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Old 01-14-2011, 10:59 PM   #241
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Default Chapter 9 ~ pg 193

Sliding into the second stanza the Irishman continued the tune starting to sing the verse he played, “‘The dark side's callin' now/ nothin' is real/ She'll never know just how I feel/ From out of the shadows/ she walks like a dream/ Make me feel crazy/ make me feel so mean/ Ain't nothin' gonna save you from a love that's blind/’**

“As I said, you know cheerier tunes than that. I’m sure she feels the same about you. If only because you’ve grown on her. You have a habit of doing that. Growing on people. Much like grime around the back of the neck.” Peering closely in jest Fitzcairn observed, “When was the last time you bathed?”

“This morning,” Kendall indignantly replied. “That’s not – what is that?” He demanded of the smell of rotting fish and old seaweed suddenly rising around them. Straightening up, he set aside the guitar to rise to his feet.

Rounding the corner closely followed by a hustling Joe Dawson and a more sedate Methos, Greg excitedly announced, “Something’s rising off our starboard!”

“What do you mean something’s rising off our starboard’,” Kendall demanded, joining the other men by the rail. “What? A sub? Whale? Giant squid?”

“Mac said radar shows it’s as big as a – wha’ th’ hell!”, Greg began informing the group before his voice rose at the sight of a wooden mast and spars rising from the water a mere hundred yards off their starboard.

Joe quietly muttered to Methos, “we're sure not in Kansas anymore.”

“You could say that,” Methos answered as Dawson crossed himself.

The Watcher had barely finished the motions before he suddenly had to grab Kendall to support the taller man when his knees went out from under him at the sight of the Dutch Merchantman’s deck rising into view. “Hey! A little help here,” he snapped at the bemused brunette. Completely ashen, Kendall grabbed the rail for support while he anxiously searched for a face he prayed he wouldn’t find in the crew raising the relic’s sails.

“Oh, bloody hell,” Spike whistled from the wheelhouse door to the Highlander behind the controls. Almost too surprised to feel the slight burn of sunlight that still shown over the cabin, the vampire reported in awe, “It’s a bloody wooden hull! Straight from the depths is what it is, mate. Ow!” he hissed, jumping back and beating at wisps of smoke beginning to curl from his hands and from under his long-coat sleeves.

Across the water Elizabeth saw the color drain from the face of one of the two people who first befriended a young single-mother almost three hundred years ago, and started waving to draw the man’s attention. “She’s not here!” The pretty brunette called, running down the ladder to the main deck trying to be seen. “William! Morgan’s not here! We have a message for you! Will! Can’t you pull this junk over faster! Morgan - is – not – aboard - William!”
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:01 PM   #242
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Default Chapter 9 ~ pg 194

“Not if I don’t want to scrape their hull I can’t,” the ‘Flying Dutchman’s’ dark-haired master yelled down to his wife. “Granted, we’re long overdue for a scrapping. Ahoy ‘Signora Fortuna’! Is that lad at your wheel steady? From the look of him, you’d think he’d seen a ghost!”

A raucous laugh rose from the Dutchman’s crew and a Jamaican accent cat-called, “I think he’ll need a change o’ breeches, Captain!”

At the controls of the yacht, Duncan pulled back on their speed silently swearing that things had a bad habit of getting a little too interesting around Central or South America. “Aye, it’s a bloody wooden hull crewed by the damned,” Spike muttered under his breath, trying to exude the attitude that this was par for the course. “Well they are,” he stated defensively under the look MacLeod gave him clearly conveying he knew the vampire was as startled as he was by the sight. More doubtfully he continued, “Aren’t they? That’s what the legends always said about them, I thought.”

Several minutes after the old sailing ship’s arrival the two vessels float side-by-side in the calm Pacific waters. Fitzcairn chanced to glance at the setting sun catching the green flash before it disappeared into the ocean. So close to the legendary ghost ship he suppressed a shiver of instinctual fright, unsure if it was a good sign or bad.

“Didn’t mean to give you gentlemen such a fright,” William Turner called cheerfully as he joined his wife by the rail. More contritely to Kendall the younger man added, “Especially you, Captain Shaw. My apologies! As Elizabeth said, we have a message to pass along to you and we’re still pretty old-fashioned over here. We don’t have much use for that newfangled gadgetry. However, a Particular Sea Lady of our mutual acquaintance asked if we saw anything unusual pass this way, to convey the word along to you. There’s a freighter we think you might be interested in - less than three and half-hours ahead of you. The lad we brought aboard and gave the choice to says he was killed by a tall, red-haired woman that had tried to escape. He never got a good look at her, but that coupled with the unusual… sensation - coming from the ‘Carmalita’, we figured you might like to know that they’re heading for port in Tumaco.”

“William, what have you and Morgan gotten yourselves in to?” Elizabeth demanded in concern.

Still clasping the rail to hide the shaking in his knees, Kendall shook his head in chagrin before finally replying, “You try to buy your lass a pretty bauble for your anniversary and the bloody thing turns out to have a curse.”

“Aye, done that,” William cast a knowing grin down on his lady.

“You would think you’d have learned that lesson,” Elizabeth chastised. Becoming more serious she questioned, “Does it really imprison the heart of a god?”

“They seem to think so,” Kendall called back. “I realize this could be stretching your rules a bit, but is it possible for you to try and slow them down, Will? Help us catch up.”
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:02 PM   #243
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Default Chapter 9 ~ pg 195

“I’ll do what I can,” the younger man answered. “Considering the circumstances, we should be able to wiggle some latitude. I’ve been letting the lads have a bit of fun with them. The Dutchman seems to play holy hob with these newfangled toys they have for navigation. Not like the old days, eh, Captain? When all we had was a sextant and the stars. We could perhaps force the ‘Carmalita’ a bit off her course. Send her in a few circles. Make her take a wider route into Tumaco. But that’s really all I can do short of firing on them and that -”

“Would be well outside your latitude, I understand,” Kendall nodded. “Do your best.”

“Why can’t we fire on them,” Elizabeth quietly questioned her husband. “We don’t have to aim to hit them, just scare them a little.”

