats manned
with men to pull us off the quayside and into the main
channel, then pull us out until we got the wind...within half
a mile, the breeze was very effective, and we were able to
cast off the lines to the boats, and make sail! Squalus
handled like a dream, she was fast, she was a quick ship
(Meaning she moved quickly when heeling or listing-perhaps a
result of her slim lines) but, most of all...she leaned into
the sea...she wanted to be gone...to ride the waters...she was
made by man, but she could just as easily have been a fish!
she was beautiful! I caught myself looking aloft at her
trim...her canvas was pure white, her spars and yards a honey
coloured varnish...I could hear her moaning as the wind keened
amongst her cordage and rigging, as we twisted her, and turned
her, she remained eager for more...reaching, reaching...like a
greyhound running a race! I loved her! She was a fine ship
indeed!!! I took a turn at the wheel...we tacked from Port and
from Starboard...we ran free...we gybed....we came about 180
degrees..and all the while...Squalus was eager for more! I
thought..fit this ship with cannon..and she would be
un-touchable!!! We measured her speed...under full rig she
made 14 knots...and this was just a breeze blowing today!!
Even the topmen aloft found her easy to rig and de-rig!!
Oh!!... she was beautiful indeed!!!!
The spray hitting my face across the decks, the sloshing of
the water along her sides, the slapping of waves on her stem,
cracking of ropes and canvas....all, made it a great trial!
M.Baptiste was aglow...his face red with the cut of the
spray...he beamed pleasure!!!....Van Eike too was in rapture
of her...I could tell by his eyes, he felt she was in excess
of normal...Moses was humming some sort of Creole tune and
dancing on the soles of his feet, sometimes doing a round turn
or a pirouette!!! We were caught!!! She had caught us fairly
and squarely!
When it was time to return to harbour...everyone...and I mean
everyone, was loath to let her go! We wanted to stay out
there...give her her head...let her run free wherever she
wanted to take us!!! I am but a landsman...but I knew this was
a fine ship! An exceptional ship! I couldn't wait to take my
turn guiding her to her destiny!
We eventually tied up at the quayside in the early
evening...The Captain and M. Baptiste wanted the three of us
in the after accommodation to report our views!....Was it
necessary! We all knew what we had to do!
I knocked on the cabin door, Moses let me in...the rest were
seated on the newly-upholstered seats...(my thoughts were of
the lovely Anna)..!
"Gentlemen...I hope you enjoyed the trial? I told you she was
a lovely ship!" Baptiste was all smiles...wringing his hands
at the thought of money changing ownership!
"Baptiste?" The Captain had a solemn face "I am wondering
about the fitting of cannon! This will surely upset her trim,
the way she handles? I cannot believe she will handle the same
with extra weight highup! It will change the centre of
"Monsieur Le Capitaine! I have already thought of this...I
have arranged for a marine surveyor to take a look at her!...
all in the price of course!!!... and I hope you will accept
his advice...he has provisionally reported that she would be
quite capable of taking on another 10 tons of distributed
weight, plus another 8 tons of ballast..without affecting her
handling too much....we must remember that we have added
weight of the new strengthening supports to take into
"He has provisionally reported that she will take twelve 32
pounders without any problems...and perhaps, with a little
cutting out of needless weight below decks, passenger
accommodation, cargo spaces etc...she could be re-fitted to
take sixteen 32 pounders! A formidable enemy indeed!!"
"M. Baptiste? How much will all this cost? We have not the
ready monies for the refit!! So...it's really hypothetical!!
We will need a breakdown of the costs to be incurred!
So!!...how much will it cost??"
"Mon ami! I am not a rich man either!..But...I will refit the
ship...you can pay me back out of any....shall we
say..."profits"...I trust you will give me first option of
sales of "goods" recovered from the Spanish or French?....I
would need to have the first refusal in order to protect my
investment in your ship!"
"A very kind offer Monsieur! A very kind offer indeed! We will
have to have a full meeting again to pick over the
There was a tap at the door!!....Moses sprang to his
feet....piroutted on his way to the door....opened it...and
behold...there stood Anna!
"Papa! I had to come! There is news of another ship that has
been attacked and the poor unfortunates slaughtered...(Her
lovely face was wet with tears...her eyes red!) More women
enslaved...the men, and male children aboard...all slaughtered
barring one survivor picked up by Pasqual... at sea
fishing!!!...The ship was the "Albatross" from Haiti....the
ship that destroyed her was the "Black Swan" again!!!"
"Merde!! Le Cochon!!!"
"Who's ship is the "Black Swan" Jean Paul?" The Captain asked?
I knew the answer before it was uttered !!
"The one with the red hair....you call him "Red-Beard" we call
him Le Cochon!!!"
"Monsieur Le Capitaine...Captain Van Eike!...we need to get
you refitted and get you to sea...to rid our shores of this
pig! Will you do it?"
I looked into the eyes of Anna! She was frightened, I could
"We worry in case he decides to come ashore here in
Port-de-Paix Capitaine...he would murder us all in our beds!
The menfolk at least!"
