Chapter FiveMature

I didn’t realize how exhausted I was; I don’t wake up until Anamaria tears my curtains open, letting in a piercing shaft of morning sunlight. I groan and bury my face in my hammock. She must have come in to check on me in the night because I’m tucked into a heavy knit afghan. My entire body feels heavy with the iron weight of a hard, dreamless sleep.

“Buenos días, sweet pea,” she says, eliciting another groan.

“Ay, hija de puta, there’s nothing bueno about it,” I mumble.

“You sound like you’ve got a hangover,” she says in the kind of cheery tone that makes me want to do incredibly illegal things to her.

“A hangover without any alcohol. Fucking great.” I roll onto my side to face her. “I’ve been so busy running around keeping you shitheads in line I haven’t had a drop since you picked me up from the caverns two days ago.”

“Not even a single sip in two days? ¡Dios mío!” She presses the back of her hand against my forehead with a look of mock horror.

I swat her hand away and sit up, fighting a wave of dizziness. My limbs, particularly my legs, are groggy and somewhat numb from my extended horizontal position. “Tell me, good doctor, do you think I’ll live?”

            She folds her arms over her chest and nods sagely. “I’m prescribing two quarts of rum, to be administered over a minimum two-day period.”


            “It doesn’t matter anyway. Alcohol’s gone along with the food.”

            I grasp her arm and shake her dramatically. “Say it ain’t so, doc!” I cry.

            She shakes me off with a bemused grin and heads for the door. “We’re making port in less than twenty minutes. Make sure you put some pants on before we get there.”

            “But that takes away all the fun,” I call after her.

            “Oh, and don’t forget you’re braces!”

            I bury my face in my hands. “Booooo,” I mumble.




            Port de la Prospérité is a little village on the southwestern coast of Haiti. I would have completely missed it had we not ended up there by mistake a couple years ago during a particularly violent storm. There’s not much to see besides French people and cassava, but as fortune would find, the latter of those things was precisely what we needed. It’s become one of our favorite places to restock when we’re in a bind.

            The porter obviously recognizes our ship, because she lets us dock without a fee. I give her a congenial nod as I pass and she pretends to be studying her clipboard. I snort. The French make it almost too easy.

            Prospérité’s hub, or what can pass for such, is the marketplace. Just a short ways up from the docks along the shore, stalls arranged in haphazard rows overflow with products—mostly local crops such as maize and fruit, although a few wealthier vendors show off some of their fancy imported stuff as well. A couple of them hawk weird floral tapestries that look like they belong in a white grandma’s house. Everything smells kind of fresh, like someone just ran around spraying a bunch of Febreze, and the even the sound of vendors haggling over prices is less offensive to the ears. The whole place just oozes “quaint”. Blech.

We immediately spread out across the square, bags and hands prepped. We stand out laughably against the floral-scented, lace-adorned villagers primly plucking fruit off the tables and examining them for bruises. The whole scene is actually pretty hilarious. I think the villagers have been left alone for so long that they forgot how to really deal with violent crime; as it is, they avert their eyes when we steal their food and we don’t shoot them. Ah, beautiful symbiosis.

I’m scooping an armful of potatoes into my bag when an enormous kitchen knife lands within a hair’s breadth of my arm. My eyes follow the scrawny fist clutching the handle and the pencil arm attached to it, revealing a twig of a girl glaring at me with such hatred it’s actually comical. I can’t stop myself; I start laughing.

“What’s got you laughing so?” she asks in thickly accented English. “I do not know what kind of manners they taught you in ze filthy pig sty in which I am sure you were raised, but here in ze civilized world, we pay for our meals.”

I drop my bag, lean back, and cross my arms over my chest, giving her my most intimidating glare. A few of my crew have spotted the altercation and are starting to gather near to watch. The girl yanks the knife out of the table and wields it like a clumsy dagger, returning my stare with solid determination and prompting a dramatic “Oooooh” from the onlookers.

“Santa mierda,” I cry, looking around at my crew, “it’s like staring down una caniche.”

A couple burst into riotous laughter, and my opponent bares her teeth in what she probably assumes is a menacing look. “Return ze potatoes and you might get away with your life,” she says.

Mirthful hooting from the crowd. I chuckle as I reply, “That’s cute, Wonder bread. But I’m still taking your potatoes.”

