Somewhere in the North Sea
THORN STOOD AT THE bow of his ship ‘My Hedera’ and stared 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 and blended 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, and fisted his hands in anger. The storm was nothing compared to the turmoil of emotions that ran 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 to stare into the dark night. He knew it was her, he just didn’t want to admit to it. While he tried to gain 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 furious with himself than with anyone else. If he would have come home sooner, he could have prevented this from happening.
As he made his way down the stairs to his cabin, that was where he found her asleep on his bed. She hadn’t woken since they discovered her in the small lifeboat that drifted aimlessly in the sea. He didn’t know how long she had been adrift. Her clothes were soaked through from the rain. The night air was frigid, 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. Her body had been chilled to the bone, her lips blue, and her body shook uncontrollably.
He was grateful Sammy had been on the lookout for any suspicious ships in the area. When Sammy spied the lifeboat as it floated in the open sea, he called to Thorn to investigate. He didn’t know if it was a trap or not, Thorn decided to row to the boat to see for himself what floated 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, and pulled her long, blond hair away from her face. Her hair was wet and clung to her cheeks and neck. That was when he received 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 only knew he must get her to safety.
He lifted her from the puddle of water that had collected in the boat. As he lifted her in his arms, he yelled 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 wrapped her in the blanket and held her tight in his arms.
“Get us back to ship swiftly,” Thorn shouted at his men.
As they rowed back, the rain started again, and pelted 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 someone to take her 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 must help her fight to stay alive. She had to live, because without her alive, his life wasn’t worth living.
She laid on his bed so lifeless. If it weren’t for her soft moans, Thorn would have thought she died while he was on the top deck. Thorn reached to touch her red cheek to realize her body burned. He went to the door and called for Sammy to come below to his cabin.
Sammy limped into the room, “What do you need Capt’n?”
“Fetch me some wet towels. I need to bring her fever down.”
Sammy left the cabin and returned quickly, he brought with him a bowl of cold water and 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. Not that the Captain was a cold man, just a hard man who 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 and realized Sammy was still in his cabin. He raised his eyebrows at him in silent inquiry of why he still remained.
“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, climbed on deck, and called to the crew 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 his position behind the wheel. The crew worked to lower 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 rougher than ever. Their feet were unsteady on deck as the sea threw the ship back and forth between the huge waves. It would 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.