As they were gazing at the fading city, Stanley and Alex were called to go to the foreman.
Alex squinted at the current watch, working on the floor and tugging at some ropes. The men all seemed able-bodied.
Good. Alex thought he recognized a couple of them from Capri. The afternoon sun felt warm on his skin as they headed towards the helm, where the foreman was talking to a young lad manning the wheel. The boy was listening attentively, holding the wheel with dear life, as if letting go would doom them all. The foreman noticed the two of them and told the boy to keep her steady, and walked over, holding up his hands.
“I know, beauty isn’t her strong suit,” he said, mentioning the ship. “Not anymore at least. You should have seen her in her prime though. Well, at least she floats…” He was quiet for a moment, before he looked back at the two of them and continued. “Anyway, what misfortune brought the two of you here? The captain tells me you were eager to get aboard. You’re not fugitives are you? We wouldn’t want that, now would we?”
“We ain’t fugitives,” Alex said. “We’re… well, let’s just say we’re in need of some monetary funds. We thought to find work within the city, but there’s not much there.”
“We were glad to hear about this ship…” Stanley chimed in.
“That’s all well and good then. Let’s get you two busy.”
After introducing himself – he was called George and had been a first mate of captain Rudy’s for four years now – he told them that they were assigned cleaning duty. Which meant lots of scrubbing decks and other less, savory places. If the winds were favorable, they would be in Haypool in a couple days, so it wouldn’t be long before they could do something else. They would stop at Fredamoor in the evening, to pick up some extra supplies, after which straight to Haypool and back again.
The rest of the afternoon, the men did their jobs, in relative quiet. The miles disappeared behind them as The Lady White followed the coastline north. Besides the island of Arnen, which they’d passed an hour after departing from Anastor, there were no other islands or rocks in the sea. Just blue waves to the south, west and north, with the coast visible in the east. They were brushing the deck and talking about how much money it would take to get a decent sized ship, when someone shouted they’d reached Fredamoor.
The village wasn’t readily accessible to the ships, so dinghies were sent to shore to get whatever it was the captain still needed. The sky was slowly turning orange, the sun setting, and Stanley and Alex stood near the railing. Someone called out for help and Stanley volunteered. He dropped down and joined the small crew ashore. Alex followed the little boat as it made its way down to the shore.
His mind drifted back to a day much like this, several years ago, when he and Stanley had been down south. They had followed a tip from some guy at a bar that he’d met a family with skin as dark as Stanley’s, and swore that they were complaining they’d lost a son. Apparently someone had stolen him and taken him far away north. They’d never seen him again, but were still looking for him. Though the two of them both knew that it probably was just some other family from the far south, still it couldn’t hurt to investigate it a bit further. Their ship wasn’t leaving for another week, so why not? After two days of traveling through small villages, they had almost given up hope, when a small boy, dark as night, came running to them. He said his parents had been waiting for them, and so they followed him home. When they got to the house, and heard what the family had to say over supper, it was disappointing to say the least. Not only was the boy they were looking supposedly a decade younger than Stanley was, their skin color was not nearly as dark as the little boy’s, let alone Stanley’s. Frustrated, they thanked the family for their food, and left. Stanley hadn’t said another word the rest of the journey.
Part of the reason Alex wanted him to continue, was that he was looking for someone as well. Granted, Alex had known his father, where Stanley knew neither of his parents, but still. It was a matter of principle. They both had to keep going, no matter what life might throw in their path. They couldn’t give up. He wasn’t sure what would happen if they’d ever find who they were looking for. Nor what would happen if they did. Marianne had become a new focus for him, and while he was glad Stanley was willing to help him with that, he wished he could return the favor somehow.
To the left of the barge, several dozen feet away, Alex looked at the two galleys that had gone ahead of them. He saw Rudy giving orders to some guys whilst waving his arms in the air. A barrel of something might have busted, as several of the crewmembers were hurryingly mopping the deck.
Alex smiled. He turned his head to the other galley and noted someone standing near the edge, away from the rest of the crew. He seemed to be staring at the open sea. It took Alex a moment before he recognized it was the man who’d welcomed them so warmly the day before. He wondered what his problem was. Rudy told them he’d been assigned to guard duty? What was so wrong with that?
At that same moment, the man turned around and looked in the direction of Alex. Their gazes met for a second and Alex was pretty sure the man gritted his teeth.
