"The Devil whispered to us saying that we cannot survive the upcoming storm," the Captain tells us, "We whispered back to the devil telling him that we are the storm."
The men rally. Fear is in their eyes. There is sweat dripping down their backs. The main mast scrapes across the top of the cave. There is a creaking in the hull that sounds like someone running their nails against stone. Billy Big Balls is on the crow's nest. He has a telescope out and he seems to be the only one who is unmoved by the screeching noise of the hull and the impending doom.
"Hell ahead!" he screams out.
The Sea Wolf looks over at me, "You ready for this baby?"
He sits next to me. He doesn't have a shirt on. Sweat is dripping down his abs. They glisten against his hairy chest. I notice the tent in his pants. He gets hard when things get tense. It's a habit of his. Danger excites him. I know that if we survive this that he'll take me into the lower quarters and fuck me until I can't walk. I'd have to use Drunk Sam's cane for a week based on how big his manhood has grown. I watch as he smiles, licking his hair back and grappling the oars.
His muscles move, stretching and showing off just how tight his body is. There is not an ounce of fat in sight. Most of the men on board our ship are muscular, but none are even close to the Sea Wolf. No one could ever be the Sea Wolf. He was my lover. He was my soulmate. He was the most beautiful man in the world.
I'm not ready. I want to piss myself. I want to just piss myself right there at that moment but I know the boys will never let me live it down if I do.
He puts his hands in my hands, "I love you. You know that right? I told you that for the first time last night for a reason. We may not come back."
"You know where the word Matey comes from?"
I'm scared, "No..."
My words are almost stuck in my throat.
"Matey comes from matelotage. It's like marriage between two male pirates. In this institution we share everything. I want that for us. I want matelotage."
I knew the Sea Wolf would never ask me to marry him but this was different. This was something just between pirates. This was something beautiful. This was something pure. This was something great and I was the happiest man in the world.
"Yes. I'll do it."
"Then I'll need you to survive with me," he tells me, "Promise."
He looks at me. He grabs me by the hand. He holds it. He gives it a hard squeeze.
"Then sound the siren."
"Hell ahead!" I scream out, repeating Billy's siren.
When we state hell ahead we aren't talking about some sort of literary figurative description pirates used. No. We were talking about actual hell. We would be the first ship to find the entrance of hell and sail into its waters willingly.
We couldn't be afraid. We were pirates after all.
I was a pirate now and this was my story.
It all started on a cold night in Nassau. It's the 18th century so we use candles to the light the house but the storm outside causes the candles to flicker violently. The Bahamas were known for the crazy weather but it started on an unreasonably strange night. The shutters move back and forth causing a rattling whistle to scroll through the house.
Old Lady Josephine is having a fit. She rolls around in her rocking chair. Usually she sings on the nights with storms but this is different.
"What's wrong with her?" I ask Uncle Julien.
My Uncle Julien raised me after my mom died in child birth. My mother was born a slave but she was freed when she got pregnant by a slave master named Jacob Baptiste in Florida. My father freed my mother and sent her away from his plantation to Nassau. I guess he didn't want people to know that he had a half black baby on the way. My father sent us to live with Old Lady Josephine and her youngest son Julien. The old lady was my grandmother. My mother died two years in. Josephine raised me after that. Even though she's always been there I never really accepted her as my grandmother. It wasn't that she wasn't a sweet old lady. She was. She treated me like her grandchild in every way. It was just that we didn't want people talking about my father. We couldn't muddy the name of Jacob Baptiste now could we?
"He's coming," Old Lady Josephine is saying on this rainy day, "He's coming."
"I want you to stay here. You hear me?" Uncle Julien says, "Look after your Grandmother."
With that Uncle Julien puts on his hat and runs out into the storm. I never see my Uncle Julien again. I sit there though hoping that he'd come back. Every minute that Old Lady Josephine rocks I get more and scared.
"Baby," she says.
"Look out the window baby. Do you see a man?"
"Why do you ask?"
"What's he doing?"
"He's just standing there. He's just looking. Who is he? Where's Uncle Julien."
"Baby listen carefully."
"You're scaring me..."
"Don't take your eyes off of him, you hear me? If he moves let me know. Ok? Let me know what when he moves."