I looked away hurriedly as I saw Anna cross herself in the
Catholic manner!!! It would be a huge undertaking...to rid the
seas of this cannibalistic pirate, a pirate who killed fellow
pirates!!! But...I was game!!! The others??
We had to wait several days for M.Baptiste to make the
necessary arrangements for the strengthening of Squalus...Two
days after taking her to sea, the deed was done....Van Eike
signed away our money and signed a promisory note outlining
repayment for services rendered....30% of all "Takings" for
the first year!!! (Baptiste remained obstinate) the refitting
and strengthening would cost a pretty penny, there was also a
provision that the Squalus would return to his ownership upon
any default on our part!! Quite a business man our M.Baptiste!
I saw nothing of Anna...she seemed to have disappeared off the
face of the earth! Having a free day on the Friday following
our sea-trials, I paced the deck waiting for Moses to join me
in a trip ashore...He wanted to show me what a "Shebang"
was...I did not know, had not heard of the expression, but he
informed me it was a drinking den, the like of which I would
not see again in any other part of the world!
I had changed into a clean pair of tight breeches and boots,
with a calico shirt that showed off my newly acquired tropical
tan! I thought constantly of Anna whilst I paced...glancing
along the quayside hoping perhaps she had come across the
water to see us...me?? No such luck!!
Moses eventually arrived at the gangway, also dressed in clean
white breaches and white shirt....his added advantage was his
colouring, white teeth gleaming, he enhanced his white
apparel!! I felt slightly less confident about my tan now!!!
Still...I did need a guide...and Moses was the ideal candidate
for the job...he not only spoke the local Patois....but knew
exactly who, what and where to avoid! My thoughts that day
were also on RedBeard....thoughts of what was happening at
sea...and thoughts of what might happen if he decided to raid
this area ashore!!! Anna!! I couldn't get her image out of my
head...particularly the image of her crossing herself...the
look of dread on her face when his name was mentioned!!!
We stepped ashore, and walked a distance before coming across
some local fishermen, repairing lines and nets...Moses spoke
to them in the local dialect...after a voluble exchange, quite
animated, Moses turned to me and said "Der be no mo survivor
Mr Allen from da ship dat Le Cochon attack! Only da one poor
boy!!" Poor fellow! I couldn't begin to imagine what horrors
he had witnessed..."He be restin' and he takin' the Laudunum
they say!!" I thanked Moses for the information, and we
chatted as we strolled along the rutted road towards the town!
We had stopped to watch some urchin boys playing alongside the
road, a game involving stones, placed on the floor....some
stones held in the hand were tossed into the air...and whilst
these were in the air...the others on the ground had to be
snatched (cleanly) into the hand before catching the airborne
remainder as they fell....if they were not caught...the next
player took his turn etc...it was a fascinating game...I was
invited to try my hand...and succeeded at my first attempt at
picking up a single stone from the deck whist the other 5 were
in flight...to great cheers from the group of boys...I failed
to notice Moses being accosted by a local female, until he
tapped me on the shoulder....
"Mister Allen! I see you again in short while ok? I have
little business attend to ok?..I see you in da back room of
dis house I have writ down!!"He passed me a small piece of
paper with the name "Rogrez's" written on it!
I looked at the dark-skinned local girl, she lowered her eyes
demurely, and I guessed it might be a bit longer than a short
"Ok Moses....I shall be there in an hour or thereabouts...If
you aren't there..it's no problem for me...I can wander around
quite happily taking in the sights and smells of the
island!!....So! Go and enjoy yourself! Have you enough money?"
I whispered guiltily!
"Ah Mr Allen sah! I don' need no money....!" he laughed, then
slyly whispered "They like what ol' Moses got see?"...He
gleefully slapped me on the back and took the girl's arm and
they strolled happily off towards some wooden shacks tucked
under the hill!
I stayed for half an hour or so with the lads, playing their
game...I became quite adept at picking up the stones ...my
maximum successful grab was four stones set a way apart from
each other! My success was met with huge cheers from the
gathered band!...Then I rose and bid them goodbye, and made my
way towards the town! The sun was high, and hot...I was glad I
was wearing a cap, glad too, that I was in a white shirt and
not my normal blue!
A small cart drawn by two mules rumbled by carrying
vegetables...I presumed to the local market....the dust from
it's passing blew directly in my face...I thought I might walk
to the water's edge and wash it off...I strolled onto the
shingle, crunching underfoot, and made my way to the tide
line....I splashed the cool water on my face, washing the grit
from my eyes...I looked around....it was a lovely stretch of
beach...with rockpools and birds wheeling overhead!...I
decided to walk along the waterline for a while, sat on the
shingle, and took off my boots...tucking them under my arm, I
proceeded to paddle about 6ft from the beach....I walked for
about 10 minutes, stopping to look in the rockpools at shrimp
and crab alike, scampering away from my shadow....about 100
yards further along, the rocks rose in a sheer face to a
height of about 10 or 12 feet...I wondered what was beyond
it?...I looked back the way I had come....maybe half a mile of
emptiness! I felt at one with nature! Thoughts of Redbeard and
his crimes had melted away...this was paradise.....I reached
the spur of rock, and , putting my boots back on, started to
find hand and footholds to climb up it....slowly I climbed the
slippery face...eventually pulling myself onto the top, I
gasped from the effort and dropped to my knees on the flat
area that crowned the rock!! On the other side was a small
inlet...with a concave recess back under the cliffs...a real
sun trap! I thought immediately of Moses and his natural
tan!!! Perhaps I might tan myself a little bit in the
seclusion of this little cove....mind made up...I started the
descent on the other side....I had scrambled halfway down, my
back to the sea, when I was aware of a voice rising from
below...."Helloo Johnny! You come see Carla again?"
