Pirate's Life

31 – There are no heroes here

Mei Ling Pirates Life Banner

Silence stretched for a long minute or three as the others thought about what she’d said. The Caribs, of course, were mostly confused, and more than a little uneasy at seeing the violence break out between what were supposed to be allies. And those they were sharing this boat with. 

They probably couldn’t wait to reach Barbados, divest themselves of these strange people, and go back to their simple, peaceful lives. 

Jie intently studied the men, not moving from Mei’s side in the slightest. Her eyes didn’t seem to blink and the others no doubt found the stare unnerving. It said quite clearly that she did not trust them. Be warned. 

When no one else seemed inclined to talk, Mei continued. She’d changed tact and now tried to turn their fight into a conversation. They hadn’t thrown her overboard yet. Maybe there was still a way that she could turn things around. “Why are you so angry at me?” she asked. 

“Beyond the fact that you killed the marines sent for us and got us in a huge pile of shit?” Lance asked in a snarky tone.

“Yes!” She half-tossed one hand in exasperation, the other still on Jie. “Everything was fine and then I told you I hadn’t committed a crime to get here and then you shut me out.”

“Maybe it’s because you think you’re better than us.”

She studied the resentment and defensiveness on his face and saw it in the others, too. “I look at how the guards treat prisoners and I see where you’ve experienced that,” she allowed. “They treat us as lesser beings. Think they can do whatever they want to us because we aren’t worth their respect. They proved that with their actions. And I can imagine that friends and family who you thought cared about you might have turned their backs on you once you got arrested and it looked like you were guilty enough to end up in prison.” She leaned forward slightly gave them a challenging stare. “But did I do any of that to you? Have I ever treated you like you’re inferior? Did I speak down to you? Did I act snobbish? Belittle you? Did I try to make you feel bad about who you are?”

“You didn’t have to!” Lance slammed back, anger emerging once more, like an open wound had been prodded with hot metal.

She kept her voice even, feeling more controlled this time around and not instinctively reacting to his emotions with her own. “Why? Because it was implicit in how I saw myself? Is that really the issue here? Or is there a problem with how you see yourself?”

Juan looked up from the deck and met her gaze unflinchingly. “You don’t see yourself as a criminal, but you sure see us as criminals, don’t you?”

Her brows rose. “Did you do something that hurt other people? That was bad enough that society sought to punish you for it?”

“You’re in here, same as us. So you’re just as much a criminal as we are,” the Spaniard insisted.

She shook her head. “You’re twisting the issue.”

“I am not. You’re in here, so you’re a criminal too!”

“I wasn’t put here for doing anything immoral. I haven’t hurt anyone. How about you?”

Lance broke in, voice harsh. “Stop trying to evade the issue! Just admit you’re a criminal!”

“I’m not though.” She spoke simply, calmly. 

Yet he acted like she’d condemned herself of something. “You see? You think you’re better than us.”

She sat back and composed her thoughts. “I think there’s more than one thing going on here. You seem to want to label me the same way that society has labelled you, and maybe the way you’ve labelled yourselves. But at the root if it, I don’t think it’s a matter of labels. It’s a matter of who we are and what we’ve done. Regardless of my being in prison right now, I have never made a habit of going around hurting people. I don’t steal, I don’t lie, I don’t murder. I treat people well and I hope for the same in return. I make mistakes every now and then, the same as anyone. But I’m pretty confident in who I am: a good person.”

“How can you even say that?” Lance scoffed. “How many people have you killed since coming here? Dozens?”

“I am not taking lives for my amusement or any sense of greed. The first life I took was in self defence when a guard tried to rape me on the very first night I arrived, after a day of abuse and heat stroked half out of my mind. I ended the lives of those on the ship because they were willfully part of a system that is immoral, that is evil in the way that it hurts others. Those marines that came after me? Also self defence. If I take the lives of more people in the future, I do so only in the name of self defence and justice. And I have absolutely no desire to cause more pain than necessary. I do not want to be cruel.”

“Fine distinctions. Self serving, too.”

“I don’t think we can say that every action alone is, in itself evil. Intent matters. How many books and movies have you read and watched where the hero kills a villain?”

“Yeah, I see,” he spoke dismissively. “And you’re pretty confident that you’re a hero we’re just a bunch of villains.”

She tilted her head and frowned, but like she would to a child. Because that’s the way he was acting. “Did I say that? Have I treated you that way?”

