The Highborn Captive of Captain Packard

© 2012 by Kemper Fin

Smashwords Edition



**




From all around her the sounds of a ship coming alive began. The hoarse shouts of bosun and petty officers rousing the crew from their slumber, water sloshing the decks and gun trucks squeaking as they were drawn forward to the readiness of dawn flooded her ears.

She sat huddled in the corner of the tiny room she slept in. She had long ago lost track of just how many times she had heard this chorus. It always started long before any greyness showed itself in the tiny scuttle hatch that was her only window of daylight or darkness.

She shifted on her blanket, hunger stirred in her again.

At first she had wept every morning. The voices of the crew would wake her, and she’d realize anew that she remained a captive. She would awaken and neither softness nor warmth would surround her. No canopied bed nor feather mattress, no servants would greet her, all smiles and obedience. No, instead she would awaken on the hard wooden floor, naked and shivering.

It had been an April morning when everything had come crashing down around her. Her husband, Lord Beck had booked her passage on an East India Company ship bound for Ceylon. A new and adventurous chapter of her life was about to open up. Her husband was the new governor of the colony, and she was traveling to be with him. She would see to the household, and sample all that an English noblewoman could in the Far East. Silks, ivories and all manner of fine furniture would adorn her and her home. Everything that the exotic east could offer would be hers.

The sail sighted on the horizon didn’t alarm her at first, but the behavior of the crew around her did. Before she knew it she had been bundled below decks with her servant. The two women had sat there in the darkness, huddled against the bulkhead in confusion and growing fear. They clung to one another as the shouts from above became more frantic and gunfire shattered the forenoon. After that everything had been a whirl of sound and fury. Splintering crashes of shot hitting home, the shuddering of the hull as the ship took blow after blow. Then silence, eerie silence enveloped the very fiber of the ship. It seemed like hours later that boots came slamming down on the ladder and two large, powder-blackened and wickedly grinning sailors saw the huddling women.

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