Gaining passage on the ship hadn’t been easy. Pirates were notorious for not allowing women on board. They were bad luck. A distraction. Her mother had cried as she chopped off her hair, but she’d felt nothing. She looked in the smudged mirror at her reflection and saw a willful young man with a face of stone. She was ready. And now she worked long hours, her once delicate hands rough and scarred, her back aching, her mind still reeling from the rough talk of some of her shipmates. But she kept quiet, worked hard, her eyes on her goal. No one suspected a thing.
It was night. The men had finally all retired to bed. She walked across the deck of the ship to the captain’s quarters, looking up at an inky black sky brilliant with millions of stars before she quietly opened the door to gain entry. He snored loudly as he slept. The room stank of liquor and unwashed bodies. Another reason not to allow women on board, she guessed. She crept closer to the bed, pulling out a knife. His eyes snapped open as she pressed the cold metal to his throat. His eyes met hers and she saw understanding in them at last as he took his final breaths. She had her father’s eyes.
She threw the knife overboard and returned to her quarters, waiting for the shouting to begin.