Rapscallion by James Mcgee

By James Mcgee

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In any case, they're worth ten times that. " Hawkwood pulled his arm free. The prisoner backed away. The interpreter turned to Hawkwood. "Keep hold of your belongings until you know your way around, otherwise you might not see them again. " Murat pushed his way ahead of them and started down the almost vertical stairway. Hawkwood and Lasseur followed him. It was like descending into a poorly lit mineshaft. Three-quarters of the way down Hawkwood found he had to lean backwards to avoid cracking his skull on the overhead beam.

It was coming from the stern. Hawkwood followed the sound. The boy couldn't have been much older than ten or eleven. Tears glistened on his cheeks. He looked up, dried his eyes with the heels of his hands and turned away, his small shoulders shaking. His clothes hung in rags about him. He'd been one of a consignment of prisoners, Hawkwood and Lasseur among them, picked up earlier that day from Maidstone Gaol. A midshipman or powder monkey, Hawkwood supposed, or whatever the French equivalent might be, and without doubt the youngest of the longboat's passengers.

Hawkwood couldn't see a thing. The sudden shift from daylight to near Stygian darkness was abrupt and alarming. If Murat hadn't been wearing his yellow jacket, it would have been almost impossible to follow him in the dark. It was as if the sun had been snuffed out. Hawkwood paused and waited for his eyes to adjust. " The order came from behind. "That way," Murat said, and pointed. " The warning was unnecessary. Hawkwood's neck was already cricked. The height from the deck to the underside of the main beams couldn't have been much more than five and a half feet.

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