Angels and Freaks

The year is 1803 and the British empire needs informations about a smuggler and pirate, but he's dangerous and only one can get the information.
Coraline. A whore with a special talent.

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3. Chapter 3

 If I had been a dishonest person, I could have taken the money and run. Just packed my bags and Grace’s, and just run. That whole night after I had hidden the money in a safe place, and started working, it had been all I could think about.

It would be easy. Too easy.

Something stopped me from doing it and I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly.

Something felt wrong and out of place in this town and a part of me wanted to get to the bottom of it. It usually wasn’t this complicated. But I couldn’t help but feel like if I dug into this then I wouldn’t see daylight again. I was just a disposable whore. Killing me off wouldn’t amount to any trouble or jailtime.

I was just a whore.

My eye throbbed, and I bitterly thought of why it throbbed. I scoffed and scrubbed harder at the bar, made of dark wood, while I shot daggers at Mr. James.

I had announced I wouldn’t be working tonight as I had other things I needed to do. He usually didn’t question it. But tonight, hadn’t been usual. Tension was in the air, and the men were more aggressive than normal. He had proceeded to question me about what it was that I had to do, where and why. All with a self-entitled smirk on his face, you could see it in his eyes. I was nothing more than a whore that was trying to get out of spreading my legs. I wanted to punch him in his face. Those cunning dark eyes, there was nothing good in them. He saw me as nothing more than money and tonight I could not deal with it.

So, I had sneered that it was none of his business.

He had slapped me, so hard that I fell back, hitting my head against the floor. I had laid there, unsure of how I had let it happen. Never had I let him hurt me like that again. He spit at me and exclaimed that I should try and work like that. He had laughed and walked away.

I wanted to kill him in that moment.

In that moment I swore that I would never let any man hurt me like that again. No matter if it cost me my life. I would never let him treat me as if I was worthless.

A part of me wished I had entered his mind and known what he thought in that moment. What he thought of himself, what he thought of me. I didn’t, because I didn’t want to taint my own mind with such low thoughts I knew would be waiting for me in there.

I didn’t want more reasons to hate him than I already had.

One day. One day I’d hurt him like he had hurt me.

I threw the rag on the surface, making water splash from it. I didn’t care, I had had enough. Without a second look back at the bar, I walked out The Madam.

I ended up on the beach. The weather was grey so there weren’t any leisure trips to the beach today. I was alone. Sitting under the grey clouds and feeling the wind pull at my braided hair.  I relished in my pounding heart and the wind in my hair.

For the first time in a long time I allowed myself to hate my situation.

I felt the need to walk into the ocean and just… never come back.

I wondered what would happen if I did that. Would I be missed by those I myself would miss? Where would I end up? Would it be heaven or hell? Or the eternal darkness that some preached about. I didn’t know…

With a hand placed over my pounding heart I wondered if it was worth finding out. Was there more for me here? Other than the tireless, never-ending workload both at The Madams and jobs that required my other services. I sighed.

It was a deep one, one of those that came from a tired soul.

I looked out over the ocean. It was calm today, no waves or nothing. The surface reflecting the greyness of the sky. It was beautiful.

I sat there, with my butt firmly planted in the dry sand, my bare feet covered in sand and my eyes on the skies.

I could feel it again, the deep longing to get away from here. To be anyone other than who I was. To be someone who hadn’t suffered.

Who had been loved.

I rolled my head, trying to get the stiffness in my neck out. It only provided temporary relief. It had come from scrubbing all day. Luckily, he couldn’t have forced me to take on a man. Though he would have wanted it so. My father’s presence and his power always loomed over him, and I carried that with me. It wouldn’t stop Mr. James from laying a hand on me, but it could stop him from forcing me like he forced the other girls. Rarely Grace since I stopped him the best I could, paying him to leave her alone.

What would happen to her if I left?

What would happen to me if she left?

Another deep sigh. I shook my head. It would never matter what would happen to either of us, since I wasn’t leaving without her.

Dread filled me. Would she leave without me?

I couldn’t think such thoughts, they would hunt me to the end of my time.

That night I walked around the streets of this retched town. My feet and shoulders bare in the pleasant night breeze. The air was humid, causing my hair to form tendrils of little curls. I was clad in white, the same silhouette as usual, but with a deep brown leather corset around my middle. It stopped just below my breasts, pushing them up which made me wonder if they were going to fall out if I ran. I hoped not.

As a whore that might not be what people thought I feared as I walked around the streets, but it was. I had to report back to Mr. Holloway tomorrow night about this Azrael fellow. Usually gathering the information was easy, I just had to read one mind that thought the name or anything remotely related to them or the subject, and then I would search that mind for information until I had gathered everything I could.

In an hour I would have to enter the Mrs. White’s, the inn where I would have to drop off the package my father had entrusted me with. Shivers ran down my back at the mere thought of him and his job for me. I had no idea what would await me when I entered the inn and whether or not I would escape with my body in one piece. The gentlemen that did these kinds of business with my father weren’t usually keen on me knowing all too much.

Too many times had I had to use my tricks to get out of situations where they thought a common whore would be worth sacrificing for the protection of their own interests. I however had always disagreed, and I had fought to get out every single time those stupid men had thought me worthless enough.

