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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4. Chapter 4

The smile slipped off my face the moment I heard it. I didn’t want to believe it at first. How in the world could I be so utterly unlucky that the first person, since Grace, that I had felt comfortable enough around to let my guard down, is the person that would be the first lead on my most important job so far.

Maybe, I should’ve figured it out.

There were so many maybe’s in this world, and my head was spinning with all the happenings of today. Even more so if I thought about what could have happened.
I had felt normal for a little while and for that I was grateful, but now that it was over. I felt devastated.

“Dove? What’s the matter?” Night asked, his face slipping into a serious expression. I couldn’t meet his eyes, and so they were locked onto the inky waters beneath me.

“Who is Azrael?” it slipped out as a whisper, but he heard it none the less. His entire body stiffened, and his eyes bore into me. Until he got up and started walking away without a word.

“Dove, I can’t tell you that” his voice wasn’t the one I had come to hear the last hours. Every trace of the carefree, joyous person was gone. I looked after him.

 He was going to be gone very soon.

The first rays of the morning sun were coming, and he would be gone in a matter of hours.

It was for the best.
I didn’t belong to his world and he didn’t belong in mine. Yet I longingly looked after him. I saw what he could have been, a friend and maybe possibly a lover if things went to that. But mostly, I had wanted a friend and he had looked at me with no judgement. He had spoken openly about himself and so had I, to an extent of course. There were things couldn’t tell him, nor talk about. And then there were the things I would get killed for mentioning.

I had Grace, which was more than many had so really, I should just be grateful for what I had.

I jumped up, the best a woman could while being restricted by long skirts and a corset, and yelled after him

“Night! Stay”

He turned, bowing theatrically, and smiled at me.

“Me lady, I must” he exclaimed with outspread arms, then he turned again.
“and call me Jack” he yelled as he walked away.  I just stood there looking at him walking away, dumbstruck by his whole demeanor.

Jack.

Maybe his name wasn’t so strange after all. Yet, he sure was. I smiled.
For a moment I had forgotten why I hadn’t wanted him to leave. Why he had to stay. But it all came back roaring to me, almost knocking me over in the process.

He was going away, and I needed that information from him. I needed to get it. My life depended on it. The salty sea air pulled at my nose, and I wondered what it would be like if I accomplished this mission. I let myself think of a better life, of what could be. But only for a moment.

Those thoughts were so very dangerous. Especially in times like these. In times where you didn’t know when it would be your last. 

With letting hope in, letting it take control. Then you risked the chance of becoming foolishly naïve.
Maybe I was, since I started running in the direction of Jack. Removing the traces of my footsteps from his mind as we moved. The darkness forming a blanket around me, somewhat protecting me.

I felt as if I betrayed him. Somehow, I knew this was a betrayal of every kindness he had shown me tonight, every laugh and every smile. But it was worth it. I had to do this. There was no other choice than completing this assignment.

I’d rather betray a stranger than betray Grace and the hope of a future outside of this retched city. And Jack Nightingale was a stranger.

If that was true than why did my heart hurt, right now?

It didn’t take long for us to reach the ships, docked and most of them silent. Some impossibly large and imposing with their large figureheads at the bow, others smaller and far less intimidating.

I knew The Hollow when I saw it in the distance. Not only was Jack heading straight for it, but it was also the scariest ship I had ever seen. The sails were black, not matted white like the rest, and so was everything else. But it was the figurehead at the bow that scared me the most. It was a woman, her mouth deformed by a war-cry, her hair spread out, eyes hollowed out, and her hands buried in her naked chest ripping her own heart out. It was the most gruesome figurehead I had ever seen. It sent shivers down my spine and I had to fight the instinct of running away. Suddenly I realized how much trouble I might be in.

This was a bad idea.

Jack didn’t seem to think so as he let out a quick, piercing call. A call that wasn’t made up of refined English words, nor any other sounds I had ever heard before. This wasn’t normal pirate behavior. Not that I had met a whole lot of pirates or was a pirate expert. I just knew this might not be the most normal thing.
This was a really bad idea.

A robe was thrown down and with a grin Jack jumped up grabbing it and started to climb up. Voices sounded, loud cheering voices. But only for a moment and only when Jack had reached the railing. Something shimmered, as if he broke through a sort of veil. And only when he went through it could I hear the sounds. I reached out with my mind, feeling for something, anything really. But it was murky, like the seal was protecting the details of this ship and those upon it.