“No,” William admonished her before solemnly calling back to Kendall, “We always do.” Motioning his crew they were to raise more sail to catch the wind, he continued, “But for the debt I owe you helping my wife and son when I couldn’t be there, I’ll push our latitude. God’s Speed!”

“But it’s Morgan,” Elizabeth tried arguing.

“And I’ve told you, Will - you and Elizabeth owe us nothing! It was our pleasure. May the winds be with you, my friend,” the ex-smuggler waved to the ship that mysteriously gained speed and pulled away from the smaller boat.

Before pulling too far ahead William suddenly remembered his bundle and hurled it to land with a soft thud on the yacht’s deck. “I thought you might like those back,” the young looking man grinned when Kendall picked the bundle up. Untying the leather thong tying it into a ball, the Cursed Irishman shook out his lost sweat pants and two engraved silver rings fell to the deck to roll across and up against Methos’ feet. Growing more somber the younger man called, “Aye, we were in the Indian last month. I almost forgot to mention that both your lads chose to cross over. No loose ends they wanted tied up and they could accept their fates with a clear conscience. But I thought you might like to know if you didn’t already.” Sailing ahead of the ‘Signora Fortuna’ the ‘Flying Dutchman’ quickly passed from their sight into an ephemeral cloud that shroud her in the whispered caress of the night.

Minutes after the ghost ship passed from sight Greg finally broke the silence and called out with a shaky laugh. “Hey, Mac! Do you need a change of breeches up there?”

“If he doesn’t, I think I sure as hell might,” Dawson muttered, slowly lowering himself to a cushioned bench. “Just as soon as I can unclench my cheeks. Did we just see a ghost or are they Immortal?”

Heading for the wheelhouse, Kendall called over his shoulder, “Yes. Would you do something about my guitar please, Joe?”


* “Cutthroat Island.” Director: Renny Harlin, release date 1995.
** “On The Dark Side”, Eddie & The Cruisers – Soundtrack, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, Original Release Date: September 23, 1983
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May The Winds Be With You, while I'm searchin' for my lost shaker of salt. Makin' for the Trades on the outside. Lookin' for the Southern Cross. (J.Buffett 77/74)

"Yeah... it's all fun and games 'til somebody gets Cursed," Sheriff Jack Carter ~ Eureka.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:15 PM   #244
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 196

Chapter 10
Colombia



The ‘Carmalita’s’ bell was striking evening’s first watch when Captain Sandoza relieved a pale-faced Juarez on their approach into home port. The last twenty-four hours had been especially exhausting due to one electrical problem after another. The crew’s nerves were on edge as many claimed to hear strange sounds on the wind. Up to and including hearing one’s name called or the sound of cannon fire and strange splashes in the water near the ship. Accompanied by numerous sightings of the ghostly Merchantman that seemingly flanked them when it wasn’t crossing their bow forcing last minute course corrections. It had not helped crew moral that an indefinable gloom had permeated the air and the tension had climbed throughout the day to such a pitch the men were ready to throw themselves on their shipmate’s throats over the least provocation. With the additional death last night of that young Arawakan who had overdosed from a poisoned knife wound, raising this trip’s tally to two fatalities, Sandoza couldn’t remember a time when spirits were lower on the freighter. Pursing his lips to allow the lungful of air he hadn’t realized he was holding out in a slow, steady stream, he opened the hatchway. Pushing his cap higher back on his receding hairline, the middle-aged man absently scratched his brow thinking it couldn’t be soon enough before he could finally put those maldecido heathens off his boat. The good news, he should be home in time for a long weekend with his family before Señor Rodrigo wanted him to reload for another trip north.

Sandoza found his First-mate hunched over the radar console pushing his back up like a hissing cat and young Rizado jumping nervously at the sound of the man’s vertebrae popping from the tension. The younger man cast a glare over his shoulder toward Juarez from his station at the radio and nearly fell out of his seat with a shriek of fear when the Port Authority chose that moment to contact the returning vessel. All three men jerked at the loud crackle of static that broke the silence with instructions where to await the tugboat coming to guide their entrance into the harbor. Fervently crossing himself, Sandoza said a quick prayer more solemnly than he had prayed in quite some time. “Hail, Maria, full of grace. Our Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Maria, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our safe return home. Amen. And thank you St. Nicholas, St. Brendan, St. Elmo, and St. Erasmus for guiding our hands and seeing us safely returned to port after a trying passage. Amen.”

“Not a moment too soon, Amen,” the young mate muttered shakily under his breath.

Wiping a tired hand across his brow, Juarez started to reach over Rizado’s shoulder for the handset. “Do you want to answer them or should I, Sandy?”

“You have it. You’re closer,” the Captain replied. “If you’ll deal with them I’m going to give Señor Rodrigo a call. Arrange to get those heathens off our ship the moment we drop anchor! I’ll not have them on the ‘Carmalita’ a moment longer than I have to.”
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:17 PM   #245
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 197

“Deal,” the frazzled First-mate said, bringing the handset to his mouth and thumbing it open.

Rizado left the wheelhouse after handing his station over to Esteban who arrived for the short watch minutes late, thinking that by morning he would be back on dry land and his resignation turned in to the Captain. Nodding in determination the young man reassured himself it was the right thing to do. He may not be old in years, but he knew well enough that when the ghost ship’s start escorting you at sea, old salts said if a man were so lucky to get back home alive that only a fool ever set foot back out on her again. And mi madre did not raise a fool, Rizado thought grimly.


*****


Approaching Tumaco, Joe brought up the subject of who was going to stay with the yacht. Dawson tried to offer to stay behind as a guard since Fitzcairn was concerned about its safety and the idea quickly turned into a somewhat heated discussion between the Watcher, MacLeod, Methos, and Kendall. However, after several minutes of debate the plan was shot out of the water before it was fully hatched. The three Immortals pointing out that even with the added “fees” to do business in the major seaport, there were no guarantees that a seemingly prosperous, middle-aged man would still be assured his safety. Methos arguing even more strenuously than MacLeod that there were good reasons American travelers were cautioned against visiting Colombia and there were safer places for the bluesman to stay even if he couldn’t accompany them all the way into the Amazon. Being aboard the ‘Signora Fortuna’ could and would paint a tempting target of an affluent American Businessman that very well might have them hunting for not one missing friend, but two.

