43 The Trial
Port Royal, Jamaica, April 1720
Few people had gathered to see the trial. More men accused of piracy was nothing new, so the majority of civilians trailed about in the background, getting on with their daily lives. But when the civilians saw the accused, they were intrigued. What were these three women doing here, wrists shackled and their weapons confiscated? Were they pirates too?
The judge had to speak loudly over the general chatter of the Port Royal inhabitants, his patience wearing thin as one of the pirate women would yawn, receiving a ripple of laughter among the crowd. So the people watched, most, tired of these seemingly never ending trials, others, curious on how this would play out.
"M'lord, His Majesty's court contends that the defendants, Mary Read, Anne Bonny and Jemima Thatch, did piratically, feloniously, and in an hostile manner, attack, engage and take seven certain fishing boats." A captain announced, holding the parchment he read from out in front of him. "Secondly, this court contends that the defendants lurked upon the high seas and did set upon, shoot at and take, two certain merchant sloops, thus putting the captains and their crew in corporeal fear of their lives."
Ignoring the announcement, the three woman exchanged a glance as a ragged looking man was dragged out, two red coats either side of him. Kenway was shoved down on a bench to watch the trial.
Jemima glanced to the pirate, growling under her breath as she recognised that bastard Woodes Rogers behind him. Their voices were hushed but the conversation was dark. Kenway said something, wrestling in his bonds, obviously distressed.
"You, Mary Read, Anne Bonny and Jemima Thatch, are to go from hence to the place from whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution," at the word, Kenway squirmed in his seat, but the three condemned prisoners made no reaction, in fact, giving a wicked smile, "where you shall be severally hanged by the neck til you are severally dead, dead, dead!"
"Oh, rot!" Anne barked a laugh.
"May God in his infinite mercy be merciful to each of your souls-"
"We're pregnant!" Jemima yelled, cutting off the judge, the crowd uttering gasps between them.
"Do you all hear that?" Mary called, knowing they now had the upper hand.
"What the devil did she say?" The judge demanded, turning to a captain beside him.
"They plead their bellies, M'lord."
"Aye!" Anne confirmed. "You can't hang a woman quick with child, can ya?"
As the crowd grew restless, the judge thumped his gavel on the desk.
"Quiet! Quiet!" He ordered. "If what you claim is true, then your executions will be stayed, but only until your terms are up."
"Then I'll be up the duff the next time you come knocking!" Anne shouted, receiving amused laughs from the crowd.
"Remove them!" The judge yelled, waving them away.
The three women were led away, grins still painted on their faces.
"Alright, lads." Mary grinned, turning her back and holding out her shackled wrists. "Off with these things then!"
"Yep, come on, lads!" Jemima said and she and Anne joined Mary, waving the handcuffs in front of them.
The two guards looked to each other and the women's faces fell.
"You have to free us!" Anne protested. "We're pregnant!"
"Not likely," one scoffed. "We let you go, and what? You go get knocked up the second you pop out this one? You said it yourself, whore."
Anne's mouth hung open, unable to respond.
"Keep moving." The other snarled and pushed them on with his rifle.
"No!" Jemima yelled, furiously shaking in her bonds. "Kenway!"
The pirate turned, hearing his name and tried to reach them, held back by the other guards.
"Anne! Jemima! Mary!" He called back.
"They're not letting us go!" Jemima shouted to him, resisting the guards attempts to drag them away to prison.
"You bastards!" Kenway roared at them. "Can't you see they're pregnant?! Let them go free!"
"No can do." The guard gave an awful smile before shoving Jemima after the others, making her stumble.
"No! Kenway!" She screamed, watching as he was dragged away, orders of 'send him to the gibbet!' joining her cries.
"Shut it, you!" A guard spat and cracked the back of his rifle against her head.
Jemima's eyes rolled back and everything faded to black, just as the stone floor rushed up to meet her.