The Girl from the Sea – Chapter 18

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Eighteen

The Captain and Pete waited on the harbour front for the brothers.  They weren’t far behind them.

“You know where Frankie is? You’ve seen her?  Is she alright?”  They both garbled together. 

“Shhh,” the older men hissed, looking around them.  “Come with me quickly,” said the Captain.  “Pete, stay here and make sure nobody’s following us.  You know what to do.”  Pete nodded darkly and made himself disappear into the shadows.  The Captain set off at a brisk pace up the path to his cottage.  The younger boys followed blindly, wondering how the older man was coping with the steep incline better than they were.  “Can you tell us anything, Sir?”  Lucas puffed. 

“It’s probably better if Frankie tells you herself.  All you need to know from me is that I found her in a terrible state on the beach and brought her home.  She’s been through the mill.”  Not even out of breath at all.

“But who might be following us?  What danger is there?  She just ran away from home.  I don’t understand,” continued Anthony. 

“Not sure.  Let’s just say that you’re not the only ones who have been looking for Frankie.”

The rest of the walk carried on in silence and darkness, now that they were away from the village.  The only light was on in the Captain’s cottage.  Esther must be still up.  He felt warmth stir his heart at the thought of her being there.  The brothers were each in their own worlds turning over what might have happened in their minds.  Their search for their sister was coming to an end, but there was obviously much more to this than her running away from home.

They approached the stone house and the Captain pushed the door open on the homely scene of Esther sitting in her rocking chair by the fire, with a cup of tea, staring into the flames.  She was always like that when she had things on her mind.  She said she could lose herself in the flames and things just came to her.  The Captain gestured to the boys to wait outside while he explained.

“Esther, is Frankie asleep?”

“Yes love.  A while back.  Why?”

“Her family’s here – two brothers at least.  They’ve been looking for her.”

“Her family?”  Esther’s face fell a little at the thought of losing the little girl.  She had enjoyed being a mother again.  She recovered herself quickly.  Frances had her own mother who missed her too.  “Why that’s marvellous.  Where are they?”

“Boys, come in.  This is my wife, Esther, and I’m Emos.  What are your names?”

“Anthony and Lucas, sir.  Please tell us what’s going on?  Is Frankie here?”

“She’s upstairs, asleep,” said Esther.

“No she isn’t.”  Frankie appeared in the doorway.  “I heard voices.”  She threw herself at Anthony and Lucas.  “What are you doing here? Oh I’m glad though!  So glad to see you.”

“What are we doing here, Frank?” queried Lucas.  “What are you doing here?  Do you know what kind of trouble you’re in with Ma – ready to kill you she is!”  He saw her eyes fill with tears and she bit her lip to stop them overflowing.  He realised that now was not the time.  “It’s good to see you too, Fishface,” he said hugging her tight.

Anthony drew them apart, and turned to the Captain and his wife.  “Thank you for looking after her.  We’re amazingly grateful to you.  You told us you found her on the beach in some kind of state?”  He could see the bruises covering her face and the bandages on her hands.  “What has happened to you Frank?”

The tears welled up again.  Anthony knew that she was not prone to crying as other girls were.  “Come on, Frank.  It can’t be that bad?”

“Anthony, they killed him!” she whispered.  “They killed him and threw him over the side!”  She threw herself against her older brother and dissolved in to hysterical sobs.

“Killed who?”  He asked gently.  When he wasn’t able to get any sane response he looked at the Captain and his wife and repeated.  “Who’s been killed?  Is this one of Frank’s stories?” 

Emos and Esther exchanged glances.  The Captain spoke up.  “We’re not sure who.  But there’s been a body wash up – a man, badly beaten and stabbed through the chest.  He appeared a day or two after your sister.  It seems to hold up to her story.” 

“He’s the man I saw on the boat,” sobbed Frankie.  “I know it.  They shut me in a cabin with him and he was dead!  I fainted when I saw him and when I woke up, he was gone!”

“Wait, who shut you up in cabin?”

“The man with the scars on his face!”

“This man…” interrupted the Captain slowly, “…has been in town too, asking questions.  He’s looking for a young boy though.  When I found Frances she was wearing boys’ clothes.”

“Sounds like our Frank alright.”

“We’ve got to get her out of here, before he realises that she’s not a boy.”

“We have our boat moored on the quayside.  We’ll take her home with us, first thing.”

“Son, he’s still going to be looking for her at home.  You said yourselves that you were searching every village along the coast for Frances.  What’s to stop him doing the same?”

“But he doesn’t know that he is a she.  Surely that’s to our advantage.”

“Maybe,” pondered the Captain.

“What should we do then?” 

“I think we need to stop him, that’s what.”

“And how exactly do you plan to do that?” whispered a threatening voice from the doorway. 

Catch up on previous chapters here: 

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter 17

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Seventeen 

It was a weekend and the inn was packed with people looking forward to not working tomorrow.  Pete and the Captain were sitting in a booth watching the comings and goings, sipping their ale and looking like the regulars they were.  Faces around them were familiar, people they had known forever – the strangers stood out like sore thumbs.  Two young lads were standing at the bar with untouched tankards in front of them.  One of them broke away from the bar and started moving around the groups of tables asking questions and moving on to the next.  He arrived at the table where Pete and the Captain were smoking their pipes. 

“I’m sorry to bother you people,” began the young man very politely.  The two men looked up through the smoke, squinting against the bitter smell of tobacco.  “My brother and I are looking for our sister who’s been missing this past week.  Might you have seen her?”

“Missing girl you say?  Well now I don’t think so…” pondered the Captain.  “What does she look like?”