Arriving in port well after midnight, Kendall and MacLeod spent the next several hours wrangling with the authorities. Meanwhile Greg and Fitzcairn busied themselves greasing palms before finally discovering hours after their arrival that the ‘Carmalita’ had anchored just an hour before their arrival. In the brightening light of dawn the two Immortals took Joe, Methos, and Wesley rushing across the bay to investigate where the freighter was reportedly anchored. However the party returned empty handed with only Captain Sandoza’s regrets that he had not known the auburn-haired woman was a fellow sailor.

It was Methos’ observation that he doubted the knowledge would have done Katriona a lot of good when Greg relayed the news that the ‘Carmalita’s’ master had thrown her off the ship along with the Ábą Eminánie a couple hours ago. The Colombian assuming that they were now heading for home further south and as far as he was concerned, the natives could all burn in the deepest circle of hell for all he cared.
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:18 PM   #246
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 198

While the rest of the group had gone running off on that errand, Kendall had gritted his teeth paying still more money that amounted to more bribe than fee to the Tumaco Port Authorities to ensure they would find the ‘Signora Fortuna’ where they had left her anchored when they returned. MacLeod wondering if it wouldn’t be wiser to spend the money to secure the services of a Security Company, but coming up empty handed in his efforts to find one on such short notice that they could trust.

As the others had made their various arrangements and tried catching the Ábą Eminánie before they could leave Tumaco, Spike contacted Angel. When he was finished, he relayed that the older vampire was already working on finding the Watcher temporary accommodations upriver in El Encanto and would send for a detail from home to secure the yacht. Providing, of course, that Dawson didn’t mind rooming with Lorne, who was getting such bad vibes from the jungle that the demon feared he wouldn’t make it half a day down river into the Amazon in its present unrest. Strange sounds were rising from the jungle and local Indians coming into town to conduct business spoke of beasts which had only recently appeared in the area, half seen from the corner of one’s eye. Some were fantastical monstrosities that were more shadow and smoke. Dark creatures that exuded such malevolence that if one were encountered a wise man would turn tail and flee was the accepted wisdom. Everyone seemed to know someone, who knew someone, who knew someone else, who knew a friend, who had a friend or relative disappear lately due to the creatures.

Further weird goings on were whispered of large birds, panthers, snow tigers, wolves, and magnificent horses; that glowed with an inner radiance not normally seen in your garden-variety jungle animal. These encounters usually faired better, waking hours later in their homes. Sometimes miles from where they last remembered being with no memory of how they had got there. Tribal shaman were beginning to note that these individuals suddenly found themselves wanting to make homage to the Amazon’s more benevolent deities, and not a small number of other cultures while they were at it.



It was early that Friday afternoon when two late model 4-x-4’s drove into the river town of Puerto Asis. Duncan pulled the Land Rover up behind the other vehicle Kendall was driving marveling that they had arrived without mishap. To say their trip through the Andes Mountains was at break neck speed would have been an understatement. It was nothing short of a miracle that they had managed not to drive off any number of the narrow roads into a ravine on their way to the city nestled near the juncture of the Guamuez and Putumayo Rivers. He swore if they had not had to stop for that herd of already agitated sheep and one irate shepherd outside of Pasto they might have arrived even earlier.

Climbing from the car, Fitzcairn pulled at his tropical shirt attempting to illicit a little breeze in the otherwise still afternoon air. Noting the sun was only a couple hours past its zenith he looked back up the road to the clapboard houses and brick shops of the town they just pass through. Inquisitively he demanded. “Who let him behind the wheel?”
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Old 01-15-2011, 09:19 PM   #247
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 199

“The vampire,” Methos drawled dubiously. “It’s my growing opinion if he’s any indication of his kind, they are all mad.”

“Yes, definitely beginning to remind me of someone,” Joe smiled at the older brunette and earning a harrumph of disgust from the older Immortal.

“And you have the nerve to complain of my driving, MacLeod,” the Englishman huffed in mild indignation.

“And I didn’t let you either,” the Highlander countered. “Frankly, I don’t know if I’d have let him if I were in their car.”

The eight men gathered in front of the faded lavender and robin’s egg blue storefront wearily eyeing the business they had been directed to. “I believe this is the place,” Wesley said unnecessarily. Checking the notes he had received earlier from Willow, he double checked the address before confirming, “Yes, this is indeed the place. They couldn’t possibly be any odder than that woman, Mara, that we rented the Land Rovers from earlier.”

Greg quirked his brow in the younger man’s direction, “You thought Mara was odd? Then you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet, kid. But - is it me guys or did we hit town in time for the afternoon siesta?”

Wiping a trickle of sweat from his temple, Kendall read aloud the sign that proclaimed the establishment, “Gorrión and Gibbs Jungle Rentals. Puerto Asis Branch. Camping Supplies, River and Amazon Safaris Available,” in a tone that heavily conveyed his doubts. Finally asking, “Why has that name bothered me since you first mentioned it to me, Wes?”

“There’s a reason it should bother you,” the English investigator looked up quizzically from cleaning the fog from his sunglasses.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:33 AM   #248
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 199.5

“Gorrión and Gibbs,” the youngest Immortal repeated. “If I’m not mistaken Gibbs is Scottish, right?” Greg questioned Mac.

“Scots or Pictish. Short for Gilbert,” Duncan replied. “And Gorrión’s Spanish for -”

No!” Kendall interrupted his friend in a quietly flat tone that slowly grew into an odd laugh. “Oh, hell no! Oh, it bloody can’t be! The gods cannot be this twisted, this diabolical…” The sensation of another of their kind and ‘something else’ interrupted his building rant, causing the five Immortals to quickly scan the street before narrowing their attention back on the business before them. Closing his eyes, he continued laughing ruefully. “What am I bloody runnin’ m’ mouth about? O’ course they can!” Running a troubled hand through his hair, Kendall bit the tip of his tongue and wet his lips before marching up the steps so rapidly the other seven men had to scramble to keep up. A single shot rang out just as he pulled the door open and after a momentary pause Kendall’s steady tread could be heard over the tinkling of the bell chiming their entrance.

