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Rebellion: The Beginning
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Chapter 4: Compliments to the Chef
Angus smiled slyly when hearing Lindy exclaim his reason for delay. He was now sure that Marley had finally found a reason that even HE could see fitting for a beating. Angus was eyeing the situation that had completely stilled the cabin; he laughed silently for himself by the sight of the irresolute captain who frantically fiddled with his beard, while manically trying to find a solution to his situation.
Angus knew that this might be the breakthrough for the captain, and sat completely still like a vulture, waiting to see what happened. His smile slowly disappeared. The last thing he wanted was to influence Captain Marley. He could see the captain was searching for words, and indeed the right mood too. At times his face moved towards pity, and at times towards anger. The latter was the most prominent expression when Angus began to fear the other men in the cabin. Then indeed, when Marley had just started to open his mouth while his gaze and face was full of anger and indeed hate, Rum spoke up, with the most pitiful face Angus had ever seen.
"Oh Lindy! We can understand." He said while smiling, an understanding smile at the young boy. ”After your last experience with coming into this office with news, we can all understand your fear for interruptions. If Angus hadn't been here though, things might have been different..." The speculations that Rum had aired were horrifying to Angus' ears. However, most of all he hated the fact that Rum had ruined Captain Marley’s only possible change to discipline the young boy. It was with a torn face of grief and hate that he walked slowly past Lindy, who looked at him haughtily. He pulled the door after himself with a slam as his anger overwhelmed his sorrow.
Then with anger, he quickly rallied the crewmembers, and gave them orders to load the six rather beaten up cannons. Angus was prepared to shoot his way past the grand obstacle, he knew that there were only two favourable choices, to escape or die trying! If they where captured, their quest was surely doomed. He had just gotten confirmation of the loading of the cannons, and was ordering the hoisting of the sails: "And remember!" he cried loudly to a rather young boy at the steering wheel, "Never let her broadside look at theirs"
"Aye aye, sir!" the boy replied solemnly, fully prepared to sail the ship to his grave, if that was his doom.
At that moment, Captain Marley came out of his quarters.
Angus pretended to have forgotten the captain’s previous failure, and thus he gladly greeted him.
"Oh great, Captain" He said with a sincere smile "I have ordered the men to hoist the sails, and cannons are already loaded. With a bit of luck I think we might be able to squeeze past her."
Marley answered the enthusiastic Scotsman with a cold stare, almost hateful.
"Who have asked you to do this?" Marley bellowed out in great anger. The unexpected yelling surprised Angus. He only looked puzzled at the captain. "You must be the most foolish sheep-head that has ever lived in the highlands... Fighting against a War Galleon with a Sloop is suicide, even if she is fully manned. Your folly is your undoing I say; never again will you have any control over any part of this ship, and as soon we get to land, you are on your own. And don’t except any explanation for your banishment, your actions speak for themselves Angus McDow."
Angus lost his breath; he could not believe what had just happened. That is, he could not believe it before seeing the content grin upon Young Lindy's face. The young boy practically gleamed of gladness. All the others had angry stares pointed towards him. Marley then ordered the lowering of the sails, and unloading of the cannons, while hoisting white banners to show their surrender.
Angus looked with wonder and dread upon all that happened around him. He could not believe that a man that had escaped from a village full of murderous living zombies could surrender so easily now when their success was so near. He could only blame Lindy he guessed, and he found it nearly comical that Marley had been so correct when they discussed the matters of the boy. Lindy had clearly disliked Angus, and had thus convinced the others to see likewise on the matter. Angus was now alone. The rebels of the voodooLady were surely going to die. He could not help thinking about the origins of Lindy, and the possibility that Lindy was brainwashed. He had never talked about that with Marley, and now he never could either. First when hearing the story he believed that since Lindy was born after the family had entered the realm, and before they were brainwashed, he was unaffected by the powers that the VoodooLady had over the population. Now, seeing what this little boy had mastered, he wondered if this boy could have been brainwashed from the start. The boat could be a decoy, sailing the waters in a way that was SUPPOSED to look like newcomers, while they were brainwashed weeks ago.
Maybe being born in the realm, the child was automatically a slave for the VoodooLady. The thoughts invaded Angus' mind, and the one was worse than the other was, and at the end he had horrid visions of this boy as a product of pure evil, with one solemn purpose, to sow faith and then brutally destroy it. Angus did not even know what to do anymore. His role in the gang was now gone, and so was the complete rebel-gang at all it seemed. He toyed with the lust for escape. He could use the little which rowboat that fastened by a rope to the stern of the ship. No, he knew that while the others had such hate for him, his life would be at stake if he tried such a bold act. He once again studied his former companions: Marley looked sad, but strongly determined. He held his strong hands upon Lindy's shoulders. This boy again, gleamed with pride, he smiled openly, and once and again, he looked back at Angus and laughed mockingly at him. Rum was angered and drank fast and with few and short brakes.
