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My tribute to the new upcoming movie with Johny Depp.

"What did you do today?"

"Nothing," I said smiling sarcastically to whom I considered my only true friend, Rapheal.

Rapheal grunted at my terse answer and then leaned back heavily against a plush chair making his leather vest crackle with every movement and the seat creak from its heavy bellied burden. I watched with fascination wondering if this chair would give out like so many others had before when Rapheal put his full weight on it.

"I did nothing myself either this day," he smiled back at me.

I repeated Rapheal's movement and sat back. But my outfit of soft velvet and silk only whispered the senses, nor did I strain the poor chair. I pulled my leather gloves off slowly revealing my slim white elegant fingers. "You were not anywhere near the Pigs Inn at the time of the mishap. Supposedly, you were passed out drunk at the wharf. You seemed to have recovered rather quickly, though the hint of rum still surrounds you,” I said in playful coyness.

A deep rumbling sound emitted from my companion's chest. "Is that what they are calling it, a mishap? Ten of Black Beard's own men died in open fire at the Pigs Inn, but none seem to have seen a thing. Or is it just you who considers what happened a mishap?"

"Well, we all know it wasn't a mishap but an actual elaborate..."

"Plot?" finished my friend.

"We will never know now will we," I replied suddenly standing up and walking to the only window that gave one a vague glimpse of the filthy street below. Grimy though the window was, I pressed my forehead against the filmy glass curiously looking for the one person I knew I would never see again: never see the swagger, never hear the bellow, never see the lust for life in those eyes.

"You look forlorn standing there. Come, you cannot tell me you miss him. This was your i..."

I rounded on my friend before he could finish his thought out loud. "Do not say anymore. We agreed that not a word would ever be spoken again of him or his men."

"Why not? These four walls have no ears. Our men stand guard outside protecting our secrets. Let us speak frankly. You still carry feelings for a dead man."

"Alright let us speak freely. I did care for him. Aye, that I did, and will till my own death. But what does it matter now. His decapitated head now sits on a spike at the entrance of the Governor's mansion, a warning to all pirates to be gone from American waters. And his dear loyal companions, who were left behind on that last raid, kissed the ground happily that they were still alive until they met their fateful end last eve at the Pigs Inn."

"Perhaps what you are feeling is not the missing of him, but his ghost coming to breathe down your neck for turning him in," whispered Rapheal always enjoying a good ghost story.

"Get your head out of the imaginary world. For a cutthroat pirate you have some strange musings. We all know Black Beard had no soul, therefor, no ghost could haunt me."

"Aye, you should know more than anyone considering you were his whore and third wife for five years. It was a grand coop you thought of to rid the waters of the most notorious pirate and his men. But the Grand Final, my dear, is worth a thousand tales. We got his gold," he chuckled softly.

I chuckled along. Yes, it was a grand scheme. Who would have thought that I could have bested the best. Three years ago when my husband saw my own bloodlust and temper, he decided to give me a small ship and men of my own. Of course they were all loyal to Black Beard, but I was their captain on board. Every time we brought back plunder, it was divided among my men except for a fifteen- percent profit that went to my husband. This was of course taken out before the men got their share. My share was my husband's.

I absently rubbed my two middle stumps that were once elegant, long fingers. My husband, in a drunken stupor, didn't believe I was completely loyal to him, and didn't believe I gave him his full share on the last raid.

"I will know your loyalty this night," he bellowed pulling my right arm across the round, scarred table that separated us. My body followed suit splaying across the oak. I looked at him not understanding what he was about to do.

"If you are completely loyal to me you will let me cut off two of your fingers."

I wondered if he really would do something like that. He had never treated me that cruelly before. Would he do it? I didn't believe he would because I knew he loved me in his own fashion. I nodded my head in confident agreement. With one swift blow from his sharp dagger, my fingers went flying.

"I will wear your two finger bones around my neck as a reminder of your loyalty," he said succulently. Then I blacked out.

Looking at my friend Rapheal now, I smiled absently rubbing the stumps. Aye, the bastard Black Beard may have gotten my two fingers, but I got his gold and his head in the end.

"When and where for the meeting to take place so we can divide the gold among our companions?" asked Rapheal.

"Are we sure that every man who was loyal to Black Beard is dead now?"

My companion snorted. "Aye, right down to the loyal parrot."

"It is too bad about Molly I liked that bird," I said with an actual touch of sadness. "You spread the word to the men that we will meet at Jemmy's on the other side of the island when the sun is at its highest peek, not before not after."