My heart raced...skipped a couple of beats...perspiration
broke out on my forehead and my upper body!! Carla!!! The
lovely Carla!!
"Cat got yo tongue Johnny? Yo not so quiet the last time we
meet eh?"
Her tinkling bell-like laughter echoed around the rock....I
reached the bottom of the rock, and stepped onto coral white
sand....there in front of me stood a bare legged. bare armed
vision in a yellow sun dress....wide skirt, small straps at
the shoulder...she looked divine!.....She walked up to
me...took my hands in hers.....looked me in the eye...then
stood on tiptoes and kissed me on the lips!! " I returned her
kiss with fervour..she broke away panting..."Johnny!! Hello
Johnny! You come see Carla again!!"
This time it was a statement! Not a question!
"Oh Johnny...Is lovely today eh? Is far away from every people
She pressed her body against me!....."OOOOh Johnny! You like
see Carla today!!!"
Her tinkling laughter was infectious...I laughed too!....She
came into my arms...raised herself on tiptoe and whispered a
breath in my right ear...."Johnny? You love Carla today? No
??" "No?".....NO??... I nodded and drew her into my
She came into my arms, melting against my body, her mouth
eager upon mine....she kissed me open mouthed, then, the tip
of her tongue flicked against my teeth...I had not been kissed
in this manner before....I opened my mouth slightly... more in
surprise than in invitation, and her tongue entered and
flicked against mine! She pressed her lower body against mine,
the softness of her, the flicking tongue, the smell of her
hair...all were having the desired effect...and I found my
manhood straining against my breeches....she also felt my
arousal, and moaned deep into my mouth! After an age she broke
away...and, slowly walked towards the cliffs, unfastening her
dress as she went...I took my cue from her and started to shed
my clothes also...she stepped out of her dress...she had
nothing underneath!! Back under the recess in the cliff, she
had a blanket already spread, scattered round it her personal
things...I stared at her beautiful form as she walked...the
coffee coloured skin, taught buttocks, slim waist, dark long
hair! She was really beautiful!!! As we neared the blanket
spread on the sand, she turned to face me...another stunning
shock!...her lower regions were completely devoid of hair! I
had never seen this before! Carla was full of surprises!!! She
sat upon the blanket, drawing her feet up underneath her...as
I approached, she moaned her appreciation...I stood directly
in front of her, my manhood at her face level...she took the
shaft in her hands, lifted it, and smeared the droplet at it's
crown over the end of the shaft..."Mmmmm Johnny!...You like
Carla today!!"
She stroked me for a few minutes...then turning, lay full
stretch on her stomach...I lay down beside her, my erection
pressing painfully into the coarse material of the wool....She
moaned as I kissed her ear lobe, flicking my tongue into the
inner recesses, I took the lobe betwen my teeth and nibbled,
softly breathing into her ear....I kissed her neck...she
turned and gave me access to the softness at her throat...I
traced my lips and tongue over the spots I knew were the most
sensitive...she moaned her pleasure.....I stroked my fingers
delicately over her shoulders..just brushing the down on her
skin...across the curving plain of her back...down to the
hollow at the base of her spine...I followed my fingers path
with my tongue...I could see the goosebumps appearing on her
skin.....minutes passed as I continued to play my fingers and
tongue across her skin...barely caressing the down...avoiding
touching her skin...she moaned her pleasure....