He constantly threatened Angus, and cursed his name and all his clan for the terror he had inflicted upon poor young Lindy. Rap was the only one who seemed overly dismayed by the complete situation. He clearly disliked the other ship, and it seemed that he also disapproved of the exclusion of Angus. After a short while he kindly asked Lindy to make them some stew; but since Lindy refused, and the others wouldn't mind some stew, Rap was himself forced to go to the galley and make it. Angus noted that Rap even more disliked this. He really felt sorry for the chef as he with panic-stricken eyes walked with shaking feet down the staircase.
The next moment the War Galleon had struck her broad side against The Grog Villains Beauty’s side, and men upon men jumped down on the sloop's deck. The men were horrifying to look on, their faces were perverted, and many of them talked to themselves, mostly about their mothers and families. Angus shook his head in dismay; their glorious captain had led them into the hands of lunatics. The leader of the squad stopped right in front of Captain Marley and gave him a piece of paper. Marley read it while the leader for the Spanish men turned and tried to silence his men, then he again turned towards Marley with an expressionless face, and misty deep eyes.
"It is an arrest order." Marley said, while reading it. "They’re looking for a man named Stew Bram..."
"The horrible murderer who depopulated most of the Spanish colonies on Terra Firma?" Rum asked, while his eyes grew wide open, he had heard numerous of grim stories about this man.
"Well, this paper only describes two major poisonings." Marley said, while noting Rum's disappointment "Anyway, we are surely not guilty in these crimes, but the paper states that we are to be arrested just the same. We must explain our innocence." Marley looked around after something "Angus! Go and get Rap!” He finally shouted.
"Aye Aye sir!" Angus muttered out, and went down to the galley. When he got down, he heard the muttering of Rap.
"Rap!" Angus yelled, knowing that time was sparse "The captain wants you on deck" he clearly added a venomous pressure on the word captain.
"Why?" Rap asked, with a hint of fear. "Can't you see that I am busy?" He clearly showed that he was cooking, by stirring in great circles in the stew.
"There seems to be some kind of language problem with our guests." Angus answered trying not to distress the chef "And unrightful assumptions. They claim that one Stew Bram is on this ship, and..." Rap froze immediately when hearing the name, Angus continued slowly, while following Rap's reactions. ”And they plan to capture the whole crew until they have found out who of us it might be. So we need you to explain that this man isn't aboard."
Rap clearly disliked the task that they appointed to him, and he pleaded Angus to go back alone.
"You must do this Rap." Angus wondered greatly over the reaction of the cook, who now was truly petrified "You're the only one on the ship who understands Spanish."
"Then how did the captain know what the Dons where after?" Angus asked, suspicious over their dear captain’s motives. "Are you sure Marley can't speak some lines?"
"I got a glance at the paper, and it seemed to be written in port by a skilled hand, a governor most probably. And it also got the seal of Maracaibo."
"Maracaibo?!" Rap shouted out, not caring to try to disguise his fear anymore.
"Rap?" Angus asked, starting to understand the situation "Do you know more than you should about this Stew Bram?"
A silence fell, in which Rap started to look more and more petrified.
"Ah, I might as well tell the whole bloody tale." Rap answered Angus miserably. "My life is doomed just the same. It began in the grand days of the late thirties. My career was going great; I had won much fame from my popular Meat and fish dishes. I was therefore overly glad when I got the chance to work at a sophisticated restaurant in Panama. Well I was not so glad to be working for any Don, and least of all feeding them, but this was truly a change that would never appear again. Panama was then, as it is now also I believe, one of the richest cities on the entire Spanish Main, and my coming restaurant was the most prominent in Panama.
I became the lead chef. The first couple of days where like heaven on earth (If you took away the fact that I was surrounded by Dons), then one day the owner of the restaurant called me into his office, and I learnt the true secret of the successful El Calabacine Feliz. It was some kind of Mafia Company, which controlled all taverns and restaurants in Panama and Puerto Bello. The reason for hiring me was only to get a man who hated Spanish people to do their dirty work without hesitation. They also wanted some food that was actually edible. Well, what could I say? There in the office this great fat Sicilian-breed Don sat and sucked merrily on the largest pipe I had ever seen, the opening could easily fit a golden guinea, and the tobacco filled the pipe to the brim. This mans great wealth nearly disgusted me (In the kitchen, I had found the most varied collection of spices I have ever seen). "Remember," he said he said, while smiling a great smile that revealed that most of his teeth was of pure gold. "You can be as rich as me, if you only work hard enough."