"Are you sure Jemmy can be trusted? He always reminded me of a viscous scoundrel who would turn his back on anyone for a profit," commented Rapheal.

"We are all viscous scoundrels. I have let Jemmy taste some of the gold just to reassure his loyalty to us. And if he proves disloyal I will slit his throat myself."

"So I will see you on the morrow. Snake and Pieface will stay and guard your door. What will you do once we separate for good tomorrow?"

I shrugged my shoulders. "Nothing for now."

Rapheal looked at me with skepticism. He knew I was up to something. But now that he was a free rich man starting a new life he didn't care much, and I was glad for it. I didn't need anyone to know my next and final move. "What will you do, dear Rapheal?"

"I'm going to find myself a little lady and settle down in Havana, sugarcane fields is what I want to do. There is always need for rum."

"Best of luck in your new life, Rapheal."

"You to, my lady," he said coming forward and kissing my cheek gently, like a father would a child. Then he turned and left me.

I walked around the small room thinking about my next move. I stopped in front of the full-length mirror and stared at my image. I was still beautiful. I had the most striking of gray eyes, large and slanted just enough to give it that exotic look, which was accentuated by my dark red thick hair that framed my slim face. My body was long and graceful with full breasts that strained against my velvet tight bodice. I rubbed my hands lovingly down the length of me. The men had always called me, my lady. They never realized how close to the mark they were.

When I was eighteen, traveling abroad with my companion and nanny, our ship was overtaken by eastern pirates. They sold me at the first slave market to a Sultan. But before he could get me to his harem, another pirate attacked our caravan. This pirate owed a debt to Black Beard. I was the payment.

Looking at myself now I decided it was time to go home, Bourdex, France. I tried my real name aloud. "Lady Charlotte Montgomery, daughter of Baron and Baroness Montgomery."

Well, I had survived, and I did manage to come out pretty well intact except for my two fingers. I wondered curiously if I should tell my family what had really happened to me in the past five years. Somehow I didn't think they would believe the stories, and the last thing my parents needed to know was how blood thirsty a daughter they had. Maybe saying nothing would be easier. Yes, that was the perfect alibi. I would act as though I couldn't speak or hear. Surely, the nobles would look on me with pity then? "Poor, poor girl, been through so much that she has gone a bit simple," they'll say. And I will bow my head in shyness with a small amount of fear showing in my trembling limbs.

To get my rather petty secure life back, I would deceive all those to achieve my goal. To have a normal life again without having to use my wits at every turn, would be a blessing. I looked at my hands and laughed out loud at how shaky they were. I had pulled off the most diabolical scheme to get freedom, yet I shook in fear, self-loathing, and anger.

My hands started to shake the day I went to the Governor’s to let him know where he could find Blackbeard and his men. In return the Governor agreed to give me all the gold that was found on Blackbeard's ship. That afternoon a fleet of the British Royal was sent out to capture the most famous pirate of the seas. I shook even more when I witnessed Blackbeard's head on the end of the mast. Now, I couldn't seem to help my hands that shook constantly. Surely going home would help me to heal?

I was halfway home on the rough seas to France when I realized that I couldn't go home. I was no more a lady, no more a virgin, and no more a socialite. I prowled the deck like a tiger eager for the hunt, I walked the deck like one born to it, and I rocked on the deck in a slow dance as though I was part of the sea. Mother, forgive me, but I was never coming home. I promised myself that once I docked I would write to my mother to let her know that I was all right. But I was never going home.

I got off at the first place we docked in France. The Province of Brittany was beautiful in the spring. With my many pouches of gold stashed in my baggage, I hired a handsome to take me to a clean decent inn close to the main market fair. I wanted to be where the action was.

The coach driver looked me over once as though he thought he could take advantage of me. My eyebrow rose in arrogance. I could kill the bastard in one stroke of my sword, which I pleasantly showed him by lifting my cape revealing the long light sword. The man gulped and humbly put his head down while throwing my baggage onto the top.

The handsome stopped at a row of gray stoned tall buildings. The driver stepped down and opened the door. "This inn is called the Cozy Cottage. It is a husband and wife team. They run a clean shop. Many nobles stay here when they come for political reasons."

I stepped out stretching my back. "Yes, it looks fine," I commented back. The buildings were on a hill that overlooked some warehouses. Further beyond was the quay where all the ships docked. Yes, this would be perfect. For a moment my eyes searched the tall ships looking for that allusive ghost. Then I quickly shook off the melancholy mood.