I bend down to gather my bag and continue filling it. Suddenly, the twig arms are in my face, shoving me hard by the shoulders, enough to make me drop the bag. I watch as my loot spills out and rolls across the dirt.

Immediately, I snatch one of the pencil tip wrists hard enough to snap it and pull her close enough that I can smell the cheese on her breath. “Ay, puta. This was funny at first, but you just cost me some prime tubers.”

She begins trembling under my fingers, but she doesn’t look away from my eyes. “You do not have ze right,” she says firmly.

In that moment, I’m filled with such disgust I don’t even want to bother anymore. I let go of her wrist and she drops in a shaking heap at my feet. I can’t even bring myself to pity, it’s such a revolting sight.

A chubby older woman shoves through the crowd and places herself between me and the girl. “Captain, she is but a child,” she pleads. “This is ze first time her papa has allowed her to take care of ze potatoes. She did not know. Please do not hurt her. I will give you—anything!”

I snort. “You people aren’t worth the effort of drawing my sword. But while you’re offering,” I add, “there is some information I need.”

“Oui, of course. Whatever you need to know,” she replies.

The crowd has mainly dispersed now that the fight is over, but I lower my voice just to be sure. “I need to know how to get to the Rocas del Diablo.”

“Les Roches du Diable? Oui, captain, I can tell you,” she replies. “Ze legend says that ze rocks were raised out of ze sea quite suddenly. Ze sailor in the story thought for a moment that zey had stumbled upon land! But when he got closer, he realized zat zey were treacherous cliffs.”

“Couldn’t he have just sailed around them?” I say.

“Ah, no-no. He could not, for ze rocks were so wide he could not see around them. He had no choice but to go right through.”

I cross my arms impatiently. “Yeah, I get that part. And then he perished among the cliffs, etcetera etcetera. But how did he get there?”

“Well, how does anyone get to zhe places from which zere is no return?” she replies. “You must get lost.”




“So are you actually capable of engaging with strangers without using physical intimidation, or is that just your natural default?”

Angelique perches on the low railing around the edge of the gun deck, kicking her feet against the banister impatiently. I’m at the helm facing her, absently turning in random directions with as little purpose as I can muster.

“Not like it got me anywhere,” I say with a snort. “’Get lost’. How the hell am I supposed to get lost out here? The whole goddamn ocean is a tourist trap in and of itself. This is one of the most well-mapped areas in the Northern Hemisphere. We are equipped with some of the most expensive nav gear available. Like, the whole point of sailing is to know where the hell you are. Fucking figures.”

She shrugs. “Technology isn’t necessarily reliable, you know,” she points out. “There’s all kinds of ways it could fail.”

“Sure, okay, but we use one hundred percent pure global positioning tecnología, hermana. The only way it could mess up is if the satellites caught on fire or something.”

“Why don’t you just try a compass?”

I snort again. “Yeah, alright. Hey, 2014 just called, they want their navigation technology back.”

“Hey, 1990 just called, they want their humor back.” She reaches across to slug me on the shoulder. “I’m serious. Remember the Bermuda Triangle?”

“’Fraid I can’t say I do, love. Expound.”

She lets out an exasperated groan. “People used to get lose in the Bermuda Triangle all the time. Everyone though there was something weird and supernatural going on, but then they figured out that it was because all these magnetized rocks were diverting the ships’ compasses.” Off my skeptical look, she insists, “Just think about it! Dangerous place where no one has ever made it back alive? Bunch of creepy supernatural rocks?”

I raise a dubious eyebrow. “That’s a stretch.”

“Oh, no, she’s right.”

Letting my attention wander briefly from the helm, I turn to see Lucia riding the little pulley elevator on the far side of the deck—a structural adjustment Robin made to allow her better access with her wheelchair—and come over to join us.

“And,” she says, reaching into one of her pockets and digging around, “lucky for us, I might just have one of my more retro nav devices handy.”

She withdraws from her pocket a small black box, not much larger than her fist. It’s carved into a curious octagonal shape and marred with countless scratches and pits. The deep onyx paint is chipped badly, and there appears to be faint gilded markings on one side, though they’re too faded to make out. She pops the rusted clasp to reveal a convex circle of glass encasing a compass rose etched delicately into the wood. A thin golden needle trembles in what I hope—or don’t hope—is a northerly direction.

