Trees and Deafness By D. I. Jolly (A Pirate Story – Part 5/8)

The sun had already set by the time they landed on the island and it gave them enough cover to sneak off into the forest away from the crew. Jack was worried about what the men might try and do to Isabella since she survived the ship fire. She led them all through the woods to her small cabin.

“Please come in and make yourselves comfortable. I know it’s only small but it should do for now.”

“Thank you,”

“That’s very kind of you.”

“It’s the least I could do, you’ve saved my life twice today.”

“I… I am sorry about the way my men reacted, I thought they were better than that.”

Thomas dropped his gaze to hide the red flush on his cheeks, feeling ashamed at having been the one who hired most of them. Isabella smiled at the brothers again.

“Good men do bad things when scared. You saved my life and have been incredibly kind to me, you have no reason for shame, I assure you.”

Thomas looked up again smiling and set about helping Tiny start a fire, hoping Jack would take the opportunity to try his hand at flirting a little.

“This is …. Uummm a lovely cabin you’ve got. What brought you to this island?”

“Shipwreck actually, my mother and I eventually fled the town we lived in. We stowed away on a ship headed for the new world, but a storm appeared out of nowhere and lightning struck the ship setting it ablaze. My mother put me on a life raft and dropped me in the sea and the storm carried me here. That’s actually how I got my little boat. Tiny looked up wide-eyed from the fire.

“And your mother?”

“I… I don’t know, the men were trying to fight the fire but I was swept away and out of sight so quickly I couldn’t see if they succeeded. You are actually the first people I’ve seen in almost two years.”

Jack frowned.

“You’ve been alone on this island for two years?”

“No, not alone. I’m kept company by the forest spirits and the creatures who live in it.”

Jack smiled and wanted to say something sweet but before he could think of anything he saw Isabella’s face turn grave.

“What is it?”

“Your crew, they’re…. they’re…”

Suddenly they could all hear the sound of loud voices coming from outside the cabin.

“They’re here!”

She finally managed to say.

“Run!”

Yelled Jack and they once again took off into the darkness. Thomas was the fastest runner so took the lead, making sure not to go too far ahead. Tiny, although not the slowest kept up the rear in case they crew found them. As they ran, Thomas realised the woods around them were growing thicker and darker and seemly out of nowhere Isabella’s hand grabbed him urging him to stop.

“We must stop please.”

“What? Why?”

“This is the haunted forest, we can’t go further.”

Jack panting, looked at the now frightened woman.

“Why?”

“It is said that from here forward as the woods get thicker, darkness lives and the trees are possessed by evil spirits.”

“Said by who? You just told us you’re the only person who lives here.”

Isabella’s face took on a slightly annoyed look.

“By the friendly spirits of this island, obviously.”

Jack looked at Thomas, worried.

“What choice do we have, evil spirits ahead and apparently bloodthirsty mutineers behind us.”

As they looked back they saw lights from the crew’s torches continue to draw closer and Jack took Isabella’s hands.

“You’re just going to have to ask the good spirits to protect us.”

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