The Old Lady keeps me at the window staring down into the storm at the stranger on the path to the house. She leaves. I don't see a face. I don't see anything. It's too hard to tell. The stranger just stands on the path looking up at the house.
He doesn't move.
Old Lady Josephine returns. She has something in her hand. It distracts me for a minute. I look back at the path and realize that he's no longer there.
"He's gone," I tell my grandma.
Old Lady Josephine seems to be determined. She's handing me this paper. It's a map. She gives me a look. She reaches the paper into my hand. She locks it into my hands. I look at it when she gets close to me. She hands it to me.
"Lafayette," my grandmother states, "I need you to listen to this carefully. Your father is coming into town tomorrow. He'll be staying at the Red Harbor Inn. I need you to go to him. I need you to give him this piece of paper. You understand me? Your father. No one else. Don't ever leave this paper alone with anyone, OK?"
"My father is coming here...to Nassau?" I ask.
She nods, "He'll know you when he sees you. You are a Baptiste. Don't let anyone ever tell you different. Do you hear me?"
Suddenly there is a knock on the door. It is loud. It is strong. It shakes the entire house. My heart breaks at that moment.
"Who is that?" I ask, "Is it Uncle Julien?"
I ask the question but I know for sure that Uncle Julien wouldn't be knocking on the door the way that he is. I know for sure that wouldn't be the case. My heart is beating. The fear in my grandmother's eyes says it all. She is afraid.
"Remember what I said. Only leave that paper with your father," she tells me, "Now go hide. Under the table."
"I'm not hiding."
"Lafayette. I need you to do this. This is important. Please."
My grandmother never acted like this before. I listened to her. I was always obedient since I was younger. I run underneath the table at that moment and I try to hide underneath it. My heart is racing at that moment. I don't know how to react.
I get underneath the table. I cover it with the table cloth to conceal myself. I stay perfectly still just in time for the door to open. Heavy boots stomp through the room. I look at the boots. They are black and stained with mud from the outdoors. They trail mud across the house. I'm surprised my grandmother doesn't say anything. She is very particular about things like that. My grandmother doesn't say anything at all to this person as a matter of fact. She just sits there...completely still.
My heart is beating. I'm tempted to jump out and confront this situation. I don't though. I have to listen to my grandmother.
"Where is it?" a voice says in the room.
It's the most haunting voice I've ever heard. It is a dark, awkward, draining memory of a voice that probably hasn't heard itself speak in quite some time. My heart grows heavy when I hear the haunting sound.
"Gone. You'll never have it, monster..."
I watch the person get close to my grandmother from underneath the table. I can't see the face at first but when I finally can see the face it's too late. This cold, strange, pale white man is leaning over and kissing my grandmother. He has a very thick brown beard. The kiss is short. It's brief but it seems to affect my grandmother. She leans forward into the kiss. When she leans forward she breaths in deeply on release.
Then I notice how she lazily slumps over when he backs up. It's almost lifeless. It's weird. The man doesn't say anything else.
He just walks back out into the rain.
I come out from underneath the table, "That was strange, wasn't it?"
My grandmother doesn't say anything. I turn to her confused on why she isn't speaking or saying how weird it was that a stranger just walked into her house, kissed her and left. As I get closer though I realize something. My grandmother isn't responding because she can't.
My grandmother is dead.
"Look at this little lass," someone says when I walk into the Red Harbor Inn. They yell it from the bar that is there.
I'm clearly not a lass. It doesn't help that I've been crying and my eyes are beat red. It's the next day and I still haven't gotten over my grandmother just dying. I assumed it was a heart attack. She was always in poor health. It's just the timing that concerns me. How is it possible just when we get a strange visitor we get an even stranger request? I can't wait for my Uncle. He isn't the most reliable person. I'm a grown ass man. I'm 25 years old. I may look a little younger however and that has always been my thing. I notice the stares though. Being attractive has never been a problem for me.
"Isn't that Old Lady Josephine's handsome house boy?" an attendant says.
I recognize the attendant. Her name is Renee. I watch as she gets closer and gives me a toothless grin. I never come down to the Red Harbor Inn. I stayed away from the piers mostly in general. The Nassau harbor always has a bunch of miscreants, ruffians and hoodlums that I wanted nothing to do with. I didn't put myself above them but I learned enough through my Uncle's many encounters in the areas. I am familiar with Renee however because she comes to the market often.