“Pretty, isn’t she?” Lucia says reverently, holding out the instrument so that we can admire it. “She’s over one hundred and thirty years old. Commissioned by some old British guy to present to his naval officer husband for their anniversary. Unfortunately, the officer was killed in combat before he could receive the gift, and the poor fellow was so heartbroken he pawned it. It had been sitting in this old lady’s attic for something like forty years before she died and her kids sold all her stuff. That’s when the little beauty found her way to me.” She smiles fondly and kisses the box’s lid.

“Darling, you really ought to come with a mute button,” I tell her. Resting my elbow on the back of her chair and leaning in close to her, I tap the glass with one of my fingernails. “Just tell me you can get it to stop working.”

She meets my eyes with a condescending gaze. “Kid, I have sailed many seas in my lifetime—”

“Don’t call me a kid. You’re six years older than me.”

“Captain. I have sailed many seas in my lifetime, including this one. I have learned how to read every kind of constellation there is and even a few whose existences are discussed only in hushed tones by eldritch scholars in the farthest reaches of another universe. I have guided ships through the dens of monsters and the halls of kings, through the isles of—”

“Snore.” I give her a dismissive wave, straighten up, and cross to the railing along the edge of the deck. Fixing her with my most businesslike, captain-y glare, I cross my arms impatiently. “I didn’t ask for a whole exposition about yer life. Just help me get this ship and everybody on it as lost as possible.”

She smiles coolly. “Will do, Captain. May I please see your sword?”

Confused, I remove it from the scabbard and hand it to her. She gives me a nod of thanks, then rears back and begins to whack at the helm with violent might. For a few moments, I’m too shocked to do anything but stare open mouthed; then sense returns and I launch myself at her from behind, wrapping my arms up and around her own so that she can’t break away without snapping both of them.

“You moron,” she seethes between clenched teeth, “I’m trying to help you.”

“By taking apart my ship?” I cry, struggling to restrain her. She has remarkable upper body strength.

“Well, now, you can’t very well get lost if you still have a helm,” she shoots back.

“That helm was hand carved from a two thousand year old cherry tree growing in the front yard of the childhood home of Ponce de León himself!”

“Oh, shove it, Liston. We were both there when you bought it from a merchant in Venezuela because you got drunk and accidentally fired a cannonball at the original.”

Shit, I forgot she knew about that one. “Well, my story sounds better,” I reply.

I suddenly feel a pair of hands tightly clasped upon my shoulders. Angelique yanks me off of the navigator and retrieves my sword. “She’s right,” she says to me. She raises her eyebrows as if daring me to argue.

“What are we going to do once we get to the cliffs, hmm?” I say. “Are you just going to let us ram into the rocks and perish?”

Angelique suddenly looks uncertain. “The captain raises a valid point,” she agrees.

Lucia shrugs. “You’ll find a way, I’m sure,” she replied mysteriously.

Angelique looks at me, grimaces empathetically, then delivers a few solid swipes of her own to the helm, splintering the base and rendering it effectively useless. She returns the sword to me, studiously averting her eyes from my own. I blow the slivers of wood off the blade and tuck it back in the scabbard with a sulky air.

Lucia goes to the starboard side of the deck and gazes around. “There isn’t much else to do now but wait, I suppose,” she says absently. She picks up the compass, which she had dropped into her lap during our tussle, and tosses it over the edge.

My mouth actually drops open. Glancing at Angelique, I can see that she’s equally disturbed. “You’re fucking kidding me, right?” I say hollowly. “Did—didn’t we just go through this whole thing? Angelique, you remember that too, right? I’m not imagining anything here? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure we just had, like, a massive argument about how we’re supposed to follow the compass pointing in the wrong direction due to magnetic interruptions from some screwy metal ores in the rocks?”

“First of all, you’re assuming that there are significant metal deposits in the Rocas del Diablo to steer the compass needle astray, which is illogical in so many scientific and geographic ways. Second, even if that compass did somehow point in the right direction, it would be helping you correctly find the way there, which as we all know is really the incorrect way, because in order to locate the cliffs you need to be completely lost, and if you are following a compass that is on a known correct path, then you are not lost and it is in fact not the correct way to get there.”

I give Angelique a pleading look. “But, Lucia,” she offers, “what about your compass? You just told us that awfully sad story. Doesn’t it have a little bit of sentimental value, at the very least?”

She shrugs. “Eh. He wasn’t my husband.” She pats the translator on the hand genially. “There will be other compasses.”