Trailing in last, Joe discovered an interesting tableau already unfolding and was instantly glad he had allowed the three Immortals to talk him into following their trail this much further. The tall, sandy-blond was staring down a thinly built, dark-haired man as if he were something unsavory pulled in on the morning’s fish line. From the look that passed between the men, the Watcher suspected that a long debated question in the Watcher’s circles over the animosity between these two was about to be answered. A small pang of conscious reminded him that young Watcher, Lani, should be making this discovery, but it was quickly quenched by Dawson’s own curiosity.

Quickly noting a second graying brunette moving for where he most assuredly kept his sword under the counter, Joe’s eyes snapped back like a kid’s in a candy store when the wild-haired proprietor waved his thickly built associate down with an airy hand. “I don’t believe you’ll find that necessary, Mr. Gibbs. I might. But your head is most likely safe. Mr. Shaw,” the younger man nodded in cool greeting.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:35 AM   #249
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 200

“Jack Sparrow,” Kendall ground out between clenched teeth.

“That’s Captain Jacques Gorrión to you, mate.” Jack Sparrow drawled, waving a small Derringer admonishingly between them.

“It’s Captain Wright to you, then, mate.” Kendall Wright replied, bringing his hands to rest on his hips and the proximity of a number of small weapons.

“Touché.” Sparrow weaved in acknowledgment, causing a glint of light to bounce off the diamond in his upper incisor, brightening his lopsided smile. Under Kendall’s pointed gaze on the small weapon, Jack replaced it in its holster strapped under his open Hawaiian shirt. “It’s all Gibbs allows me in the store these days.”

“Is there something we can be doing for you gentlemen?” Joshamee Gibbs inquired pleasantly of the other seven men. “Considering the looks of your party, am I to take it that you would be associated with that Mr. Angel fellow that was through here early this morning to catch the ferry to El Encanto?”

“Yes,” Wesley piped up from the rear of the group. Certain the vampire’s presence would only heighten the current tensions at the counter; he was trying to hold an intrigued Spike back, away from the confrontation near the rear of the store.

Kendall continued glowering at the man who first became a bane to his life when the other searched for the legendary Fountain of Youth. He had been trying to appease his wife’s vocalized desire that they close their account, putting the dodgy life behind them, and go legitimate once again. Only to run across the fool trying to steal their sloop to escape La Nouvelle-Orléans with half the Caribbean breathing down his neck. That the twit had apparently discovered the mythical pool only proved to the reformed pirate beyond a shadow of a doubt that the gods, in their madness, were never that picky who they granted or cursed with an eternal life. Mr. Gibbs, on the other hand, discovered a nasty surprise upon their meeting. Not interested in immortality, the crusty salt was rather dismayed to learn from the pair that at some point in time he had indeed died. Most likely in service to Sparrow or in Tortugas, since no one had come for his head as yet. But come for Joshamee Gibbs’s head many had since and the old seadog was still around to tell his tales.

Looking the group over warily, Jack made a production of counting heads before asking suspiciously, “Where is that spitfire, harridan of a fish monger that you call a wife?”

“The Lady is not with us today,” Kendall coldly corrected him. “And I’d advise ye to be keepin’ a civil tongue in your head about her, mate. If’n ye’d like to be keepin’ it attached to your shoulders, that is. I still haven’t forgiven you for that – that – movie about Morgan and me in Jamaica!”

Sparrow looked offended, “What was wrong with it?”

“You made me the bloody wumon!” the Irishman growled.

Leaning across the counter Jacques Gorrión affably sneered, “Don’t ye think you might have done that well enough all on your own, mate?”
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:36 AM   #250
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 201

“There was a movie,” Fitzcairn looked up from a selection of locally hand-carved pipes on display. “Who played me?”

Allowing his attention to be diverted, Jack turned to inform the Englishman, “I’m sorry Mr. Fitz, I assume, but they didn’t inclu -” His voice stopped short with a high pitched squeak in response to his air supply suddenly being cut off by Kendall’s long finger’s gripping him around his larynx. The pirate’s hands flew up trying to break loose from the choking vice grip in his fight for air. His eyes slowly starting to bulge, Jack flailed at Kendall’s arm as his feet lost contact with the floor and he managed to breathlessly squeeze out. “That wasn’t the script I originally sold them! Blame the Director! He’s the one that re-wrote it to cast his wife in the lead! What I sold was originally supposed to be cast with Michael Douglas playing you in the lead, or so I was told!”

“My point is you got your hands on Katriona’s rudder and [/i]sold it[/i] for your own gain.”

“Is it that, or the kiss you’re actually angry about?” Jack wheezed, continuing to claw at the Irishman’s hand that clenched even tighter, if that was possible. “In my defense, she kissed me!”

“Aye! Long enou’ to knock yer filthy boots off an’ me to steal m’ boat back!” Kendall scowled nastily, heaving the smaller man across the counter by the throat and shoulder to stare him down eye-to-eye. “Quite the kisser when she has getting her way in mind and it took five bloody pints o’ rum to get the taste of ye off her tongue, she claimed. As I recall, stealin’ m’ boat is how you got your hand’s on her rudder in the first place!”

“Gentlemen,” Gibbs tried pushing his way between the two, prompting Greg to move up behind the man as Duncan took hold of Kendall’s free arm. A look passed between teacher and student agreeing on a contingency if the other Immortal got violent. “It was all a long time ago and don’t you have someplace you need to be getting, Captain Wright?”

“He’s got a point, Ken,” Duncan said.

“Aye, Kenny, don’t yo -” Sparrow squawked.

Shaking the Pirate by his throat Kendall ground out, “Don’t ever - call - me – Kenny! I’ll not be mistaken for that half-pint, two-faced, backstabbing runt! Little bastard played on Katri’s softer side and it’s only a bloody miracle I got home when I - ” A thin yellow stream started falling on Jack’s head and a monkey’s laughing chatter from the rafters above caused him to pause.