"Beautiful day, isn't it?" I tell her.
This is my idea of casual. I'm bad at it. I'm drawing attention from the shady characters in the bar.
"Renee who's your pretty friend?" someone says.
Just at that moment someone walks over to me and squeezes my butt! He squeezes it. I am a grown man. My Uncle always said that my good looks would get me in trouble. My brown skin was always smooth, my body was toned and built from house labor. My eyes were this beautiful blue eye color that my grandmother had as well. My hair was curly, which strayed completely from my grandmother and my uncle. The curls were long and exaggerated and I let them grow anyway they felt. I could understand why people would find me attractive, but I never would in a million years have thought a man would be so brave as to grab my butt so openly.
The man is a heavy set man. He stinks when he gets close and he gets REALLY close. He is dressed funny. I've seen men like him before.
"He's a local boy," Renee states.
"Are you sailors?" I ask.
There is laughter at my question.
"Sailors? Ah. Something like that. I'd like to think I'm more than a sailor though. That is like asking a dragon if it's reptile. I'm more dragon then reptile boy. I feel like you trying to call me a reptile. I don't like it."
He takes a step closer towards me. It's clear I stand out like a sore thumb in this inn but I had no idea that the attention would be this bad.
"I didn't mean to offend," I respond.
I'm scared. I wish I could just shake this fear for once and just really put on a brave face. I attempt to but I feel like I look completely silly next to this bigger man.
"What's your name boy?" the man asks.
"Lala? That is a girl's name?"
"Lafayette," I state.
There is laughter from the guy's friends. They all look rough like him. They all look like they've been through something. Something rough. One of them is scruffy with a large beard. The other man that is with the big guy is dark, darker than me as though he is fully African.
"You got ass like a lady too. Let me see it, bend over. Let me see. I bet you have a pretty little pink hole don't you? You ever been fucked boy? I bet you haven't been fucked by a big swollen horse cock."
The man begins touching me. He's forcing himself on me. I push his hands away. He grabs me. I fight it and continue to push his hands away from me when I realize he's groping at my balls, my butt and my abs. I see him continuing to grope faster and harder for anything in reach. I struggle even more and then I realize him attempting to pin me.
"Stop it," I tell him.
We are in a crowded inn. People see this but the ones who do notice find it amusing. They are laughing like this is the funniest thing they've seen. Even Renee has a funny face.
The man pulls my pants down. My face gets red when it happens!
I feel beyond humiliated. I had been raised by Old Lady Josephine to have the highest standards of dignity and self-respect. I had just been violated by this man. My bare ass is exposed. My cock is soft and exposed to the entire cabin. A few men point and laugh. The man doesn't find this amusing though. I see a tent gather in his own pants. He's turned on by this. He keeps pulling at me! He keeps trying to touch me, pulling at my ass cheeks.
That's when I do it. I have no choice. I strike the man across the face.
"You little shit," the man responds.
He charges at me. I watch as the two men he is with grapple me up and hold me for him. My pants are still down. I can feel myself wanting to break down at this moment. I feel helpless. I'm outnumbered. There's no way to defend myself.
"Let him go," a voice states.
The voice saying it is sitting in his chair. He's a handsome guy. He has blue eyes the color of the ocean itself, with blonde wavy hair. He's dressed like the others. His face is chiseled. His lips are smooth and pink. He has on breeches, a knitted cap over his blonde locks and stocks. His white shirt is open, showing off a bit of hair on his chest. I can't keep my eyes off of him as I watch the sparkling earring he has in his ear.
"Mind your business..." one of the locals in the pub tells the stranger.
The gropper moves towards me seeming not too interested in the stranger. He attempts to put his finger into my butthole in front of the laughing chorus of his friends. The blonde stranger is done talking this time though. He charges forward headfirst at the groper. He smashes his forehead into the groper's forehead!
I hear a crackle and a scream!
I see a squirt of blood as the groping man fumbles to the ground.
"I told you to let him go," the handsome stranger says.