I softly caressed the hollow of her spine...allowing my
fingers to explore the valley of her buttocks...she raised to
meet my questing fingers....as her thighs parted to allow me
access...I retreated to start again at her waist....went along
her hip, down the outside of her thigh...she opened her thighs
wide to give me access, I returned the way I had come.....only
to do the same on the other side!....when eventually I let my
fingers drift down the valley between her buttocks, I knew
from her ragged breathing that her pleasure was increasing
greatly!....I stroked her inner thigh from knee to within
inches of her centre....I could feel the heat rising from her
openness.....my fingers encountered slippery fluid at the very
top of her thighs.....I relented...and....as she moaned and
thrust back towards my questing hand...I allowed my fingers to
caress her sex....I delved into the slippery wetness and
stroked my fingers along the length of her...spreading the
juices upwards to the nub of her pleasure...she cried
out...her limbs twitching, as I continued to delve and
stroke..spreading the oiliness with fingertip.... I circled my
finger across her pleasure spot, she gasped into the woolen
blanket...lifting her hips to give me greater access.....I
slid down until my face was at her hips...I drew my tongue
across the taut skin...she moaned and thrust back at me...I
rolled over her leg...to lie between her thighs, slipping my
right hand underneath her, I continued my ministrations with
my fingers, whilst drawing my tongue down the valley between
her buttocks....she cried out loudly...not knowing whether to
press forward onto my fingers or backwards towards my
exploring tongue....eventually she chose the latter.... I let
my tongue explore the valley and hidden delights, coming at
last to the lips of her sex....my fingers continued their
rhythm on the swollen nub of flesh above my tongue....I licked
the sides of her sex, making her wait, her hips were
shuddering as I flicked around the hot,slippery
wetness....."Oooh Johnny!!! Please? Now...Please?"..I flicked
my tongue over the throbbinbg nub, replacing my fingers, then
down delving into the heart of her, back up...flicking....down
delving...thrusting into the heat....."uggggh!" She was
twitching and trembling as I tried to build her
pleasure...then....she was onto her hands and
knees....grabbing me...urging me!!...I knelt behind her...she
felt for me between her legs...directed me to the heat of
her....and without any more preamble...thrust back, taking the
whole length of me inside her!!!....She cried out as I
entered....I could see her head turned, eyes closed...teeth
biting her lower lip...she took over the rhythm....rocking
back and forth.....taking me to full depth with a moan...then
easing back until I was barely inside her...then thrusting
back again to full depth...I could feel her contracting around
me...I was so deep inside her I could feel myself touching her
womb......she moved faster and faster...my left hand went
around her to the front...I found her clitoris....massaging it
gently....I traced the index finger of my other hand down the
valley between her buttocks....she groaned pressing back for
more....I felt her lift to bring my finger to another
place...as I caressed her there...she screamed...I felt her
inner walls spasm....I could feel the contractions gripping
me...I tried to hold back....to no avail...as she cried out
her pleasure, I could feel the spasms on my other
fingers.....I could not hold back, much as I wanted to....her
body shook....her throaty cries increased.....Suddenly she
screamed out her pleasure as my orgasm sped through me and I
emptied myself into her....she urged me as deep as
possible.....The pleasure seemed to last for minutes....I felt
her twitching and spasming over and over.....slowly the
pleasure subsided......I slipped softly from her.....we
collapsed onto the blanket......spent!..For a while anyway!!!
She looked up into my eyes....satiated, smokey, sleepy
eyed.....caressed my face with her hand....and
murmured..."Cheri....wait little while...we swim...then you
can love Carla more??" I smiled....with immense pleasure I
We swam! We lay together naked in the surf! We dived deep
under the water, watching the fish on the sea bed....fish of
all different colours darted away as we neared them! Carla was
like a fish herself...or maybe a mermaid! She obviously loved
the water, and, was completely at home in it!
We returned to our spot under the lee of the cliffs and lay
down, this time Carla lay on her back and absorbed the sun on
her coffee skin. I brushed the white sand from her skin, her
nipples puckered up, beautifully proud and engorged,
accompanied by goose bumps! I used the tips of my fingers to
flick the sand off her body, using this as an axcuse to arouse
her again. I lay on my side, slowly caressing down the length
of her body...she was beautiful! I reached the smoothness of
her womanhood, and, as my fingers touched her outer lips, I
felt her wetness, an invitation, and a loving compliment! Just
off to one side, I espied a white frigate bird feather,
reached across her midriff, and picked it up! She groaned when
she observed what I was doing- in anticipation?
I teased her mercilessly with it, stroking her body length,
across her throat and neck, down the valley between her
breasts, across the flat plane of her stomach....down her
thighs, back up... to barely touch her nipples...she moaned in
frustrated agony as I ministered to her! I eventually relented
and stroked the feather nearer to her pubes...her thighs
widened in jerky readiness for the ecstatic onslaught...as I
stroked her outer lips, the feather came away moist, with the
vanes stuck together..."You teasin' Carla badly Johnny!
Please! No more! Come!" She opened her arms for me...instead,
I trailed my lips over her navel, inserting my tongue
wetly...trailed further until I reached the top of her mons
veneris...she raised her hips sharply to meet my tongue, I
tasted the slippery saltiness of her! She groaned aloud,
grabbing handfuls of my hair and pressing me to her..........!
"CARLA!!! CARLA!!! Where you at woman?"
A jolt of electricity shot through the pair of us.....!!!
"Johnny, It is Ramon! He musn't find us here together! Not
with you!! Hurry! Take yo clothes and go!!"
"What about you Carla?"
"He beat me as he always do!! He beat me since I was little
girl! Why you think I go with men fo money?..Hurry!!!"
I picked up my clothes, and, for her sake only, disappeared
quickly over the next ridge of rock. I waited in silence. A
full minute passed, then I heard the voice of Ramon...!
"Where you bin woman! I'sa lookin' everywhere fo you!! What yo
bin doin'?"
"Nothing I doin' Ramon...just some swim!!"
"Just some swim huh?...So why two set of feet? Who bin wid
I heard her cry out!
"Who yo bin wid I ask? Yo whorin' for free wid dat sailorman?"
"Ramon! I on my own mon! I alone...just swim dat's all!"
"Liar! There two set of feet here! WHO WAS IT???"
The shout was accompanied by a slap, a cry from Carla, another
slap, another cry....How long could I stay here? I couldn't
let her take a beating? But, would she suffer worse if I
showed myself to Ramon?