One thing was sure though, this ship was giving me the creeps.

But how had I not heard of it? It was large, imposing and looked like something out of every one’s nightmare. It looked like something everybody would be gossiping about, but I had heard nothing. It had been a battle just to get something out of Jack and only by coincidence had I heard the name I needed. He had mentioned The Hollow, but because I hadn’t anything about it anywhere else I had just assumed it was a normal ship. Not this terrifying monster.

It was really the figurehead that did the most of the frightening. There was something wrong about this ship. Something unnatural.

I stood there, gaping up at it from the shadows. Trying desperately to figure out what was going on with this ship. It was weird and like nothing I had ever seen before. My powers reached out trying just find anything, just anything that would uncover what was going on and why I couldn’t detect any presences.

An arm closed around my throat dragging me further back into the shadows, not completely hidden. I tried to scream, but nothing came out. Who would come to my rescue at this hour anyways? Just a whore in the night.

I wasn’t about to die. Not now, and not by the hands of some unknown stranger in the dark.

I would not be killed and thrown away like trash!

I clawed at the arm, kicking and trying to make as much noise as possible in the hope that he would be freaked that somebody would come. It didn’t work. He only tightened his grip around me. I couldn’t breathe anymore, and I struggled against him. But he was too strong and I was too small. Black dots danced a hectic fast paced danced in front of my eyes.

This couldn’t be the end. I fought with everything I had.

As I started to lose conscience, my powers gathered and as one last attempt to survive I let the wall down. I threw myself at him like a dagger, trying to pierce through everything that was in his mind, tearing ripping and destroying as I went. But there was nothing but darkness in there. I could only sense he was male, but his presence was weird. Like my senses were drugged and I couldn’t feel anything the longer I stayed in there. I threw the command to let me go.

Nothing happened.

Wide eyed I tried again and again growing more and more frantic.

“Forget”

The word bounced around in the void that had taken over my head, as everything went black.

My head was pounding. My cheek pressed against something hard and cold that smelled like something bad and dirty. I groaned as I tried to get up, my eyes not wanting to open properly as I wanted them to. Another groan as I got on my knees, and cracked my eyes open only for them to be blinded by an intense light. I scrambled against the wood, trying desperately to get to my feet. But my feet didn’t seem to work like I wanted to, and my arms kept giving in under me.

I cursed and beat my hand into the dark wood under me. Frustrated and angry. But that only made my head pound even more.

Angry at myself more than anything. How could I have let this happen to myself? I had been stupid and not been aware of my surroundings.
The only thing I could be happy about right now, was the fact that I wasn’t dead.

Maybe death would’ve been a blessing, because my head was killing me.
The light had gotten a lot less intense, but the black dots had returned, but I started being able to see through it as I breathed in deep. I gasping as pain shot through my head, and I fell down once again.

I stayed down.
Where was I?

My breathing labored against the hardwood. But I could see.
See the boots that were a few meters away from me. Standing there, staring and not helping me.

Maybe it had been better if I had been dead.
Just another dead whore.

It was a biter thought. One that would forever sting, just as it would never leave me.

How had I ended up here? How had I been stupid enough for this to happen?

“Told you she wouldn’t get up” somebody laughed mockingly. Before I had thought it through, my powers lashed out cutting through his mind with a single blow. I could see the shift in the air as I lashed out. Could the others? Terror momentarily filled my body and I realized what had just happened.

I heard the thump of the body as it landed on the ground. I had no idea if I killed him. Sudden dread at the thought of having killed someone filled me. But it disappeared just as quickly.

A small smile crept onto my lips.

It was better to be feared than to be seen as weak.

I’d rather be the lion than the prey. Maybe, this way I could get away with my heart beating.

I reached out and felt for life in that smelly body. A weak pulse. He would be fine, if only a bit traumatized. Fear the weak and never underestimate a fallen woman.
Especially not one who had powers that could make your mind to mush. 

“Get up” a voice, so dark and cold, it sent shivers down my spine. I wanted to be dead in that moment, if I got up he would kill me. If I didn’t, he would kill me.

He would kill me for what I had done to that man, no doubt a member of the crew. I couldn’t die with my face on the floor.
My sudden confidence evaporated, and I suddenly felt more tired than I ever had in my life. But my body moved on its own and before I knew what was happening I was on my feet.

Black eyes stared at me, cold and without humanity. They belonged in a face that took my breath away, it was as if God was real and he had created a masterpiece. But God had forgotten to get this masterpiece a soul.
My head was still spinning, and now my heartrate was going out of control. Whether it was out of fear or something else, I didn’t know.