Juan ignored her. “For someone who thinks she’s a good person and doesn’t think she belongs here with us criminals, you sure are adept at violence and killing. You almost murdered Odessa back in camp, just walked up behind him and cut him down. How does that make you any different from any of us?”

“Again, that was justice. And self preservation.”

“Was it? Or was it revenge? Isn’t killing immoral?” he accused.

She pointed at the gangster. “He is, without question, a monster who is a mortal threat to all those around him. Ending his life makes the world safer for others. That’s a good thing. Morality isn’t about whether or not a specific action is right or wrong. A certain action can be right in some situations and wrong in another. It’s about motive and context.”

“Oh my gosh,” Lance huffed, rolling his eyes. “Do you have any idea how arrogant you sound? Who says you’re qualified to judge someone like that?”

“I’m not perfect,” she readily admitted, “but I’m pretty confident that I can tell right from wrong, good from evil in at least some cases. I should think there wouldn’t be much question in regards to someone who’s guilty of mass murder and rape and torture, all for thrill. Unless you think otherwise?” she challenged him. 

He didn’t answer. 

“I was sent here,” she told them, “because bad people were trying to stop me from putting an end to their corruption and greed. I know my situation and I know that whatever label a corrupt legal system forced on me for their own ends, I am not, at heart, a criminal. I’m not someone who goes around habitually doing bad things for personal gain. I see myself as a good person and I believe that my values and the actions I’ve taken over the years, and even in here, back that up.”

None seemed willing to argue the point anymore. 

“Now, I admit,” she continued, “that I and most people, maybe even you before coming here, assumed that all people in prison are bad people. Honestly, I still think an awful lot of people in here probably are. But I’m willing to be open minded and admit that being in here doesn’t always equate to someone being a bad person. I’m proof enough of that. So I should be willing to consider the same for others. Including all of you.”

“And what if we’ve done something horrible?” Armand asked, speaking up quietly, a faint touch of hesitation in his words. “What if we have hurt others? That makes us bad people to you then, doesn’t it?”

“Well, I guess there’s room to think about it. Maybe every case is a little different.”

“How so?”

“We have a legal system with judges for a reason. Every case is unique and judged on its own. So I suppose that we should do the same with people then, shouldn’t we? It might be a lot easier to make blanket rules and say that anyone who has done X is a bad person. But maybe we need context, to make personal allowances for each other in the way that the legal system can’t because of what it has to be and do. Then again, don’t we all judge each other that way anyway?”

“And maybe one bad action doesn’t necessarily define a person entirely. Nor who they could be in the future.” Armand said this as statements, but spoke with a little hope in his tone.

“You’re saying people can change?” Cheeto asked. “That they can be redeemed? Become a good person?”

“Isn’t that the whole point behind rehabilitation?” Mei pointed out.

Lance was sour. “Most people who go to prison end up back in it at some point.”

She shrugged, not disagreeing. “Probably an indication that mostly bad people end up in prison because they’re the type who continue to do hurtful things. Most legal systems probably put away a lot more genuinely bad people than good. But it’s also a fact that some of those are people that society failed to raise properly in the first place or who are too damaged to do good on their own and slip into bad ways because of a failure of nurture rather than ill nature.” 

“Can people really be rehabilitated?” Juan was skeptical, but there was a hesitancy in his manner as well. “Many would argue that a violent or evil misdeed is only proof of one’s true nature, and that they cannot be changed.”

“I hope they can be. The human brain is exceptionally adaptive, isn’t it? We’re amazing learning machines. Certain decisions are harder than others and some things about ourselves or about life are harder to overcome than others. And not everyone has the same tools or the same environment in which to do their best. I get it; life can be harder for some of us. So change will take more work in some cases than others.” She paused to think, then went on. “I think some people are born irredeemably selfish; their brain is just wired that way. But most of us are mixed, aren’t we? Capable of being a better person if we keep working at it? If we don’t give up on ourselves, or on others?”

Cheeto chuckled. “I don’t think Odessa has any desire to be anything than what he is. Gangsta for life, yo.”

She smiled at him, glad to see that someone’s humour had returned. “I agree. But how about you?” She turned her gaze on all of them. “How do you all see yourselves? Are you good people, or bad people?” They might have complained about the way she looked at them, but she suspected the true heart of the issue was that her presence and her own self image, made them feel bad about the person they saw reflected in the mirror, someone they didn’t necessarily like. 

