The Girl from the Sea – Chapter Twenty-nine
“Kids,” Jonas whispered. “Kids…right sorry I am about this. I hadn’t any intention of you getting caught. Honest. Right sorry.”
The two children didn’t say anything – they still weren’t too sure whether they should trust him or not. They stared wordlessly back at him.
Jonas lowered his head to his knees which were curled up to his front and hugged his legs to him. Joe recognised the position as one he himself did when he was upset about something. He felt sorry for him then.
The boat creaked and groaned about them as it was put to sea.
Anthony and Lucas made it to their fishing boat and leapt aboard.
“Afternoon, Captain. All’s ready then?”
“Aye boys. Just as you asked. So they’ve got Frankie then?”
“And Jonas, and a boy as well…”
“Not young Joe, Anthony? He’s too young to mix up in all this.”
“Didn’t have much choice – he was with Frankie when we found her. He asked to be included. Think he felt responsible for her.”
A shadow passed over the Captain’s eyes which neither boy could interpret. They made to help the Captain off the boat but he resolutely stayed on board.
“I’m coming with you. It’ll even out the odds a bit. And besides they’ve got Joe too now.” He took a deep breath and turned to face the horizon.
Anthony and Lucas didn’t know his history and just accepted his offer. The boat was just about the right size for two sailors but was cramped with three fully grown men. The Captain quietly went about the business of sailing, respectfully acting as the crew on another man’s boat rather than taking charge as his seniority would demand. Neither brother noticed his hand shake when he pulled in the sheets, nor how he frowned when they were out of the protective shelter of the harbour wall. They noticed only how comfortably he moved with the swell of the sea and how he anticipated every movement of the wind before it had even happened.
The other boat was well out into the open sea and they followed as cautiously as they dared. They could just be heading out to catch the evening fishing shoals. The larger boat sat heavier in the water and carried more weight and the smaller boat was lithe and nippy, cutting through the waves like butter. The space narrowed between the two of them. While they sailed the boys updated the Captain on the plan that they had come up with sitting on the floor in Joe’s kitchen.
Up ahead, the pursuit had so far gone unnoticed by the larger crew. Their captives were still shut up below deck – waiting, waiting for the next blow to fall. Frankie and Joe were starting to be afraid that her brothers had got delayed somewhere. The waiting was intense. Not one of them knew the fate that was going to befall them – they could only imagine that they were not going to get out of this in one piece.
“Mr Jonas…Mr Jonas, sir,” whispered Frankie. “I need to tell you something. I thought you were one of them – I’m sorry. Mr Jonas, I’m afraid.”
Jonas lifted his face from his knees and saw the young girl’s eyes welling up with tears. His heart contracted as he considered what they were mixed up in. She was so brave to have even considered this.
“It was all part of the plan to end up here, Mr Jonas, but I never considered that the plan might go wrong!”
“Best laid plans, eh pet?”
“It all sounded so simple in Joe’s kitchen. We were to make sure we got caught and Anthony and Lucas would follow us and pick their moment to jump them. But I think that something must have gone wrong because they’re not here are they? And we’re out at sea aren’t we?”
“Aye, we’ve been sailing with the wind, so we’re making good headway to wherever it is we’re going.”
“But if we’re doing well then they’ll never catch up,” wailed Frances with the tears finally spilling over and careering down her face. Joe looked very young and very afraid but he didn’t let the tears go from his eyes – boys didn’t cry, especially not in front of sea captains and girls.
“Your brothers know how to handle a boat do they?” Jonas asked sceptically.
“Of course they do!” retorted Frankie.
“Well there now then – they’ll be here, you’ll see.”
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 Chapter 24 Chapter 25
Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28