Angelique looks back up at me with a grimace. I sigh and gaze out across the flat blue-gray expanse of ocean stretching away from us on all sides. I want to believe that the French lady in the market was being serious and that Lucia hasn’t completely doomed us, but the gnawing sensation in my gut tells me that we are deeply, incredibly fucked.




I lie flat on my back in the middle of the main deck and stare straight up at the sky. I have no idea how long I’ve been lying here. Long enough, evidently, for inky storm clouds to slither across the previously brilliant, crystalline sky and the temperature drop enough to raise gooseflesh along my legs and arms. Despite the apparently approaching storm, the wind has gradually stilled until it is almost nonexistent, and the sails hang pitifully without a breeze to fill them. The majority of the crew hangs around the main deck in just as mopey a state. Even the normally over-cheery Manuela, who still hasn’t spoken to me since my admonishing her yesterday, lounges at the base of the fo’c’sle with the rest of the mates, watching them play some kind of card game. The only one who doesn’t seem affected by our relatively hopeless situation is Lucia, who hasn’t moved from her position on the gun deck.

We’ve been floating suspended in this state for so long that I’m beginning to contemplate potential methods of food rationing should that become necessary. I’m so heavily immersed in my thoughts that when the first cries of “Land ahoy!” arise, I think they’re coming from a dream.

Then Jimena is at my side, shaking my shoulder to rouse me. “Land, captain! I spotted ‘er!” they exclaim. They then rush to the bow of the ship, where the remainder of the crew have gathered to cheer our fortune.

“That’s not possible. Is it?” Angelique appears beside me, scrutinizing the horizon skeptically. I clamber to my feet, slightly groggy from having been on my back for so long, and follow her gaze. In the distance, growing remarkably closer despite our sluggish progress, is a thin gray smear of land stretching so far along the horizon I can’t make out where it ends.

“We’ve had such slow going, we can’t possibly be close to any kind of land,” I reply. Balancing easily on the railing at the edge of the deck, I hoist myself up into one of the shrouds and scale the tangle of rigging to the top of the foremast. Jimena’s spyglass is lying in its usual spot on the floor of the crow’s nest. I open it and bring it to my eye to better examine the distant land mass.

“Shit,” I say aloud.

“How’s it lookin’?”

Angelique’s voice startles me so much I almost smack her with the spyglass. She evidently followed me, as she’s clinging to the shroud with a conspiratorial grin. I wave her back down; I find it’s best to deliver bad news when we’re not hovering precariously several dozen feet above solid ground.

She follows close behind me as I shove my way through the gathered crew members pointing excitedly at the rapidly approaching horizon. “What’s wrong? What did you see up there?” she presses.

I pause at the tip of the bow and hand her the spyglass. “That’s not land,” I say gravely. “We found it. We’ve reached the Rocas del Diablo.”



Within minutes of spotting them on the distant horizon, we’ve arrived at the base of the cliffs. They easily reach several hundred feet into the air and seem to get abnormally taller the closer we get to them. Also notably unusual is their shape—rather than a single cliff face stretching round the whole, it’s like several sheets of rock sprung straight up out of the water in an elaborate, twisting maze. Even the rock itself appears to defy logical physics, ribbed with strangely smooth, weather-beaten ridges and stretching into logic-defying proportions.

            The air itself seems to grow heavy and dim as we float between two spindly columns of stone. Without a helm, we float steadily along the canal, at the mercy of the current. After a minute, even though I’m almost positive we’ve been traveling in a straight line, I turn around and the entrance to the cliffs has disappeared.

            Although I can clearly see the midmorning sky above, it is so heavily veiled behind a layer of slate-colored storm clouds that it appears dark as evening. A few crew members disperse to begin the nighttime ritual of lighting the gas lamps strung about the deck. The atmosphere is clammy and damp, the kind of frigid humidity that soaks you through to your bones and stiffens the limbs with chill. Even though we’re moving at a firm pace along the stone passage, not even the smallest breeze stirs the air. I’m vaguely reminded of the somber aura lingering about a cemetery.

            As we head deeper into the labyrinth, the cliffs become ever more distorted. The stone which I previously perceived to be smooth, even gray begins to take on new colors and textures; the walls seem to almost glisten in the glow of our lamps, as if covered in some kind of moist, viscous substance. What looked at first like an expanse of stone polished to even smoothness by years of weather now appears more craggy and porous, almost sponge-like, and mottled with flecks of purple and black.