Looking up, Kendall saw a small Capuchin peeing on the reddening pirate’s head. The stream ebbed, sputtered thrice, and ceased before the shocked silence that the interruption caused was broken by Spike, Greg, and Kendall bursting into laughter. Wesley’s eyes bugged slightly in his effort not to laugh and Fitz spun back to the display, studiously inspecting the pipes in his own efforts to be polite. Finding a fascinating array of goods hanging from the rafters, Duncan inspected the ceiling, while Joe Dawson just had time to turn away before the silent belly laugh shook his frame so hard he had to take hold of an amused looking Methos to keep from falling off his feet.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:37 AM   #251
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 202

“Jack! Damn your eyes!” Gibbs yelled up into the monkey’s beatific smile. “What have I told you about doing that?”

Still shaking with laughter, Kendall let Jack Sparrow go. Stepping back, he primly pretended to dust an imaginary speck of grime from the other man’s shoulders. “And my faith in the universe is again restored,” the older Immortal managed to chuckle. “Thank you, Jack! Good Boy,” he addressed the monkey just as one small final drop landed on the floor at his feet forcing him to step back. Glaring up, he scowled at the tiny creature beaming innocently down on him.

Bending over and slapping his knee, Spike crowed in question, “They really named the monkey Jack? Oh, that’s rich! That’s bloody brilliant!”

“The damned beastie used to belong to an old associate, gone these many years,” Jack Sparrow indignantly informed the vampire. Muttering more quietly under his breath, “Thank the gods for small favors,” Drawing the small pistol from under his loud-print shirt the pirate calmly shot the monkey before mincing back behind the counter. Over the monkey’s indignant screams, he continued explaining to the suddenly shocked and wary expressions behind him, “Undead monkey. In a fit of ill-humored pique said dearly departed associate named the monkey Jack.

“Bugger it all. I was already showered for my lunch date this afternoon. And I want my wallet back, Monkey!” Locating a rag, Sparrow began drying himself off. Turning his attention back to the group at large he inquired, “Is there something specific I can be doing for you gentlemen or did you just drop by to see my daily humiliation at the hands of that wretched, accursed creature that has apparently attached itself to me? Anyone want to buy an undead monkey? I’ll sell him. Cheap. Didn’t your wife used to have one Kendall, lad? Monkey that is. Think she’d like another?”

“Daily humiliation,” Spike guffawed in a renewed burst of laughter, “Oh it’s a good thing I don’t have to breathe,” he howled, taking hold of Wesley to remain standing.

“No!” Kendall quickly declined the offer of the monkey. Remembering how King Charles and he barely got along. The blasted creature had gotten it into his walnut-sized brain that the apparent newcomer was a rival for her attentions and took every opportunity to challenge him in his bid for the role of dominant male. That the Capuchin seemed rather intelligent for his species didn’t help. Fortunately, the small creature had died of old age shortly before they lost the ‘Morning Star’ off China. With a small pang he recalled the ship’s scruffy ratter probably hadn’t faired so well.

“Mr. Angel said you’d most likely be wanting supplies and a couple boats to go up river,” Joshamee Gibbs tried directing the meeting back to business.

“Yes,” Wesley replied. Stepping forward toward the counter he paused, giving Spike a pointed look. “This would be easier if I didn’t have to carry you.”
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:38 AM   #252
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 203

“I imagine it would,” Spike sputtered. Nodding his head and shaking it a few times he finally took himself in hand with a wide grin, primly announcing. “Definitely a good thing I don’t have to breathe, my sides would be hurting about now.” His confession set Joe off all over again, as he had to change the hand gently slapping Methos’ shoulder to clutch his side.

“I blame you for this, mate,” Jack informed Kendall as he reloaded the Derringer. Looking back up to search the rafters the pirate shouted, “I said I want my wallet back, Monkey! Give it over or I’ll hide the rum from you again! Permanently this time!” Aiming the Derringer to fire once more he was foiled by his associate Gibbs grabbing it from his hands.

“What have we discussed about shooting up the store, Jack?” The Immortal asked tolerantly. Removing a larger bored weapon from under the counter, he slapped it into Sparrow’s hand. “If’n ye must shoot the be-cursed beastie, at least use the bean bags! They don’t break up the displays as badly.”

“You are most correct, Mr. Gibbs. My apologies,” Jack conceded agreeably. “But the bags don’t send him flying quite as well and therefore he thinks the love taps mean that I don’t mean business.”

“Are you two going to continue Jacking off with the monkey, or are we going to do business,” Kendall demanded. “We’re losing daylight.”

“Ye can’t be meanin’ to start downriver tonight,” Gibbs asked incredulously. “As I told Mr. Angel earlier, there aren’t any real roads into El Encanto and those that do go that direction are most likely in the hands of guerilla forces or the cartels on at least one point along their course. And if it’s bein’ held once, it’s being held at least a half dozen times.”

“It’s rather important we use as much daylight as we have left,” Wesley informed the proprietor. “Not to sound melodramatic, but a person’s life could be at stake. The sooner we can get our supplies and get started the better. We’ll be that much further along our journey when we start off in the morning.”

“Well, it’s just you’ll be passing through some treacherous areas,” Gibbs informed the group. “There’s the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, other guerilla counter groups, the cartels - not to mention the Colombian, Peruvian, and Ecuadorian Militaries once you get down to where the Putumayo turns southerly. They’re supposed to be the authorities, but that’s only so good so long as who you deal with isn’t looking to make a little extra money on the side. And no one’s certain of the scope of how large an area has been affected, but there’s been some talk of strange creatures roamin’ the jungle from down river lately.”

“There’s really no help for it,” Duncan informed the other man for the group.

“There ye are beastie,” Sparrow quietly cheered under the conversation he had tried tuning out the moment mention of someone’s life was at stake. Half bent over, he wandered off in an effort to catch the animal and retrieve his wallet. Scampering around the store, Jack made deft use of the clothing and equipment racks to elude his human pursuer. Causing a number of items to get knocked to the floor and eliciting the occasional profanity.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:38 AM   #253
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 204

“No, there isn’t,” Wesley agreed over the chase in the background.

