‘Thank God you are safe,’ Mary says, bringing me into a hug. ‘I was so worried about you.’
‘Have they treated you well?’
Mary’s smile reaches towards her eyes and falters. I can tell she is fearful, but not for herself. Sarah is not much older than I am, and James a headstrong young man. ‘So far, and Sarah has been with me the whole time.’
‘Will you be staying here with me?’ I ask.
‘We’ve been told that both myself and Sarah will be with you, so that is good. I haven’t heard anything of Charles or James.’
‘There are many aboard that believe in a higher power, the captain isn’t amongst them, but he will not go against those who do.’ I didn’t mention if the weather changed, and we are in stormy seas, that those who do believe will throw them overboard to regain equilibrium again.
‘What about you? I heard your spell . . .’
‘My mother is a white witch, her religion is my religion. I can imagine you hate me.’
She brings me into another embrace, and wipes a tear from my face. ‘We have been travelling for many years, and come across lands with different religions. They are no different from us, and ultimately believe in the same thing, just in a slightly diverse way.’
We sit on the side of the bed, and tiredness overcomes me like a wave over a sandcastle. The solemn sun has been overtaken by melancholy moon. A few minutes later Sarah walks in the room with a jug of diluted water.
I am so glad they are all together and safe, and a new morning will bring new strength. My throat is dry and my emotions tardy. I know that rum is mixed in with the water to make it drinkable, but my thirst will overcome the taste.
‘Drink only a small amount,’ I advise. ‘These sailors have been at sea for many months. Rum is mixed in with the water, but it is the only way to keep it safe.’
Both women look at me, and to the stagnant water. They are not keen to drink it, but they need to. It is weak compared, and will probably help them sleep.
‘It is fine, as a child I was given this, and it will not make you drunk. It will help keep you alive.’
Both women drink one glass – so stoic. I drink the rest down, and insist they sleep in the bed. Besides, the hammock in the corner used to be my mothers, I will regain my strength better there.
I hope for good weather tomorrow – calm seas, and a sunny day will keep the sharks from circling.