Pirates of Forgotten Waters

Cassandra March is prejudiced in every single way possible-of course she is. She's a nobleman's daughter in 1778! So when a pirate ship arrives in the bay, she has to go to it. She has to become part of it. But when she gets there, she gets much more than she bargained for. A few drunk captains, some stupid sword/cutlasses, and a boy named Jacob....it seems Jacob may give her a view on life she doesn't know of yet.

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1. Finishing School

 

I was on a ship, in the middle of the sea. There were men all around me, wearing rags and earrings on one ear with the most disgraceful assortment of mud-encrusted feet and yellow teeth properly imaginable. I almost puked at the disgusting sight, but I somehow managed to keep calm.

          But nothing was proper here. Nothing. It was impossible for something to be proper when they were pirates. They were pirates, the stupid, bloodthirsty brutes that you hear about in books, and they were disgusting, almost as disgusting as I had imagined them. But here, they weren’t just normal imaginative figures. They seemed real…it felt like they almost were real.

          The waves were beautiful and they crashed against the ship like a blueberry milkshake being tossed around into little waves, maybe while it was being blended or such. They flowed slowly against the ship in a perfect, continuous circle, never ceasing to fail in that circle. It was beautiful, so beautiful I wanted to sit there forever and stare at them. Stare at them until I died, and once I was dead I would stare at them from heaven. Just staring at them. The waves, the beauty.

          As I stood on the deck I felt all the attention of the pirates turn towards me. “Look, Captain, it be a pretty lady.” One of the pirates called deviously.

          The pirates snickered as the captain shot bullet eyes at me. “So it be,” he sneered, a ruthless smile brewing on his face. “And it also be that she better be put in the hold before she can run off to the government and tell them there be pirates in the bay.”

I felt a deep weight in my chest. Something told me it would be more appropriate to run than to let them capture me.  But then I also realized something else. Pirates in the bay. He said something about them being in the bay! Not good. I had to tell someone, maybe even Father.         

Then the pirates advanced towards me, and I took the quickest exit. The sea.

 

“It was only a dream. It was only a dream.” I heard myself repeating over and over as Anna stared at me in amazement. But more confusion than amazement, I presume I should say. Anna didn’t get amazed very easily. But I constantly found her in utter bewilderment at what I did.

          “Cassandra, do stop muttering! What are you fretting about?” Anna looked at me with her sisterly eyes. “I’m beginning to think you’re possessed……” her eyes drifted away, seemingly disturbed.

          “It was only a dream, wasn’t it?” I asked. “Those…those pirates. They couldn’t be real, could they?” I tossed around under my heavy covers, trying to kick them off before I was too twisted up in them.

          Anna put her hands on her hips. “What pirates? There are no pirates. There aren’t even any ships at all these days around here! You must be seeing and hearing things. Would you like me to call the doctor?” she asked, then contradicted herself. “No, no, that’s not a good idea. Just heed me for once when I demand an explanation.”

          I sighed. “What explanation? I don’t have one. Unless you want the simple one that will make me sound immature and childish. All I know is that I was on a ship with freaky pirates and then they ran at me so I hopped ship. They also said something about pirates being in the bay, but I don’t know what that was all about. And then I woke up here in my bed. End of story.  Oh and also the waves were very beautiful, kind of like a blueberry milkshake, but not like I’d know because I’ve never had one. But other than that, what else is there to tell?”

          Anna rolled her eyes before she picked up her skirts regally. “I guess I didn’t think you’d give a half-decent explanation anyway. Come along then. Father would like to see us.” Her voice spoke with a tone not quite loving but not totally hard and cold like I had supposed it should’ve sounded after how childish I had been acting.

          I tossed off my covers and dressed. “Of course he does.” I muttered angrily, probably colder than Anna had. But I didn’t care. I was already in a bad mood.

          Father always wanted to see us about something or other. I didn’t know what it was this time, but it wouldn’t be anything good, I knew that much.

          I walked down the hall with Anna and then we knocked on Father’s door. We waited hastily until Father replied; “Come in. It’s about Finishing School.”

 

Finishing School was the last straw. Father already did enough bad things to us, and there was no way I was about to let him send us off to Finishing School.