Rallying on as if the commotion was something he was quite accustomed to, Joshamee Gibbs opined, “At the least, you should hire yourself a guide then. Someone that knows the river. No offense intended, Captain Wright, but you aren’t exactly familiar with waters this far inland. And I really don’t think I can get you someone sooner than tomorrow morning.”

“No offense taken, I was actually considering that or a set of very detailed charts.”

“Charts we have. As for their details… Those can change by the week in these parts,” Gibbs answered. “There are guided tours going down to El Encanto daily, but the next doesn’t leave until tomorrow morning.”

“Since no one’s available, I’ll be needin’ as recent a chart as you have and Intel. I may be a little out of practice, but I have navigated more than one river in m’ life.”

“We’ll want a speed boat, too,” Wesley interjected into the conversation. “Your fastest available.”

“If you insist. As I told Mr. Angel, our largest that sleeps eight to ten is currently checked out. However, we have two that will hold four to five just prepped and out of the shop.” Gibbs countered. “Gathering your supplies shouldn’t take more than an hour. If Mr. Angel had left a list we could have had it waiting for you. He was only in here long enough to buy his ticket, a large umbrella, and some sunscreen for his friend.”

“I have a list,” Wesley piped up. Digging through his notebook he produced a sheet of paper that he handed to Gibbs. “I thought I had Mara fax you our list earlier.”

The scruffy Immortal took the list and with a glance over the paper he called, “The paper jammed and it didn’t come through. I wasn’t made aware of it until a short while ago and by then Mara had lost the information. Jack! Could you be checking that the boats are fueled and ready to go while I get on this?”

“I was really hoping to meet this afternoon with said strumpet I told you about,” Jack replied from a circular clothes rack he was trying to pull the monkey out from under.

“Jack,” Gibbs admonished sternly.

“Fine. If the lovely Señorita Janine asks, I’m blaming you,” the pirate groused. “You were the one that suggested my chances would improve if I were to play the proper suitor and woo the lass.”

“Jack, the faster you get on fueling the boats, the sooner you’ll get laid, lad.” Gibbs’ tone conveyed his held in check anger as he admonished his business partner.

“Nice hat. It suits you,” Jack complimented Fitzcairn on his way to the back room. Bowing to Gibbs he flourished an imaginary hat of his own before intoning, “I’m going, I’m going.” Sauntering through the curtains he disappeared from the store out the rear exit to their private dock and a soapy rinse under the outside shower.

Less than an hour later, Joshamee Gibbs had the party ready to depart down river. Impatiently, Jack was about to take his leave as the group stowed away the last of their gear when a young woman purposefully strode onto the dock and up to the marina owner.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:40 AM   #254
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 205

“Kitty,” the pirate greeted, turning on the charm while his eyes cast about warily for an avenue of escape. Without a word, she slapped him across the face hard enough to send him half spinning up against Methos. With a flip of her long blond-hair, the young woman strode back off the dock with an angry strut suitable for a fashion runway in Rio. At the ancient Immortal’s amused expression the rogue muttered, “Not sure I deserve that. *”

Carrying a long, rectangular box containing three rifles and several boxes of ammunition between them, Duncan and Greg were making their way up the dock to the second boat when another young Señorita sashayed up. Haughtily brushing past the two men, the dark-haired beauty nearly sent them stumbling into the water as her heels beat a quick staccato up the wooden dock.

“Janine!” Jack cry out.

Waving a finger, he was about to explain his tardiness when she angrily cut him off. “Whoo was that,” Janine demanded in heavily accented English. Without giving him a chance to answer she slapped him across the face knocking him back into the five thousand year old Immortal for a second time.

“Haven’t I seen this someplace before?” Methos demanded, assisting the pirate back onto his feet.

That I may have deserved,*” Jack informed the smirking man.

“I’m sure you probably did,” Methos drawled, watching the lovely vision working her long-legged strut back up the dock.

“Eyes off. I saw her first, mate.” Jacques Gorrión stated with a soft smack for the Immortal’s chest. In that instant realization washed over him and he turned confronting Kendall. “I didn’t ask, but why is your lass not with you?” At the stone cold expression that met his inquiry, Sparrow shifted his weight back to better observe the taller man. “Like tha’ is it, mate? Your Lady Fair is the friend whose life is on the line is it? Oh, laddie!” He drawled sympathetically, “I wouldn’t be in your boots if you paid me. I thought serving Mistress Oceana was task enough. You, you poor bloody fool, have tied yourself to two mistresses. The sea and that bonny redheaded lass. God’s Speed to you then, man. May the jungle breezes keep you down wind of your enemies and good luck to you!” With a flourished wave over his shoulder, Captain Jack Sparrow hurried off in pursuit of his current el amora, Señorita Janine, and away from trouble.

“What is goin’ on?” Gibbs demanded. “There’s strange whispers coming up from down past El Encanto. That Angel fellow and his friend that was all wrapped up like the mummy going in country. You’re going downriver towards it too and someone’s taken Missus Morgan? What have you gotten yourselves into, Captain?”

With a patient expression the sandy-blond replied much as he had to another pair of Immortal Sailors just days earlier, “You try to buy your lass a pretty bauble for your anniversary and the bloody thing turns out to be the imprisoned heart of a god. His people have decided it’s a good time to try and free him.” At Gibbs’ bug-eyed expression of shocked horror the Irishman laughed bitterly, “Aye. Probably looked much like tha’ when I found out, m’self. Now if’n you’ll be excusing me Mr. Gibbs, I really musts be off to rescue my wife.”
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:42 AM   #255
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 206

“Aye! Good luck to ye then and may the road rise to meet you until we meet again, sir.” Gibbs acknowledged. “If ye like, I can start asking around and put the word out for her if you think it would help. That business meeting I have to attend tonight would be a good place to start picking up information.”

“It might actually,” Wesley said from the cockpit of the first speed boat. “If someone has seen her and is willing to say, we could get an idea where those Ábą Eminánie are going.”

“The Ábą Eminánie,” the Immortal proprietor questioned in confusion. “But they’re a peaceful bunch. Surely they weren’t the ones to have taken her.”

