Sarah and Little Bear met near the shoreline where the woods ended and the beach began. There had been talk of a strange ship bearing no flags sailing towards Boston, but one of the hunters at Little Bear’s campfire spotted it anchoring just out of site of town and Sarah and L. B., as she had come to call him, wanted to see for themselves.
Concealed from the shore, the two were surprised to see that the ship had sent a party ashore not 50 yards from where they looked out onto the beach. The men had made a small fire and sat around it passing around a bottle of dark glass. The men were filthy and obviously drunk though it was only 9 in the morning on Tuesday!
“What sort of fools are these?” L.B. wanted to know. “They are hiding but they make a fire for all to see. They post no guards, but they all are armed heavily. They are dressed in tatters, but once those clothes were fine. It makes no sense”
“They’re Pirates!” hissed Sarah in sudden realization. She hadn’t noticed the weapons or that their tattered clothes were fancy, but it was indeed so. L.B. was good at spotting things like that right away. She had come to find that the natives weren’t stupid or savage. Sarah was learning that many of the things the town elders said were simply lies.
“What is a ‘pirate’? A wandering band of drunkards?”
“Well there’s more to it than that. They’re thieves. They attack merchant ships at sea and plunder them and then waste their booty on women and drink. They are bound straight for Hell for sure. But in general, the English ones attack Spanish ships and vice versa.”
“There are raiders among our people too, but they raid tribes we are at war with to weaken them, and the bounty goes to all the people to strengthen the tribe of the raiders. I have never understood the difference between stealing and raiding.”
The two instinctively hushed crouched low as a few of the men wondered up the beach near their hiding place. They were indeed quite drunk, and Sarah could smell the rum from where she hid and wrinkled her nose as the alcohol stung her nostrils. There were three of them, and they whispered conspiratorially amongst themselves. The tallest of them was doing the talking, “Suppose the old git has word of what we’re on about? What then?” he said. Sarah noticed he had a tattoo of a woman wearing only a brassiere and a skirt of some kind of twine through which a thigh emerged most immodestly. Sarah blushed to see an Englishman with such a mark upon him.
“He won’t hear nothin’ unless one of you two goes and blabs it around!” Said the short, stocky one, who appeared to be wearing a stripped sock on his head. When he said, “around” he stretched out the “round” part and made a circle with his finger for emphasis. Then he pulled out a dagger that was long and filthy. Anyone blabs and they will have a visit from the surgeon!” he said.
“Yes, well; that would include you, Mr. Guernsey.” said the third man. Of them all, he was the least tattered, the least drunk, and was of middle height, and middle disposition. “Now put that thing away before it flies out of your hand and into the woods.”
Guernsey reddened, “It’s not going to fly out of my hands…” was as far as he got before the Middleman, with lightning speed and no warning slapped it out of his hands, and as predicted, into the woods. Although it landed some distance from Sarah and L.B., they both cringed and disappeared down lower into the bushes they were using for cover. It took Guernsey a good 5 minutes to find his knife, during which, neither of them so much as twitched. His companions had already gone back to the fire by the time the short buccaneer had quit the woods, and Sarah and Little Bear wasted no time hightailing back towards Salem.