Seeming thoughtful, a sullenness came over Juan. “I don’t deserve to be a good person anymore.”

“She focused her attention on him. “You did something you believe is wrong, didn’t you?”

“Maybe.” He wouldn’t look at her, or at anyone. 

“And so you think you’re forever defined by that decision?”

He frowned. “Of course. How could I not be?”

“I suppose it depends on the action. If you cold-bloodedly killed a rival to get them out of your way, then yes, you’re probably evil. Even if it’s the only immoral thing you’ve ever done in your life and you normally act like a good person. Because you put yourself before everyone else and you were willing to do the worst possible things to get what you want for yourself, even if it doesn’t happen often. And you’d do it again. But if it wasn’t some cold-blooded evil?”

His jaw worked. “So motivation matters?”

“That’s a good question. If you killed someone out of negligence, or in an explosion of anger, is it any different?”

“Is it? It doesn’t seem so.” He appeared reluctantly confused.

“Someone got hurt. And the law punishes people for it. But you’ll get fifty years for cold blooded murder and ten years for causing a death out of negligence. So we, as a society, seem to recognize that there’s some ability to forgive. That some people are more evil than others. That some people need to be removed from society forever, but that some people might be capable of making up for their mistakes and doing better in the future.”

“How do you know if someone really is?” He was schooling his face not to show emotion, but it was leaking out of his body language. The man was heavily conflicted and emotional about his past. Yet some part of him still dared hope that he wasn’t the monster he’d tried to convince himself he was. And Mei’s words were teasing that hope out of him. The mix of desire and resentment on his face made Mei wonder which side of him would win out.

She spoke kindly. “That’s the question, isn’t it? We never really know who anyone is until after the fact. Even someone acting noble for many years can unexpectedly take a moral stumble and do something horrible one day. Maybe they did it for greed they didn’t think they had or out of emotional instability, I don’t know. But humans are not perfect. I think we all understand that.”

Armand, looking more alive and engaged with the philosophical nature of the discussion, added to it. “It’s why the legal system doesn’t execute people for every crime, and many legal systems have stopped executing people at all just in case a conviction is later overturned. We decide that some crimes are more serious than others and we’re willing to let people re-enter society most of the time and get another chance at life, and at how they treat other people.”

Mei dared to hope that she might get more of their backgrounds from them, something they’d been silent on so far. “None of you are here for life, are you?” she asked in an innocent tone.

“I am,” Cheeto answered, surprising her. 

“Really?”

“Yeah.” He shrugged one shoulder. “I’m not really supposed to talk about it.”

“Is this a gang thing?” she gently probed.

He shrugged again.

She’d investigated gangs before and had an inkling. “Did someone convince you to take the blame for someone else?”

He looked away. 

“Oh fuck,” Lance muttered, understanding.

Juan rounded on his little amigo, looking exasperated. “Cheeto, why would you do that?” 

The attention and insight put the Mexican back on the defensive. He cross his arms and drew inwards. “I got reasons! Ok? Fuck off.” He suddenly sat up, raising a finger warningly. “And you ain’t sayin’ shit. You can’t! All right? I gots people I gotta protect!”

Armand raised his hands to wave Cheeto down. “Relax. No one is telling anyone anything.”

“Fuckin’ right they ain’t.” He glared at them all and half turned away.

Sensing it was time to leave him to his own, Mei diverted the topic to the others. “What about the rest of you? Anyone else in here for life?”

They all shook their heads. 

“So I guess the system saw at least some potential in you for change. A second chance. Maybe the reason you’re so angry at me isn’t how I see myself, or even how I see you. Ok,” she relented, “maybe it’s partly how I see you because we all care about how others see us. But isn’t the most important thing how we each see ourselves? So, how do you see yourself? Are you a good person, or a bad person?” she asked Juan.

“I don’t know.”

Armand gave the man a sympathetic glance. “Maybe that’s a hard question for most people to answer.”

“Maybe.”

“If you’re this conflicted about it,” Mei pointed out, “that’s probably a good sign. I doubt people like Odessa lose any sleep wondering about their own morality. I don’t think he ever hesitates to do whatever he wants, even if it’s cutting throats.”

He raised his eyes and spoke softly. “So being conflicted about it means I might still be a good person?”