Yeah, love you too man... Alex frowned. Jeez.
Alex woke with a start and bumped into the wood above him.
He cursed and grabbed hold of his forehead. As he was trying to adjust his eyes to the light, he heard Stanley enter the berth.
At the site of Alex rubbing his head of course he had to laugh. “You would think you’d be used to a bunk by now mate.”
Alex glowered. “Shut up.”
“Sure, sure. Well, seeing you’re up and all: might as well get started. The foreman wants to see us,” Stanley said, still smiling.
“For what?” Alex asked.
“Well, for starters probably wondering why we’re so late. Now come on.”
Alex got up, put his boots on and swung on his jacket, and followed Stanley up the stairs.
They met the foreman on the main deck, the rest of the crew crowding around him. The foreman went through the next round of duties everyone had to take, after which he talked about their current trip to Haypool.
“Now I know some of you might have wondered about whatever’s happening near Wyedon, and why of all places we are going there. But to tell you the truth, I don’t really give a damn. We’re going to the port city to drop stuff off, pick stuff up and head back. That’s it. Whatever’s happening on the borders doesn’t concern me. So it shouldn’t concern you. Let others worry about that. It’s their job.” The foreman stared at the crew for a moment and then went on. “Right. Now back to work, the lot of you. If I see someone slacking off, it’s coming out of your wage!”
Stanley nudged Alex and motioned to follow him a few yards away from now quickly dispersing crowd.
“What is it?” Alex wondered.
“Well,” Stanley glanced around, making sure no one was within earshot. “What would you say if I told you there’s a girl on board…?” Stanley ventured.
Alex eyes went up in surprise. “Really? How did I miss that?”
“Well for one my keen senses and awareness of the opposite sex are far beyond yours as you well know…”
Alex made a face.
“And you were sleeping…. I just saw her an hour ago. Seemed she’s trying to be unnoticed. She’s dressed like a bloke…” Stanley was smiling.
“And you’re telling me this… why?”
“Aren’t you curious what she’s doing on board?” Stanley asked as he glanced at a group of men walking by.
“Not really. It’s none of my business. Neither is it yours for that matter.”
Now Stanley made a face.
“Just for once could you just leave the girl be? We’re almost done, and if she’s trying to be ignored then let’s do just that. Besides, they’ll be lots of galls waiting for you when we get back to Capri.”
Stanley pursed his lips and as the foreman started walking their way, they quickly went to do their jobs on board.
“By the way,” Alex said with a smile, “What was that maid’s name that you met in Capri? From Mary’s family?”
The next day the weather started to worsen, with rain visible in the skies ahead. Though there wasn’t much wind in the air as of yet, Alex surmised they would get the front of it when they’d hit Haypool. They were almost at the city, just a few hours away. As Alex headed to his bunk, trying to doze off for a bit – they could spare him – he bumped into someone as he was walking down the stairs. He managed to grab hold of the person’s wrist, preventing them from falling to the ground.
“Sorry mate, I’m beat,” Alex said as he straightened up.
“That’s okay,” the person replied, coughing shortly and adjusting the hood he was wearing. Repeating in a lower voice, “Really, I’m fine – I… I shouldn’t be here…” And presently started walking up the stairs.
“Wait…” Alex replied and slowly turned. “You’re that girl, aren’t you?”
The person halted. “What?” High voice. “No, of course not.” Low voice. “Why would you say that?”
Alex smiled. “Don’t worry – don’t think the others know.” Alex looked around once more. “My mate was saying there was a gal on board, and he’s usually right. Guess it’s true then.”
The woman turned around. “What!? Who? How?”
“Well for starters that voice gives you away…”
The woman walked back to Alex and started talking in a rush. “Please don’t tell them! Please, you can’t! I can’t be found out.”
“Easy there. I’m not saying anything. Though I should tell the frontman about you, seeing as he’s in charge.”
“No! Please don’t tell him. They can’t know, not yet.”
“Why?” Alex replied, curiosity getting the better of him.
“I can’t tell you…” the woman said, her voice barely audible.
“In that case…” Alex started to walk past her and up the stairs.
“No, wait! Please,” she pleaded.
Alex turned around and regarded the woman in front of him, anxiously staring at him. She was wearing ragged clothes, obviously trying to be unobtrusive and managing quite well enough – though up close it wasn’t working as well as she might have liked. A large hood covered her hair, and she had smeared something black on her face. Their eyes locked. He noticed her eyes were gray. He froze for a moment.