            Not long after these revelations, tiny circles of pulsing yellow light appear out of the darkness. Whether they’re fireflies or faeries or something else entirely, I don’t have the foggiest. With their appearance comes also the dimming of our lanterns; if I wasn’t a logical sailor, I’d almost think they were stealing the light itself and carrying it off.

            The world is so dark here that we wouldn’t have been able to see even if we’d had a helm with which to steer the vessel, but that’s unnecessary; by some work of Providence, the water’s current leads us on an even course among the rock passages, not even scraping the side of the hull on the rocks.

            I go to the edge of the deck and gaze into the canal. This is not the aquamarine pool of the pristine Caribbean but the brackish sewage of something dark and foul. The water is nearly opaque, grayish green in color, and emits a damp, briny odor. It has an unusual consistency not unlike soupy pudding, and the ship glides across it the way it might across glass. Even though not even a ripple disturbs the murky surface, it is so dim that I cannot see my reflection nor anything beneath the water.

            A distant dripping sound, so faint I think at first I must just be imagining it, gradually starts up. Up to now, the only sound has been the almost unnoticeable trickling of the water against the bow, but this sound soon grows far more distinct. It is, most certainly, the sound of water dripping from the eaves of a hollow cavern.

            Jimena approaches me meekly and huddles close by my side. “I hear it too,” they whisper. Their voice is like a cannon in the near-silence.

            Everyone has gathered near the bow by this point, watching with dread and anticipation as the passage unfolds before us. Our lamps cast only a minimal circle of light, casting much of the path ahead in impenetrable shadow. The dripping sound grows louder, the briny odor more pungent, and in a sudden moment I realize that we’ve drifted into an enormous cave; the blackened sky is no longer visible above us.

            My heart begins to race and nausea twists my gut. Angelique has wandered away from me and joined a cluster of crew members huddled beneath one of the lanterns. The little glowing faeries have drifted off by now, taking much of our light with them. I grab Angelique by the arm and drag her toward the stairs.

            “You go first,” I instruct her. “All this humidity is making my legs go stiff. I need you to cushion me in case I fall.”

            She only gives me a grave look as she heads belowdecks. Her silence makes me uneasy. I grab a lantern off the wall for illumination and we head in silence to her cabin, where the boy from earlier is asleep on the top bunk. With all the makeup cleared away, dressed in a loose-fitting but clean shirt and pants, eyes shut and thumb stuffed in his mouth, he actually looks kind of innocent.

            I motion Angelique to the improvised desk and place the lantern on top of it. She wordlessly sits down, removes the map from her pants pocket, and spreads it out on the flat study surface.

            “Have you figured anything else out about the map? Where we are now? Where we should go next?” I pull up another stool and pore over the notes which she’s left out on the desk. The ink is so smudged I can barely make out the words.

            “I’ve been trying, honestly,” she says in a hopeless tone. “I know how to translate the words literally, but this is a dead language in every sense of the phrase. There’s all these weird spellings and mangled grammar. And none of it makes any goddamn sense because it’s all in code.”

            Her voice cracks on the last sentence, and when I look up at her face, I can see tears welling in her eyes.

            “Hey, hey. Shh.” I gently brush my hand against the side of her face, prompting her to look directly at me. The intimacy in her gaze makes me a bit squeamish, but I quell my discomfort long enough to move my hand down and start tracing light circles up and down her spine. Her eyes drift closed and her head falls back. Even so, the tears push out through her eyelids, making thin tracks down her umber cheeks that glisten in the glow of the single lantern.

            “I’m so scared,” she says in a broken whisper. “I’m so used to being the smartest person in the room, you know? I’ve studied so many languages and traveled to so many places. People always act like—like I’m supposed to just know everything automatically. I’ve gotten through so much in my life just bullshitting my way through.” She pauses to sniffle and swipe her hand across her nose. “But I can’t do that here. If I screw up with this, we could be—dead.”

            As soon as the words are out, she begins to actually sob, wrapping her arms tightly around her chest and shaking violently. Not really sure what to do, I place an awkward arm around her shoulders, prompting her to turn toward me and sob into my chest. With one hand, I return to tracing little circles on her back, while I run the other through her hair from scalp to tip.

            After a couple minutes, the sobs recede and she sits up, glancing apologetically at the wet spot on my shirt. She wipes her reddened eyes on her sleeve. “Thanks,” she says shakily.