“I think it means that the potential is there for you to still become one. If you can make up for the past. If you do your best to not put yourself before others. I think being a good person means being willing to make everyone else equally as important as ourselves, sometimes even making them more important than ourselves. Being willing to sacrifice for others.”

“And evil is the opposite,” Armand deduced. “It’s putting yourself ahead of others, so that while you gain, they lose.”

“Yes.”

Juan’s face screw up with indecision, still torn inside. “But if we messed up, if we’ve hurt people, don’t we need to be punished? It sounds like you’re saying that we can just change who we are and go on living happy lives and not care about the past.” He was starting to get riled up again.

“No. I’m not saying that,” she assured him. “But even if you did something terrible, should you just stop living? Hole yourself up in a place like this and be miserable forever? Who does that help?”

“No one,” Lance muttered.

Armand laid a hand on Juan’s shoulder. “A good person makes up for their mistakes. This is one of the defining ways one proves their character, yes? If we did bad, we should spend our time doing extra good to make up for it, especially to those we hurt. If we unbalanced the scales with evil, we must overload them with good in return.”

“Ideally,” Mei expanded, “we should probably try to unbalance the scales with good, so that, over time, it outweighs whatever bad we do. Not that I’m saying we can excuse bad deeds with good ones. We can’t. Giving to charity doesn’t make up for premeditated murder. But consciously doing good things all the time means that, when we do make a mistake or slip up, at least we’ve earned the chance to earn forgiveness. Then it’s a matter of actually going about making restitution.”

“This is as I have said before, no?” Armand rested his gaze on the other male prisoners. “Redemption. I do not want to waste what time I have left in bondage, doing nothing while I am abused for the amusement of others. I believe I have learned my lesson and now I want the chance to prove it. I cannot do that on a colony because the guards will not allow it. They have failed in their own duties. Mei is correct: we have a chance at leading different lives, even in this world. So I want to take it. I want my future to start today. Now.” He pounded his fist into his palm. “To waste any more time in chains, in self pity or fear, would just be even more selfish, would it not? If we have the chance to take a better path in life, if we truly want to make up for the past and do better for those we care about, then I say we must seize this opportunity.”

A big hand rubbing his face, Juan sighed. “I just don’t know if I can believe that I am worthy of another chance.”

“Or that I could be a better person even if I had one,” Lance admitted, almost whispering.

Once more, silence swept over the boat, marred only by the wind and the hulls in the water. 

She felt sympathetic. “I don’t know what you all have done in the past. And I don’t really know who any of you are. But I will make you this promise. If we stay together and aren’t in solitary confinement this time tomorrow.” She met each of their eyes in turn. “From now and into the future, I will judge you not by what you have done, but by what you do going forward, and by how you make up for the past. If you make mistakes, I will give you the chance to make up for them.”

Lance frowned, disbelieving. “Why would you do that?”

She spoke honestly and from the heart. “Because I promise to believe in you, for as long as you give me reason to.”

Cheeto’s confusion was just as deep. “Why?”

“Because I hope others have the same kind of faith in me. This is life; we’re all in it together. I promise you, starting today, I will never judge you only for your darkness. I will never identify you solely by your bad actions or by what got you sent here. I will consider the good in you. If you have done wrong, I will forgive you—if you earn it. I will respect you, even if you fail—as long as you are trying your best.”

Heads raised and spines straightened.

“I can’t promise it’ll be easy for me or that I’ll be able to get past things right away. I can’t promise I won’t get upset or that I won’t think poorly of what you’ve done. But if you can also show me that there’s a bigger part of you that’s worth believing in, and that you’re fighting for that part of who you are, then I won’t give up on you. I’ll give you every chance to be the better person you strive to be. And I hope you’ll do the same for me. Because I’m not perfect either.”

Armand looked into the past with his gaze. “I do not think I was originally a bad person, but I acted like one. I have done many bad things in my life. I walked a dark path.”

“Why?” Lance asked.

“Because it was easy? Profitable? Because people around me were doing the same? I do not really know for sure. But one day I realized the life I was living was not who I really was, it did not reflect who I wanted to be. I felt guilty. I did not like looking in the mirror and judging myself for my own actions. I believe that I can be better. Do better.” He bowed his head at Mei. “I would like to be worthy of your faith.”

She bowed her head back and smiled, pleased. 

Lance’s resentment mingled with a dash of shame. “I always thought that I was a good person. But…”

“What changed?” Juan asked, looking very curious.

