His Saving Grace

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter II

­­Our cottage was on fire. Orange, yellow, and red licked the sky, engulfing everything that had once been precious to me, and the air around it was tainted with the gray plumes of smoke that choked the light. Beth was screaming as the three pirates dragged us away, but I couldn’t form the sounds to protest. Still, the tears were slipping down my cheeks as the only place I had ever called home burned to the ground. That cottage had held everything that was precious to me. Now, it was nothing.

The town bells had initially stopped, but now they rung louder than before, howling for the admiral to bring his men to the rescue. No one came, and the betrayal ran deep. The old man had chosen not to help us – I knew it.

The captain had deemed Beth too loud, clamping his hand over her mouth, but she fought back – scratching, biting, screaming, kicking. She too wanted to mourn for our home. Instead of trying to negotiate, he knocked her out easily, hitting some pressure point in her neck, and she collapsed into his arms. A pointed look was shot in my direction, but I looked away. The younger boy who had been in our room with us threw her over his shoulder, and we trudged on. Now that Beth was silenced, we were all silent, the sole sound being the town bells that screeched relentlessly.

I felt so numb. The tears had already dried on my face, and I was sure I looked like a mess. Still, there was an emotional gap in my chest that tugged at fragment of my emotions that had scattered with my tears. Our home was gone. Our precious, beautiful home was gone, and no one even tried to save us from the savages. Beth wasn’t conscious, and she had been the sole reason I could keep my head up in any form of false confidence.

My knee was throbbing, sending sharp jabs on pain up my leg as we walked away from the burning cottage, but I put every last bit of strength I had into walking without a limp, not wanting to show any more weakness. I had lost my right shoe somewhere in the cottage, and regret filled me as I tried not to flinch from the burning hot sand. Even my stockings were unable to keep the extreme heat at bay. The overhead sun had heated up the beach, and I was stifling hot, dripping sweat as the old man prodded me from behind to walk faster.

I could see the boat now, a large ship sitting almost innocently on the waters. There was no threatening-looking flag that marked the ship a pirate ship, and there was nothing I could have looked at and thought of as what would belong on a pirate ship. There was a single rowing boat waiting at the beach, and we approached it.

At the sight of that single rowing boat, the older man stopped short, grabbing the captain by the shirt and demanding an explanation. He spoke in broken Spanish, and I realized that I was wondering the exact same thing as he was. Still, I was too confused to fight back, but I had been wondering why on earth there was only one rowing boat. The cottage had certainly been plundered by numerous pirates, loud boisterous men who were nowhere to be seen.

Everything about this boy confused me because he seemed so kind, escorting me into the rowing boat and carefully carrying Beth in too. Then, he put Beth down, laying her next to me with her head on my lap, and he sat in the middle, holding the oars in preparation to depart. I was starting to feel dizzy, the heat finally getting to me. Almost in exasperation, I glanced over at the captain and older man, and I tuned into their conversation that had quickly become an argument.

The older man’s face was bright red, sweat trickling down his forehead as he screamed at the captain in a mix of Spanish and French. His eyebrows were drawn, and he was very direct, pointing angrily at the ship and yelling. He was demanding the captain to return himself and his men to Spain. Apparently, the savages who had looted our cottage hadn’t been the captain’s men, but this was a difficult concept to wrap my head around while my head spun because of the dizzying heat.

The captain, on the other hand, was the epitome of calmness, trying to speak at any given interval, but the other man was too angry to listen to anything. Finally, the older man ran out of the breath, and the captain took his opportunity to speak, replying in a fluent flow of English.

“The deal was that you would work for me while we capture Lady Elizabeth Taylor. In no part of the agreement was I to return you to Spain.” The captain pointed out, trying to sound reasonable as he spoke to the red-faced older man. “You never requested to be returned to your homeland, and that was not part of the deal. Therefore, I have no moral obligations.”

The older man threw a punch at the captain, and a gasp escaped my lips. However, the captain easily ducked, and somewhere in between, he had pulled out his pistol, which he pointed right at the older man’s chest.

“Pirate code.” The captain snarled, his handsome face drawn in anger. His hood had fallen back when he had ducked, and his charcoal eyes were blazing with fury. I held my breath, unable to look away, and I was praying that the older man would see some sense and walk away.

There was a silence as the captain stabbed the pistol against the older man’s chest, pushing him away threateningly. Beth let out a small sound, starting to awaken, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the two men in front of me.

“Captain, we need to go.” The boy holding the oars urged, nervously glancing between the captain and the older man. Slowly, the older man stepped away, hatred blazing in his eyes as he never looked away from the captain. Then, the captain turned, nearing the boat as he started to push it off the shore.

Suddenly, a shot was fired, and a scream pierced through the air. It was mine.

The older man had snuck his pistol out and shot at the captain. Without even looking back, the captain shot back, and another choked scream trickled out as I realized that his aim was dead perfect. There was blood trickling down the old man’s face as he fell back, dead. Jumping onto the rowing boat with one final push, the captain urged the young boy who had been too busy trying to assess the captain for injury.

The boy started rowing, urgent yet strong strokes towards the ship. Meanwhile, Beth woke up, bolting upright as a choked sob burst out of her lips, and she took ragged breaths, as though waking from a nightmare. I smoothed down her hair, and slowly, while taking deep breaths, she calmed down, leaning towards me for comfort me.

“Where are we? What happened?” She croaked. Then, her eyes narrowed on the captain, who didn’t so much as glance her way.

“We’re leaving.” I whispered softly. She turned to embrace me, her eyes filled with sorrow as she stared into mine, and she offered me her comfort as I gave her some too. It had been our home, our precious little sanctuary sitting on the cliff-side of a tiny island.

Finally, we reached the larger ship, and a shadow crossed over as we stopped alongside. Beth and I pulled away from one another as we both stared up at the ship, and I could see several men poking their heads down. The shade made a huge difference, making me fan myself in some relief. My head was still spinning, and my mouth was dry, feeling as though I had been outside for days without water, as opposed to less than an hour.

“Beth...” I croaked, feeling another wave of dizziness hit me. “I...” Before I could continue, darkness consumed my sight, and I collapsed into Beth’s open arms.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.