The dilemma was answered for me.
"You whore! Bitch! You no do for free! You hear me?" there was
a scuffling sound, followed by a scream from Carla...!
"No Ramon! No kick please!!"
I could take no more...I climbed back over the rock, and stood
looking down at the scene.
"Hey Ramon! Woman beater! You like to try me eh? Like to try a
man eh?"
He stood back from Carla.."So! It is true eh? You give him for
free!..Well! I do him for free too! I give you his Donga to
eat you like it so much eh?"
I jumped from my high spot on the rock a full 20 yards from
where he stood, I sprinted right at him, the move took him by
surprise, but he realised what was happening and drew a long,
black- handled blade from a sheath in his waistband...still
bent low, and at speed, I covered the ground in less than 2
seconds.. ten feet from him, I bent low, scooped some sand,
and hurled it straight into his face! His shock was apparent,
he dropped the knife, both hands clawing at his eyes! In a
millisecond I was upon him...my knee crashing into his groin,
he howled in pain, bending double holding his crushed
testicles...As he doubled, I kneed him in the face...blood
spurted from a broken nose!!...He was screaming in blind
agony, spitting blood from his lips! I slipped behind his
kneeling form, picked up the knife and held it at his throat!
"I should cut you now! You scum!" I hissed in his ear....I
dragged him to the flat part at the base of the rocks..
"My eyes! My eyes! Yo' blind me mon!!"
"I'll kill you next time I hear you beat up on a woman!....
pig!!" I replied.
As he scrabbled in the sand...I looked into Carla's eyes, saw
the fear...another beating when he recovered I thought to
myself! Well! We might have to give her some breathing
time....I dragged him onto the hard rock base..then in one
swift movement, brought my foot down on his wrist with great
force...I heard the snapping of bone!...His screams echoed
around the cliffs...he whirled with a handful of sand of his
own, but he was temporarily blinded, and missed by feet....So!
still fight left in him...Still one good hand eh?...I darted
behind his thrashing good arm, grabbed it hard, and twisted it
up behind his back until I hear a snap!
This sufficed to finish the job!!!.. he sank unconscious to
the rock bed....!!
"Come Carla! Get your clothes! I'll see you safely home!"
"He will kill you now Johnny! Me too I think!" Tears were
streaming down her bruised face!
"We will see! We will see!" I said as I took her in my arms
and brushed away her tears!!
I turned and looked back as we climbed the rock face to return
to the main beach! Ramon had scrambled into the surf, and was
immersing his head in the waves, washing the sand from his
eyes, two arms hanging limply by his sides!
On the way back along the beach, Carla told me of the way her
life had been since she was a young child! Ramon had used her
and abused her, since she was 8 years old! Eventually, when he
had tired of this, he had forced her to go with many men for
money, which he used to buy rum and women!! When she initially
refused, she was beaten, and abused at will...eventually,
broken, she had agreed! That was how she had started! She also
told me Ramon had two brothers living on the other side of the
"So Johnny! It has not help Carla! They will come! I see their
eyes when they look at me when Ramon not there!"
I felt bitter, angry, guilty, all at once....my impulsive
reaction, may have caused her even more distress to come in
the future! I held her in my arms...and promised to come
ashore the next day to make sure she was safe...I told her to
contact the ship if she felt uneasy, or afraid! She
reluctantly agreed...but, I could tell from her eyes, that she
would not do so! I could see the fear present in them!
We kissed, and I left her, making my way back to the ship! I
climbed the gangway, and , was met by Capt Van Eike, who
informed me that the meeting with Baptiste and his contractors
had been a great success, and that tomorrow, we would be going
over to the Squalus to ascertain where the placement of her
armaments was to be! He also told me that he had negotiated
the purchase (on lend-lease of course) of 4 carronades,
swivelling guns that could be mounted in the bow and the
stern...thus giving us an advantage when approaching from
astern or ahead!! The gun ports were to be disguised, by
matching paintwork, as the main bulwarks of Squalus, and it
would take a very close inspection, to determine that it was
anything other than ship's side! Any marauder would be in for
a pretty surprise attempting to stop, and board her!! My
thoughts drifted to RedBeard...then suddenly, to Anna!!!...her
terror stricken face when we mentioned this brigand...and, the
possibility that he might set foot on the island, or, the
mainland! I recalled her shudder of horror of the thought of
being taken by his crew, abducted and debased!
Having to go across to Squalus on the mainland tomorrow, meant
that I could not get ashore to see Carla, to make sure she was
safe! There was nothing I could do to remedy the situation!
Maybe if I could get back to the island early enough, I could
get ashore in the later evening? I wondered what I would
find?? Would Ramon's brothers have paid a visit? Or, even
Ramon himself? Would I find her unscathed? My thought drifted
to our pleasurable afternoon, somehow I needed to ensure her
continued safety, when we had refitted and sailed!
