The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Twenty-four
The Captain and his wife were making breakfast for the brothers who had slept longer than their sister and not been aware of her long absence. When she didn’t turn up for hot porridge and milk they began to feel uneasy. Mrs Captain insisted they finish their breakfast before they headed out of the door – she was long acquainted with sailors’ stomachs.
Frankie had had a lovely morning on the beach with Joe. It had helped her to have someone to talk to who wasn’t a grown up. Joe and she had collected a whole bucketful of gorgeous shells and seaweed. They had scrambled up the cliff face to the ledge where Joe kept all his treasure – he wasn’t allowed to keep things at home like the Captain was. He felt embarrassed showing his collection to a girl but he thought that Frankie might appreciate its beauty. The opening was only just big enough for one of them to squeeze through at a time but inside it opened up into a cave of wonders. Driftwood piled at every corner, seaweed draped like curtains, drying; rope coils; shells of every shape and colour; empty bottles; old shoes; bits of boat. Frankie stood open mouthed and wondered how long it had taken Joe to collect all this stuff.
There was a tremendous echo in the cave and the sounds all reverberated on top of each other. Even their whispers sounded like the sea rushing over a pebbly beach.
“Shhhh…” whispered Joe suddenly. “There’s someone on the beach. I can’t hear what they’re saying. Shhh.”
His “shhhh” echoed around the cave. They crawled on their bellies to the mouth of the cave where they were still concealed. Just below them standing on the sand was a small group of men.
“I’m telling you I saw a couple of kids down here. Just a minute ago. They can’t have gone far.” Frankie shrank back into the cave in fear. She recognised their voices.
“Well there’s no one here now. They must have gone over into the sand dunes.”
“Funny. Didn’t see anyone head in that direction.”
“Do you think it was the kid we’re looking for?”
“Well, we’ve tried all the other villages here about. The last rumour we heard was that the body washed up here. Somebody has been asking questions about him which means that somebody suspects something. Someone’s been looking for a kid too…the two things have to be connected somehow. We find the kid and we’ll find the person who’s been asking all the questions too. Need to know what they know.”
Joe and Frankie listened with growing horror. Frankie knew that these were the men that Jonas had talked about – the people who had killed that poor man. They were still looking for her. The four men headed off towards the dunes to continue their search. She retreated to the back of the cave in fear. She had been transported back on to the deck of the boat.
Frankie clapped her hands over her mouth. She wasn’t sure but she thought she might scream or be sick. Not sure which. She was sure they meant to kill her.
“Frankie, look!” She swallowed her fear, and turned to see Mr Jonas following at a discrete distance. He looked around, waited until the men were hidden from sight and then headed over the dunes to follow them.
“Well at least he’s not in cahoots with them,” thought Frankie. She had been unwilling to trust the man who pushed her overboard – reasonably so. Out loud she said, “I think we need to get help. Come on…” They scrambled out of the cave and ran up the cliff path to the Captain’s cottage in the opposite direction to the men.
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 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23