I had wanted to scream and tell my father off for that, but I had never had the courage. His mind too cunning and too devastating for me to get out alive if I had.

If only I was brave enough to tell him that I wasn’t worthless.

I would never admit it, maybe not even truly realize it myself, just how much I hated him for making me do these delivery jobs.

Why couldn’t I be good enough for him to see me as worth more than he did now?

As I walked around this town, I searched the mind of everyone I came across the best I could. My powers weren’t divine or so powerful that I had no limitations. I could only search one mind at a time, they had to be near enough for me to do it, and it could take time for me to go through all the information that lied within a human’s mind. It was difficult in crowds as when the walls went down all the minds opened, almost beckoning for me to read them, so to single one out and search as all the others screamed at me, one could easily get a tad confused.

Headaches usually followed and being a tad disoriented.

This time it was truly worth it because of all the money I would be paid for it.

I would finally be able to get away from this place and take Grace with me. We could be anyone.

And if I died during this, then that was just another way of getting away from here.

Maybe I would be rebirthed as someone else, or maybe even a bird. Nobody knew what happened when you died and what came next. For that I was hopeful.

I was running out of time when I entered the inn, with only minutes to spare before I was to be approached by the person who would take the package off my hands. They had already paid for it so I wasn’t to take any payment from them, unless they wanted to tip, which they rarely did. I had been told that the person would be expecting me, and so I was even more in the dark. I feared I would be approached and hand over the package to the wrong person.

However, if I had my life dear I would make sure that I didn’t do just that.

The inn was filled, everywhere in the main room which was also where the bar and the food was served, there was a wide range of people here; The sea folk and those who just wanted to mind their own business. From every corner sounded laughter and joyous times. The smell of food and alcoholic beverages hung in the air making my mouth water. It was a long time since I had enjoyed a really good meal, that hadn’t been prepared by either myself or Grace. The girls fed themselves, there wasn’t any familiar values there. Each for their own. Grace was my own, and so we took care of each other and made sure we had at least one proper meal every day. That didn’t mean it was delicious like the food here smelled like it was.

I let the walls down as I made my way to one of the long tables that were sat in the middle of the room. I could’ve chosen one of the smaller tables off to the sides, but they were all taken, and I wasn’t in the mood to charm my way to a seat. My nerves were already frayed as it was.

I looked around as thoughts from so many people entered my head, each in their respective voices. It was funny how one could hear the level of drunkenness in the voice in their head.

I gasped slightly when I saw a gentleman was staring right at me, his dark eyes locking in on mine. I couldn’t move away as this stranger’s gaze swept over mine. He was young, and I had never seen him before, so not a regular in town. His dark brown hair was swept back with a dark red bandana, so it didn’t cover his eyes, but it was long enough to reach his chin. A chin that was covered in a light beard. His loose white shirt, showing just enough of his golden-brown skin and muscles to clear that he was earthbound. This was a man of the sea. He was gorgeous.

My mouth dried, and I struggled for what to even think. I looked away, suddenly too shy to even look.

Was that a blush creeping up on my face? No, it couldn’t be!

When I looked again, he was gone. I quietly breathed out in relief. Never had I been affected by simply a mans looks the way I had just been. It was better for him to just… go.

I tried to stomp out the disappointment that followed. It was better this way. No matter how utterly gorgeous he had been, nothing could ever come from it. Yet I looked for him, searching the crowd.

It was a long time ago that I had accepted that I would never be loved like a woman would be loved by a man.

“Hello”

I yelped in surprise as I whipped around to see look at the owner of the voice. There he sat, opposite from me at the table with a stupid grin on his gorgeous face. If my heart hadn’t been thundering in my chest, then it surely would have from seeing that smirk.

“So, no hello?” he asked teasingly, his smile growing even bigger. I simply stared at him, wide-eyed and with no clue of what to say. What did you say to a man like him?

How was it a women was supposed to act when she was near a man like him? What was a women supposed to say when she was approached by a man like him?

Take me?

No, that was what a whore said.

I almost rolled my eyes and groaned at my own inadequacy. Was it really supposed to be this hard just talking to a man? Well, technically I wasn’t even talking to him. Just staring.

I was such a freak.

“What’s your name?” he asked, still with that stupid smile and those stupidly white teeth. How in the world was his teeth that white? He looked rough, but not rough enough to be a low born sailor, and he didn’t look polished enough to be sailing as a high born one who wasn’t really a sailor but something else on a boat. I didn’t know what the title was, but could you expect I did?

“no? Alright, then. I’ll call ye Dove then. Ye see, me name is Nightingale. So, we’ll both be birds” he winked at me, sending my poor, little heart into a frensy. He could surely call me Dove. But what kind of first name was Nightingale? That sounded utterly ridiculous. I knew my name wasn’t normal, especially in these parts but what the hell was Nightingale for a first name?

“Ye can call me Night, most do” he continued to smile at me like I had just told the funniest joke ever, and I continued to stare at him like he was the strangest creature in all of the world. Night? Now that seemed even weirder.

My eyes got even wider when I realized what kind of people when by such names, with such confidence.

