Sun Sep 02, 2007 4:57 pm Post subject:
The storm grew in intensity for the next four hours! The howling wind hurled loose debris at the house! Occasional thumps echoed around the walls, I dreaded to think of the sight that would greet us in the light of day! My main thoughts were of my ship and crew! The wind was directly into this island! My only hope was that somehow, Moses and my men had been able to seek shelter in the lee of the mainland! However, knowing that they had turned to engage a possible enemy, I felt they might have been caught out in the heat of battle, and, could even now, be resting in watery graves at the bottom of the straits!
We lay in each other’s arms, Anna slept the sleep of the innocent, unaware of my worries and concerns for my crew! Doc Crossley’s Laudanum sedative had guaranteed her peace of mind!…. we were alone in the house!! The others had gone to the village, Masta and Malan to recover what belongings they could salvage following the pirate incursion, Doc Crossley to help them in their quest! None of us expected the storm to break when it did, therefore, they had had to take what shelter they could find in what remained of the village!
I rose quietly and gently from our bed. I crossed to the door, opened it softly, and went out onto the landing. Frustration bit deeply at my nerve endings! I was jumpy and felt so helpless! I descended the stairs, went to the main front door, and, foolishly…retracted the bolts and tried to open it a small amount to check on the sky! The door slammed open as soon as the bolts were retracted, knocking me to the floor! I lay winded, whilst mayhem broke our around me as the wind lifted items of furniture and smashed them against the bottom of the stairs! A full length looking glass was blown from the wall and smashed! More bad luck!! Seven years was the superstition I believed!!
I painfully got to my feet, and, scrabbled blindly towards the door! Leaves and garden debris was being hurled inside, but I managed with supreme effort to re-secure the door, and, eventually, peace reigned once more! The glimpse of the night sky I had managed to see, confirmed that there was going to be no let up for a while yet! The blackness was all enveloping, no sign of a break in the cloud, nor any sign of moonlight! In frustration I returned to our bedroom, climbed back into bed, curled against Anna, and tried to sleep!
I must have slept eventually, I awoke to the sound of birds! Sunlight was showing through cracks in the shutters! I leapt out of bed (raising a small groan of protest from Anna) and crossed to the window shutters. I unbolted them and threw them wide! It was a bright sun that greeted my eyes! My eyes hurt to look at it! Everything seemed magnified in its rays, the scene that met my eyes was one of utter devastation! Our lovely palms had been uprooted and thrown aside, seemingly by a giant’s hand! I looked to seaward, huge rollers were white-capping across the area of the horizon that I could see! I ran back to our bed, recovered my muddy, ripped pants, slipped on my torn and filthy boots, and headed for the door! Anna slept on! I ran down the stairs into the hall, taking care not to step on the broken mirror glass! I suddenly thought of Anna! What if she came downstairs looking for me, and stepped into the broken glass! I picked up the mirror frame and placed it at the bottom of the stair at the Newell post! She couldn’t miss it there! I opened the door with some effort, debris was stopping me from opening it fully, grit or sand no doubt! I squeezed through the opening I could manage to gain, and stepped into the morning sunshine! I ran through the gates, sprinting along the path towards the cliff! I suddenly realised I didn’t have my eyeglass! I had left the telescope in the house! No matter! I continued my headlong rush to the cliffs, I vaulted over fallen trees, slid uncontrollably upon landing! Eventually, I came out at the end of the path, and climbed out onto the grassy knoll at the top of the sheer drop! I scanned the horizon! Nothing! My heart sank! I had hoped to see something of the “Anna”….foolishly, I had thought I might see her snugly at anchor in the bay! No such luck! With a heavy heart I retraced my steps back along the path towards D’Avignon House! My only hope was that they had managed to find shelter in time, breaking off whatever engagement they had decide to partake in! Then I suddenly thought…..Had they engaged the other vessel? I had only the sounds of cannon fire to confirm my thoughts! Frustration! I beat my fist into my palm in helpless anger! Why hadn’t I gone with them? I knew the answer of course! She was softly asleep in our bed! Anna!
Once back in the house, I eventually found the telescope! I fetched a besom from the summer house wreckage, a besom that had survived not only the pirate’s wrath, but also the storm! Lying in the lee of a muddy bank at the side of the summer house it had not been affected by the wind or the rain! I swept up the broken glass, and carefully buried it at the garden waste pit! This contained all our vegetable matter from the kitchens and also any broken pots or implements, animal bones etc! Happy that I had left the house safe, I returned along the path to the grassy flat area at the cliff-path crossroads! Once there, I lay on my stomach on the grass (not having to worry about my breeches that were hanging in tatters) and forming a tripod with my arms, began to scan the horizon! Nothing! I traversed East to West, North to South, nothing! After about ten minutes my eyes began to water with eye strain! I put down the glass, wiped my eyes and raised the glass again! My respiration was causing the glass to rise and dip in rhythm! I scouted around and found three small rocks, eventually forming them into a rest, I replaced the telescope in the nook I had fashioned and put my eye once again to the end! More secure now it gave me a better picture, although it meant moving it in jerky sections across the straits! For more than an hour I scanned the horizons until my eyes were sore and continually running with tears!! It was whilst I was adjusting the glass on the stones for a look towards Port-de-Paix, that I noticed, in my peripheral vision, a white blob?? I quickly trained the glass on the area………long minutes I stared, moving the glass fractionally to get a full picture….THERE!!! I had no adjustment on this eyepiece!! Damnation!!! I kept as still as death, afraid to breathe! The lens started to steam up with my exhalation! Damn it! I tore a piece off the inside leg of my breeches, and cleaned the rear lens…..Now where was it?? Long seconds dragged by…I couldn’t find it again! I was sure it was a boat! But was it a white one? If so that would mean my crew had taken to the boats! The breakers across the straits were so huge that any boat would be lost in them! I would be very lucky…..THERE!! Yes it was a boat!! IT WAS A WHITE BOAT!!!! Oh God!!….Was it the “Anna’s” boat???