“We sail tonight,” she said. She didn’t like me, I knew it. For that matter, I didn’t like me. I was a coward. Seeping fear and desperation, I was, and she could smell it as well as I. "It's too late to take on a passenger, and we don't need any new hands."
“How much?” I asked, for the third time.
I knew she wasn’t going to answer. I knew she didn’t want me on board, and that I would never be able to get away. Even now, I could see the monks gathering, whispering and plotting, sending out the black-robed temple guards to drag me to that dark pit gaping in the very center of their twisted, cyclopean temple. I didn’t want to go.
So I poured all the money I had out on the table between us, the captain and I. It was a lot. Chiaki and I (oh poor Chiaki, I’m so sorry…I hope they don’t take you instead of me. But if they do, well, at least it's not me.) had been saving a long time. There was almost enough to buy that bigger house we’d been looking for.
She looked at the pile, arms crossed, tapping a little tatoo on the tabletop, and eventually, explosively, sighed.
“Get your bag and get on board. Quick now, we’re busy. And you’re running, any fool can see that, so if you bring any bad luck on us I’ll slit your throat and toss you over myself.”
I didn't hesitate. I grabbed the little bag with what clothes I had managed to pack and sprinted to the gangplank, hoping she wouldn't change her mind in disgust.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010