“Have you ever smelled air so sweet, First Mate Kate?” Captain Felix Garret leaned out over the water, took an exaggerated breath, and let it back out. He grinned out at the expanse of indigo and crystal blue sea off the starboard bow. Kate wondered if she should kick him off the rail or yank on the rope, just to teach the Captain about proper safety. He’d probably end up flying to the yardarm or something equally dramatic. Then he’d laugh. That was his luck.
“Yes, the day we lit a sugar cane plantation on fire,” Kate said. The spars creaked as the helmsman adjusted the course. Felix’s nose dropped closer to the spray and he prudently set both feet back on the deck. Waving both hands grandly, he dismissed Kate’s explanation.
“That air had a distinctly smoky undertone, ruining the crisp fresh sweetness redolent in this sea air.” He dropped his arms to his sides, and his green eyes twinkled. “This air also lacks the furious shouting. Much more refreshing.”
“Land ho!” Came the cry from the crow’s nest.
“Not completely,” Kate muttered. She and Felix went up to the quarter deck and watched the horizon for whatever speck approached.
The island glimmered mirage like into view. Lush tropical foliage and jewel toned blooms waved in the faint breeze. The ear-splitting shrieks of howler monkeys split the air and a kaleidoscope of rainbow fledged fowl burst from the trees in terror of something below.
“I think it heard us coming,” Kate said.
“It’s beautiful,” Felix said. His green eyes alight with glee, Felix raised his voice to the crew. “All hands, be smart and look towards a landing party.”
The ‘aye Captains’ rumbled back.
“Look to your priming.” Kate tossed out and shook her head.
Felix vaulted down the ladder to the main deck and danced into his cabin. Among the various books, chess pieces, and navigational instruments, he grabbed a map, weathered with age and missing the top left corner. He took it out onto the deck.
Mel poked her head out of the hatch and emerged with a scowl when she realized she couldn’t stay hanging on the ladder. People needed to move between the decks you see, and even short as she was, Mel did not make a good door or hatch. She may have made a decent door stop, but as she was the cook no one ever tried lest they end up eating bilge or worse.
“We found it?” Mel asked Kate. She watched Felix holding the map out as if it would magically match the shape of the island.
“If by it, you mean an island full of dangerous predators who are preparing to eat us, then yes.” Kate finished inspecting her pistols and slid them into her green silk sash.
Mel took in Kate’s thick knee high boots, the wine red breeches, and brown vest over white shirt. “Going to die in style are we?”
“Going to kick monkeys with my cool boots, and glare at Felix whenever he narrowly escapes danger.”
“Here, take this. I think you’ll need it.” Mel handed Kate a bandana wrapped package just the right size to slip in her leather belt pouch. At Kate’s quizzical look Mel elaborated. “Three slices of banana bread, some beef jerky, and the most elaborate sandwich I could make.”
“Did you wake Val?”
The rather explosive sound of the fore hatch slamming into the main deck answered that question. Val apparently decided to intimidate the island or monkeys with his impressive musculature, or he ran out of shirts again. “Let’s get this party on the way!” he bellowed, slapping his hands on his matching machetes.
Felix ran back into his cabin and emerged belting on his cutlass. “Tally ho!”
Mel patted Kate’s shoulder and went back to the galley to tally up supplies.
Kate sighed. “Here we go again.” Then she smiled and bounded after her captain and the shirtless wonder.
I’m a thief! I stole this line from my dear friend Kathryn. I was quite surprised to see my name in the stolen line! Check her blog tomorrow to see what she originally wrote. And be on the look out for more thieves.