Composing himself, he continued. “Well you better tell me something,” Alex said and motioned to the back of the ship.
The ship had slowed down, the swaying decreased and Alex stood against the hull, staring at the woman he’d just bumped into. She was sitting on a barrel, with a dozen or so crates around her. No one else was around, but she still intermittently looked around to make sure.
“You’re saying you’re stalking someone?” Alex asked.
“No! Not stalking… not really. I… I’m following him… without him knowing it…” she said, her eyes down.
“Seems like stalking to me…”
“Okay, then I am. So what?” she said, a bit edgier.
Alex held up his hands. “Nothing. Fine by me. Though you mind me asking whom you’re ‘following’? It’s not Stanley is it? I’ll smack him for you if you want me too. He sure as hell has it coming…”
“What? No... Who’s Stanley?”
“Uhm, the guy who told me about you. Tall, dark skinned, bald, looking furtively at you every time he sees you…”
“No. It’s not him.” She looked at Alex for a moment.
“What? Me? I’m afraid I don’t recall running into you before. Do I owe your father money or something? Is that it?”
She fell silent.
“What?” Alex asked, wondering why she suddenly turned to stone.
“It’s not you. And no you don’t owe my father,” she winced slightly at the word, “anything. He’s dead.”
Crap. “I apologize. That was unkind…” He stared at her for a moment. “My condolences,” he said, meaning ever bit of it.
Their eyes met.
She smiled slightly. “Thank you.”
Alex waited a little bit before going on. “So, who is it then?”
“He’s not on this ship. He’s on one of the others. A captain, called Andrew…”
Seriously? That guy? “Ahh, the captain…”
“You’ve seen him?”
“Aye, we’ve met. Briefly.”
“Did he seem upset?” She wondered, worry in her voice.
“A tad. But we only met for a minute or so. Why do you ask?”
“Well… it’s kind of the reason I’m on this ship and not his….”
Alex waited patiently. He remembered doing the same thing to Mary when she had something she wanted to talk about. Most women just wanted a listening ear, you didn’t really needed to say anything. Just let them talk.
“You see, we said goodbye to each other at Anastor. On the docks… He was ordered to travel to Haypool and didn’t want me to go with him… I told him I didn’t mind going on a ship with him, even though I’ve never been on a ship before… But he said no. I don’t know why… When I saw him fade away, waving, I… I just had to reach him. That’s… that’s when I saw this ship still docked, about to take off. I found some dirty clothes and snuck onboard, hoping to surprise him in Haypool… And then I noticed Stanley looking at me and wasn’t sure what to do. I… I started to worry I’d be found out and thrown overboard…”
“Thrown overboard? Are you serious?” Alex said smiling.
“Well, I don’t know. Then I bumped into you…”
Alex waited for a moment before saying something. What a funny girl…
“Well I think he’ll be surprised alright.”
“So you’re not going to turn me in?” She asked.
“What? No. Listen lady, I don’t know what you want from me but as far as I’m concerned your business is with that captain of yours. We’re almost at Haypool, so you’ll have your chance to surprise him shortly. Now if you excuse me I better be going.”
He started walking back up the stairs but paused to say: “Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you.”
“Now look who’s talking about other women…” Stanley said after Alex had briefly told him what happened downstairs. They were nearing Haypool, you could see the outline of the port up ahead, and the men were preparing to dock.
“What?” Alex said, his mind elsewhere.
“You do know you promised to marry a girl back in Capri don’t you?” Stanley prodded as he handed Alex a rope to tie around some supplies.
“Very funny mate. No it’s something else. I have this weird feeling that I’ve met that girl before…” Alex glanced back at the door heading down to the berth.
“Well, it’s a small world out there, ain’t it? Anything’s possible…”
The sound of a bell heralded their arrival at Haypool.
“Guess our job’s half done,” Stanley continued, smiling.
Alex gazed at the clouds ahead, pregnant with rain. He could see a couple of ships still out at sea, hurrying their way back to port, before those clouds would get to them.
He heard boots behind him and noticed Stanley looking up at the sky as well. “You think it’ll rain?” he asked, smiling.
“A bit…” Alex replied.
“Let’s get some grub and shelter then, shall we?”
