Somewhere in the North Sea
THORN STOOD AT THE bow of his ship ‘My Hedera’ staring out into the dark night, lost in his deep thoughts. The brigantine dipped and swayed into the huge waves that rocked the sea. Dark storm clouds stretched across the skies blending into the black sea. None of the stars lighted the sky tonight; because the heavens had opened for a fierce storm. As he ran his fingers through his long, dark, wet hair he brought them down to his sides, fisting his hands in anger. The storm was nothing compared to the turmoil of emotions that were running through him.
“Captain, do you think it is her?” Sammy his first mate shouted to be heard above the thunder as he twisted his hat in between his hands.
“I don’t know Sammy, I don’t know.” Thorn whispered into the storm.
Marcus Thornhill, Thorn to his friends continued staring out into the dark night. He knew it was her; he just didn’t want to admit to it. While trying to get control of his anger he tried to figure out who would have done such an awful thing to her. Before he returned to her he needed to be calm. He was angrier with himself than with anyone else. If he would have come home sooner, he could have prevented something like this from happening.
As he made his way down the stairs to his cabin, that is where he found her sleeping on his bed. She hadn’t woken since they found her in the small lifeboat that was drifting aimlessly in the sea. He didn’t know how long she had been adrift. Her clothes had been soaked through from the rain. The night air was chilled and she would have frozen to death if they had gotten to her any later. Thorn could still remember how her body felt as he lifted her from the boat. She had been chilled to the bone, her lips blue, and her body shaking uncontrollably.
He was just grateful that Sammy had been on lookout for any suspicious ships in the area. When Sammy had spied the lifeboat just floating in the open sea he called to Thorn to investigate. Not knowing if it was a trap or not, Thorn decided to row out to the boat to see for himself what could be floating out in the middle of nowhere.
Thorn was not prepared for what he had seen. A lifeless girl abandoned alone with nothing for her comfort. He climbed into the boat and knelt next to the girl, pulling her long, blond hair back from her face; it was wet and clinging to her cheeks and neck. That is when he got the shock of his life. His heart stopped as he took in what he saw as a familiar face of his past. It looked like her but he wasn’t for sure. He just knew that he had to get her to safety.
He lifted her up from the puddle of water that had collected in the boat. As he lifted her in his arms, he recalls yelling at his men for a blanket. He passed her to one of his men as he made his way back onto the boat. As he settled down he grabbed her wrapping her in the blanket and held her tight in his arms.
“Get us back to ship swiftly,” Thorn yelled at his men.
As they made their way back the rain started again, pelting their bodies harshly. Thorn pulled her closer into the warmth of his body to protect her from the storm.
When they returned to the ship, Thorn ordered her to be taken to his cabin. As Jake one of his crew members took her to his cabin, he ordered the rest of the crew to prepare the ship for a storm.
He had so many questions that needed answered, but for now he had to help her fight to stay alive. She had to live, because without her alive, his life wasn’t worth living.
She was lying on his bed so lifeless. If it weren’t for her soft moans, Thorn would have thought that she had died while he was up on the top deck. Thorn reached down to touch her red cheek; she was burning up. He went to the door and called out for Sammy to come below to his cabin.
Sammy limped into the room, “What do you need Capt’n?”
“Bring me some wet towels. I need to bring her fever down.”
Sammy left the cabin and returned quickly, bringing with him a bowl of cold water and some towels. He watched as the Captain wetted the towels and gently wiped them over the young girl’s face. He noticed how the Captain took such gentle care of her, like she was a priceless doll. Sammy had never seen this side of the Captain before. It wasn’t that the Captain was a cold man; he was just a hard man that didn’t show too much of his softer side that often. But during times of war the Captain couldn’t show his softer side if so they would all be dead by now.
“Capt’n?” Sammy tried to get Thorn’s attention.
Thorn turned towards Sammy, not realizing that Sammy was still in his cabin. He raised his eyebrows up at him in silent inquiry of what he was still doing there.
“The storm is getting worse Sir, we need you on deck,” Sammy stuttered.
“Get all hands on deck and steer her to calmer seas yourself. I’m needed here. I cannot abandon her again.” Thorn shouted in annoyance to Sammy.
Sammy left the cabin and went on deck calling to the crew that all men were wanted on deck to help him get the ship to safer waters. Sammy directed the crew to their positions while he took up his position behind the wheel. The crew worked on bringing down the sails, while Sammy started to steer them out of the storm. They had their work cut out for them tonight because the wind was strong and the sea was rougher than ever. Their feet were unsteady on deck as the sea was throwing the ship back and forth between the huge waves. It was going to be a miracle to keep this boat afloat thought Sammy, but he planted his feet down firmly and held onto the ship’s wheel for dear life.