Traveler: Storyteller Tales: Woah Mama!

            Captain Hawk came around in the evening to find Mister Madison recovered from his hypnotic-like trance and Abu in the cell with them.

            “Captain Hawk,” Abu looked like he was full of information, but Captain Hawk made him wait while he rubbed his forehead and his stiff neck.  When he was ready, Captain Hawk took the lead.

            “Professor Romer was supper.  Officer Simpson is the inside man working with Madam Goldman and we are designated for tomorrow to be breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Did I forget anything?”

            Madison looked up once at the Captain before he dropped his eyes again to the floor.  He sat in the corner, brooding and depressed.  Abu slowly reached out one finger and poked the Captain before he spoke.

            “You don’t look like a ghost,” he said and then he thought to explain.  “The only reference of a ship called the Golden Hawk from Amsterdam was a Privateer chartered by the Queen of England in 1530.  The Captain’s name was Peter Van Dyke.”

            “Aye.  That would be me.  But we had another name for the ship in the Caribbean when we raised the skull and crossbones.  The Flying Dutchman.”

            “Please!”  Madison shouted.  “Please just stop it.  This is serious.  We have to get out of here and kill that worm thing before it eats us, or anyone else.”

            “Quite right.”  Captain Hawk stood but had to be careful not to hit his head.  “I bet this cage had a monkey in it originally.  Well, no matter.  I will forego tradition this time.  I won’t make you take my hands, but you have to promise not to scream when you see what happens next.  And no, Abu, I am not a ghost and neither is she so please don’t scream.”

            “She?”  Abu asked.

            Captain Hawk nodded and disappeared to be replaced, not by Althea, but a different woman.  Madison screamed.  Abu lowered his eyes and trembled.  This was a woman of the sea—THE woman of the sea.  Abu had been at sea for most of his life and had dreamed about her.  Most sailors had.

            “I must go.”  The woman said in a voice as sweet as the sweetest water.  “I cannot tell you where or why, but I will be back by dawn.  Perhaps we can see the sunrise together.”  With that word she vanished altogether from that place and left a soft spray of sea water where she had stood.  When she appeared in front of Glen’s door, she felt very bad.  Poor Glen was really going to get it.

            “I met a friend,” Glen told his parents.  “His name is Abu and the ship’s officer, Mister Madison promised if we met him at sunrise he would give us a tour of the ship.  Oh, please, please.”  Glen’s half-lie came with the biggest, most pleading eyes he could muster.  That did not soften the yelling, but when Glen’s mom took him for a late night supper and found out the really was an officer Madison, she said no more.

            Glen did not sleep much.  The Hawk spent most of the day in Glen’s place and he might need the sleep.  Being knocked out really didn’t count.  But Glen had rested and in a real sense slept all day.  He was not tired.  All the same, he did fall asleep around four but then he only got about an hour’s nap. 

            He woke up when the ship began to sway, dangerously.  He thought at first that they must have come across a storm or some very rough water, but then he heard a faint “Thump” from below and he sat straight up.

            “No,’ Glen said.  “It can’t be.”  He slipped out of bed, slipped into his shorts and pulled over his shirt as quietly as he could.  He nearly fell twice from the hard sways of the boat, but managed his shoes before his father woke.  He heard his name.  He would pay for his actions, but he raced out the door with the words, “I’m late.”

            One accidental bump into the night steward and he reached the stairs.  Seven steps up and he figured he was safe.  He vanished and that woman—the Lady of the Sea returned, and instantly she was back in the cage.  The list of the ship and the great angled sways were very apparent down in the hold.  Both men in the cage were rousing and Abu looked ready to get sick.

            The Lady sensed no one around but knew Madam Goldman and Officer Simpson were on the way, as fast as they could move in the rough water.  The Lady broke the lock on the cage.  Then she expanded the bars just a little so they would stick and make it look like the cage was still locked tight.  When Captain Hawk returned, he woke the others, fully.

            Abu got wide awake without a word as he swallowed the bile that built up in his mouth.  He stared at the Captain for a long time.  Mister Madison was a bit of a bumbler in the morning.  “What?  What?”  He rubbed his eyes before it looked like the excessive swaying was going to make him sick as well.

            “Breakfast,” Captain Hawk teased.  “Let us hope it isn’t us.”  That woke the man.  By the time Simpson and the Madam came stumbling in, trying to remain upright, all three men were standing, holding the bars of the cage, waiting for them.

            “My, we are early risers.”  The woman grabbed a bar on the water tank to steady herself.  She sounded as smug and self-assured as ever, but when she saw the cutlass was back in Captain Hawk’s hand and the knife was back securely on his hip, she did pause.  Captain Hawk noticed and responded.

            “Like Thor’s hammer,” he said.  “My weapons always seem to find a way back into my hand.”

            “So I see.”  Madam Goldman was clearly impressed.  Simpson fingered his jacket pocket where he likely had the pistol, but he did not pull it out.

            “Madam Goldman.”  Captain Hawk came straight to the point because he knew how little time they actually had.  “For the third and final time I must ask you, how you came by your pet.  I know there is no amount of magical art on your part that could have pulled the worm from its mother’s mouth.  This is a chance I am giving you to reveal the culprit so they may bear the burden for this illegal act.”

            Madam Goldman was still in pause mode, but the smile slowly came to her face.  “You do not wish to know.  Believe me.  You are as nothing to me and to my art.  To him you would be less than nothing.  You would probably find your bowels loosed just to see him.”

            “A most delicate suggestion,” Captain Hawk mocked her.  “But you have had your chance and you have been warned.”  He shoved open the door to the cage and advanced on the woman, the ship having settled down for the moment.  Simpson went for his gun, but Captain Hawk’s long knife came away from his hip and sunk deep into Simpson’s shoulder.  It sent the sailor to his knees.  The gun clattered across the floor when he dropped it and with the next big wave it slid under the nearest car.

            Madam Goldman raised her cane with the diamond top.  “I had hoped to find your secret and turn you to my service, but I see that will not be.”  With that, she let out some of that purple lightning but by then Captain Hawk had gone away and finally let Althea take a turn.  She came dressed in the armor and weapons she lived in when she sailed to the far east end of the Black Sea with Jason and the other Argonauts, and she brushed aside Madam Goldman’s purple lightning like one might brush aside a fly, not even breaking her stride.

            Althea caught the woman with a force of her own and levitated the woman right off the ground.  Althea levitated a little as well to keep herself steady since the ship was starting to sway violently again.  “I kicked fat butt Madea’s fat butt.  In your own words, you are nothing.”  With no sign of effort, she tossed Madam Goldman to slam into a tarp covered pile of crates.  That would have hurt a strong young man.  It had to hurt the old woman.

            “Now, I want to know who helped you bring the worm here.  Now!”  For the moment, the old woman could only groan.  Simpson could only moan and cry, hold his shoulder and try not to bleed to death.  The two men in the cage were talking quietly to each other, but everyone became stone silent when they heard a loud BANG! on the outside hull.  It was followed by a moan that started out low and rose up the scale like whale song but deeper, richer, larger. 

            “What the Hell is that?”  Madison shouted.

            “Mama.”  Althea answered and she saw the worm in the tank was becoming very agitated.

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