Who with a fine-working head could refuse an offer where you could kill of lots of Dons, while earning vast amounts of money? That; and the fact that a rather angry-looking African slave with a cutlass stood right behind the boss and just waited for me to refuse, made me accept the offer. Then before long, I sent the most explicit and tastefully poisoned foods to all the restaurants that had not paid the right fees to us. And those foolishly tavern keepers that refused to serve the meat, we paid visits, and most often burned down both their business and their homes. We had a rather thriving little business.
Then one day a slimy tavern owner got the better of us: the Don had conspired against his land, and us. He had refused to pay the fee one day, and served the poisoned food free to the poor (only a few of the regular visitor ever died from the food). Therefore, I naturally believed that the poison-doses had gone wrong, so I increased them, and increased them. He was smart, so he killed of more and more of the regulars according to the poison-doses, but still too few died. So I created the most terrible poison I've ever made, It killed the person after a day, and everyone that the person touched was smitten, and would also die in a day. The snake must have found out, for he had the night after receiving the goods, gathered many of the most prominent people of the city. In a week, the complete elite community was dead. Pirates then sacked the city, and made the tavern owner governor in the name of France. The town was soon after, attacked and reclaimed by the Dons of course (Panama was in danger).
They hanged the governor, but not before he had told about the poisoning. The Dons then blamed us, and my boss would surely blame me (Him also being a Don). Therefore I escaped and found refugee in a shabby Tavern in Curacao. However, the tavern owner was greedy (as are all Dutchmen) and I was running out of money fast. Then this shipment of liquor came in from Puerto Calabaza, this was in my most desperate hour, so I made a grim deal with the tavern owner. I promised him the recipe for the drink, in exchange for a fixed percentage of the income and protection from the spying Dons. I then killed of the whole colony with poisoned sausages. I would not regret doing it if it succeeded, since every man, women and child were actually Dons. But alas, it did not succeed at all. The man who had the recipes was gone, and came back at the blackest of night. Then as he understood what had happened, he ate his own recipes (Crazy Dons!).
He would carry it to his death rather than share it with a stinking Englishman he said. I then tried to force the secret out of him. Nevertheless, the stupid Don had blocked his mind, so all my creative torture was without luck. At the end, he died when I was halfway through peeling the skin of his body (I cut too deep at several places). I was doomed; my only luck lay in the few cases of liquor that lay in their warehouses, so I loaded the poor amount of 12 cases into my ship, and sailed first to Tortuga. There I sold eleven of the cases in exchange for a royal title and a cover in Eleuthera. Then sailed northwards, and chose the unfortunate path that you also must have taken, the Crooked Island Passage. Even so, I must say that I was the most successful; for I kindly accepted a chat with the VoodooLady, and gladly shared with my pumpkin liquor (I had one case left you must remember). Well, luckily for me the VoodooLady really enjoyed the drink, and drank bottle after bottle.
I myself drank only bottles filled with water (After drinking bottles when onboard the ship, I used to fill them with water to fully exploit the fine drink). At the end, she had dozed off, and I could only feel a small warming in my throat and stomach. I looked around and my eyes fell on a recipe on the table. The heading said, Directions for Monkey Irresistible. That is at least what I THINK it said, the letters where quite hard to read. Anyway, I took it with me (It sounded tasteful), and found some of the ingredients for the meal. I also took a handful of her mind-breaking powder-substance (I did not know what it was at that time). Thus, I was free, and she might have believed that the missing handful of powder was proof of my mind breaking, and therefore she did not hunt for me. One thing is sure though, we didn't get the impression of her dismay at us before the Booty episode." Rap stopped with his tale, and started cursing the Voodoo Lady.
Angus' mind flew for a moment over Raps tale, and then at last he spoke. "What about the powder, and the recipe? Did you ever find any use for them?"
"The powder I hastily got rid of after a rather tragic episode in the Booty Mansion." Rap said, while giving Angus a strange look, which was some kind of mixture between a laugh and a cry. "I managed to turn the Governor on Booty crazy by adding the powder onto of a bowl of porridge. The next hour he was gone, and all traces we could find of him where his clothes that lay rip apart on the floor.
