Three Sisters Are We: Part One – Daphne
Don’t ask me how many days we were captives aboard that monstrous ship. Don’t ask me.
Days and nights spilled into one another, during which we were bound to a wide column amidst crates of imported food and barrels of sweet-smelling rum. We were mostly kept in darkness. That was until the door opened. Some of the daylight poured in, and along with it another stranger to taunt and tease us. They’d come in one by one, “…for a taste.” That was what they always said. They’d pull out a knife. Or a small, sharp blade. Then the terror would continue.
At first I hadn’t a clue as to why we were abducted. When they started to… feed on us, I thought they must have been crazy. Can seasickness make you into a cannibal? But, soon our purpose was made clear.
It was the night that lightning struck. The hot flash removed the shadow that veiled the grim, lanky figure as he stumbled down the steps.
“So ’tis really true,” he said. His voice was as coarse as crushed glass. “You whores of Babylon hold the deathmark.”
The deathmark. No one had ever mentioned the deathmark before. What a foul word, especially when it was uttered from his crude mouth. To possess such an abnormality proved you were just that. But, our father was a prestigious cartographer from a good family. Our lineage was not tainted with sorcery, with witchcraft.
My sisters and I stared at one another, our gazes muddled with confusion and fear. We could answer, but what was there to say? Before I could even think of a response, Olivia began to scream. You nialis, I thought to myself, rolling my eyes. Being the eldest of the three, you would think that she’d show some courage in the face of danger, even if it was just a charade. As she cried out, the captor nearly stumbled back onto the steps. He quickly regained his footing. When he stood back up, another bolt ripped through the sky, gleaming on the dagger in his hand. It was then that I screamed.
Although he was startled at first his fear had receded, and its in place was pure mock. He laughed at us while waving his knife through the air.”I’ve waited,” he said. “For fear I may be disappointed. But judging by the effect your sweet blood has on me mates, I want a taste too!”
Another night of bloodsucking, I surmised. Another night of nausea and a faintness in my head. He whistled as he pointed his knife at each of our necks. First he pointed it towards Adele, who had been quietly whimpering the entire time. Poor girl. Her eyes must have been squeezed tightly shut, as they tend to do when she was scared. He pointed the knife next at a piteous Olivia, still blubbering on. “Please don’t bite me,” she said; but it was hard to understand her through the tears. Then, the tip’s attention was on me. By then, my throat was too scorched to scream anymore.
As the man delighted in our distress, I cringed to think of how dire our circumstances truly were. Suddenly the pirate lunged the dagger towards Olivia. It narrowly missed her throat, and instead the bladed edge cut through the rope that bound her wrists together. The captor grabbed her chocolate tendrils in his hand, teasing her supple skin with the dagger’s tip.
“I bet you taste the best,” he whispered in her trembling ear. “I’ll try and be gentle.” As the knife pricked through Olivia’s nape, she began to fight back.
“Get the knife!” I screamed.
The two furious shadows danced in front of us. The ship rocked violently upon the ocean, tossing Olivia and the monster back and forth until, finally, a figure emerged triumphant; the other crumpled to the floor. Another lightning bolt cast all shadows aside. And it was Olivia who stood before us. With knife in hand, she freed our trussed up bodies from the rope. As we made our way out of the cabin, we stepped over the body and his growing pool of blood.
The entire scene was like an opera I had once watched with my father. Dance of the War Flies. It was about a century-long battle that took place between two ancient tribes. They had fought through winter and through rain, on land and on sea. When we left the cabin and stood there, still captives upon a ship, it were the pirates fighting for their lives against the brush of nature’s wrath. Rain pounded down hard and heavy as the men scurried back and forth. Above me I noticed the sails recklessly flapping in the clutches of an angry wind.
Olivia dragged us blindly towards a dinghy tied to the starboard side of the ship. We rushed towards it, unaware that some of the men had caught sight of us. One of them grabbed hold of my dress. I struggled from his grip, letting the delicate fabric tear until I was reduced down to my slip. It didn’t stop him. His hands clutched whatever it could, catching air before his fingers buried into the skin of my arm. “Olivia!” I cried.
When she spun around, the knife was lifted far above her head. The white veins of lightning crawled across the black sky. I watched the metal plunge and disappear into the pirate, over and over until I had to push her away from his lifeless body. The floor beneath me was slippery from either blood or water. But somehow we climbed into the dinghy. Olivia instructed Adele to use the pulley and lower us down into the fatal arms of the ocean.
Photograph by Nomadic LassHire An Editor