The Captains Wife (Chapter 13)
Chapter 13 - The Captains Proposal
I awoke the next morning desperately wishing I had not. The pain of my body was worse than the night before, for now there was no new pain to distract me from the continuous agony of my body. Every pore of my skin hurt, every opening was throbbing and split. My flesh was raw, my muscles bruised and stiff, the soles of my feet aching and sore. I was a bl**dy wreck. I could not believe I was still alive.
My throat burned for moisture and finally, after croaking out plea after hoarse plea, I was given a few swallows of water by a passing crew member. Not enough to slack my thirst but just enough to keep my lips from cracking and make me more desperate for more liquid.
Just before noon the Captain appeared. He did not speak at first, but studied me, carefully examining every part of my body. He knelt before me, for I was on my knees and bound to the mast with my arms behind me, my sore flesh pricked by the rough wood. When released I obeyed his every command instantly, even when he asked me to spread my legs and show him my sex or when he had me spread my cheeks so he could study my anus. Nothing was too humiliating for me to do for my master. I prayed this would please him, but I could not tell.
He watched me for a long time, staring straight into my eyes, and I did everything in my power to appear humble and contrite. I wanted desperately to regain his favor, though if asked I could not say why, for by all the standards I knew he was a thief, a murderer, a k**napper, a r****t. He was cruel and vain, a scoundrel to the core. My father would be appalled I was even civil with such a creature.
Yet he possessed a touch of kindness, an inner love that I saw was far more real and practical than my own. He was physically handsome and a fierce warrior. I knew he would fight to his dying breath to protect his men, and yet at the same time, if the situation warranted it, he would not hesitate to plunge his dagger into the back of his first mate if he suspected the man was plotting against him. He was a strange paradox, this captain.
"I do not know what to do with you, my Lady," he said softly, his voice hard but filled with a slight trace of deep emotion. He was in pain. I could see it in his eyes.
"You have betrayed me, made me a fool in front of my men, and obviously deserve nothing but torture and death. Yet I do not wish to kill you. Your beauty is entrancing, your acceptance and understanding of punishment extremely mature for one so young. I would love to make you mine, to make you, in effect, my wife, though such laws are meaningless out here in the deep ocean."
"Please, sir," I cried out hoarsely. "Make me yours. I shall be faithful to you always. I desire nothing but to make you happy."
The Red Devil nodded slowly, as though he had expected what I was to say. "Yes," he whispered. "You wish to escape from these men." I shook my head frantically but he did not stop speaking. "Let me tell you: if you become mine your punishments of last night will not seem so severe. I will beat you thoroughly, filling you to overflowing with pain. I will do this for no other reason than you are mine, and it would give me pleasure to humble you. And if you are mine you will accept _whatever_ I dictate, no matter how distasteful, simply because you are mine and must obey."
Awe flooded my body. Thinking of a lifetime of fearful beatings from the Captain did not change my resolve but strengthened it--I wanted nothing more than to please him, and if my suffering gave him pleasure than I would suffer as much as he desired. I knelt before him and kissed the floor and moaned. "I am yours, Master," I whispered. "Please do not reject me."
"There is a test," he said suddenly, and a chill passed through my body. Was not last night proof enough of my loyalty? And yet that was simply punishment, torture I had no control over. The test, naturally, must be accepted willingly.
"Yes, my Lord. Whatever you command."
"Will you consent to wear my mark?" He snapped his fingers at a nearby pirate who raced over to the Captain immediately. The Captain had him turn and bare his back and I saw on his shoulder the image of a large devil set within a pirate flag. The image had been burned into the man's flesh with a hot iron. Fear coursed through my body but I did not hesitate.
"I will accept your mark with eagerness, my Lord."
He nodded. "It shall not be done immediately. You need time to heal and time to think. Perhaps you will change your mind. If so, there is always the sea." His arm waved to the swelling ocean around us. "It is a good way to go, full of dignity," he whispered. "There is no shame."
But my heart was hard. I did not wish to die. Where was the challenge in death? Life, strange, mysterious life held all the attraction to me. I was young, healthy, and though I knew I would spend the rest of my life seeking to understand my bizarre desires, I knew I loved the man they called the Red Devil.
To Be Continued...