insistent pounding on my door roused from me an erotic dream.
To say I was annoyed earlier today would be an understatement.
For weeks now we have followed the same routine, but with
a slight twist. All meals were being looked forward too by
the Officers and the crew. Little Ray, as I have come to
call him, has made a favorable impression on almost everyone.
Despite the intrusion
into my dream this morning, all has gone well as of late.
I have not written in my journal for I have not been inspired
to do so. I am content to sail with my crew and watch over
At this very moment,
I stand on deck, at the helm, watching my crew tack the sails.
The wind is strong and blows us towards home. The wind cuts
through my hair and I breathe the freshness in. I can feel
crisp coolness of it. My mind tumbles over the last few weeks
as the crew busily works around me. A diversion for the crew
has been planned to dock in Kingston before we sail back up
to Norfolk. From Norfolk, I will finish my business and head
back to my own home.
“Cap’n!” Sir Howard
called my name and pointed to the stern. My head bobs up
and down as recognition that I have seen what he wanted me
to see. I smile as my eyes focus on the three people sitting
on the deck.
A small circle
had been formed and Little Ray was in the center. Sir Alex
had taken it upon himself to teach Ray some of the more intricate
knots. Alex had frowned when Ray had served him a poorly
trussed up chicken. “You need to learn how to do proper knots.”
A.J. lightheartedly scolded the little one.
“You should be
quiet and eat. Be happy that I haven’t found the raisins,”
he turned his back to him and began to fill my plate. I could
see the young one’s hand tremble as he dished my supper.
I then laughed
at he boy’s remark. Quartermaster or not he did not fear
the others as he did me. “Lad, I am the one who is not fond
of those dreadful things. It would be good for you if they
did not find their way into my meals.”
The lad frowned
at me, as he had at every occurrence that I had addressed
him. At first, I took the reaction as fear; now I take offense
since I can see that the boy dislikes me intensely. Yet I
still take great pleasure in tormenting the small creature
since he is the one who stowed away on my ship.
We’ve yet to find
a ship to prey upon but I trust Sir Alex’s instincts beyond
a measure of a doubt. Our rations are holding out thanks
to Little Ray and rainwater has been collected. I am awestruck
as to the fact that critters or other vermin have not contaminated
our supplies. I will need to find out from this boy how he
is accomplishing this great feat. Many a sailor have passed
on due to retched illnesses that spread rampantly on a ship.
We thank those who sailed before us for ridding us of scurvy
by having sailors eat citrus.
My eyes are now
focused on the three bodies in front of me that sit on the
main deck. The other men on the deck are watching them. It
bothers me to a degree that they are being scrutinized so
closely, but I cannot fathom why. My eyes dart around to
the others as I hear Ray laugh; the laugh is high-pitched
almost like a woman. I see Nick glare at the boy and Ray
Little things such
as this have been happening for days. Nick and Ray are inseparable
both day and night. Two days ago I informed my Officers that
Ray was to be with one of them at all times if Nick were not
present. “If the boy is to learn, then he will learn from
us,” I announced at a gathering in my quarters. Nick was
present at the time and eagerly agreed with me that it might
“Ray doesn’t mind
his tongue and he may say something that a person might take
offense too.” Nick added to the conversation. Nick had heard
the scuttlebutt on the ship and more than one of the crew
fancied men over women. If someone, anyone were to find out
the secret that Ray and he were keeping, his world would end
that instant. Kevin would have his head, or at least have
him hung in chains.
Brian seemed to
agree rather quickly as well, Alexander and Howard fussed
slightly but in the end came around to understanding why,
after I informed them of what I had heard earlier that day.
Of course, this had been well after Nick had left my quarters.
I heard rumblings
that some the men on board were starting to find the young
one attractive. Men who have sailed for long periods of time
have heard and seen things that wouldn’t be seen in normal
society, not openly at least. “Nothing will happen to an
innocent, not my ship,” I spoke loud enough for the ones gathered
in the room to understand me clearly.
“RAY!” I shouted
and waved the boy up to the Quarter Deck with me.
I watched him scramble
to his feet and trip doing so. Nick grabbed him quickly and
righted the child.
who was still beside me laughed, “That boy is ungraceful.”
I smiled, “Remember Nick at that age.”
burst out laughing as he nodded at me, “Yes I do.”
I smiled at my cousin and Howard, “He’ll grow out of it too.”
me with slight hesitation; it was Nick who gave him a shove
towards me. The look that the lad had given Nick would have
forced a man to take note that the young one didn’t not appreciate
I thrust my hands
in my pockets, for now I was getting annoyed once again.
“I do not understand your fear of me,” I looked the boy in
the face again. The boys face was the most exotic I had ever
seen, I could stare into his eyes endlessly. Those eyes,
wasted on a boy, I thought to myself.
I watched the youth
again thrust his chest out and chin out. “I’m not afraid
“Do you think you
should be?” I flashed him a devilish grin. Something peculiar
struck me about the face suddenly, I had seen it before.
“NO!” The boy
“I don’t like your
tone, you’re confined to your quarters. Nick, go with him.”
“But.. Why? I
didn’t... “ Nick gave up after looking at the rage that was
showing on my face. He grabbed Ray by the arm and dragged
him down the steps of the quarterdeck to the Officers quarters.