They made their way down the boardwalk. Upon seeing some fellow sailors heading towards a building up ahead, they followed them. After a fork in the road, they entered a reddish building, with stone and wood piled around it, and several anchors lying around. Or, it probably was red in the light, it was getting darker by the second.
It was late in the evening when Alex heard her, as he was walking back to the inn. He had to go outside to relieve himself as the inn’s privy was apparently clogged up by someone’s previous meals. Mostly beans. He didn’t mind going outside – the fresh air was pleasant and reinvigorating. It was cooler here up north, almost piercingly so.
As Alex looked around in the semi-darkness, several lanterns lighting up the boardwalks near the shore and buildings near the inn, he heard someone sobbing. A person was slumped up against the building opposite the inn, in the dark. There was no one around, save for several seagulls that looked on, indifferent. Meaning to head straight towards the inn, Alex recognized who it was and sighed.
“I’m guessing your boyfriend wasn’t keen on you showing up like that…” Alex said as he looked at the girl who’d snuck onboard the ship.
“What?” She sniffed. “Oh… it’s you…” She tried to smile a bit, but it didn’t really work. “You could say that…”
Alex looked around and sat down next to her. He offered her a piece of cloth. She accepted it and continued crying.
Eventually she stopped and stared down.
“Remember to keep breathing,” Alex said, smiling.
She attempted to take a few big breaths, shaking a bit, but managed.
“You want to talk about it?” Alex asked. What am I doing?
“Well we got into a fight…”
“I assumed as much,” Alex said.
“He asked me… why I had come and I thought he would be… well, not happy perhaps… but at least glad to see me… instead he got angry. Asked me why I didn’t listen to him… and I said I didn’t care if it was dangerous or not… I just wanted to be with him….” She sniffed. “Then he told me to head to the inn and stay there till tomorrow… like a child!”
“I see,” Alex said, his gaze on the water in the distance before returning to her.
She looked at him for a while. “I just wish he’d be happier to see me… I don’t know why he’s making such a big deal out of it….”
“Well, he’ll probably be heading back tomorrow as well, so the two of you will have time to figure it out then.” He stood up and offered his hand to pull her up. She did and as they stood thus, he looked at her. “Hey, I’m sure he’ll come around.”
She nodded and headed back to the inn.
Alex shook his head and headed back in to join Stanley and several other crew members.
Alex woke to the sound of a bell ringing.
He rose in bed and looked around the small room Stanley and he’d bunked in. Light shone through a tiny window across of him. The room lit up with that hazy morning look, dust particles visible in the rays of light.
Alex wondered if Mary was awake now. She probably would be – she usually got up earlier than he did. What would her day look like? Would she flee the house and go to the orchard that she’d walk in when she needed time to herself? Would her family bother her as they usually did? Would she be thinking of him? He hoped she wouldn’t spend that much time worrying about him. He thought back to when they said goodbye in Capri. Her standing in the doorway, her chemise contrasted by the sable mantle haphazardly thrown on her. The look in her eyes – fear, loss, uncertainty perhaps? He vowed once more that that wouldn’t happen again. That she wouldn’t feel that way, not for him. He wanted to be with her. Put his arms around her and look at the sea. More than anything, he wanted her to smile. To laugh and giggle. He loved it when she laughed. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it made him feel better than he had had for a very long time.
He heard Stanley move around. “Stanley, you better get up before we’re late again.”
“Five more minutes…” Stanley mumbled.
Alex smiled, dressed and went downstairs to eat.
Downstairs, most of the men were in a good mood. They’d done most of the work, only needed to go back to Anastor now, and all that talk about raids and whatnot was unfounded. The innkeeper told those who wanted to know, and those who didn’t, who really was at fault of their low times – statesmen making backhanded deals with traders or merchants from other countries, thereby decreasing the demand for local produce because of competition with lower priced commodities from abroad. Or something along those lines. Alex wasn’t really paying attention to them. He was counting his payment for the journey they took to this place. It wasn’t much. But at least it was something. If he could keep this up, he might be able to…
Who am I kidding? I’ll need a shitload more to even come close to that dower… Since leaving Capri, he’d amassed two pounds. Two fucking pounds…
His mood brightened a bit when Stanley informed him that George, the first mate, would be going south again and had some work for them if they wanted it. He didn’t mind George that much, to-the-point, he liked that.
It was about noon that they headed back to the docks. Supplies (not that they were many), were brought aboard, and the crew was being signed posts by George. Stanley was assigned to one of the barges, Alex to the Lady White.