          It was enough torture to have to live with him and his regal life, and now he was sending us away! I’d be perfectly happy if it wasn’t Finishing School, but it was, so I wasn’t happy. That was enough to drive any girl crazy.  Finishing School? No, that’s too much for us. But that was about just a millimeter of a speck of what else he really does to us.

First of all there were the corsets, the most evil invention mankind ever dreamed up.  They were horrible, and I wanted to burn them in the marble fireplace. What was the point in them anyway? Why had someone really been stupid enough to dream up something as stupid as suffocating devices to torture women? There was nothing good about a corset, and there never would be. Not until they made them for men, and it was law for them to wear them.

And then there were just the itty-bitty things like drinking tea in a proper matter and making sure there wasn’t even the slightest crease in your dress. (Actually, Father doesn’t let us drink tea, but he makes us treat our hot chocolate like tea anyway.) Being a governors’ daughter was worse than any other title you could dream up in your lifetime. Just the smallest stain on your napkin would get you another one. Maybe I wanted to use a dirty napkin!

Father sure deserved to be a governor, what with his defined features and his solemn expressions. But what obscurity made us deserve to be governors’ daughters? And did we really need to be finished? If he had wanted to finish us, he should’ve done it a long time ago. I was fifteen, old enough to be married by now, and Anna was seventeen. It was far too late to finish us, and we wouldn’t let him get away with such foolishness.

I looked up at Father after he had made the announcement. I could feel shock in my face, but more red-hot anger and I didn’t care if it showed. “Father.” I felt my voice cracking with my anger, and yet I tried so hard to keep relatively calm. “What is the purpose of you doing this?”

Father looked at me. “Oh Cassandra, you know I don’t want to hurt you, but the other governors feel as though you don’t fit in with their girls .Their minds are corrupted and they won’t budge. They believe you aren’t finished enough, and although it may be too late, I realized that they were right.”

I saw Anna’s face harden as she looked at Father. “That’s a stupid reason.” she muttered. “What they think doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s true, and the truth is we’re as finished as we’re ever going to get! If you don’t like that, then there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Father sighed. “I don’t think you’re not finished, if that’s what you’re saying. I just feel that you’re not finished enough. There is a difference. And I do love you, if that’s what you mean. It’s just the others don’t care as much about love and value it as much as they do economics. That’s all they care about, but not all I care about. I care about you, and I would never do anything to deliberately hurt you.”

I felt fury building up in my stomach. “THAT’S A BUNCH OF LIES!DONT TELL US SOMETHING THAT YOU KNOW ISN’T TRUE! IF YOU REALLY LOVED US YOU WOULDN’T LIE TO US!” Saying those words felt better than anything I had ever done. I wanted to go on, but Anna stopped me.

“It’s true you know,” she muttered. “You’re the worst man in New England.” I could see her tiring of his stupid speeches. “Everything you do to us gets you nowhere. It’s been a long time, Father. Just admit that a governor is the best title you’re going to get. Maybe it’s time to admit defeat.” Anna pushed her brown hair past her ear and smiled calmly at me, as if to say “It’ll be alright. We’re not going.”

Anna stood up. “Think about that,” she said bluntly. “And then decide whether you’re still going to send us to Finishing School.” Anna turned on her heel and out into the hall, me trailing in her wake.

“I don’t want to go to Finishing School.” I sighed. “But I suppose that’s just part of what we get for being governors’ daughters.”

Anna shrugged. “Don’t worry. We’ll find a way to get out. If we die trying, at least we’ll be out.”

I felt a knot in my throat at the mention of death. “We might die, but I’d actually prefer not dying. Maybe we could escape and not die?”

“Of course you would!” Anna smiled, and then her voice quieted. “We all would. But it’s better than putting up with Father every second of the day, if that makes any sense.”

I felt a smile tugging at my own cheeks. “It makes perfect sense.”

Anna laughed, and I soon felt myself joining in. But our laughs didn’t last long because we suddenly found ourselves at the door to our room. We quieted down and walked inside.

There they were dresses of every style and color. I saw them all cluttered around the room, and they looked extremely tight. “Great, and they probably have corsets.” I muttered, and I heard Anna stifle a laugh.

It’s not that the dresses weren’t pretty, don’t get me wrong here, it’s just that they weren’t my pretty. My pretty was a dress without a corset, and let’s just say there weren’t many of those around. Nope, let’s just say that finding a dress without a corset was almost impossible for us. There were plenty, but Father didn’t believe in them. He believed in corsets, and so evidently the dresses were chalk-full of them.

