Why is she not afraid? Is it the reassuring presence of Elijah Blackstone, the man who has vowed to come to her rescue should she ask for surcease? He leads her by bound wrists through dark wooden passageways to his cabin, the largest room on the ship. Her tread is sure, her back straight; at a glance her bowed head would appear a stance of resignation or of fear. But no, it hides a wicked exhilaration – flushed and wide-eyed, there is an exultant smile twitching at the corner of her mouth.
It’s been three days since the mutiny which saw the Captain, First Mate and the Bo’sun marooned in a rowing boat with only a single pistol between them. Three days, and the smell of cordite has yet to dissipate from the cabin where they made their courageous but ineffectual last stand.
Since the storm, the journey has settled back into hazy lassitude. Repairs were made to torn sails, rigging untangled, items which had been flung into corners by the violence of the waves, repositioned in their rightful places. She kept the rope, feigning unconvinced anxiety to the Captain’s blithe assurances of safety. The skies have cleared. There is no more danger.
See that sweet spot right there in the middle? I never used to believe it existed. It’s such a small, low-probability intersection, considering my limited capacity to differentiate between romantic love and naive infatuation. I stopped believing in ‘happy ever after’ a long time ago. I don’t miss my illusions. They got me into all sorts of trouble.
She’s working diligently; head down, fingers bouncing off the keyboard, a small furrow between her brows. To the casual observer, she could be a freelance web designer or accountant, HR consultant or researcher – the millennial uniform of smart-casual jeans, ankle boots, tailored jacket would be out of place in neither a wine bar or a boardroom.
Hatches have been battened, sails have been furled. There is even less to entertain her than usual; the crew are universally tight-lipped and tense, paying her little regard as they attend to their foul-weather preparations. Her presence on deck went unnoticed despite her languorous touching of masts and rails, her speculative glances at ropes and cleats. Has she become invisible since the storm warning was sounded? Eclipsed by Mother Nature, she feels even more superfluous than ever, unable to contribute more than ornamentation to which the sailors are oblivious, she retires to her dark cabin and broods.
She knows they watch her when she goes up on deck to take in the bracing sea air. She can feel their eyes sliding across the heavy material of her dress, see their rough work-hardened hands twitch as they imagine how soft her skin must be underneath the covering layers. When they turn away, grabbing and hauling ropes to displace their unspoken lust, she smirks to herself.
Lust watches with heavy-lidded gaze, eyes dilating to fill with you lays a trail marking yours and mine in heady incense our scents is open handed and clench-fingered langorously sprawled across tangled limbs burns and floods on searing tide we…
In the house of my psyche, she resides below ground level. Down in the deepest cellar, in her soft-furnished boudoir she sprawls across a four-poster bed, naked and tousle-haired and ready for mischief. Across her skin are scrawled the scars of a hundred lessons imperfectly-learned; crossed-out names and instructions ignored. She’ll flaunt them with insouciance, they are a challenge and a come-on. “Can’t catch me” they mock silently; and “is that all you’ve got?”.