So then his younger brother took the job as the Governor. Luckily, Christopher De Watt (the former governor) had taken his bowl with him, so I was out of suspicion. With that in mind, I carefully studied the recipe, trying to fathom what it might produce. I have concluded that the mixture would at least create a fume that would make those breathing it faint and enter a deep coma. This might be bad enough, but still I have to find out what some of the other ingredients might do. I also have a theory about the fumes; since the fumes cause the coma, the lack of fumes might bring people back from coma. But this is mere speculations and shouldn't be taken seriously."
Angus sat down on a barrel and tried to think over all that he had heard. Then he heard Marley calling for progress.
"Maybe we should escape?" Angus asked thoughtfully, slowly unravelling a mustering idea, "We could leave Marley where he is. And we could easily overpower the guards above, slip to the side, take a boat, and make to any sho..."
"No,no!" Rap said miserably, but with pride, "I would never leave Marley behind."
"Why not?" asked Angus, not understanding why any person would risk his life for a sissy captain like Marley "He is a joke! His last action has told us that. He couldn’t save these lands even if he wanted to."
"Are you assuming that Marley is on the VoodooLady's team?" Rap was shocked, and even more so when he saw the affirming nod that Angus gave him. "Marley is the best man I have met. He is also the best governor Mêlée ever had, and when trying to protect his island he is invincible. The only problem is that dreadful boy, he is a nice chap, but the governor’s affection towards him is dangerous. Believe me; if Lindy had not been on this ship, Marley would be the first one at the cannons. Rum is again too proud of his governor to see the faults he does.
They do not do anything wrong in their own hearts, and normally they would not do anything like this at all. Therefore, if anyone should escape at all, it must be you Angus. The only friend you probably would have left among us is me." Angus could now see the situation he had feared, dreaded and almost hoped for since his angered discussion with Rum. Dreaded and feared, because it left him alone, and without support (except from Rap that is). He also hoped, because he had grown a hate towards them, and would dislike working with them again. Now all he had to do was make the decision; flee, and kill of his only friend among the rebels, or stay and... Stay and... Of course!
"Rap, do you have all the ingredients for the VoodooLady's monkey-recipe?" Idea after idea flowed into Angus mind, and soon his original plan was completed and he was working with alterative paths to gain the goal he was seeking.
"I have..." Rap started before understanding Angus completely "Aha! I understand. I really like the way you think Angus. I am going to start right away. Now let's see; Preheat pot to 450 degrees..."
At that moment, a crazed Captain Marley came furious into the galley, and loudly demanded a proper reason for the delay.
"Ah, nothing to worry about Marley," Rap gladly replied, "Our problems will soon be resolved. Just give me a moment."
"We don't have a moment; they have started taking our crew onboard that dreadful War Galleon of theirs." Marley was clearly distressed "We got to find a solution now."
"Then take me." Angus said, angrily, angered over the fact that Marley was so weak. "Say that I am this Stew Bram"
"Nothing would please me more." Marley said, while giving Angus a sly smile. "At least you got some spine left in you Stew"
"Hey! Is that really necessary?" Rap asked shocked over how the situation was changing.
"Just remember not to leave without me." Angus said, while he quickly thought over ideas for escape from his coming prison.
"Ha!" Marley said in a laugh "Even if you managed to escape, we would gladly sail away from you."
Then Angus led by a relieved Marley left Rap to his cooking. "And remember, we have guests!" Angus shouted to him while being forced out of the room.
Angus felt miserable, but still he had hope, although it was small. His goal was surely escape, but how?
Marley threw Angus into the hands of the Spaniards, while clearly saying "Stew Bram" and pointing at Angus. Angus heart turned cold by this, and by the hateful looks, which he got from the rest of the crew aboard The Grog Villains Beauty: Rum, and young Lindy. But still, Angus thought, still I am going to get away and claim my prize. He boarded the War Galleon with a high raised head.
The captain smiled proudly over the thought that his quest was finally over, and decided to start Angus' imprisonment with some fun torture. As a repayment for all the suffering Stew Bram had granted them in their quest for his petty self. They started with the usual whippings; the Ship's Master Carpenter happily retrieved a five-tailed monster of a whip, and he smiled sadistically while smacking it with loud noises in the surrounding air, and he smiled with even more malice when understanding that Angus feared the coming pain.
They stripped Angus completely, and the carpenter gladly marked for a cheering crew where the lashes where going to hit Angus' flesh. Then he soaked the whip in salt water, in the thoughts of worsening the pain. Then two of the crewmembers held Angus down, reading his posture to the first lash. Angus thought for the coming seconds only of the pain that was going to find its way into his back. The tails where surely going to tear themselves into stripes from his bottoms to his shoulders, he would feel the cold winds flow into the deep wounds, while seeing his own blood raining in streams down his sides.