“I don’t know what else to tell you. But they seem to be the ones behind this.” Kendall informed the grizzle-haired man, casting the lines tying the first speed boat to the dock down to Wesley’s waiting hands. Crossing to the second boat he threw the lines to Macleod before jumping aboard himself. As the Highlander and Greg stowed the lines. Kendall geared up the sleek craft’s steadily throbbing engines to pull out into the river calling, “I’d pray if you’re a praying man, Gibbs.”

*****
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:44 AM   #256
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 206.5

The sun was sinking toward his bed as old Yuti gingerly sat in the shade of several young and closely packed simaba trees. He was tired and after the day-long drive the old man did not think his hemorrhoids could take another two hours into El Encanto sitting on a bench in a truck with no suspension. His mulling turned to what had been at the forefront of his mind since Soba’s death two nights ago. It seemed wrong that they had yet to stop and acknowledge the young man’s passing. Captain Sandoza had not been in the mood for the proper rights and if they did not do something soon, Soba’s spirit might be doomed to walk the earth as a shadow. Araceli had promised they would stop tonight and honor him, but Yuti felt it was rapidly becoming a case that the young tribesman’s only hope would be Momrath Eminán taking mercy on him for his assistance in bringing about the god’s reawakening.

The long day had begun in the red-tinged, graying light of dawn when the ‘Carmalita’s’ Master had unceremoniously thrown the Ábą Eminánie off his ship the very moment he received the word from Señor Rodrigo his commission was fulfilled. With a dark glare and a gesture for the freighter Captain that left him crossing himself, Araceli ordered the returning group to load up on the two ancient military surplus trucks left waiting for them in Tumaco to return to the mission a day’s walk from home.

Not that the Ábą Eminánie would ever know for certain, but Yuti could swear he heard the crew literally cheer when their skipper gave them the news that the “guests” had been sent packing. That did not prevent the young hand, Rizado, from turning in his resignation though.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:45 AM   #257
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 207

Yuti reflected that the long and arduous trip south and east had been interrupted by a number of bizarre occurrences. The first occurred as they were climbing into the mountains and the lead truck almost drove off into a ravine when a great white, deer-like creature with horns spreading like the branches of a tree over its head bound across their path. Whatever the lithe creature, it was an unusual sight in the Andes. When Jahlis swerved to miss the animal he skid off the road. The old hunter did not know what to make of Chupall’s claim that he could have sworn the animal actually paused higher up the hill to scamper as if in celebration before disappearing into the trees.

Getting the vehicle out of the mud had taken over an hour since the impatient Jahlis had spun the tires, miring it deeper into the wet ground before Raöul could stop him. Their next impediment was a few hours later in the form of a stubborn sheepherder outside Pasto that was insistent on allowing his flocks to graze across the highway and the large herd took almost another hour to get through. No sooner would a number be chased off the road than twice that many were seemingly shooed to trot back out and take their places blocking the Ábą Eminánie’s progress.

Although their passage through FARC held sections of unmapped roads had been oddly uneventful it was still slow going since much of the routes were little more than wide cart paths deeply pitted with pot holes or rain washed gullies. Yuti couldn’t swear to it, but Kore and Chupall were of the mind that much of the growth that additionally forced much of their crawling passage was recent and at times they had to get out and hack their way through. None-the-less the trucks still bore additional scraps down their sides.

Night had crept closer as they at last neared the tiny town of El Encanto marking their next to last leg home and hopefully a halt for the day when the truck Yuti was driving suddenly started belching steam from under its hood. Moments after the bursting cloud of vapor a dull accompanying gush of fluid from below indicated the radiator had burst. Yuti pulled the vehicle over as far as he could off the trail before bumping his head repeatedly on the steering wheel in frustration. He remembered how he had tried to warn the priestess over thirty minutes earlier after they had pushed it out of another muddy gully that they really should pull over and allow the vehicle to cool down. However Araceli had over-ruled him in her haste to get their god’s heart back to his tomb. The old tribesman understood all too well that with less than a cycle of the moon before their window closed for another ten thousand turns of the seasons that Araceli was becoming frantic. But it was making her single-minded and almost intolerably foolhardy. Climbing down from the cab, Yuti had avoided the widening puddle of steaming, yellowish-green water spreading out from around the tires and scratched his scalp under his hat brim. The elder had shaken his head after his consultation with Guapi, who had climbed painfully down from the truck, sadly informing the fuming woman that they would not be able to do anything until morning.

Last edited by Islandkat : 01-18-2011 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:46 AM   #258
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 208

Araceli had tried insisting they load everyone in the one working truck, but Raöul had thrown in his support to Yuti and Guapi. The forty-two year-old pointing out that the other truck only had the one working headlight and the road was riddled with potholes and gullies along its way. They could see her temper flaring when the men argued in a blurted rush that to try crossing either of the rickety bridges lying between them and the mission beyond El Encanto in the dark, or the ford beyond, was never wise. They ran the risk of driving off the road if they tried. As it was, as overgrown as the road had become in their absence it would be impractical to think they could make the village on the river by nightfall. That it would be wiser to camp beside the road and rest until morning. Then they could see to tow the truck into the tiny village and get a new radiator.

The men had stood uncomfortably under Araceli’s hollow-eyed gaze certain she was about to fly into a rage as she had been more and more prone to lately. Yuti involuntarily licked his lips recalling the long moment that stare seemed to pierce them and caused his mouth to go dry. The woman had finally nodded seeing their wisdom, agreeing that they would camp here for the night and proceed on in the morning. Looking back to the small fire, he could smell the beginnings of their evening porridge being made before turning back to watch the jungle slowly coming to life for the night.

*****


Katriona woke shivering, her head throbbing in beat with her heart and she ached in every muscle. Her drug dulled senses befuddled by too many days… what has been going on the last… How many days? Again the object poking her awake pushed at her mouth and childish giggles prodded her into focusing her aching eyes on two small children apparently trying to feed her. Ach! even me eyeballs hurt! Where am I? Are they speaking Taïno? Carib? Am I havin’ another bout o’ Marsh Fever? Oh bloody ’ell it must be ano’r bout o’ Marsh Fever. When am I goin’ to be quit o’ this bloody disease? Wha’s this make, the forth time I had a bout? Where’s… ?” That internal compass she could never get to work quite right pointed in Kendall’s direction; that its inner loadstone pulled toward him at all indicated he was not that great a distance. Oh, tha’s a relief. There ye are, she smiled contentedly. I sometimes fear when we are forced apart that I have no heart or breath. But why ’r you so far off mo ghrá? Where’s the ship? Did we wreck? I don’t remember any storms.

