Antonio: Embers of TrustMature

"Excuse me, Captain Portelli?" Antonio roused the captain in Sicilian as he stood waiting for the slumbering man in front of him to awaken.

Malcolm responded at once and completely smoothly as if he had been in conversation with his first mate during the entirety of his feigned nap. “What is it, Antonio?”

Even after five years sailing under his command, Antonio had yet to grasp the personality of the man whose panicked screams echo across the sea on nights when the ocean gnashes its teeth against the yacht. As far as he knew, Antonio was the only member of the crew who was always awake during night journeys to hear the screams; maybe he actually understood the captain best. Perhaps it was better not to.

Continuing, Antonio said, "We have arrived, captain. As most of our passengers have not been to the island before, I was wondering if I should give a brief tour of the villa? Also, someone has to check the problem with the engine as well. Raffi offered to make a few adjustments if—“

“No!” Captain Portelli quickly interrupted, sitting up at once and removing his hat which had been veiling his eyes. Registering the surprise camping out on Antonio’s expression, he composed himself, stood, and repeated his answer. “No. I want you and Raffi to give the tour of the island. I will check out the engine myself.”

Antonio knit his eyebrows in confusion. The captain was not an engineer. He had very little experience working with the technical parts of engines or machinery. He had no more reason to choose to examine the engine himself than Antonio had reason to take the job of Murray’s personal chef. Unless… There were rumors among the crew of the yacht about a more shadowy side to the captain. Victims of the dark are more likely to find refuge in the shadows, and the captain had had something happen to him in the past which gave him the flashbacks. But Antonio had never been given reason to mistrust Captain Portelli, even with his strange outbursts.

“But Captain, you’re not a mechanic. How would you know… or be able to fix…” Antonio stuttered to silence as the captain’s large, burly frame loomed judgmentally over him.

“That’s an order, First Mate Spada. Go with Second Mate Zambrano and give the passengers a tour.”

“Yes sir. Right away! Come on, Raffi,” Antonio replied at once, clearly slightly on edge, as he turned to grab Raffi to go give the tour. Captain Portelli never used his crew's last names; obviously he did so very pointedly in this case. The blatant disapproval of his awe-inducing, fear-inspiring captain was the last thing Antonio wanted.

“What on earth was that about?” Raffi asked in startled confusion as he walked with Antonio across the yacht.

Antonio glanced at the ceiling as he heard the captain’s voice on the intercom, alerting the passengers about their impending tour of the villa and wishing them a nice stay. Something about the captain’s voice… Antonio recognized the sound of a vengeful soul. But, somewhere buried in the tones of his voice was desperation, almost the way his sister Francisca sounded at times…

Putting on his fake smile and preparing his English-speaking accent for the passengers, but before that he replied in Sicilian to the question he knew not the answer to. “I do not know…”

He no longer trusted his captain.

The End

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