Thursday, August 15, 2019

Drabble No 5: Where We Were Pt 5


**Check the blog for parts 1-4**


Where We Were Pt 5


Levine held on to the woman and the disabled man as best he could as the ship rolled and flipped. Water churned around them, and he knew the humans had little time before they drowned. His men had gathered the others, saving as many as they could. He saw Bernhardt take hold of his other slave and her offspring and swim away in the murky depths. 

When he got his hands on the bastard who'd attacked his ship he was going to make them pay, but for now he had to focus on keeping his captives alive. What good were servants if they died before they could work? 

A few kicks of his legs pushed them away from the ship as it fell apart around them. He swam into the open ocean, away from the wreckage of the ship as it sank below them. He pushed hard toward the surface, their weight dragging him down and making the effort much harder than usual. He felt them struggling against him, the fear of running out of air making them fight for life. Good, he needed them strong. 

The light was closer, signaling the surface as he swam as fast as he could. He let them go, pushing them into the air and breaking the surface as something grabbed hold of his leg and yanked him back down. 

He rolled, staring into the eyes of the giant cephalopod that held him.

"Leave me be, Coriolis!" he said in the language of the sea. He knew the creature understood. "I have no quarrel with you or yours!"

The tentacle pulled him deeper, and he felt the bite of the grip on his leg, slicing through flesh to the bone. Coriolis was warring with his king, and saw him as a substitute for punishment. He pulled his bone knife from it's scabbard at his waist and hacked at the tentacle. Ink bubbles rose around him as Coriolis reacted to the wound. 

Other tentacles slapped at Levine, as his own blood, the blue green phosphorescent of the Jengu, stained the water and mixed with the ink. He stayed conscious through sheer will as the tentacles battered him, cracking ribs and dislocating his shoulder. He swiped at the cephalopod and finally the damned thing let him go. His knife still tight in his hand, Levine swam for the surface. 

He gulped in air he didnt really need as he hit the top of the water, his injuries throbbing in time to his heart beat. He saw the woman and the disabled man treading water nearby, and he was glad they could swim. 

"What happened?" the woman demanded as she swam closer. "What happened to the ship?"

"Attacked," he managed. "Destroyed."

"You're hurt!" She eyed the glaze of his blood that coated the surface of the water around them.

"Won't be conscious much longer," he told her. "If I go down, just let me sink."

"What?" She blinked in surprise. "Won't you die?"

"Possibly."

"Here!" The disabled man kicked his good leg and pushed closer, holding on to some debris. "Parts of our ship you destroyed, I think." 

She translated.

Damn. He hadn't wanted them to know they'd decided to sink their ship, but there was no denying it now. He threw his good arm over the chunk of wood, thankful he could float without expending any more energy. They floated next to him. 

"My men will come for us," he told her. "But it will be a day or more before they can return with a new ship."

"What do we do?" she asked after explaining to the other man. 

"There is a rocky island not far, but I won't make it. Swim that way and you'll find it." He waved in the direction of the only 'land' for miles. 

She conferred with the man, and then shook her head. "We won't leave you behind."

"Why?" He was surprised. Why would they want to help him when they could be free?

"Who knows who our master will be if you're gone when the others come?" She grabbed hold of the chunk of wood and hauled him closer. "You saved us."

He was losing energy fast, his leg wound still bleeding. No time to argue it now, no matter how confounding he found their choice. "I can manage with one leg. Can you swim beside me and keep me heading in the right direction?"

"Jerome only has one good leg, too. The two of you together might make a useful man." She waved the man, Jerome, to his other side. Together, the three of them could kick and propel themselves forward. It would be slow going, but they could make progress. 

"Your name?" Levine asked the woman. A woman who had decided he was a better master than the others without knowing him at all. A perplexing woman. 

"Miranda."

They didn't speak again, saving what energy they had for some hope of making it to land before the sharks got a taste of his blood in the water. 


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