The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Four
Frankie was woken with a rough slap around the face. She looked groggily around her. The body was gone. She felt the movements of the waves and the boat rolling beneath her. Her empty stomach rebelled again. The wind was increasing in strength and she could feel the power of the sea all around them. They must be out in the open water.
One of the crewmen dragged her to her feet and hauled her out on deck. The pitch and yaw of the boat made her stagger on her feet. She would have surely fallen down if the crewmen hadn’t been holding her up in their vice like grips. The spray lashed her face and the salt stung her lips. The wind whipped Anthony’s long coat from around her and slapped it against her legs.
She trembled as she saw the man she had labelled Scarface standing at the stern of the boat in the shadows of the mainsail. His dark eyes were fixed on the inky horizon and the shoreline which was rapidly disappearing into the distance. She was aware of two men holding her up; the Captain was leaning against the helm.
“Enjoying your trip? You look a little bit green, boy. No sea legs.” The Captain sneered.
Frankie stared belligerently at him. She couldn’t open her mouth for fear of being sick everywhere.
“Unfortunately we haven’t got any room on board for people who can’t stand upright on the waves. Let alone those people who stick their noses where they don’t belong. Isn’t that right lads?” They all laughed, gravelly, menacing laughs. “Aye, Captain. S’right.” Scarface had his eyes fixed on the horizon, scanning the darkness.
Frankie was looking around her trying to see the body somewhere on the deck, but it was nowhere in sight. She could only assume that they had chucked it overboard. Her plan was definitely taking a turn for the worse. There was no way in the world that they would let her go free knowing what she did.
“He got drunk and fell overboard, if you’re wondering about our friend. We’re all devastated by the loss.” The Captain took his hat off and put on a solemn face. “The sea has taken our dear friend to its bosom. It’s a terrible rough night – these things happen. You’d best be careful lad that you don’t fall in too.” The crewmen lifted her closer to the edge.
Frankie was still trying to control her rebellious stomach and being held over the rolling black inky waves did not help. This was it – her adventure was over. Staying with Cousin Sissy didn’t seem so bad now.
“Let the sea deal with him – he won’t last long a skinny lad like that!” She heard a voice from the stern.
“You’re a cruel man, Jonas! Not a merciful bone in your body,” laughed the captain.
Frankie couldn’t speak from fear of her watery doom. She struggled to protest but the wind caught her words and swept them away. The two men holding her moved closer to the edge of the boat. The sea was as black as pitch beneath her. The last thing she heard was raucous laughter as a wave crashed over her head. She floated briefly to the surface, and watched the boat sailing off into the night, before the next wave swallowed her up whole.
Pressure…burning lungs…air needed…sinking further and further. She couldn’t help herself – panic set in. She kept trying to kick herself up to the surface. The cold took her breath away in spite of the layers that she wore. Salt water hit her in the face every time she tried to reach out for help, but the boat was tantalisingly out of reach disappearing swiftly into the night. Her arms were so heavy that she could barely lift them because of the weight of her coat. The layers which had been so welcome were now dragging her down. Logic told her to shed her coat and she tried to unbutton it from around her neck but her fingers were stiff, swollen and cold and they fumbled it.
As the waves pounded over her head she could have sworn that she was seeing stars. She tried to focus on them as they swam before her eyes and flickered and disappeared in the waves. As she came back up for air – there they were again – flickering lights, calling her. Where they were calling her, she didn’t know – it could be the spirits beckoning for all she cared.
She felt herself being tossed up onto the curl of the next wave and thrown forward. Expecting the same impact of a rock hard watery landing, she was quite surprised when she hit actual rock instead. The air was knocked out of her along with a lung full of sea water. Her body scraped along the rocks and barnacles – raw burning pain that she could suddenly feel through the ice cold. Winded and bruised, she thought rock means land. Land means safety – she clung on to the rocks and was pummelled by the waves until she lost consciousness.
Catch up on previous chapters here: