C6 Chapter 1-6
Water spewed from Thomas’ lips, rushing to escape the fleshy prison that held it captive. Coughing and sputtering brought the man to consciousness. He lay on the damp wooden floor, clutching his pained chest while his lungs screamed for air. A rancid smell permeated the bleak, musky room, causing him to gag further as he struggled to breathe. Where am I?
A small ball of matted fur squeaked as it scurried across his leg, the beast’s sharp, tiny claws tearing into the damp cloth of his breeches and poking at his skin. Thomas lifted his arm to shoo the rodent away, only for the metallic chink of iron to halt his movement. Shackles. Wonderful.
“Don’ worry bout lil Ralphie, mate. He don’ bite.”
“Who’s there?” Thomas’ strained voice cracked as he dragged his body off the floor, slumping it against the damp mildew infested wall. “Where are we?”
“Easy, mate,” the voice answered. “Bout time you woke up. Yer in the galley of the Trident’s Torch.”
“The Trident’s Torch?” Thomas followed the cadence of the voice to the dark outline of a hefty man slouched against the wall to the left of him.
“Aye, the crew brought you down here last night. Somethin’ bout finding you in the water.” The clanking of chains echoed off the wooden walls as the man lifted a gnarled hand from his side and reached out towards Thomas. “Name’s Cookie.”
“Thomas,” he replied, struggling to shake the man’s hand. “Why are we down here?”
“Well, can’t rightly say for you, mate. But me? The crew grew tired of me soup. Aye, guess it’s what ya get cookin’ fer pirates.”
“This ain’t no merchant’s brigantine,” Cookie chuckled. “No, sir! The Trident’s Torch is host to some of the most ruthless cutthroats outside of Roebuck Cove. Mighty nasty crew, the lot of ’em.”
“Great,” Thomas sighed, recounting the grim events of the night before. “More pirates.”
“More pirates?” Cookie asked, moving closer to Thomas. “What’s this? More pirates?”
“The last thing I remember, our ship was attacked…”
A deafening squeal of heavy wood lifting on rusty hinges interrupted Thomas’ thoughts. The flicker of a soft flame emerged from the deck above, the ember wavering in the sea of darkness.
“Shh,” Cookie whispered. “Wonder who they’re bringing down this time.”
Thump. Thump. Thump. The sound of thick leather soles slapping against damp wood filled the room with dread. Shivers ran down Thomas’ back, his heartbeat falling into rhythm with each pounding step. He squirmed against the wall behind him, itching to be as far away from the flickering light.
“So he’s awake,” a voice rich in tone, but dark in emotion, called from behind the flames. “Boys…”
Thomas’ breath froze. His feet flailed frantically against the floor of the hold, frantically trying to push himself further away from the voice. With a loud clank, the shackle’s chains pulled taut. Beads of sweat rolled down his brow as he waited helplessly against the pull of the iron chain.
Cries of cackling laughter erupted from beyond the flame. Burly hands reached out from the darkness, latching onto the chains tethered to Thomas and dragging the helpless man towards them as the flickering light floated back up the stairs.
Thump. Thump. Thump.