No one had seen the dark man looming there in the shadows. The men started, Frankie moved behind her brothers in fear and the Captain reached out his arm to protect his wife. “So this explains a lot. I should’ve been looking for a girl. I tell you lass, there are not many boys who would have put up with what you did.” He looked at Frankie with something close to respect.
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.
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 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 →