The owners of the inn met us at the door. They showed surprise in their eyes for a moment before they became the congenial hosts that would help me through the coming weeks ahead. The husband and wife looked a lot alike. Both were short and chubby in stature, and their eyes spoke of friendly respect. I immediately took to the both of them. The wife Mary was a mother hen who told me all about her seven grown children, eight grandchildren, and the deceased children. The husband Charles was a quiet but friendly man who enjoyed blacksmithing as a hobby and watching all the tall ships come into port. He knew all the flags, merchant ships, captains, slave galleons, and all the gossip that went along with it. We would get along perfectly.

I settled into the quiet inn with relative ease. I kept to my rooms for the first few weeks grieving with shame and hate. But eventually my soul was done with all of it and I couldn't cry anymore. It was time to live again, and I would.

My hosts were excited to finally see me out of my rooms to explore their gardens and just to chat with them. Mary accepted me as part of her family as a natural mother would by nature. I learned a lot about her large family and grandchildren while I sat at her scarred table in the kitchen. She was curious about me I know, but she never pried too deeply.

There came a day though that my heeling, peaceful time ended. Charles came up to the house one morning to ask if I wanted to come with him to the peer. There was a large ship that was new to the region, so he wanted to see what it would bring. We sat many a morning talking about the ships and the captains, and now he came to me all excited about this new ship.

I had not been to the peer since I docked off the ship those weeks ago. My survival instincts came out. I knew I would have to keep my face hidden from view just incase this new ship turned out to be a pirate ship.

We walked down the hill, both enjoying the peaceful warm morning. As we got closer I could see the activity and hum of the wharf life that had been so much a part of my life until recently. My heart yearned for it as my mind soaked up the activity. A few wharf prostitutes plied their trade to the new sailors who seemed hungry for companionship while rats and seagulls dashed among the activity.

I stopped walking suddenly afraid to go on. The new was ship was a pirate ship. There was no mistaking a pirate ship from a merchant one. A shattered hull and dried blood still smeared the side of the ship showing the evidence of a recent attack. The Union Jack, a decieving flag, hung stiffly in the breeze. But the wharf people, who helped to dock this great ship and unload its merchandise, were oblivious to it.

The captain just then peered over the side of the ship to the wharf below and my blood froze. My shaking hands came up to tighten the thin veil around my face as I stared in horror at the captain. His eyes suddenly swung to mine, and my instinct was to run. But with surprising strength I stood my ground. Surely he wouldn't recognize me? I had my face hidden by the veil, yet his eyes seemed to say that he knew exactly who I was.

"I have to go back now. I promised I would help your wife make bread."

Charles looked at me for a moment with disappointment, but then he shrugged his shoulders and focused his interest again on the tall ship.

I quickly made my way back to the inn to think about this new problem that threatened to end my life earlier than what I planned. I ran up the stairs to my room without stopping to say hello to Mary.

I paced the room in fear. He never saw me so what did I have to worry about? It wasn't like they had come here to get you. That was an absurd notion that a captain pirate and his lot would track me down to seek revenge, or was it? I would just have to keep myself hidden from view while the ship was at port. When I went to bed that night I placed my thin, long blade beside me.

I woke up struggling for breath.

"So, my lady, we meet again."

I looked into the black eyes of Sam Bellemy, my most feared enemy. I couldn't move; he had me pinned nicely on the bed with his knees and one large hand covering my mouth. His long thick yellow hair caressed my cheek as he reached over and grabbed my sword.

He chuckled as he held my sword up high to admire the glint of light that shined through it. I pleaded with my eyes. Please do not let me die this way, my mind cried.

His dark eyes hit me with a piercing calm. "Killing Blackbeard was not a smart move, my lady. You cost me dearly. Blackbeard was opening up trade with the Norwegians for me. I gave him my gold in return for that favor. Now without him they will not associate with me. My chance has gone to the grave with him. And you took my gold. I will never forgive you for that one."

I waited for death.

With one quick stroke I could feel the cold, thin blade sliced through my neck. A gurgle sound came from my throat as I took my last breath of life.

My eyes watched dimly as Sam Bellemy wiped the blade off on the blanket, and then stepped off the bed. He looked dispassionately down at me. "Live by the sword, Die by the sword."

With those words life faded away.

Kimberly Bird

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by Kimberly Bird

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