Van Eike called us, Benney, Moses and me, to his cabin in the
early evening...he had drawings laid out on the table,
drawings of the new fittings and fixtures needed to refit
Squalus...heads nodded in assent to his questions,
enthusiastic nods of approval met his statements of costs,
time span etc...I could think of nothing other than the safety
of Carla! Of how I had placed her in further jeopardy by my
actions today! Suddenly, I realised the room had fallen
"Mr Allen? Are you following this? I would like your comments
about the siting of the ship's magazine! Should it be for'ard
or aft do you think?"
"Ahem! Sorry Captain sir! My thoughts were temporarily
I strolled over to the table upon which the drawings had been
spread...I was surprised at the fine detail that was presented
therein! To say that the draughtsman had done an excellent job
was an understatement! It was superb! Every possible
consequence of the refit had been taken into account,
balanced, and adjustments made in her trim and
ballasting...weight figures, tonnages, ballast
distribution...all had been thought of and charted! It was a
superb document! I had no reservations at all! Squalus would
be a fine fighting ship....a fine disguised fighting ship I
thought!!! I replied that I had thoughts already about the
magazine...I would reveal them when I had them on paper!! All
nodded their agreement with this idea! My thoughts were to lay
the magazines in different areas...to split up the explosive
repercussions of a major hit on the gun decks...I would like
to see them sited in four areas around the ship...three of
them for'ard...one deep in her bowels aft of amidships! This
would give us optimum protection from the off chance of a
heavy shot breaching the gun deck! We might then be able to
take more punishment than if the magazines were directly
connected to the gunnery areas!!! We needed surprise and quick
thinking more than heavy armament....lesseneing the chance of
explosion was to increase the work load of fetching and
carrying shot....but it had to outweigh the risk!!! We would,
to all intents and purposes, appear to be an innocent
merchantman....full to the gunwhales with cargo and, maybe,
passengers!! An innocent abroad on the high seas! An easy
picking indeed!! RedBeard might be in for a surprise!!!....My
thought wandered again....Oh Carla what have I let you in
Next day, bright and early, we set sail again for the
mainland....arriving at the harbour, we were surprised to see
a gang of men already working on Squalus!...There were baulks
of timber being unlashed and carried aboard, shipwrights
tools, carpentry tools of all descriptions were scattered
around the decks as we clambered the Jacob's ladder dangling
astern! The sound of hammering coming from below decks, told
of the industry going on below! I was eager to see what the
changes would look like in raw detail...seeing the drawings on
the table last night, I had been most impressed!
Van Eike took me below and introduced me to the shore
Shipwright, a huge Jamaican call Solomon Ganga! He shook my
proffered hand, pumped it vigorously, all the while gripping
with a vice like grip! he released my hand, which I shook to
regain the circulation!
"Pleased to meet to Mr Allen Sir! Captain tell me yo got plans
fo the magazin?"
I replied in the affirmative...then we retired to a pair of
casks with my previously prepared plans....ten minutes of
perusal, and Mr Ganga was as enthusiastic about the plan as I
was! The need for ample shielding of the ammunitions and shot
was discussed...we could line the magazines with copra!...an
item I knew nothing about...I was informed it was the outer
husk of the coconut, and had great insulating and shock
absorbing properties, was used in many local applications
where proofing was required!
I was quite impressed! We chatted some more...Van Eike called
in to see how we were doing...Then left, agreeing the
detail...So! there it was! My magazines would be built as I
requested..I felt we had a much better chance of survival
because of my plans...after all, Squalus was not a
warship...she was single skinned...and vulnerable to heavy
I chatted with some of the workmen, busy cutting with long
saws, and pit saws, the timbers for the new elbows and strakes
that would be fitted to strengthen the new gun-deck! Suddenly,
there was a slight commotion on deck!...I scrambled
aloft...stepped onto the deck, in time to see a boat
containing M. Baptiste, and.....Anna... tying onto the Jacob's
ladder aft! No way could either of them climb that!!!!
So...With no-one in authority in sight, I took charge, and
arranged the workmen into a detail for lowering the
Companionway over the side...this achieved, the pair were able
to disembark the boat, and clamber up the steps to the
deck....Baptiste stepped through the gate, red faced and
perspiring heavily..."I thank you Mr Allen for your courtesy!
I would have found it a fair climb using the other ladder!"
"Quite so sir! And I feel it would not have been appropriate
for you daughter to attempt such a thing!" She looked relieved
that this scenario had not come to pass!
"Ma'am'selle! It is my pleasure! Can I get you both some
refreshment? A glass perhaps?"
"Thankyou Crees! That would be so kind!" Crees! Crees!!! She
had remembered my name!!! My face reddened as I blushed
crimson!!...She had remembered!
I took them both aft to the Captain's quarters, knocked upon
the door...."Enter!"
"Captain Sir! Monsieur and Ma'am'selle Baptiste! I have
fetched them below for refreshment and to partake of your
"Very good! Well done Allen! Come in Monsier and Ma'am'selle!
I will open some fine Spanish Sherry! Rifled from the enemy
coffers no doubt!!"
He chuckled at his own joke...then proceeded to open a
decanter and pour four drinks! My! I was being feted!!!
Idle chit-chat? There was none! Talk went directly to
business! figures were being bandied about, talks of
investments, fiscal duties, interst etc...things that I knew
little about, nor cared much about! I found my eyes wandering
to Anna....I smiled as she caught my stare,...she coyly
dropped her eyes...I walked to her.