Men get up. I'm shocked the stranger is willing to interfere knowing that he is surrounded in the way that he is, "I ought to..."
"Squiffy stop. Look. That handkerchief. He's a crew member on the Screaming Dagger."
We all look at the handkerchief. It's a red handkerchief. It has the Jolly Roger skull and bones stitched into it. The handsome blonde stranger hangs it from his belt. The sight of it causes the men who were seconds away from attacking him to stop cold in their tracks. They just stare at that skull and bones and they seem to know what it is.
My Uncle Julien told me what the Jolly Roger was. It was the sign of pirates. People who stole from the English merchant ships that docked out in the Caribbean. He described the Jolly Roger usually being on a black flag. This one was different. The red background made the intensity of it all match the intensity of the stranger's glare.
"Follow me," the blonde boy states, brushing his handsome blonde waves of his hair to expose his face a little more, "They won't touch you. You're under my protection now."
Sure enough the men seem to have a whole new respect. There's something about that boy that makes others show fear. I don't get it. You would have thought a demon itself had walked into this tavern. Why were they so afraid? I realize the piss running down one of the man's trousers as the blonde boy escorts me into the streets...
It's a warm night out. It's humid. When we get outside the blonde boy stretches. I stand behind him unsure of what to say but finding it hard not to appreciate the way his butt sits up in his tight breeches.
"You a local?" he asks me.
I don't know how to react to him. He doesn't smell like the other sailors. He doesn't even look as dirty as them. He's clean. He's handsome and clearly he saved me. Everything is telling me that this is a good person except for that red handkerchief he has dangling with the skull and bones. It scares the fuck out of me.
"Yes sir," I state.
He's not much older than me. Maybe that's why he sneers a little when I call him sir. I notice something as he laughs. The wind raises up his red flag and I see stuffed in there a Flintlock pistol. The brown handle was stuffed so tightly in his breeches that I hadn't seen it before.
"It's late...and there are devils around. A local should know not to hang around these piers at night," he tells me.
"I'm supposed to meet someone."
"I can be that someone..."
He takes a step towards me. He's licking his pretty pink lips and they are wet with saliva when he takes that step towards me. I'm shocked by it. I take a step back at that moment. He stops when I do it, seeing that he stunned me a little bit.
"Sorry. I figured you were..."
There's something about the way he was just ready to take me.
"Usually the only locals that come in this area are," he responds shaking his head, "God. Sorry. I'm a fool. I've just been at sea so long. We leave tomorrow. I was just wanting some company before we head out. I should probably get back to my room and..."
He does look embarrassed. Maybe it's a game he plays for the locals to get them to give into him. For some reason though, I don't think he has to play any games because he is so damn handsome.
I find myself realizing that it is sort of late.
"I should probably wait until morning to look for the person I am supposed to meet," I state, "It is dangerous around here like you said. I can...keep you company for a while."
He lifts his eyebrow, "Is that right?"
He laughs, "Of course not," with a glitter of teasing in his eye, "What's your name?"
He smiles, "My name is Ashton."
Ashton's room is at a local tavern down from the Red Harbor Inn. His name doesn't fit what he is. His look doesn't fit what he is. I could imagine him more in a palace than a ship. He doesn't have anything personal in there save a purse of money and a cutlass that is leaning up against the wall. The blade is old but sharp looking. I notice as I walk in that there are stains of blood on it. This man is a killer. I don't know why I'm here. I don't know why this hero interests me so much. Regardless of how handsome he is I know that he is dangerous but for some reason I feel connected to him somehow. It's a connection that I can't shake.
"Hope you don't mind...I'm just getting comfortable," he states.
He takes off his linen shirt and throws it on the bed. I stare at his abdomen. His nipples are pink and perky hidden underneath his scruffy chest hair. His torso goes into the smallest waist I've ever seen on a man. A sprout of pubic hair can be seen as his breeches are a bit too low. I watch his hands brush past the pubic hair to take out the pistol and lay it on the table in the room.
I hear a roll of laughter and realize his pearl blue eyes have been watching me the entire time as I gawk at him like a horny child.
"It's fine. No sex still?" he asks me.
He laughs, "Shame. There's not a lot of negro boys on my ship. Every time we dock I look for one. I've never had one. I hear you all are a real...tasty...delicacy."