“It’s not like I’m going to miss you or anything,” Stanley said, grinning like an idiot.
Alex smiled. “Keep telling yourself that mate. See you when we land.” They embraced each other and he watched Stanley head down the dock and board one of the barges.
Before heading to his ship, Alex asked George if Andrew would be joining them.
He laughed. “Don’t worry mate, he’s with your pall.”
Alex didn’t really find that reassuring. If anything Stanley would be arguing with him already. He sighed.
“That lass though,” he mentioned a figure standing at the edge of the Lady White,” will be accompanying us. And she’s ‘not to be allowed out of sight’, or so our mutual friend insisted.”
“That should be fun,” Alex said, gazing at the skies. He saw some clouds in the distance. So far for the good weather…
“Good! As you’ll be watching her.”
“Wait, what?” Alex asked, bewildered.
Alex spent the next few hours on the ship frowning. At the weather, at his ‘job’. Though the girl didn’t really do much, mostly keeping to herself, Alex felt annoyed at this watch duty. He’d rather be helping out in the ship or arguing with Stanley. I should’ve swapped places with him…
A couple hours in, Alex stood against the hull, and was staring at the sea when he noticed the girl staring at him a few paces away.
“What?” He asked.
“Who were you thinking of?” the girl asked.
“What do you mean?” puckering his brow a bit.
“I can see you’re thinking of someone, and I was wondering who it was,” she continued.
“None of your business.”
“Oh, come on. Please, tell me. It’s a girl isn’t it? I know it is.”
Alex looked at the girl and smiled. “Discerning, aren’t we?” He smirked. “Well if you must know, yes, I was thinking of a girl…”
She smiled and continued. “What’s her name?”
“Mary…” She paused. “Is she your… lover?”
“What?! Just wondering.”
“Why this sudden interest in my love life?”
“Never mind. Just curious.”
“Sure, sure. Nothing to do with Andrew now would it?”
“What? No! I mean. Maybe. I don’t know… I just wonder if he looks like that when he thinks of me….”
“You know what?”
“I don’t believe I know your name,” he said smiling, and held out his hand.
Turning slightly red, the girl shook his hand and said: “Adelaide.”
“Alex. Well Adelaide, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Really? You’re just saying that to be nice.”
“Of course,” Alex replied, smiling.
She puckered her face.
“Can I ask you something?”
“Okay…” she replied.
“Have we met before? I mean before you crashed into me…”
She turned brief red and then frowned. “I don’t think so. I doubt it.”
“I don’t travel often. Or at all really. Going to Anastor was the first time I travelled more than a day, actually.”
“Why?” Adelaide asked, puzzled.
“I can’t quite place it but I feel like we’ve met before.”
“Well, uhm, have you ever been to Whitemaple Abbey? It’s near a small village called Cherble, in Heaton?”
“Don’t believe I have.” His eyes lingered on her face for a moment. “Have any of your siblings or family come this way before?”
It was slight, but Alex noticed her eyes fell a bit. “I don’t have any brothers or sisters. I live with my mother.”
“I see,” Alex said, uncomfortable for making her uncomfortable.
“My mother might been to Anastor before…” She paused. “She doesn’t really talk about her life before we came to the abbey.”
“So no father then?”
Her face dropped.
He cursed at himself. “I apologize, that’s none of my business.”
“That’s okay, really.” She tried to smile. “No, no father. I’ve never known him either. My mother never talks about him. I wish she would though, I hate not knowing who he was… or is. I know he was a sailor, and that they met at sea. Nothing else.”
They were both quiet for a while.
“I’ve never known my mother…” Alex said finally. “Not really.”
Adelaide looked at him with that look all women get when they hear something sad.
“It’s okay. My father and I managed well without her.” He paused and stared at the skies. The clouds were multiplying and turning darker by the minute. They would hit a storm soon if they continued on their present course. “I have this memory of her… we’re outside and it’s windy… her hair is flapping in the wind and she looks down at me and smiles… that’s it.” Why am I saying this?
“That’s… that’s nice.”
“I mean it. At least you have a memory of her. That way you know she was real.”
Alex smiled ruefully and looked back at the sea. The waters below looked like a sheet, which didn’t allow anything to pierce its surface. “You’re right,” he said finally. “I’m glad I have something to hold onto.” He turned to face her and went on. “I hope you find out where you come from one day…”
“Thank you,” Adelaide said, looking at him with an odd look.
