Chapter 36: A Good News
I jumped away from a death by fire into the embrace of a death by ice. Summer had long gone; at this moment winter was gloriously prevalent over the world, chilling everything to the core. The water was freezing cold, tiny pieces of ice floated over the water every little distance apart.
I tried to swim my way to the shore, but it was too far from my reach and the waves opposing my motion too strong. I pushed my arms and legs to keep going, to keep making progress even if just a little, but the exertion was too much to bear and the cold too numbing for my limbs. My world swam into darkness, as shivering of my body got increasingly violent and the giant waves of icy cold water over rode me.
I was falling through an endless abyss for only God knows how long, when I felt strong hands gripping on my bluing body. Something warm came in contact with my skin, and I clung to it with the intention of never letting go. The heat chased away some of the numbness, causing the shivering to return. Immediate sound that met my ears was that of my clattering teeth, but in distance I could make out make out the noise of several voices whispering all together.
Time and time again I would slip into the welcoming darkness, and return to the sound of clattering of my own teeth just to head back to the world of senseless darkness.
This time when I came around in control of my senses, heavy silence met me. My body was no longer shivering nor were my teeth clattering. Rather I was warm and very comfortable. The last memory that I could garner was of my body battling the cold, unforgiving sea in the hopes of surviving.
Either I was dead or I had been rescued, I could think of no third reason for my current state of comfort. Which case was it, the former or the latter, only one way to find out. Using all the will power I possessed I forced my lead heavy eye lids to flutter open.
Gentle glow of silvery moonlight filtering through the port hole illuminated the small cabin. Sandy colored, thick, woolen blankets rested over my aching naked body. Other than the bunk bed I rested on, a wooden table and chair sat in the cabin.
In the chair was an old woman perched. Her eyes were closed as her head rested back on the chair back support. The moonlight illuminated mildly the grey in her hair and wrinkles on her face.
I willed my bones and muscles to stir into action, but only to bring a spell of pain upon my own self. I let out a pain laced moan, falling back deeper into the softness of bed.
“Oh you are awake. Finally. Are you in too much pain?” A kind voice inquired. Worry flickered in the dark orbs of the old woman, who now lingered close to the bed. Her fingers glided through my hair, gently pulling out the knots formed in them.
“No, it is not too much pain if I do not move,” I more or less croaked.
Noticing the dryness of my throat, the old lady quickly brought a glass of water to my lips while gently pushing my head upwards with her hand on the back of it. While staring at her gentle features I took small cautious sips of water. The liquid felt divine on my tongue, but I did not wanted to be greedy and end up coughing it all out. With tiny sips I consumed all the water in the glass, in no time.
“How do you feel now, sweetie?”
“Better. Where am I? Who are you? How did I get here?”
“Slow down young woman, I will answer all your questions. Have some patience. My name is Andrea, and my husband owns this ship we currently are on. He takes goods for trade and passenger from Turkish Empire to the land of Spaniards, and vice versa. The ship is currently returning from the Turkish Empire. Mid way we saw a burning ship, and a sailor spotted you drowning, hence they swam to you, and brought you on board.” She gave me a motherly smile and spoke, “Does that answers all your questions?”
I nodded in affirmation.
“Now if you do not mind my curiosity, may I ask how you ended up in the state we found you in?”
She seemed kind and harmless enough, but I could not afford telling her the complete truth. However I would have to give her some sort of story to quench her curiosity. I made a quick decision to stick to a censored version of the truth.
“I was traveling to the Spanish lands to visit some family members resident there. My husband had boarded a small passenger ship along me. The ship was attacked by pirates. The pirates killed my husband and took me captive.”
I managed to drop some fake tears to increase my credibility.
“I managed to escape the ship when it caught fire. I am so thankful you and your husband saved me.”
“Oh dear, that is horrible. You do not need to worry anymore; you and your baby are safe here. You will be safely taken to the land with us.”
I looked at her with confusion filled eyes, trying to figure out what she meant. Noticing the confusion displayed on my features, she stopped talking for a moment.
“Oh you are not aware are you, that you are expecting a baby?”
To say that I was taken by utter surprise would be an understatement. Bafflement shone in my eyes.
“Wh-what did you say?”
“Yes, my dear, you and your late husband made a baby together. You are one month or more into your pregnancy.”
For a long while I stared dumbly at the woman standing in front of me, while she gave me a patient look. It felt like hours, but in reality were mere moments which my baffled brain took to process and analyze the information hurled my way.
Array of emotions coursed through my being. Happiness, fear, worry, and panic swirled through my mind. Panic began to stir more than anything else when the thought crossed my mind that I might be carrying the child of my rapist. My breathing grew hitched. Just before I went into a state of complete panic I recalled Andrea’s words. If the baby was created around a month in history, he or she could only be Vincent’s.
A happy smile crossed my face, while my hands reached to my belly protectively. Mentally, I pledged to my own self that I would do everything in my power to protect this child and its father. A never ending loved surged through me for my unborn child.
“How did you know I was expecting?”
“When we pulled you out of the sea you were in a very bad shape. We had to get the healer on board to tend to you. He is the one who discovered and disclosed the information to us. You should rest, sweet girl.”
Andrea made her way to the cabin door, and I closed my eyes.