“Someone… Someone made it so I couldn’t turn a blind eye to certain things anymore.” 

“The interview,” Mei stated.

He looked up, surprised and confused. “So you know who I am?”

She laughed lightly. “No. I know your name and have heard something of your life. But that doesn’t mean I know who you are. And we’re talking about who you think you are.”

“Well, you know what happened, right? Seems pretty clear that I’m kind of a bad person.” He hung his head.

Mei was aware in general terms of his past and the events leading to his trial. He’d been rich enough and important enough for them to take note even in Asia. She hadn’t recognized   him at first back on the island, but had put his face to the name later on, keeping it to herself because he hadn’t volunteered the info on his own. “You put profits first. For you and for your shareholders?”

“Yes.”

“If you got a second chance, would you do the same again?”

He hesitated, then admitted, “I don’t know.”

“What would you do with all the money you still have?” She knew he probably still had billions stashed away somewhere. Everyone with that kind of money employed accountants who utilized tax havens. 

He shook his head. “I don’t know that either.”

Her brows rose. “Then you still have something to think about and decisions to make.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you think you’ll be able to do that working on a farm under someone’s whip? Or pretending to sell stuff in a fake store?”

He shrugged. Then he laughed in a self-deprecating manner. “I just don’t know.”

She turned her head. “Juan? You seem to think you’re a bad person. Why?”

There was a long pause, but the man finally let go of something inside of himself. “I hurt someone. Two people.”

“Someone you cared about?”

He swallowed. “Yes.”

“Why?”

“I was angry. Hurt.”

“Would you do it again?”

He balled up both hands and stared at his fists, as if they were covered in blood. “I might.”

“Do you really believe that,” she teased lightly, “or do you just hate yourself too much right now to think clearly?”

He cracked a smile. “Both.”

“What would you…” she floundered for how to proceed. “Could you make up for what you did? Or are they…?”

“They’re alive. They probably never want to see me again. I don’t know if there’s anything I could do to make up for what I’ve done.”

“But you want to?”

He answered instantly. “Yes.”

“Are they people who deserve restitution?” Armand asked. “Or are they guilty of doing bad things too?”

“I’m not sure. I can’t be a judge. Not a…rational one.” Juan shook his head. “Not in this case.”

“Have you ever done anything like this before?” Lance asked. 

“Never.”

“And you don’t want to do it again?” Mei pressed.

His head rose sharply with a frown. “Of course not!”

“Then it sounds like you made a mistake,” Armand reasoned. “But if you learned to control your pain and temper a bit more…?”

Juan looked away. 

Mei wouldn’t let him escape just yet. “Let’s say that there’s nothing you can do do make up for the past with those you hurt, and who hurt you. Can you find some other way of giving back? Someone else who is worthy?”

“Like join a monastery?” he mockingly joked. “Give my life to orphans and the needy?”

“Maybe it’s a cliché, but so what?” Armand challenged. “Or find someone else. We share this world with everyone else in it. There are good causes, good people. Find a way to give to someone else, to make a positive difference.”

“Fight for a better world?” Juan looked at Mei. “Like you?”

She laughed. “I was fighting for basic democracy. You already come from a democratic country. But surely there are other things to fight for? The world is not yet perfect, right?”

“Si. I… Somethings to think about.”

“What about you, Cheeto?” Lance asked. 

“Nah, we can just skip me, huh?” He waved the others away, happy to listen, but not wanting to participate. 

“Why’s that?” Armand asked. 

“Cuz I’m never leaving this place,” he stated in no uncertain terms. “Doesn’t matter who I am or what I do.”

“Sounds like you’re giving up,” Mei gently accused.

“Por supuesto! Can’t fight for a future you never had.”

Her lips twisted as she held back a smile. “A thug life was all you ever had coming?”

He snorted but saw the humour. “If you knew where I came from, honey…”

“I think we’ve all seen enough American TV to guess, huh?” She glanced at Lance, the American in the group and got chuckles all around. Even Lance laughed. 

She looked teasingly at Cheeto. “Well, that gangsta life was the other world. Today, you live in a new one. Kind of makes for a fresh start, doesn’t it?”

“Mmm. Yeah. Maybe.”

“If this is your new home, how do you want to spend your life?”

He grinned, animated again. “On the beach! Bottle of rum in my hand and a beautiful lady in my lap. Enjoying the sunshine.”