Pirates

My eyes immediately went to his right wrist. It was covered by the white shirt, so I couldn’t see the skin underneath. If I could then I was sure I would see the P that was branded onto all those convicted of piracy. Which most of them were.

He caught were I was looking, pulling the sleeve back still with that stupid grin on his face, he revealed what I already knew would be there. It wasn’t a new scar, not like I had expected. This was a young man that had been branded a long time ago. He covered it again. Still smiling.

“Ye’re a clever one, aren’t ye” he said with an odd amount of appreciation. I blushed, feeling uncomfortable to receive this kind of attention. He hadn’t even given me the once over that most men did. All their dirty thoughts trying to break into my head. With Night there wasn’t any pressure from his thoughts. Which was … unusual.

Also he hadn’t made a comment about my looks or how much I’d cost for the night. He just asked my name and said I was clever. This was completely unnerving, and I had no idea how to tackle this, or him.

It seemed as if I needed to utilize tricks I had never had to use. Like… actual talking.

“Hello and yes I choose to believe so” I replied in a manner that was all too stiff. He laughed.

“Ye open your mouth and ye amaze me again”

I blushed even harder. Amaze him? How in the world could I amaze him? So, I had to ask. His smile turned bigger, which I didn’t think was possible, and then he shrugged.

“Ye’re not what I expected”

I looked at him. I really looked at him, and then I said, “You are not what I expected either”. I smiled, a real one.

He shook his head, suddenly all too serious and said, “I believe ye have something for me”

I just stared at him for a moment. Of course, he was the one who would approach me for the package. It was time, and so I should have known. I felt stupid, embarrassed and so, so silly. Of course, a man like that would never approach someone like me.

Just a whore.

I nodded in response to him. Pulling the package out from the hidden pocket sewn into my petticoat. I handed it to him quickly, and just as quickly he had disposed of it somewhere in his trousers.

“Pleasure doing business with ye, Dove” he said. I stood up, nearly knocking the table over. I had to get away from him. I was so stupid. 

I almost ran out the inn. To everyone else, a lover scorned. Or a silly girl rejected by the handsome stranger. Which wasn’t completely untrue. I wanted to scream at myself for being this stupid. I should have known better.

The fresh air hit my face and I breathed in deeply. Mostly to calm my heart and my breathing. It was all too rapid. I started running, not caring who saw. I should have, but I couldn’t find it within myself to. I just had to get away.

It had been a long time since I had felt the little hope of love or adoration being squashed. I wanted to cry. I could feel the bitter tears threatening to fall. I kept them in. I would not cry over this. It simply wasn’t worth it. I should have known better but done was done and I was running away. Like I always did. Which was good, because this maddening feeling that was tearing through me right now; I couldn’t take it.

I didn’t stop running before I hit the harbor. Slowing down when I could smell the sea. I gasped for breath and braced my hands on my knees. I wanted to tear off my corset and burn it to pieces. I had to tell Grace that she needed to not tie it so tightly. It was coming off anyways, and this was in no way practical.

“Sink me, ye are one fast little lady” sounded an out of breath yell behind me. I screamed and nearly fell over from sheer surprise. I looked at Night as he staggered over to me, out of breath and therefor balance it seemed. He looked utterly ridiculous.

I thought pirates were meant to be tough, and not get winded from a little running. But then again, look at me I was positively almost fainting from the run we had just taken.

“Why did you follow me?” I asked, completely lost in this situation. Throw me out to sea and I’d be less lost than I was now.

“Because, Dove, I wanted to chat” he got out between gasps. I found comfort in the fact that I could outrun him.

“Why?”

“Why what, Dove”

“Why do you want to chat?” He threw his hands up in the air at that and looked at me like I was mad. Maybe, I was. But I simply wasn’t getting why he would run all this way after me just because he wanted to chat. I was just a whore.

“Because, Dove, ye’re interesting” and with that the grin returned. He plopped down on the dock, legs dangling over the sea. It looked so dark, like liquid ink. He clapped the spot next to me and looked expectantly at me. When I didn’t move he groaned.

“I just ran like too many miles, and ye’re not even gonna sit down with me! Dove, I’m hurt” he said and faked being hurt in the heart. I smiled at that and sat down next to him.

“So, talk, Mr. Pirate” I smiled at him, which sent him beaming. My heart skipped a beat. Stupid heart, it didn’t know what was best for us.

And so, we talked. About the sun and the stars; about the sea; about what we dreamt of; about his adventures and the ship he was on. It was called The Hollow. He told me of the magical creatures he swore he had met, but I thought he was just pulling my leg. I wanted to believe that such things were out there. Wanted to believe that there were people like me out there.

I wanted to not be the only one.

It was good. Sitting there with Night, talking we were normal. Just a pair of young people on the harbor, talking about life. I felt normal. Like I wasn’t a lady of the night and like I shouldn’t have been seducing men into paying me for services I wish I had no idea of what was. Like he wasn’t a pirate and that he wasn’t going out on another adventure when dawn comes.

In a moment of weakness, I let my walls down and I listened to whatever popped up. And because nothing could just be good.

The name popped up.

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