            I shrug uncomfortably. I’m purposefully trying not to look into her face, but find myself drawn there anyway. Her amber eyes are just inches from my own, and her lips—shit. Shit, shit. Her lips part in a shy smile, her brilliant alabaster teeth standing out starkly against her tawny skin and reflecting the glow of the lantern. The flame dances in her glassy pupils, charged with an energy and majesty that’s incredible to behold.

            “I—” My voice is weirdly hoarse, and nerves crawl in every inch of my flesh. My brain is torn between stark terror and simmering curiosity.

            The ship gives a sudden lurch, making me topple off of my stool. The room tilts at a sideways angle, sending everything not bolted down sliding across the floor. I leap up and hurry out of the room without a goodbye, relieved to have an excuse to escape.

            The main deck is a flurry of chaos. Crew members are shouting—some at each other, some to the heavens, some purely out of fear—and running raggedly about in panic. Some of the younger crew members, Manuela and Jimena among them, are huddled at the base of the mizzenmast, clasping each other’s hands and staring starkly ahead.

            Another collision nearly sends me to the floor again, but I catch myself. This time, I can hear wood splintering, but above that, the more distinct sound of rushing water.

            “Anamaria!” I holler. I shove through the mayhem, searching desperately for my quartermaster. I soon locate her among a group of other senior crew members fussing over something at the base of the gun deck. When I grab her by the shoulder and turn her around, her expression is distant and a bit wild, completely unlike her usually calm, authoritative demeanor.

            “What the hell is going on?” I call above the rising din.

            “No time,” she replies. “Robin found some electric lights in the supply closet. We’re trying to string them up around the ship.”

            With that, she returns to her work, grabbing a length of black cord attached to a generator—since when do we have one of those?—and sprinting across the deck with it. Her coworkers do the same, creating a very potentially fatal tripping, not to mention electrocution, hazard as they work to bring proper light to our course.

            “Captain!” Robin, spotting me, gestures proudly to the mess of wires and switches she’s assembled. I have no idea what I’m looking at, but I give her an encouraging nod anyway.

            “You think it’ll work?” I ask.

            “Bet yer bottom,” she replies with a wink. She turns to the crew members spread out along the main deck. “Who’s ready to light this fucker?” she booms.

            They each return a thumbs-up. With a dramatic flourish, Robin bends over the generator and messes with something on the side. Suddenly, harsh white light floods the ship, so bright that everything turns into a mess of blurry shapes while my eyes struggle to adjust.

            “Well, fuck,” I say in my most impressed tone. Robin places her hands on her hips and gives me a self-satisfied grin in response.

            Now that we have some decent light, I can get a proper understanding of the ship’s orientation. I climb to the top of the gun deck and look around. We’re moving faster than I realized; the water is actually rushing past on either side of the ship. I can make out several clunky shapes rising out of the water both behind and in front of us; from what I can tell, the ship collided with a couple of these obstructions and got turned around, so that now the bow is facing back the way we just came. Even though there’s still no distinct breeze and the sails are furled up tight, the ship seems to be traveling into the cavern with ever increasing speed.

            Anamaria returns to my side, looking a bit more collected. “Any idea what’s happening?” she asks, raising her voice to be heard above the shouting crew and steady rhythm of rushing water.

            Wait. Rushing water?

            I hold up a hand for silence and close my eyes, listening hard. Beneath the panicked voices of my crew members, there is a somewhat distant but very clear thrumming sound echoing off the cavern walls. It’s not the sound of the water thrashing about the hull; it’s something much larger and deeper.

            And then, in a sudden and horrible moment of clarity, I know what’s waiting for us in the cave.

            “Oy! Listen the fuck up, you slimy sluggards!” I holler. “Tie down every item that isn’t bolted into the floor. That means furniture, plates, lamps—especially anything flammable. I want every inch of this vessel tighter than a Mormon’s asshole, you hear me?”

            Most of the crew gather themselves and sprint about the ship, searching for loose items. I go to the sniveling bundle huddled about the mizzenmast and yank each of them to their feet. “You lily-livered dogs, get moving! Your action means our survival,” I snarl.

            Anamaria grasps me gently by the wrist. “Ingrid,” she says, her face unreadable, “what in hell is going on here?”

            I glance over at the stern, then back to her with a grim expression. “Prepare to go down. We’re headed for a waterfall.”

The End

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