“Ten years old.  Long curly hair, green eyes.  Listen, it’s a small village.  If there’s a strange girl wandering around you must have seen her.”

“Pete, have you seen anyone?”

“No Captain.  Not me.  No unusual girls around here.”

“Well thanks anyway.  We’re moving on soon – trying all the villages along the coast.  She always wanted to go to sea, so we’ve assumed that she sneaked onto one of the boats.  She’s always been more of a boy than a girl anyway.”  Anthony looked glum as he rejoined Lucas at the bar.

“Brothers.  That makes sense – it sounds like Frankie.”  The Captain said to Pete.  “What should we do?  Should we take them to her?”

“They seem to care about her if they’re going to all these lengths to find her.”

“Right.  Let’s finish up then and be on our way.”

They finished their tankards and took them back to the bar.  As they put their tankards down on the bar, they reached across Anthony and Lucas and the Captain muttered under his breath.  “We’ve seen her.  She’s safe.  Wait five minutes and follow us out.”  They waved their goodbyes to the innkeeper and headed out. 

The brothers looked shocked and delighted at the same time and watched the older men walk out of the pub.  They drank up quickly and jumped to their feet, paying no notice to a man in the shadows, who was taking notice of their every move.  His cap was pulled down to hide his scars but his sharp eyes missed nothing.

Catch up on previous chapters here: 

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter 16

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Sixteen 

There was a knock at the door.  It was Pete.  “I thought you’d want to know, Captain.  There’s someone asking questions about the body – the fellow.  Nothing about a girl though.  He seemed to be more interested in a missing boy, about ten.” 

“Good work, Pete! Keep your eye on him whoever he is.”

“He won’t be hard to miss, Captain.  He’s an ugly fellow.  Scars all the way across his face.”

“What did you say?  Scars?”

“Aye, from his eye down to his lip, and crossing from nose to ear.  Nasty…”

“Keep an eye on him.  He’s got something to do with this.  Frankie has just told us about a fellow with scars across his face, but he thinks she was a boy.  We can’t let him find her, Pete.  We’ve got to keep her safe – she’s been through enough.”

 ***

“There are questions being asked on the boats, Captain.  People looking for a missing girl.  What should we do?  We haven’t told anyone about her being here, but somebody will find out about her soon.  You can’t hide her forever.”

“Who is it who’s looking for a girl?  It can’t be the same people – they thought it was a boy they took, not a girl.”

“They seem like decent fellows to me, young chaps.  They have their own boat and it looks to be decked out with fishing gear.”

“Maybe we should have a chat with them?  We’ll meet at the inn later.  Is Scarface still here too?  I’d like a look at him too.”

“Aye, still poking his nose in.”

Catch up on previous chapters here: 

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter 15

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Fifteen 

“Have you heard what’s happened?”  The whispers had started.  “A body’s washed up on the beach.”  “A body?”  “Aye a man.”  “Who is it?”  “Never seen him before, not that you can tell much from the state he’s in!”  “Really? That bad?”  “Black and blue, stabbed through the chest!”  “Stabbed!  Well I never!  Who would do such a thing?”  “No one round here, that’s for sure.”  “You never can tell though.”  “That’s true enough.”

The village whispers eventually got back to the Captain.  This was too much of a coincidence.  Two bodies within two days – there had to be a connection.  He needed to talk to Frankie himself and find out exactly what had happened.

***

“Frances – we know it wasn’t pleasant and you were in some kind of danger but we can help you!  Surely you can see that the situation has changed now?  We need to know what happened so that we can find these animals that did this.”  The Captain had relayed everything he’d heard to Frankie and it had visibly shaken her.  There was no doubt that there was a connection between the two of them.  Frankie was sitting at the kitchen table trembling as she remembered.  

“Nobody can help!  I couldn’t help him.  It was too late…he was dead when I saw him!”  she blurted out.  

The Captain and Esther felt as if they’d walked in half way through the story.  

“Of course you couldn’t have helped him Frances,” said Mrs Captain encouragingly, sitting next to her and taking her hand.  “It wasn’t your fault.”  She glared at her husband to try and make him go slower with the poor girl.   

“Who was it though?  Did you hear any names?  Could you describe them again?  Would you know them, if you saw them again?  How about the boat?  What sort of boat was it?”

“I don’t know!” she exclaimed.  “It was dark and…and…”  The image of the tall, dark captain was burned into Frankie’s face.  Scarface was there too. It wasn’t a face you were likely to forget.  “One of them had a scar – a cross shape on his face.  His breath stank too.   They were all big men.  Two of them carrying….him.”  She paused.  “Another one was in charge and then Scarface.  So four of them.  And him.”  She didn’t know how to refer to a dead body.  

“That scar would be memorable.  He would be easy to recognise, but  the others could be anybody.”  The Captain pondered.  “How about the boat?”

“Fishing boat, like my brothers’.  They put me in the cabin below to start, with….him…this man.”  She had her eyes closed now as she recalled the sounds and smells.  She swayed as if she was still at sea.  “Then we were up on deck and that’s when they pushed….”   She put her head in her hands on the scrubbed table top.  

“Did you hear any names?  Anything else at all?”

“There was one name….but I can’t remember!”

“Well that scar is the place to start.  Someone must know someone with a face like that. Sounds like a nasty piece of work!”

Catch up on previous chapters here: 

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14

Off with her Head!

A classic!  Love the book, love the Disney film, love the Johnny Depp film…

This is taken from one of my lovely hardback books that I had when I was a child.

Off with her head!

Off with her head!