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

Where Dark Things Live – Roald Dahl

Never mind about Halloween coming!  The Grandma in “George’s Marvellous Medicine” by Roald Dahl would scare anyone, not just George.  Still he got his own back!  

George's Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl

George’s Marvellous Medicine, Roald Dahl

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter 14

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Fourteen

The fishing fleet was back after a successful day.  There was a lively atmosphere at the inn that evening.  Wages were in pockets and ale was flowing; someone had bought a fiddle, someone else an accordion and a merry shanty tune was playing.  Voices were raised in song as the drink flowed freely.  The inn was full – everyone was there.  The boats had all come back and been de-rigged – the equipment scrubbed and stowed away.  Salt air always created a thirst in the men’s throats and the inn was the first stop before home for dinner.  The Captain was catching up with friends in a quiet corner.

The Captain leant in, in a conspiratorial manner.  “Lads,” he whispered.  “I found a girl…”

There were guffaws and whistles of approval.  “Nice one, Cap!  Didn’t think that was your style!  Thought you and Esther were pretty solid, but you never know…”

“No you fools, not that kind of girl!  Esther would have my guts for garters!”  He shivered at the thought that she literally would have his guts for garters if he ever betrayed her.  “A young girl…on the beach…this morning.  On the verge of death she was…black and blue. Hardly breathing….”

There was shock all around on every face.  “Where do you think she came from?  What did she say?  Is she still alive?”  Too many questions crowded the air and the commotion was drawing attention to them.  There seemed to be a lull in the singing and the conversations around them.   

“Hush your mouths,” he hissed, staring fixedly at his ale mug, to try and make it look as if they weren’t having a heated debate.  “Drink something, and calm down!”  They all shifted in their seats and took a sip under instructions.  The singing started up again. 

“I don’t know anything about her, apart from the fact that she’s badly beaten and has washed ashore from somewhere.  She hasn’t spoken to me.   Young Joe managed to get her name out of her.”

“Joe?  That blabber mouth.  And what does that lad know about her?  You know he won’t keep this quiet!”

“Shhhh,” he warned.  “He seems to be the only one she’ll talk to.  Not that she’s said much any way.  She was in a bad way, but she must be a tough nut to have recovered from what she went through.”  His friends nodded, knowing his background and were never sure how to react.  Nothing was said for a while.  The men sat together showing their support in their silence.  The rest of the pub roared the chorus to the song behind them.

“Did any of you hear anything about a missing girl today?  She must have family who are missing her?” 

“No I’ve not heard anything Captain.”

“Nor me.”

“Nor me.”

“Well keep your ears open, will you?  If anyone starts asking questions about her come and find me.”

“Aye sir,” they all repeated.  He may not be Captain of a boat any longer, but he still commanded respect. 

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

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter 13

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Thirteen

The Captain wandered down the street to the village green in front of the church and through one of the narrow streets on to the harbour front.  Things seemed normal, which surprised him after the turn of events this morning.  Village life continued undisturbed.  He wandered through the back streets to his shed on the water front, where he did his fishing these days.  It wasn’t much but he had space for his lines and tackle and a crate to sit on.  It was a bit ramshackle but that was how he liked it.  The village children seemed to congregate around his hut to fish with him in the hope of hearing some of his tales.  He liked to sit and stare out to sea with his pipe.  He didn’t feel the need to go out to sea any more – this was as close as he would get.  The fishing boats were making their way out onto the horizon.  “What a lovely sight!” he thought to himself.  It never ceased to calm him. Continue reading

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter 12

The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Twelve

Joe paused in the living room of the cottage and didn’t quite know what do.  What could he possibly have to say to a girl?  Girls were funny creatures.  His sisters just ignored him mostly.  He hesitated in going back up stairs and stood amongst the higgledy-piggledy arrangements pondering.  His eye caught upon the ship in the bottle, which he took with him and headed back up the stairs, twisting it and turning, trying to figure out how it got in there – there had to be some magic involved. Continue reading