Bird Of The Sea

42 Drinking To Defeat

After the succession of robbing the fishing boats, the pirates decided a celebration was in order. Rum was handed around like it would never run out and joyous cries filled the late afternoon air. Aboard the ship, the crew danced, or rather, staggered about, singing at the top of their lungs as the pirates sat and watched on, amused.

"You're not having anything?" Sam asked, slumping down on the floor beside the three women.

They quickly glanced to one another before shaking their heads.

"In that case," he sighed, "neither will I."

"Ah, you're a good man, Sam." Anne smiled. "You know not to tempt the ladies."

"Oi!" Rackham drawled as he sauntered over. "Don't you go tempting my lady now."

"Oh, Jack." Anne laughed as the pirate thumped down beside her. "I told you not to call me a lady."

"Aye, that you did." He grinned and pulled her into his lap. "Since I wouldn't do this to no lady."

She burst out laughing as he fell about kissing her neck, caressing her hair as she pushed him back.

"Jack, stop it!" She laughed.

The three grinned at the couple's display of affection but they soon calmed and Anne relaxed, curling up in Rackham's arms as he held her. Sam smiled and put an arm around Mary and she rested her head on his shoulder. At the sight of the pairs, Jemima's heart felt as if it had been struck by a pin. She longed for Thomas to be beside her, his arm around her, her head on his shoulder. Anne noticed her mournful expression and patted her back.

"Cheer up, lass." She lifted her chin. "We just took a some bloody good loot. Now's not the time to be sad, it's a time for celebration!"

At her raised voice, the drunken crew, barely able to stand up, roared a cheer and Jemima smiled.

"There's that Jemima that we know and love." Anne grinned.

The five sat amid the chatter and bumbling fools of their crew, almost ignoring them as they spoke on times past. They recalled meeting each other for the first time, the various stories that lead to where they were today. Sam remembered meeting Jemima, or rather, Jack first, the young boy of seventeen joining the crew of the infamous Blackbeard and befriending the cabin boy. And years later, he discovers Jack's true identity, and not much changed. They remained friends and he saw her as an equal, knowing that she could kick his head in if he told her otherwise.

Anne spoke on meeting Mary, remembering knowing exactly who she was from the moment they met, much like when Mary first met Jemima. With a smile, Mary spoke up, telling of how she met Sam.

"I distinctly remember you calling me a 'yellow bastard' when you dared me to swim across an alligator infested lake and I said 'no'." Sam remarked.

"I did it and I'm still here, what harm could it have done you?" She jabbed his chest.

Sam didn't answer but laughed and poked her back. Jemima grinned. For as long as she could remember knowing Sam, he had a pathological fear of alligators, which she often took advantage of with the help of a candle, a sheet and her expert skills at shadow puppetry.

"And I remember meeting you, lass." Rackham trailed a finger through Anne's red hair.

"Oh, yes." She grinned. "Called me 'dear lady', didn't ya?"

"Did I? Must of slipped my memory."

"Doesn't everything." She gave him a wicked smile before pulling him into a kiss.

Despite the love and friendship that surrounded her, Jemima didn't feel like she belonged. Mist flowed over the waters surface and pulled a cloak around the ship, obscuring anything further away than thirty feet. Jemima stood, leaving the pairs and clambered up the rigging, perching on the mast. Even high up, the mist was forming a cocoon around them. With a sigh, she looked out, watching the fog curl and twist in accord to the waves that moved beneath it.

"Yo, ho, all together,

Hoist the colours high,

Heave ho,

Thieves and beggars,

Never shall we die."

Jemima's voice drifted ominously through the cold air as she thought of times past. All the pirates and equally, all the great men she ever met, they were gone from this world, but in her heart, they would never die.

Her mind wandered and Jemima imagined a figure step through the mist, his hood back to reveal his smiling face. Thomas stood among the fog, his appearance as misty as his surroundings.

Suddenly, his smile dropped. His eyes on her, he stood still, transfixed. Jemima swallowed and gripped the wooden posts.

'Trouble.' He mouthed and dissolved, just as a ship burst through the fog.

"Anne! Mary! Sam!" She screamed.

The three glanced up and barely had enough time to react before the Man O' War crashed into the side of the ship.

"Come on, men!" Anne roared, waving her cutlass in the air. "Playtime's over! It's time we fight!"

The drunken men shouted in agreement but stumbled about, some calling abuse to their enemy in over confidence, others wailing for mercy as they curled up in defeat on the deck. Rackham staggered about, holding his sword in the air as he tried to defend himself from the boarding soldiers. He managed to hold his own, much better than the other crew members who were swiftly cut down. Jemima flew to the deck, taking down an unaware soldier with Thomas' wrist blade before drawing her pistol, firing in all directions, then jumping into the fight. Only Mary, Anne, Jemima and Sam were sober but it made little difference as they watched their crew fall, vastly outnumbered.

"Mary!" Anne shouted, sighting the assassin fall.

Mary was kicked down by a brute, his axe raised to end the life of his victim. She winced, holding up an arm in defence, to no avail. As the brute's head flew off, she scrambled back, eyes widening as Sam stood behind the body, crumpled to the ground, bloody sword in hand.

"Sam!" She jumped to her feet and rushed to embrace him.

Her heart thudded loudly in her chest, the near death experience catching up on her. Mary stepped back from the smiling man, ready to fight once more. At his pained expression, Mary gripped his weak hands, panicked at the blood that dripped through the hole in his belly and screamed as he fell. Jemima sliced down the soldier but it was too late. Kneeling on the deck, Mary held Sam as the life dripped from the gaping wound in his back. The sword had sliced right through.

"Sam, no!" She begged him to stay with her as he shook, breathing heavily.

"We yield! We yield!" Anne shouted, dropping her cutlass.

Jemima and Rackham did the same but as their swords clattered to the floor, their glanced about, realising they were the only ones to do so.

"They're all dead." Jemima breathed, still bodies of the crew members littered everywhere.

Sam gasped, drawing in his last breath, struggling to focus his eyes on the woman he lay beside. Their eyes met as he exhaled, his chest stilling, a faint smile on his lips.

The ship went silent.

Mary stood, remaining strong as she stepped away from the prone form.

"Aye, we surrender." Mary held up her hands and the surviving four were dragged aboard the Man O' War.

Mary and Jemima took as last, lingering look at all the crew that had fallen. As their eyes found the body of Sam, a lover and a friend, they turned away, whispering apologies and stepped aboard, defeated.

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