" Ma'am'selle Anna! It's so nice to see you again! So nice of
you to come! Perhaps later you would let me show you the work
that is going on already?"
"I shall have to ask Papa! He wants to get back ashore quite
soon, a meeting with some of the town's bankers! There is also
a sale of slaves in the square which he will attend, only to
try and disrupt the procedures! He hates to see the market in
people! The sale of people abhors him!"
I replied that I completely understood! Although, to be fair,
I had thought little about the trade! I had very little
experience of it...and I also felt that "Papa" would be
wasting his time! There was too much involved financially for
anyone to want to halt the trade in human flesh!
She crossed the floor, and at a convenient moment whispered in
the ear of her father....returned to me, took my arm and
said.."Lead on Crees! We have ten minutes for you to show me
the new work that is under way non?"
I stammered my reply...."...A great pleasure" etc...then,
making my excuses to the Captain, escorted her out of the
door, and onto the deck...across the deck and through the door
leading below.....she was very adept at descending the wooden
ladder to the lower deck....we toured the whole new working
area...taking in the sawing, hammering of wooden pegs,
whittling etc going on all around....I then led her to the
spaces where the new magazine would be installed...we rounded
the stanchions between decks.....and....suddenly..she
partially slipped..grabbing hold of a low table nearby, took
it crashing to the deck with her! I rushed to her aid...she
lay legs akimbo on the deck, somewhat winded...I reached under
her arms and lifted her up...."Are you ok Ma'am'selle? Are you
"Mais non!! ...I am not 'urt! I was silly! I missed my, 'ow
you say...feet??"
"We say...our footing...Ma'am'selle!"
"But..I am not 'urt! Thankyou Crees!"
I was still holding her up.....she looked into my eyes....then
suddenly...she was in my arms....our mouths pressed
together...her soft lips on mine...tasting so sweet....I was
so surprised...it took me a second to recover...then I kissed
her with an ardour, feeling her soft trembling body responding
to me! Anna! Lovely Anna!!!
I held her for a few moments...then broke away! I looked into
her eyes, they were nervous eyes! I held her with her head
against my chest...suddenly...she started to sob! Her body
shook! I was taken aback....why??? I decided to ask her
why....had there been a problem that I could help with?
"Anna? What is wrong? Why are you crying?"
"Oh Crees! I am sorry! I cry because I am...how you
say...fear?...I afear?"
"Afraid Anna? You are afraid?"
"Oui...Afraid!!! I am afraid...I am afraid of "Le Cochon"..I
think he will come to island or here! Papa..he say is ok...he
fix "Le Cochon" not to come!...But I am afraid!! I hear what
happen to ...womens?..Oui....womens.... when he take them
away! I am afraid...Oui! I am afraid!!!"
I thought her words over...how was Baptiste able to hold off
RedBeard? Was he paying him off? Were they in cohorts?
"Does your Papa know "Le Cochon" Anna?"
"Oui!! They have some time business together n'est
pas?....Oui!! Business!!"
Perhaps Baptiste was the receiver? Perhaps pirated goods wound
up in his warehouse? But....dealing with a murdering
blackguard like RedBeard? I must let Van Eike know about
"Crees? I wish to ask you something to do for me?? Is that 'ow
you say?"
"Ask me to do something for you!! ...Yes Anna...If it is in my
power! What is it?"
"Crees? I want you take me with you!..I want work on ship! I
cook for crew! I make food for you!!"
"That's not possible Anna! I have no say in who is taken
aboard! But it is definitely men only!"
I watched as her eyes filled with tears!
"Oui! Je comprende! I unnerstand Crees! Is not you to say
Oui..Is Captain?"
I felt her body trembling against me!! She was terrified! I
wondered what stories, or real events, had come to her ears to
make her so petrified of RedBeard! She really was wanting to
be away from Port-de-Paix!!! Did she or her father know
something that we didn't? I must find out...If there was a
pirate raid imminent on the coast or the island...then I had
to warn Van Eike...we had to warn the town, and I had to get
word to Carla!!
"Anna! I think we had better return to the Captain's quarters!
I would like a word with your father before he goes tonight!"
I escorted her back through the myriad passageways..crossed
the deck, and arrived at the Captain's Sea Cabin.....It was a
jovial group that we rejoined! Van Eike was passing Geneva gin
around....It looked as though deals had been done and wishes
had been met! I sipped at the drink the Captain had drawn for
me...it was very pleasant...less perfumed than English gin!! I
made my excuses...and made my way towards Baptiste...
"Good evening again Mr Allen! I trust my daughter has been
good company?"
"Certainly so sir! I wonder if I might have a few words with
you in private? I hope you don't consider me to be rude?"
"Mais non my friend!" With that he drew me towards the far end
of the cabin...a good ten feet from anyone....
"How can I be of assistance monsieur? You want my daughter's
hand? Is that it?"He chuckled softly!!
I reddened! Was I that transparent?
"No Monsieur...I mean....She is very lovely, it would be an
honour...but that is not why I am here!"
"Ah so! What is it ?"