I stared back.

Not even a fraction of an expression passed through on that stony face. I reached out, feeling for his presence. I found nothing, but coldness. The same coldness that was there before the darkness. I tried to remember more, but something was wrong. I couldn’t remember what I had been doing until that darkness. The darkness that had seemed to swallow up everything around me and then started to devour my very being. Then I had woken, being more enraged than ever before. Bloodlust coursing through my blood, making my heart beat faster than it ever had.

That was before I met those eyes, the eyes that saw through me and exposed my soul for everyone to see.
I didn’t want to be seen as weak. But in those eyes, black as the bottom of the ocean, I saw the oceans of the world calling for me. I saw the waves of a thousand storms. And then I saw nothing. I gasped as the coldness reached back.

Stumbling backwards I gripped the railing behind me, until my knuckles turned white. Never had I felt something like it. Nor had I ever felt something reach back. React to my power. If I hadn’t been terrified in that moment, I might have stared at him with wonder and curiosity. But frankly it was everything I feared that was staring back at me. If he was like me, then did that mean I was like him?

Did the people that saw me moments before and the moments after I unleashed the powers within me, did they see the same void that I was seeing in that mans eyes?

It was better to be feared than to be the prey.
I had to remember that.

For once in my life I wished I could crack open that head of his and peer into everything that went on, because to have someone stand in front of me, having no idea what they were thinking or feeling, to see that void and feel it against the cool touch of my powers; it was utterly terrifying.

Sometimes it was best not to have all the answers, I knew that much. But this wasn’t one of those times. However, I knew one thing.

I needed to get off this boat.

As I dug deep and found the strength to peel my eyes away from his, I looked around at what surrounded me. We were slightly swaying, but we weren’t on open water. We hadn’t left the dock. Which meant I could still get off the ship. And it was a ship of marvelous size, the largest that could fit in this dock. The deck, now under my feet, was made off that dark wood, and as I recalled smelled like something metallic and old. It was a prestigious ship, one with black sails and black robe. Of a crew the size of 15 men, all dressed in what the stories only told of as… pirate clothes.

Something prickled in the back of my head, irking me to remember. Remember something that was digging into deeper and deeper into my ocean of lost memories, never to be found again if it had its way. I grabbed for it, only to feel it slip between my fingers.

I stared out over the other ships, seeing the mighty sails in the far distance of the truly large merchant ships and those rare war ships. Those ships, they made ships like this seem like a dinghy. I huffed in a mocking laugh and so was the smile that accompanied the sound; mocking.

“What do we do with her?” one of the men asked. I didn’t look at them, so I didn’t catch his face. The captain didn’t react, or well… I was assuming the terrifying, freak of nature of a man was the captain. They all seemed to glance over at him for approval of their very existence. As if they needed his silent permission to breath. I saw it in their eyes and the way they held themselves. It happened with all of them, they acted as if they were calm and relaxed, but they were tense.

When the captain didn’t utter a word, yet kept staring at something unknown in the distance, the crew loosened their tongues and suggestions of just what to do with me started coming.

“She’s dressed like a whore, and we all know whores talk. So why don’t we have a little fun with her and then toss her overboard” someone laughed, mockingly and with arrogance dripping from every word. He truly meant those words.

I railed in my powers from lashing out and grabbing that mans throat, slowly starting to squeeze the life from his body. I wanted to see him go purple and blue from the lack of oxygen. I wanted to see his eyes bulge out of his face, threatening to pop out of his very head. When it started happening, I gasped.

Was I doing it?

Panic started to fill me as I desperately tried to stop doing it, but in vain. The man fell to the floor, scratching at his neck, trying to plead for help with those sorry eyes of his. The crew just stared at him, cold and detached from the rest of the world.

“Captain, we can’t replace him right now” the voice was cool and collected, like this was nothing new. I caught on to what was happening when I was the dark smirk on the captain’s face. No other expressions or muscles pulled in that face. Nothing else to come for. It smoothened the minute the man gasped for breath, his lungs finally filling with oxygen. Nobody moved, except for one person.

A man came up to stand by the captain’s side. A man that seemed oddly familiar, with black curly hair now held back by a dark red bandana and green eyes placed in a handsome face. A face that I remembered smiling and laughing, but that seemed like a fever dream as the same face was now frowning.

“You” I sneered as it all came rushing back.

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