‘So how are you doing this witch?’ he asks, taking a step closer to me. He looks deep into my eyes, and touches my cheek with his calloused hand.
‘I’m not doing anything,’ I say, more calmly than I feel. ‘Your father was Captain Toby Blue Beard. As a child I was aboard this ship, but left when I was two years old.’
‘I remember no sister witch!’
‘And I remember no brother, but here we are aboard this ship. No-one can deny the likeness, not even me.’
‘This is a spell you’ve cast on the living,’ he says, looking away.
‘I remember this place, but the lines are blurry. Perhaps my mother cast her own spell, to make me forget you ever existed. But I feel the spell weaken now.’
‘Tell me something of your mother,’ he says.
‘She has long, black hair, and deep hazel eyes. She is a witch, but a white witch. Her spells never harmed anyone, and she only sought to bring love to the world. She would sing this song, about a mermaid . . .’
‘Travelling to the island of Eden . . .’ he says.
‘What of my father?’ I ask. ‘Is he alive?’
‘Scarlet fever took him, a couple of years ago. He passed the ship on to me. This family reunion matters not. We are different you and I. Since I was old enough to talk I’ve been a pirate in training. You have lived the soft life of the land. We have nothing in common apart from the same parents.’
‘Maybe, but I would like to . . . ‘
I could hear Mary, altruistic as ever, talking to someone from beyond the door. She is asking after my health, with no concern about herself. I want to call out, to tell her I’m safe, but don’t want to bring any further attention to my friend.
‘Get to know me,’ he said, a familiar sneer across his face. ‘I’m not some sweet big brother with family ties. I am a pirate, you are a witch. Our father probably forced you both ashore because witches are bad luck.’
With a final flourish of his sword, my brother left the room.