"Monsier Baptiste!...I have great respect for your skills of
tact and diplomacy...I have heard that "Le Cochon" is in this
vicinity, in these waters....this I know from reports of the
boy who has survived the latest attacks! ...I also realise how
vulnerable and defenseless this town and it's people are! Have
you any plans for defending the town in case of
attack...defending your daughter, and other womenkind?"
"Le Cochon eh?? Le Coch..on!!! (he dragged the last
syllable)...I have no worries about the bearded one! He will
not 'arm me!!...or mine!"
"How can you be so sure Sir?....How do you know?"
He tapped the side of his nose with his forefinger.....
"I just know Mr Allen! We will have plenty of warning if he
decides to spread his wings in this direction!! So...
please..... you can stop worrying!!"
He changed the subject quickly..."Now then! We have been
discussing the refit.....It will take another three weeks!
then I think Squalus will be ready for her sea
trials....And...I can look forward to repayments!!"
I thanked him and rejoined the others....I was waiting for a
chance to talk to Van Eike!....I knew his answer before asking
the question...but I was going to ask it anyway!!!
At long last I found Van Eike alone for a few moments!
"Captain sir? Might I have a few moments of your time?"
"Sir? In the event of an attack by Redbeard on this town, or
the island!....What plan have we for defending them, and what
plan for defending the women and children?"
"I have none Mr Allen....The thought had not crossed my
mind!!! Why do you ask?"
"Just a premonition sir! I feel that an attack will
come....it's just a matter of time...Tonight I have spoken to
Miss Anna...she assures me her father KNOWS that Redbeard
won't attack this place!...But she is not so sure!...And has
asked that we take her to sea with us!!"
"I also think...by her manner...that Baptiste is well aware of
where, Redbeard is...and what he's doing!!!...In fact, I think
he's in cohorts with him...probably lining his nest with
materials pirated from innocent persons on the high
seas!...bought from "Le Cochon"!!!"
"Mr Allen! That is an unfounded allegation, which you will
kindly not repeat!....Take Anna to sea? That would be madness!
Think of the crew man!! They are men!! A woman would be like a
red rag to a bull!! She would be safer ashore!!! No
siree!!!....Not on my ship!!! However!..I take you words
seriously! I think we have to delve a little deeper into
M.Baptise! But we have to be careful!!...I thank you for
bringing it to my attention...Now shall we rejoin the party?"
It was 48 hours before I could get free to go ashore! I was
desperate to check on Carla....It fell to me to be duty for
Tuesday and Wednesday, but, Thursday I couldn't wait for the
day to go by..As soon as my duty was over..I scrubbed (with
cold seawater) changed into a clean pair of breeches and a
white shirt, put on my buckled shoes, and stepped
ashore....there were no fishermen, the quayside was
deserted..I quickened my pace, striding purposefully towards
the shack I knew Carla shared with Ramon....As I neared the
area, I was aware of the silence, no sounds of laughter
eminating from the shacks, no sound of children...nothing! I
came at last to the row of shanty huts that comprised home for
Carla's neighbours...her abode was as silent as the grave...no
lights....usually lit (Ipresumed) by the oil lamps I had
noticed on the first night!
Senses on full alert, I stealthily crept nearer, slipping my
dirk from it's scabbard at my waistband!...The knife glinted
in the starlight, small comfort I knew, but comfort
nonetheless!! Istepped onto the raised porch decking...not a
glimmer of light showed...I stopped and looked around...all
the other shacks were in darkness too!!! I removed my shoes,
padded silently along the stoop....I stopped at the shuttered
window, trying to peer inside....I could see nothing!
Cautiously, I retraced my steps, dropped to the ground and
crept around to the back of the shanty, the soft clucking of
roosting hens was the only sound...Prreeuukkk!..the sound was
magnified in the stillness...I crept closer to the back
entrance....The door was open....NO!! It was hanging from one
hinge!!...I ran forward, caution thrown to the
wind..."CARLA!!!!...CARLA!!!!" I pushed against the rickety
door, it fell free, and I stepped inside the hut! It was a
shambles! In the darkness it was difficult to make out
furnishings etc..I stood silently for moments for my eyes to
accustom to the darkness, ears keenly tunedfor the slightest
sound...Nothing...."Carla!! CARLA!!!!" the latter was a
worried shout....Nothing!!!!
With night vision increasing, the longer I stood and waited,
the more I was able to make out..... a table and what appeared
to be stools, or maybe barrels up-ended!..I needed a light!!!
I stepped out of the shack again, and decided to try and find
a light...running along the back of the shanties, I realised
that they were all unoccupied!!! Silent as the grave!!...I was
about to run to a house or shack further in the town, when I
heard light footsteps!! "Carla?" I whispered...No
reply.."Carla? Is that you?"...I was suddenly aware of a small
hand grasping mine...I looked down into the huge dark eyes of
a little girl of about 8 or 9 years of age!..."Hello! I'm
looking for Carla! Have you seen her?"
"Je non comprende Monsier....Ees danger!!! Ees very danger!!
I let her lead me away from the shacks, along a winding grassy
path, and up to the front of a tiny shack with thatched leaf
roof...on the front porch sat a woman, crying softl


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