Alex heard people calling him. “I have to go…” He looked at the clouds approaching. “You best head inside. It’s going to rain soon. And hard.”
Adelaide nodded and headed to the cabins.
Once Alex got to the main deck and saw George barking orders to people, he headed to him and started helping out.
“We’re trying to avoid those clouds aren’t we?” Alex said to the men he was adjusting one of the sails with.
“Aye,” they said.
“Don’t think we can though…” someone else mentioned.
“Like shit we can’t,” a big guy with scars over his arms barked. “Pull faster idiots. I don’t want to get wet.”
Alex smiled knowingly to the man next to him. They were going to get wet.
As the minutes flew by and the crew scrambled to get the ship ready as far as it could and as fast as they went, the wind started picking up. A couple pieces of cloth and a cup flew past Alex as he walked to the bow of the ship. People were shouting and getting a bit edgy, as they often did when the weather turned foul. He noted the flash of lightning in the distance and a few seconds later the rumble came.
Someone put a hand on his shoulder and he turned.
“The girl is safe?” George called.
Alex nodded. “Yeah, she’s in the cabin.”
“Good…” George looked out at the sea. It had started raining now and the sky was turning darker by the second.
“What is it?” Alex asked.
“I don’t know…. Something’s off…”
“Besides the weather?”
“Never mind. Get to that cabin and make sure that broad doesn’t freak out and jump overboard or something.” He continued on, barking orders at the rest of the crew.
Alex smiled shortly but as the rain started coming down faster, he hurried to the cabins. Wonder what he was going on about…
Thunder and lightning again. The rain poured down on the deck, pelting him and the crew. Alex tried to discern the other ships, but couldn’t see through the rain. He wondered how Stanley was faring. He even wondered about Andrew.
As he neared the cabin a sudden explosion of fire and wood threw him down to the ground. He crashed into a pile of ropes, migrating some of the impact, but the air went out of his longs nonetheless. Straggling and gasping for air, Alex tried to get back up. He heard people shouting and yelling. A fire was burning on the ship, despite the rain. Smoke was starting to enclose on him and he heard another swoosh, right past his ears. He knew the sound of cannons enough to make him race to the cabins. He started yelling.
“Adelaide!” he shouted, panting and struggling past a couple of men. The deck was slippery from the water and he faltered a couple times.
“Adelaide!” he yelled again. He heard her voice shout back.
A flash illuminated the sky and another swoosh. A big blast shook the floor he was standing on and he buckled downwards once more. One of the masts came crashing down and fell nearly on top of him but was caught against the upper deck, just a foot above him. Fuck!
More shouts and screams. Cries and voices.
Wheezing, he squinted his eyes and crawled forward on his knees and feet to get away from the mast. “Where are you?!” he shouted.
He heard her voice again, this time from behind him. He got up and started running towards the sound.
“I’m coming!” he cried.
The storm now filled the entire sky. Rain poured down on them, hitting ship and all like a thousand little nails. The Lady White swayed in the water as waves banged against it. The rainstorm seemed to have little effect on the fires, which kept popping up all around him. Images of Mary flitted by his eyes. The two of them laughing in an orchard. Him chasing her on the beach. Her standing near the door, pleading.
He heard a voice again, calling out to him. He headed towards but was abruptly seized by hands who started tugging him away. He struggled to get loose and shout. Didn’t they hear her? He had to get to her! Someone hit him in the stomach and everything went black for a moment. He buckled and was thrown into the black water.
He plunged into the sea, the cold and wetness submerging him. Everything was dark for a second, and then he looked up and saw lights. He kicked and tried to push the blackness away, frantically trying to get back to the surface. If only he could reach the surface…
He rose out of the sea and gasped for air. Looking for the ship, he saw one of the other ships in the distance, fire and smoke and pieces of it everywhere, destroyed. He couldn’t see the others. Rain. Fire. Smoke. Thunder. Lightning. He tried to get away from the dark, icy water and kicked at it.
Suddenly The Lady White came into view and he saw where he and Adelaide had stood just minutes ago.
Illuminated by several flashes of lightning and fire, he saw a lone figure standing still, calling out to him.
Shapes started to close in and drag her away.
No! Alex shouted again, but no sound came from his lips.
Something hit the back of his head and he passed out. As the blackness closed in around him, he heard a scream.