I exhaled and held my breath, to enable me to get a better sighting! Yes!…It was definitely a boat! As I watched it surfed on the crest of the huge seas, being blown by the, still stiff, breeze, and caught on the white-caps, thrust along the top of the breakers, only to disappear into the troughs, to re-appear again further along my line of vision! My heart was in my mouth! Was it what was left of the “Anna”? What was left of my crew? They had come from the direction of Port-de-Paix! The “Anna” had been heading in that direction the last time I had spotted her, before the storm hit! I was overwhelmed by a feeling of loss and sadness! So many good men! So many good friends!
”Good morning Captain sir!”… I spun round, alarmed at the possibility of someone being able to creep up on me whilst my whole being was distracted by my thoughts! It was Doc Crossley!
“Good morning Bones! I hope you have some good news of the village? Did the storm cause a great deal of damage?”
“Sir! There is little left of the village! Mainly because of the weakness of some of the structures, most of the buildings have been blown apart! Most of the inhabitants have taken shelter in the grain store! That is made from local stone, and has a raised floor for drying the grain! Malan and Masta are helping console the villagers, and helping with the ones who are bereaved!”
“I see! A sad day Doc! A sad day indeed!” I related the events of the morning. Crossley lay in the muddy grass too, with the glass to his eye studying the horizon!
“’Tis a boat sure enough Captain! But I think perhaps it might not be from our ship, the “Anna”! She has a small sail rigged aft and it looks to be lateen rigged!”
“Where man??” I spun round at his words, elbowing him aside, I regained possession of the telescope and searched for the boat! It took me a full thirty seconds or more to locate it! I, once again, had to hold my breath to keep the image steady…..HE WAS RIGHT!!!! On the stern of the boat now, there was a small brown sail rigged to keep the boats head into the wind! And that sail was brown not white (The “Anna’s” boat’s sails were white!!!!) There seemed to be a couple of lateral lines in the canvas! A lateen sail meant it was not from the “Anna Baptiste”!
“You’re right Bones! By God you’re right!” I laughed aloud! Relief flooded my veins! Maybe my crew were taking shelter in some bay or cove!
“Captain sir! If it pleases you, I would like to take a look at Lady Anna! I have concerns about her if she is not resting as I have dictated!”
“Oh she’s resting alright Bones! Whatever that concoction was that you administered her…it has certainly done the trick!”
“And….(Harrumph)…you have been….ummm….considerate in your demands Captain?”
“Of course Bones! Of course! I would not countenance making any sort of demand! She is my wife man…not my chattel!!”
Chastened, he turned away, taking the telescope from my hands he scanned the horizon.
“’Tis not unknown Captain for men…husbands…to make demands on their wives, even when those spouses are in mortal danger from disease! I am glad you are not such a person!”
“By gad Crossley! I should take you apart for your insolence! But I understand your concerns are well placed! You have my word that I have made no such demands!” (in fact the exact opposite was the case! It was not me making the demands!)
“I am glad Captain! My apologies sir, but I only have the good lady’s well-being at heart!”
“I know Bones! I know! When you have done your examination, come by and tell me how things are! Ok?”
“Right Captain! I shall ret…..A SHIP sir!! A ship!!”
“Where away man? Where away?”
He rose from his prone position, offering me the eye-glass, and pointing towards Port-de-Paix.
“There sir! Coming out of the haze!”
I followed the line of his arm and pointing finger, raised the glass to my eye! Seeing nothing, I dropped the telescope to check again the position of his pointing finger! I raised the glass, keeping my other eye open and sighted along the direction he indicated. I then shut the eye and peered intently! ……I could see nothing! Then, like a spectre looming from the mist, the shape of a ship emerged from the bluish haze low down on the horizon! Too far away to make out much detail…..One….two….three! A three-master! …slowly she emerged from the hazy background….There! On the fore-ends….the fore-mast held a triple set of fores’ls!! The “Anna”!! It WAS the “Anna”! And she was under sail and making good speed for Tortuga….or maybe for the boat? I swung the glass in each direction….Yes!… she was definitely running down on the white boat! Whatever the reason, Moses intended to catch up on the boat! I could see quite plainly now, the white bow-wave at her stem, she was making a good rate of knots! Must be important, the cargo of that boat! Human or otherwise!
“Bones! She’s running down on that boat! Going to intercept…..Bones?”
Doc Crossley had grown bored with my antics and had left me to my deliberations! Ah well! He would have to wait for the news now! My crew were safe! Or enough of them to handle the “Anna” leastways!! I used the palm of my hand to slam the telescope shut and proceeded to walk down the cliff path towards the harbour! As I passed the clearing on my left where the crucifixions had taken place, my anger returned! I vowed that, as far as humanly possible, those people, and others, would be avenged! And….if there was a God…That he, or she, would forgive me for the evil I felt inside towards the men responsible for the atrocities carried out on this island!!! But!!! Revenge would be sweet!!!