The spoon brushed her lips again threatening to spill the contents over her chin and down her grimy shirt. Even though the mush didn’t smell very appetizing her stomach growled in protest at being empty, so Katriona opened her mouth to allow the spoon in. Hopefully it won’t make me nauseous. The two black-haired topped faces smiled widely and giggled louder. The captive sailor made a funny face coaxing the little girls, aye, they’re both lasses, into covering their own mouths to giggle shyly. Miming another bite, she opened and closed her mouth. After a long moment of further giggles, Katriona got them to spoon another mouthful for her when she realized her hands were tied. Hmmmpf! The shakes must’ve been bad if they roped me up. Don’t much like being tied up. Risk breakin’ somethin’ if I shake too bad. Maybe the children will say something to someone that I’m awake and eating.
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Old 01-18-2011, 05:47 AM   #259
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 209

In the Trade tongue Katriona croaked out, “Drink please?” The taller of the two tilted her head questioningly before the woman lifted her chin to mime swallowing and ran off a few local words she knew for water. After a few more attempts the girl smiled in understanding and scurried over to a crate in the corner of the tent. Returning with a wooden mug, the elder girl pushed it to Katriona’s lips for her to drink. Sniffing at the concoction the Irishwoman detected the bark of the cinchona tree in the aromatic philter and was further convinced she must have had another episode of Marsh Fever.

Nasty little blighters just won’t leave be! It doesn’t seem fair sometimes bein’ Cursed into this Immortality that I canna’ recover from some things as fast as other Immortals. Even if they are all a li’l teched in the ’eads. Frankly, this time around Katriona felt as miserable as the first time she had contracted the blasted disease. Echth, bloody Caribbean in summer. We need to head north to the English Colonies. Kendall, I wish to be… ohhh, Charles Towne is goin’ to be getting infernally muggy soon… Nantucket’s a li’l rustic but it might be nice. Aye! I wish to go to the Massachusetts Cape! I wonder if the trouble in Ireland’s simmered down?

Nodding in her momentous decision on how they were going to spend their summer after they got out of here, just as soon as she convinced Kendall, Katriona almost lost the mug and some ran down her chin. Trying to wipe it on her sleeves the odd cut of the shirt tried to niggle at her thoughts and she paused to try figuring it out when the younger child with the bowl pushed another spoonful of food into her mouth, distracting her thoughts again.

The nutty, blandish concoction was done all too quickly for Katriona’s appetite. Opening and closing her mouth trying to mimic eating, she just knew she must look like a landed fish, but her antics had the girls giggling in delight. The tallest finally jumped up from the ground to run outside the tent, hopefully to find an adult the Cursed sailor might communicate with. She was quite surprised when a woman she couldn’t recall seeing before came running in. The young native lass spoke so quickly that Katriona had a hard time following her but got her next puzzled clue that not all was right when the other woman pushed the smallest girl out and an argument seemed to start outside. Shaking her head sharply, Katriona tried staying awake to make out what was going on. Her memories of the slapping, crazy-eyed woman were just trying to fuzzily rise back to the forefront of her mind when the pull of her drugged sleep became too insistent on returning her to chaotic dreams all too quickly.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:21 AM   #260
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Default Chapter 10 ~ pg 210

*****


“Are we there yet?” Spike, arms behind his head and sprawled out on the bunk farthest from the hatch, childishly called up from the cabin where he tried avoiding the afternoon sun.

Tilting his head and cocking a brow at the younger brunette sitting across from him, Joe pointedly glanced down into the small, blacked-out enclosure before asking Wesley, “Did I really just hear him ask that?”

“Oh yes,” Wesley drawled in a long suffering tone. “Spike, you saw the charts. We won’t be there until sometime early tomorrow afternoon.”

“I’m bored,” the vampire groused. “There’s nothing to do down here. There’s no telly, no video games, and Gramps’ took all my beer!”

“My beer now!” Methos announced over his shoulder, tilting a bottle to his lips and turning his head so the platinum-blond could see. “I brought it up here because some people act as if they’re not old enough to drink. Wouldn’t want to be accused of contributing to your delinquency. Read a book.”

“I’ve read everything down here. Tomes, scrolls, texts, codex’s, magnum opus’s, essays, and a seriously gripping tale of bondage and intrigue called,” lifting the book Spike tossed it out the cabin’s hatch at the Immortal, “‘A History of Knots’! An epic thriller if ever there was one! Bound to hit the best seller’s lists. I hear the square knot gets shanked in the end. And you aren’t setting a very good example. Drinking and driving! Should he be at the wheel if he’s drinking?”

“Spike,” Wesley said in an overly tolerant tone, “the sun is nearly down and we’re in the shadows of the jungle. You should be able to come up now. Honestly, I think you could have come up a half-hour ago.”

“Don’t tell him that,” Methos complained. “He’ll come up here.”

Poking his hand up through the hatch, Spike waved it around a few seconds suddenly yelling, “You’re pulling over to the sunny-side! No fair!”

“Adam,” Joe admonished, “pull back over and quit antagonizing the guy.”

“Why? Will you make me stop the boat and spank me?” the Immortal smiled in amusement.

“Yes,” the Watcher said, poking the brunette in the butt with his cane. “Why is MacLeod gesturing back over to the other side so emphatically.


In the lead speedboat Duncan sharply gestured again. “Move over,” he yelled loudly, exaggerating his gestures to be understood across the distance and the sound of the two speedboat’s engines.

Turning the boat in a wide, slow circle back toward the other boat, Kendall demanded, “I thought you said he could steer, Mac. I knew I should have had one of you guys in that boat! Can’t he read the water and tell he’s in the shallows? At this speed he’ll run her aground if he hits a sandbar and if he does, I’ll even help Gibbs skin him if he damages the keel.”
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