I swab the blood from the deck, the dirty brown water slops out of the same bucket the Captain struck Moore with. No one is watching, they have all returned to the dice. Which is what makes it easy to sneak over to Captains quarters.
Our visitor is still in there with him - that’s what started the fighting among the crew - very superstitious lot and they don’t like women on board. They like the Sea Witch even less.
Everyone’s been wondering what Captain’s brought her on board for, but I’m the only one as bothered to listen hard enough to find out. She’s casting him curses. Which is all well and good, she’s a witch after all. But what’s she cursing and why. That’s what I’ve been finding out. Captain has buried treasure on an island, he’s got a map the crew don’t know about. Maybe Moore had found out about it...but he’s not going to talk about it now. Through the cabin window, I can see there’s blood, bones and feathers all over the room; there’s magic at work. The Sea Witch is cursing the trees, caves and hidden places on the island, and Kidd, his back to me, is marking it all off on his map.
Back home, my mother knew a witch - she would go to her for potions to help Lil when she got sick. She never said much about her, but one night when she’d drank too much, she started crying and all she said over and over was “never owe favours to witches”. Kidd owes the Sea Witch. I can tell. And as I’m thinking it, she turns, and her one eye glares straight at me. She doesn’t tell Captain though, she looks at the map on the desk behind her, and then back towards me. She smiles and nods, as if we have an understanding. And suddenly I owe the Sea Witch too.
Six years a cabin boy now, and you don’t live that long by not paying attention and knowing when to lay low. But I’m old enough now to know if I want to live much longer at sea, I need to get off the Adventure. And that map could buy my future. I’ll pay whatever price.
It’s taken long enough, but the crew have noticed I’m not still swabbing.
“Flint! Get over here boy and get this deck clear.”
It can wait. That buried treasure isn’t going anywhere, but Kidd...he’s been doomed from the moment he took up with the Sea Witch. She’s going to hang him out to dry.
Wednesday 16 May is National Flash Fiction Day, over on Stramashed, there's a Flashpoint, (a story written and left in a place) from The Dutch Gable House. Why not try it yourself.