Angus concentrated, but his fear was too great; Angus tightened his muscles in his back. Then he heard a way going swoosh, and a great smack. All were still, not a single person said anything. Then came the dreaded oncoming swoosh, but it was fainter than Angus had expected. Suddenly he heard a smack, the smack of the whip that touched flesh, and some tails hitting the floor. What? Angus thought, isn’t I hit? His back was unhurt, and he started to wonder whom the carpenter had hit. But then it came, first as a little stinging, then as he grew aware of it, the pain grew worse and worse, and now that he finally understood, the pain was extremely hard to handle. The foul creature had lied; he had hit Angus on his legs instead of his back. Then straight after the first blow, Angus could hear a lowered smack. Angus started to feel sick. Then he heard a way going swoosh again.
Angus could not think straight. Then a second smack broke the silence. The carpenter was laughing wildly now, then a high going swoosh came, louder than ever before. The head! Angus thought. He is aiming for my head. Angus quickly hoisted his back with his hands and feet, and positioned his precious head between his arms and underneath his neck. Then the smack came and he instantly fell down. His head dashed towards the shipboards, and he lost consciousness. Angus, awaking wet and smacking his lips, understood that some of the men had thrown a bucket of water in his face. Then with the coming pain that shrieked in the cold winds, his memory returned; and as this again came, his pains grew worse. Angus had hard time breathing. Then as Angus' focus turned towards trying to breathe amidst the great pain, his memory returned him the image of Rap with his great pot. They took hold of Angus legs and dragged in some metres on the deck boards.
While they did so, Angus had a hard job trying to retrieve two corks from his pocket. But even though he was in great agony, he managed to gain them, and as they turned him, so they could drag the ships dirt into his wounds, he finally managed to stick the plugs into his nose. Then while unconsciousness loomed with luring voices, Angus thoughts came again to Rap. What if it is enough merely to breathe the toxic fumes, and you get into the coma, then their plan would surely be doomed. The men dragged him two long-sides more. Angus was as near unconsciousness than ever before, when he gladly saw the first men drop to the deck. More and more men dropped, and Angus no longer feared the possibility that he himself too would be tucked into a deep coma, he actually wished that he would never get out of it, so great was his pains.
His sliding hell subsided at last, and he was the only person awake on the complete War Galleon. He knew now what to do, but it would surely be a nightmare succeeding it. Angus slowly raised himself, and focused his thoughts towards hate. He slowly walked to the crate that they used as a shortcut for goods when looting. "Ha ha!" Angus laughed aloud "The fool, the brainless prideful fool of a Don!" He smiled gladly while going towards the captain's quarters to get a lamp. He found a burning lamp hanging merrily over the captains table.
Angus seized it and walked as hurriedly as he could back towards the crate. There he smiled wryly as he threw the lamp down into the gunpowder-filled hold. Then he ran towards port, slipped over the side, and hold firmly unto the rope that hang there, expecting to slide firmly into The Grog Villains Beauty, but the only thing that Angus found at the end of the rope was cold and painful salt water. He panicked and cried all that he could. Then the War Galleon exploded, and thousands upon thousands of glowing and burning pieces of wood flew around. It was raining fire, and the sea got slowly covered black by all the ashes. Even so, none of the pieces had hit Angus. Then he saw The Grog Villains Beauty, right behind and to the left of the debris from the War Galleon.
On deck, one man ran back and forth, hauling water from the sea, and trying to extinguish anything that had caught fire. The only thing that really seemed to have taken any fire was the sails, but they were now burning hard, and the man soon gave up hope and ran down deck. It was a grim sight, so Angus lowered his gaze. Then he saw it. A hope fastened itself into his heart. Towards him, a small rowboat floated on the upper currents of the waters. Angus was saved, by pure luck the rowboat fastened to the stern of the Grog Villains Beauty had survived the rain of destruction.
Angus looked up towards the sloop and he could see Rap smiling down at him.
“We’d better get you back on the ship, huh?” Rap shouted with a glad tone.
“Yea! These wounds are a pain in the backside! Literally!” Angus yelled back. Rap never got the chance to help Angus into the ship though, because the next moment he collapsed on the deck and the slow winds blew two cork-plugs from the ship deck and into Angus' boat.
Angus could not climb into the boat by himself, his wounds had made him too weak for that. Therefore, he called with all the power his throat could muster, but no reply came. Then as he understood that also Rap had entered a coma, he gave up hope and returned to his self-pity. Then as his thoughts again remembered his wounds, Angus became so stricken by his great pain that he collapsed.