He licks his lips again and stares at me as though I'm something to eat. Uncle Julien had warned me that a lot of the sailors slept with other men. I guess it was the idea of being at sea for so long with nothing but men. It's what they were used to. I always thought he was telling stories but seeing how this boy is looking at me as though I'm some sort of object to be used makes it clear my Uncle was telling the truth.
"Those men said you were a member of the screaming dagger?"
"Yes. Have you ever been on a ship?"
"Well the Screaming Dagger is the most beautiful there is. Come here. Look down. Do you see that ship right there with the two masts?"
I look out the window at the pier. I see where he's pointing. He's standing close. He definitely doesn't smell like I would imagine. He smells good. I can feel the warmth from his body.
I point at one of the ships, "That one?"
"No... that one..." he states moving my finger.
I love how he takes control, positioning my finger, then rearranging my hips to the window. He points at a huge ship at the very end of the pier. It's guarded by strange looking men that pace around the dock.
He nods when I lock my finger on it, "See that ship. That one right there. That is the Screaming Dagger. It's a Brigantine type ship. Very versatile. She weighs about 150 tons. She's an 80-foot vessel. There are about 100 of us on board. 10 cannons with cargo space about twice as big as the sloop. She has two masts and square sails."
"She looks regal."
"She was built by a wealthy man. One night my captain stole it. It's been with him ever since."
I don't know how to ask it. Luckily I don't have to. The look in this stranger's eyes lets me know that he knows what I want to ask.
"You want to know if I'm a pirate?"
I nod, "Yes."
"I'm married to the sea. And yes. Those men were afraid. They should be. Captain Holystone and the Screaming Dagger have earned...a reputation on these seas. We take what we want. No questions. When ships see the Red skull and bones they know it's either surrender or die."
I'm shocked by this.
"It's just that you don't look like..."
"Most of the boys on my ship don't. Captain Holystone surrounds himself with...beautiful boys. He'd like you..."
"Why not? You ask a lot of questions," he laughs, "The Captain would shower me with gold if I recruited a handsome boy like you."
"I couldn't," I respond, "I'm just curious. That's all..."
They lived by their own laws. They were dangerous. I saw the fear that the men had when they noticed just who Ashton was affiliated with. They were terrified. I couldn't imagine being able to be that respected. Ashton laughs again. He clearly is used to the fear. He's probably got stories for days. I watch as he takes a few steps to the bed. He lays down.
"That's a shame. I was like you once. I was so scared. See my father was a wealthy man. Actually he's the one who built the Screaming Dagger..."
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah," Ashton states, "And the night that Captain Holystone stole the Dagger, he took another prize as well."
All of a sudden I'm so sad looking over at Ashton. I couldn't imagine being stolen from my family like a piece of property. This Captain Holystone had to be a monster to do something like that. I don't get it. My heart gets heavy looking over at Ashton but he seems surprised that I'm reacting to his story in this way.
Ashton nods, "You seem horrified."
"You were kidnapped," I respond shaking my head, "You said he liked beautiful boys. I didn't know he kidnapped them."
Ashton laughs, "You think I'm beautiful?"
I don't know how to respond. I look away, back out of the window and towards the Screaming Dagger. The regal looking ship probably looked more fitting to belong to a governor or a rich merchant but it was a pirate warship.
I'm mesmerized by it.
That's when I feel Ashton up behind me.
"What are you doing?"
He presses up against me. I can feel something sticking me. At first I think it is his gun but then I remember he put his gun away. I realize instead that Ashton is sticking me with his cock. It feels so good as he presses it up against the seams of my pants.
Ashton puts his hands in my trousers forcibly pushing down at that moment. He plays with my cock. I feel his tongue licking at the sides of my neck at that moment.
"I'm going back to sea in the morning," Ashton states, "I'll never see you again..."
"You can return."
"Or I can die tomorrow. I'm a pirate, Lafayette. I die young. I live HARD."
With that I feel him lower my trousers. Something about him doesn't make me stop him from kissing the sides of my neck. He moves my entire face over with his and begins to kiss me. His tongue goes deep into my throat. I suck it in completely giving in once my pants are to my ankles. He presses me up against the window pane at that moment and uses his hands to put a curve in my back. Then he works his way down my back, kissing me. He's passionate but rough. He may look handsome but his hands are rough and rugged.