She grinned back. “Ok.” Then she turned serious. “Are you going to find that on Barbados? In prison?”

He sobered. “No.”

“Then you have a choice. Accept the life other people are going to give you, or fight for the life you want.”

He tilted his head and sighed, as if he was the one now explaining things to a child. “Look, you may think you know me or where I come from. But you don’t really know, you know?”

“What’s that have to do with anything? Is your past somehow holding you back? Is there something about it that says you aren’t capable of a different life?”

A frown creased his brow and a hand ran over his scalp. “I’ve been listening and I only get about half what you’re sayin’. Ain’t no one ever had faith in me. I’m not smart. And I done plenty of bad things. This is my life.”

“I don’t believe that,” she insisted. “And I don’t think you entirely do either. If you don’t really believe in yourself, then maybe it would be best to start looking for reasons to.” She smiled at him. 

He looked awkward and shifted in his seat. “You—“

Her smiled brightened until it was all over her face. “I’ll believe in you, Cheeto.”

The young man blushed. “Come on…” he tried to scoff.

“I’ll believe in you!” she called out, making the others laugh at how embarrassed Cheeto was becoming. “I’ll help you. As long as you try. You don’t have to be smart or be perfect for someone to have faith in you. You just have to do your best and not give up.”

His eyes watered a bit, which he visibly tried to fight, along with his reddening face. He turned away and waved her off. “Listen to her. Mama Maria over here.”

They all laughed. The mood had lifted again and she felt closer to all of them, even a little protective now that she understood them a bit better. And she was glad to see that no one but Odessa was staring daggers at her anymore. 

Lance gave one final shot to his argument, though from his tone of voice, it had become just that, an argument now, not a fight. “You can’t fight the system, Mei. It’s too big. Too strong. One person can’t make a difference.”

“It doesn’t have to be one person. There are five of us here. That’s a pretty good start.”

He shook his head, lips twisted in a half smile. “If you’re looking for heroes, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is where they house all the failed villains.”

“Well, if you failed at being a villain,” she teased, “maybe that means you’d do better at being a hero, doesn’t it?”

“And what makes a hero?” Juan asked.

“Well,” she thought about it for a moment, “no matter where they came from, who they were or how tough they had it, they all have a defining moment, don’t they? A moment when they chose.”

“Chose what?” he asked. 

It was Armand who answered. “Courage.”

Lance threw his head back and sighed loudly. Then he stood up and walked over to Odessa. He stared at the true criminal. “So what are we going to do with him?”

Hope bloomed in Mei’s heart. “You’re not planning on handing him over then, along with yourselves?”

“No,” he decided. “And I don’t really feel like sharing a cell with him.”

Mei almost jumped for joy. They’d done it! They weren’t giving up anymore. They were going to try for the ship. Unless the others… She quickly looked around. 

Juan, however, hummed agreement. “We kill him, he’ll just respawn, right?”

“But we’re probably close enough to Barbados that he’ll do it there,” Lance reasoned. “Caribs think we’ll make landfall tonight, right?”

“Yes,” Mei confirmed, tingling with excitement.

“He won’t respawn until tomorrow morning. And we’ll be gone by then, won’t we?”

“I sure hope so.”

“Then let’s get rid of him.” Good humour returning, Lance gave Odessa a somewhat confident smile. “He’s a mobster, right? They have a thing about sleeping with the fishes, don’t they?”

“We need a plank,” Cheeto gleefully suggested. “Then we could make him walk it.”

They laughed. 

Mei stood too. “As fun as it might be to slowly walk him into the water at sword point and watch him squirm, I don’t want to be cruel.” 

Cheeto grabbed the key to the chains keeping Odessa locked to the mast and freed him while leaving his arms and legs bound with wrought iron. As a team, they dragged him to the edge of the deck.

Odessa’s eyes, large and filled with hate, stared right at Mei. He managed to squirm free of the gag. “I get you, bitch. No matter where you go, I kill you. Promise.”

She felt a flutter of fear and viciously suppressed it. She found a bit more courage instead. “You go ahead and try. I’ll kill you first.”

They heaved him into the sea and the weight of the chains swiftly pulled him down. He glared until the darkness swallowed him up.

Mei turned a wide smile on the others. “So. Sounds like we need to start making a plan for stealing that sloop.”

They all smiled back. 

Yo ho, yo ho…

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