Not long after
that Alexander joined me as well as Brian. Alexander was
the first one to pose a question. “Would you like to explain
to us what you just did and why?”
looked at me wryly, “The consent of two?”
“It’s my vessel,
I will run it the way I see fit. That boy has a problem and
I’m hoping by him sitting with Nick for an entire afternoon
will rid him of his petulance."
Alexander cackled as he stood next to me.
“Rather brave aren’t
you,” I quipped as I watched the men below us who now were
wondering what had transpired that had made Ray and Nick head
below so quickly. Not to mention the urchin had actually
barked at me, his Captain. “I also need to speak to you
freely without either one of them about. Meet me in my quarters
at a half past the next hour.”
I stomped off the
deck in a foul mood. I have done nothing to deserve the treatment
and ill temper from this child. I paused at Nick’s door on
my way to my own quarters; I stopped to listen when I heard
Ray speaking. I was lulled as I listened to the voice; it
was no longer a deep, false type of voice, it’s sound not
so deep but intriguing just the same. The ship listed and
I took the opportunity to lean closer. I was stunned as I
heard the words come from Ray’s mouth. Peaking in the peg
hole, I could see that the boy sat on the floor and Nick on
the bunk. My brow crinkled as I watched the waif read from
a written page. Noises behind me made me move hastily to
my own spacious place.
I sat and mulled
over what I had just learned while I waited for the others
to arrive. The others arrived a scant fifteen minutes later.
All of them sat at the table that I had in my cabin for private
dining. “You all have spent time with Ray over the last weeks.
I want to know what you have learned.”
As I leaned back
in my chair, my gaze fell on three of my Officers who looked
from one to another and did not speak. “I’m not going to
hurt the boy. But I have just recently found out that the
boy can read. Street Orphans don’t read, they are not schooled.”
boy is not a waif, he worked under his uncle,” Howie reminded
“Yes, he did and
he also knows arithmetic,” A.J. offered his sparse piece of
I turned to Brian
who seemed sullen and waited for his words. “You have spent
the most time with them.”
Brian was walking
a fine line with his cousin. He had learned only one thing,
that Ray did not in actuality have a sister that had picked
his pocket but that it had been Ray who had done the deed.
It was also Ray who was at the tavern, and that Ray was truly
Raina, the cook. It hadn’t taken long to figure out who Ray
really was. Now Brian needed to make a decision as to whether
to keep her secret and his best friend’s trust, even though
he hadn’t revealed what he had figured out to either of them
yet. If he did this, he would also be betraying blood.
Lifting his head,
he studied his cousin. Kevin could be ruthless if he wanted
to be, but never to a child nor a woman. However, Raina had
snuck onto this ship, she was falsely mimicking a boy, and
disrespecting the only man that the entire crew would take
orders from. This brought him to another bend in his decision.
What would happen to Raina if the entire crew found out that
she was a woman? Woman aboard were bad luck and created havoc
in general. The crew might mutiny just to join with her.
If she happened to be raped or killed, it was not something
that he wanted on his conscious.
“Brian do you have
anything to offer to this conversation?” I study my cousin
for a brief moment, he seemed tormented suddenly. I watched
his Adam’s Apple bob up and down as he opened his mouth to
“Ray’s sister is
the one who stole my money and it was the lad who returned
it by way of Nick.” Brian prayed to the Lord for forgiveness
for lying but it was the best that he could come up with at
“The boy has honor,”
A.J. smiled. “He’s doing well on Star Knots and Monkey Fists.”
I closed my eyes,
none of what was being said made sense. I had watched this
boy for days and something was not natural about him. It
was different things at different times. Sometimes it was
the way he walked or talked or the way he carried himself.
“Do none of you think that the boy is a little off?”
“As in crazy?”
Howard looked at me as if I were insane.
just different... strange,” I laced my fingers together and
placed my hands behind my head.
“Is that why you
keep your eyes on that boy at all times? The crew has been
prattling about the Captain taking a liking to the boy, but
we didn’t think it was that kind of liking.” A.J. was smirking
It didn’t last
long as I hauled the little monkey out of his chair by his
shirt. “Are you inferring something Sir Alex? Are you questioning
him go,” Brian barked at me.
I did and I watched
him fall to the floor and land with a thud.
up he was still smiling at me, “Sensitive question for you?”
My hand shot out
but was knocked away from its intended target by Brian.
Brian began to
holler at me, “All you do is stare at that child. You are
obsessed with knowing everything about him. Would you like
to tell us why? Why at dinner do we see you looking at the
boy’s behind? Why do you spend your time on deck with your
eyes locked on him? Why did you move the boy up here closer
to the Officers? Can you not just be happy that we are eating
well and getting home safely?”
“I do not like
being disrespected by a stowaway on my ship. All of you out
of here!” I yelled not caring who heard my bellows.
They left as quickly
as they had come. My sleep was disturbed by visions of Ray
in them. My Officers and crew leering at me and laughing,
oh the humiliation, if they truly thought that. I know my
Officers didn’t but the crew must have doubts or they wouldn’t
be gossiping amongst themselves.