He makes his way to my ass and he begins to bite it, gnawing down with his teeth as though he's trying to take a piece back to sea with him. His tongue enters my asshole.
"Oh my god!"
I've never had someone do that before. He curls his tongue over and over into my butt until I am holding onto the ledge of the window, grinding my fingertips into it. His tongue violates me, pushing past my walls and lubricating me until I'm dripping with his saliva.
What he does after that is completely new as well.
He stands up and I feel a pressure. I don't realize he's entered me until it actually happens. His cock manages to make its way into my hole. His cock is bigger than even I ever imagined. I squirm in pain realizing this is a new pain that I've never felt before in my life. The huge penis is wet with saliva but somehow still manages to struggle.
"You're so...tight..." he tells me.
"I'm a virgin..."
"Wait?" he stops, "Completely..."
"Yes...but it's OK. I want it."
He is still inside of me but for some reason he has stopped stroking his cock inside of me. He pulls out at that moment. It feels so good that I want him to put it right back in but he doesn't. He just turns at that moment and nods.
"Let's just lay," he responds.
"Ashton...I want it."
"Another time..." he tells me, "I don't want to rob you of something that special."
At that moment I realize Ashton is more than just a pirate. The way he seems to respect my body even when I'm so willing to do it myself shows that there is an emotion to him. I watch as he lays on the bed, completely naked. I finally get to see his cock. It's tan and still hard, wet from entering me. He lays there and slaps it, laughing as it jerks right back up. He looks so sexy laying in his bed. I start climbing on the bed with him.
I try to sit on him...sit on his cock but Ashton stops me.
I'm so confused.
"You are leaving in the morning. There won't be another time."
"There's something special about you," he says smiling, "I can't put my finger on it. A connection. Don't worry. I'll find a way back to you. Somehow. Someday."
With that he moves me next to him, drafts me underneath his arm so that I can lay there. And I feel it with Ashton. A connection that I've never felt in my life. It was a feeling that made me think I should know this beautiful blonde boy. It's a feeling that makes me think I should be with him.
I wake up dreading the fact that Ashton is leaving. I've never slept so peacefully in my life than sleeping next to him. When I wake up I see him at the foot of the bed. He's reading something. I'm surprised he's up so early but I make my way to the other side of his bed. I'm kissing him, kissing the back of his neck sliding my hands over towards his cock. He's soft in the morning but as I squeeze it, he begins to harden.
"Are you sure I can't convince you?" I ask.
I lean over him and pull his cock out. I start to fasten my lips around his cock but I realize Ashton isn't reacting the way that I want. He just looks over at me.
Then I realize what he's reading.
"Where's you find this?" he asks me.
It's the paper Old Lady Josephine gave me. It's the paper she wanted me to give my father. I try to take it back but Ashton jerks away from me, pulling so hard that that I fall on the ground.
"Give it back."
Ashton has this look on his face. I don't get it. He shaking his head.
"I woke up in the middle of the night and I saw it sticking out of your trousers. You shouldn't have this. You have no idea what this is..."
"Ashton. Give me back the map."
Just at that moment the room door opens. These men run into the room. PIRATES! That's the moment I realize I've been betrayed! It's the moment that I realize that Ashton has betrayed me! I try to resist. I try to fight them off.
"ASHTON! HELP ME!" I'm screaming.
He doesn't help me though. He just shakes his head. My fighting is in vain. They put a satchel over my head and tie me up.
It seems like I'm in darkness forever. Finally, I get the satchel removed from my head. I feel movement. I don't know where I am. It's so humid. Sweat is rolling down my forehead. I'm fastened to the chair that I'm sitting on. I'm tied down. There are several men in the room with me. Behind them are some sort of storage containers or something of the sort.
I feel the movement again. A slow...rocking rhythm under my feet.
"Where am I?"
"You are a prisoner aboard my ship," a voice states, "My name is Captain Holystone."
Holystone. Him! HIM!
The man that killed my grandmother. The pale man with the thick beard. I look at his boots. Yes. It was him! There was no mistaking this man.
