Monday, September 3, 2007

Excerpt from my novel 'The Pirate And The Puritan' to be released at The Wild Rose Press on 28th September

Nothing could help her now. Perhaps if she swallowed her pride she could beg for mercy... Her mind caught the thought, beg for Mercy. Only yesterday she would have smiled at it. Today it was a meaningless play on words. Today she knew that to beg would accomplish nothing, except perhaps amuse the grim captain.

And how could she beg? Only by falling on her knees before him and holding up her hands in supplication. She could not speak, nor could she write down any plea. The slate that had hung at her waist since her eleventh year was gone. She had hit a pirate with it, broken it on his head. He had merely guffawed, pushed her aside and continued his slaughter.

In the past she had hit, not as hard, more men than one with it, men who thought that because she was dumb she could not carry tales of stolen kisses. This pestering had not lasted long, once they learned she could write. And now her slate was gone, though the small cloth bag of chalk and rag still hung from her belt of plaited worsted cloth. She could write on the bulkhead...

She heard heavy footsteps in the passage beyond the door and Jedediah came in with a wooden bucket of seawater, which he dumped on the table. He left without looking at her or speaking to her. However she heard through the door as he mumbled, of all things, "You needs a clean shirt."

He was answered by a cold sharp voice, which Mercy recognised. "More than a shirt."

She stood quickly and wiped the tears from her face with her bound hands. The captain would not have the satisfaction of seeing her cry.
Not yet. Her fingers trembled on her cheeks. She bunched them together in her skirt, straightened her shoulders and stared ahead. She saw, surprised, that the light through the horn windows was dim. The long terrible day approached its end, though that was no solace. Under the cover of darkness men did things they would not dare, in daylight.

But she decided.
I will live through this. I will not fight. I will not give him the added pleasure of subduing me. I will give him the least pleasure possible, by submitting. I will survive.