10 June, 2007 by katelaity
Lizzie regarded Alice’s returned appetite with some misgivings. It was not so much the ravenous vigor she exhibited — although that was rather common and more than a little off-putting — no, it was rather the unladylike choice of her food. “Vulgar” kept popping into her head for some reason and for the first time her own stomach began to make rather unexpected turns as she watched Alice consume yet further quantities of the small silvery fish that seemed far less than entirely prepared for such consumption.
“Aren’t these marvelous!” her cousin crowed from her seat, a small dollop of oil shining from the corner of her upturned mouth. It was at least good to see Alice’s humor returned, Lizzie reminded herself, even if the results were less than appetizing. She would stick to the hard biscuits the sailors shared amongst themselves and the somewhat tepid water that came in her cracked cup when she requested it. No need for extravagances like the slippery little creatures Alice continued to consume with all the zeal of a cormorant.
It was not like her to make unflattering bird comparisons to members of her family but Lizzie was feeling uncharacteristically peevish at the moment. She hated to admit that Alice’s illness had left her to her own devices in a welcome respite from her dear, beloved cousin’s inquisitive — if easily bored — nature and sometimes ceaseless chatter. It was unkind to think it, Lizzie scolded herself, and one should certainly not admit that one’s dearest relations might be less than wholly good company on a long sea journey, although it maybe slightly more truthful to confess that she had been more than a little relieved at the thought of Alice quietly spending the perilous journey in her bunk.
I am not a good person, Lizzie sighed to herself. Poor Alice was suffering and I was walking the deck without a care on my mind. “You are feeling much better, my dear.”
“Indeed!” Alice agreed, munching and swallowing yet another little fish, its tail slipping between her moistened lips. “I feel quite recovered and I am not at all certain why. I could not raise my head for illness just an hour ago, yet now I cannot imagine ever having felt so poorly. I am quite restored!”
“How wonderful,” Lizzie agreed with, it must be admitted, something less than the full force of her enthusiasm.
The captain chose that moment to look in on the two prisoners, taking in Alice’s renewed appetite with some surprise and then a hearty laugh. “I see the bosun has worked his magic the weluctant young lady.”
Lizzie looked at him quizzically. “The bosun?” Whatever did he mean?
She did not get a chance to inquire further, however, for just then the first mate ran up breathless and agitated.
“What is it, Wandall?” the captain asked somewhat disagreeably. “Out with it, man.”
“Black sails,” the mate hissed darkly. The captain sucked in a breath and then the two turned and walked swiftly toward the deck.
Black sails, thought Lizzie. That could only mean one thing — pirates!