A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part Six: Blog Thirty-Eight)
By Dan Watt and Taylor Norris, co-authors of the Rita Walker series
“You were eating Peg leg’s left hand?” she hears Zala ask the Cannibal girl as they catch sight of ‘Wheel Turner’ talking to the ‘Ship Builder’. She notices that they brought the pinnace farther up the stony shore now that the tide is in.
“Before coming here I lived in a land with too many people,” the Cannibal girl replies. “You notice the Horse People will only allow us to land to trade.”
“But it’s the same for us,” she hears Zala say.
“Some of your men told the Horse People how pale skins, like myself, and your friend with the interesting sword hilt, would claim their lands as they did in the world you came from. Now the Horse People won’t allow my people to land because when the brandy moon moves in front of the milky one we have to feed. “
“Where we came from there was disease and war,” Zala says. “Didn’t that stop you from having too many people?”
“Some of us are not affected by disease or got it and survived,” the Cannibal girl says indifferently. “We tried war but that didn’t work. Some of the members of the warring tribes fell in love with each other and we like to make little ones too much. So a month before the three moons become one, we stop eating and only drink. Then during the eclipse, because we are starving, each tribe attacks another. We do not hunt down the children but adopt them afterwards. Unlike the Horse People we do not bury those killed. We eat them as nature intended. Afterwards we are horrified and apologize to the children that we ate their parents. Mostly we are a caring and loving people.”
It makes Master Jo Anne queasy when she realizes what the Cannibal girl says makes sense. She worries, as she knows the Captain does, that overpopulation on the ships will bring trouble. “What is your name?” she asks.
“Melinda,” the Cannibal girl answers.
Master Jo Anne notices her glancing at the ‘Ship Builder’, especially at his missing finger.
“We did that?” Melinda asks. “That would be an awkward finger to get at without eating the others?”
“No one knows what happened exactly,” Zala replies, looking at Master Jo Anne for confirmation.
“It was something else,” she says. If they ever find the Witch, everyone will understand. She turns to ‘Wheel Turner’ and the ‘Ship Builder’ and tells them, “This is Melinda, she came from the other ship,” she tells them. “She ate part of Peg leg’s left hand but she’s better now.” Deftly she uses her knife to cut the vines binding Melinda’s wrists.
“Are you hungry?” ‘Wheel Turner’ asks everyone. Master Jo Anne knows this is a test to see if the madness is out of Melinda, or not.
“Very much so,” Melinda replies, “and thirsty!”
“We have biscuits and dried fish to eat,” ‘Wheel Turner’ says, noticeably keeping her body turned sideways to Melinda. “As for drink, there’s watered down rum.”
“I don’t eat flesh,” Melinda says, “So some rum and a biscuit would be wonderful.”
Master Jo Anne is shocked at Melinda’s reply. “You don’t eat flesh?” she asks.
“That’s only once a year, to cull the population, otherwise I abhor it,” Melinda replies. “Sadly the two moons did not converge as planned.”
Dan Watt is the author of the epic dark fantasy fiction book BARD
Taylor Norris, RMT, as First Mate ‘One Eye’ Olanis: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kitchener-Waterloo)
With thanks to Joanne Gosling (Navigator ‘Storm Caller’ Master Jo Anne): Joanne is an Interior Decorator who specializes in closets: Jgosling@calclosets.com Calclosetsjoanne or Joannegosling22@gmail.com
Leah Weir (Helmswoman ‘Wheel Turner’ Synthia): model and cover editor;
Fire & Steel for the Medieval Rapier: http://fireandsteel.ca/
Alex Watt for background pictures
Daiana Duca for background pictures
Krissy Karmaschek for background pictures