Right behind him I see Ashton. Ashton is standing there watching me. At that moment I don't see the compassionate eyes I knew before. Ashton was back to being a killer.
"Ashton...please...please help me," I find myself begging.
Ashton turns away as though he doesn't hear me. I've never felt so betrayed in my life. I knew he had no loyalty to me but for some reason I was hoping this connection we had meant something.
"He won't help you. Nothing can help you now..." the Captain tells me.
"What do you want?"
"Where is the other half of the map?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," I respond.
My heart thumps when I see the Captain stand up. There is something so frightening about him. His eyes are dark and cold. It's as if I'm staring into the eyes of the devil himself. It brings me back to the night that my grandmother died. I watch as he crosses the room, slow and steady. His black boots have dried up mud underneath them. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. He gets closer. I watch as he pulls something out of his pocket! It's a plant...
"Have you heard of the bleeding heart plant?" he asks me.
I shake my head.
"Speak up PRISONER!" Ashton demands.
He walks over to me and slaps the dog shit out of me. I'm shocked when he does it. I spit up blood. I can taste it in my mouth. Ashton slaps me so hard that tears literally come to my face. I'm breathing heavy realizing that there are definitely no feelings here any longer.
"I haven't heard of it," I state.
Holystone pulls something else out of his pocket, "A mad woman in Spain taught me about it. She would use it to kill her lovers. I was her jailer at the time. It was another lifetime. It was the night before I took her out to be hung that she told me her secret. She didn't want it to die with her. She told me about the Bleeding Heart plant. It's poisonous. See. So you smash it up, to get the extract out. Then you rub it on your lips. You can't keep it on for too long. Just long enough for one last kiss with the one you love. It's called the bleeding kiss. You're a handsome young man...would you like a kiss, handsome young man?"
Holystone shows the plant. Tears are rolling down my eyes. It's not tears of fear. It's tears of anger. This is how he killed my grandmother. He used this technique to kill her.
This man was a monster.
"Answer his question," Ashton warns me, raising his hand threatening to hit me again if I didn't.
"I don't want a kiss," I answer, unwillingly.
Ashton takes a step back. There is a roll of laughter from the men in the room. They are pirates. It was like Ashton stated. They are handsome...all of them. None of them look even slightly normal. These are some of the most attractive men I've ever seen in my life but it doesn't matter. They all have the look of killers in their eyes. All of them including Ashton.
Holystone stares at me. His cold, sunken face sticks out among more attractive, younger men. His brown beard has gray hairs all through it. He must be in his 50s. His cold, demeanor only adds to how unattractive I think he is.
Holystone points to the map, "Where is the other half?"
"I don't know. I was supposed to take it to Jacob Baptiste."
The mention of my father's name sends whispers into the cabin. They must know the name. I knew my father was well known but I had no idea that my father was well known among pirates. I watch Holystone stare over at Ashton. It's almost as though he's looking for answers.
"Ashton, why would this boy be bringing the map to Jacob Baptiste?" Holystone asks.
"I don't know."
"I had no idea he knew him," Ashton states, "I swear Captain."
Ashton's eyes look scared at that moment. They look very scared. He's horrified of the Captain. For some reason the mention of Jacob Baptiste has sent the Captain into some sort of suspicion. Holystone looks over at me.
"Baptiste must have the other half of the map," Holystone states, "Where is Baptiste?"
"I don't know..." I state.
Ashton shakes his head, "He's lying. He was meeting him last night..."
"And you just so happened to run into a boy carrying half of the map to Jacob Baptiste?"
Ashton nods, "It was all coincidence."
Holystone gives Ashton a look, "You better get to the bottom of this. Or else..."
Holystone is threatening Ashton and Ashton looks terrified. The terror causes him to run over to me and grab me by collar. He pulls me up. I can see how desperate he is. I don't get it. Why was Holystone so suspicious that Ashton found me and intercepted the map?
Ashton grabs onto my collar, "What relationship do you have with him? Why were you sent to meet my father?"
"Jacob Baptiste is your father?"
I look in Ashton's eyes realizing now why I had this connection with him. I'm realizing now that Ashton has to be brother.
To read the next chapter in advance go to crushedcrown.com