“Lovely,” Anna muttered bluntly, echoing my concerns.

In the midst of the dresses I saw a sudden flash of red. It couldn’t be. England was too far away, and she never came without notice. For once I suppose she could, but still…

It seemed too improbable. Although I guess Father might have thought…

Suddenly I collapsed on the wooden floor below us as she crashed into me. It was Abigail! I pushed her off of me. “Next time you might want to warn me.” I said. “I mean it’s not that I don’t love you, but you might be better off warning me.”

Abigail blushed almost as red as her curls as she climbed off of me. “Oops, sorry.”

Anna stood there watching us. “Well, I don’t know about you, Cassandra, but I’m wondering why she’s here,”

Abigail’s eyes deadened. “Finishing School,” she spit at the name like it was a fly. “You didn’t think my father would send me all the way from England for a short visit, did you?”

I smiled. “I don’t know. I’m just glad that you’re coming.”

“To a place we won’t go.” Anna muttered.

“What do you mean?” Abigail asked. “Are we not going to Finishing School?”

I grinned. “Not unless you want to. We’ll find a way to get out before Father can send us. Our brains naturally do things like that.”

Anna and Abigail laughed. “They might.” Anna replied.

Suddenly there was a loud knock on the door, and without waiting, the caller began to scream. “Cassandra, Anna, really, just believe me when I tell you that I love you! Why would I tell you something that wasn’t true?” I could hear Father pleading in his fake tone.

“Well I don’t know, but you sure do it often.” I muttered.

Anna stifled her laugh before she said; “Father, we don’t want you here. I oblige you to leave.”

“No, that is no way to treat your father! See what I mean about you two not being finished!” Father banged on the door. “You are as unfinished as a girl could be!”

“You’ve done enough!” I sneered, and I tried to blink back tears.

Father’s voice went cold and hard. “Cassandra Elizabeth March! I am your father, and you need to listen to what I say! And anyway, you would’ve gone long ago if Mother was still here.”

That did it. Father couldn’t use the ‘Mother would want this’ against me. No, he couldn’t fool me. Anna was occasionally vulnerable to his lies, but I had known Mother more than anyone. Before she died, I barely spent any time with Anna. The first few years without her were hard, but eventually Anna came through.

But Father wasn’t about to fool me. “You don’t know what Mother would want!” I screamed, using the fury building up inside of me to my advantage. “Mother never left a complete will of instructions for you! Maybe she thought you’d man up and be the father you have never been! I don’t know how a man such as you could live with a woman like Mother for so many years without her rubbing off on you! And I don’t know what lie you told Mother to get her to love you, because I know a demon like you wouldn’t appeal to her! How can you seriously say that Mother would want this?” I stopped to breathe, but my sea of harsh words wouldn’t allow it.

“Mother has been gone for eight years, and there is no changing that! You always say ‘I love you,’ but you don’t! Why you think you have to have a peace of mind and make us not have one is stupid. Everything you say is stupid! You only keep us for economic value, and you know that! You know that your lies have been discovered. You were found out years ago! So much for hiding your secrets inside!” I yelled angrily. And then, as if to show I was serious, I ran out into the garden, tears beginning to stream down my face, despite the fact that Anna would mock me later because my makeup was beginning to run.

I sat on the stone bench for a while, thinking about Mother. I missed her. I really did. I missed her smile, her eyes, and her willingness to love. I missed her brown hair and her beautiful grey eyes, and her ruby red lips. I missed her touch and her warmth from my younger years.  I missed everything about Mother, and there was no doubt about that.

I was roused from my thoughts by Anna sitting on the bench next to me. “Hi,” she said.

“Hi.” I replied, not having the will to say more.

 “You alright?” Anna asked.

I shrugged. “Well, I’m better than I was a minute ago. But I have been better in my life too.”

Anna nodded understandingly. “As have I. What’s bothering you?”

I didn’t know what to say. “Mostly Father.”

Anna put her arm around my shoulder. “Don’t let him bother you. He’s an idiot, and we all know this. There are better things in life to be concerned with than other’s idiocy.”

I nodded sadly. “If only there were,” was all I could say without crying again. And with that, I stood up and disappeared into the house.

 

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