Marshall could hear that the fighting had stopped. He was weak, he was about to loose consciousness. He took his hands down one more time and dipped it into the blood coming out of his leg and poured it back over his face. His entire body was covered with his own blood. And yet nobody had come, perhaps nobody would come and he would die? He knew that he was very close to the line. The most crucial thing now was to tourniquet his leg. He pulled a sheet towards him and tied the leg as tight as he could. He could feel the bleeding stop. Some of the blood kept dripping down his nose and onto his tongue, each drop tasted like a steel blade, metallic and cold.
Footsteps, there were footsteps, he was sure he had passed out. He tried to keep very still but he could feel that he was moving. It wasn’t the usual rocking and lolling that came from the ship but instead it was… it was… Marshall dared not open his eyes to identify the feeling, it felt very strange. He heard a grunt from somewhere above his right arm. He was being carried, that’s what it was. Suddenly he wasn’t being carried anymore, he was airborne. He knew he would have to act very hard to try and stop himself from exhaling air once he landed, he had been flying with some force. He breathed out before landing so that the air wouldn’t be forced out. He felt a rib crack, and then realised that it wasn’t his own. His fall had been broken by at least one… no three dead bodies. He was on a pile. He tried to lay still, but he was slipping on his own blood. Then he heard it, Pete’s voice…
“These are the dead?”
“10 in total cap’n.”
“Right, see to it that…” Pete stopped suddenly mid sentence, he had seen Marshall lying there, “who did this?”. Pete pointed directly at Marshall.
“Not I sir.”
“I didn’t ask whether you did it. I asked who did?”
Pete was stalking back and forth in front of his five lieutenants. Each in charge of a different part of the attack they were following Pete now waiting for him to dispense gold as reward. They had not been expecting this.
“Perhaps, I didn’t explain to you earlier how important this little conquest was? Perhaps I didn’t mention to you how important it was that we kept this man alive? So,” he turned to a tall man with a thin moustache, “why did you kill him?”
“I didn’t, I swear.”
“You were in charge of the fighting men were you not?”
“Yes but look at him. He has blood all over him he must have been killed by a cannon.”
“Liar!” Pete shrieked. His sword ran right through the sergeant at arms neck. His thin moustache drooped for the last time and he fell to the ground.
“Although,” Pete looked manic now, he could fully appreciate the problem facing him. He was about to be hung by the Dutch. He knew it. He had promised them Marshall alive not dead, and the fear was great in him.
He continued, “Although, he did have a point. Marshall does have blood all over him.” He spun round to face the cannon-master.
At this exact moment, Marshall jumped up from where he was lying and stabbed Pete through the spleen. Blood poured out of the man as he dropped to the floor. Marshall, made sure Pete was dead by cutting his throat. He looked up at the men in front of him.
“I am the ghost of Captain Marshall. I am here to avenge my own death. You have nothing to fear if you were not responsible for my death. The only person I needed to kill was Coalface Pete here. At the moment.” Marshall paused for a second, allowing some blood to drip from his hair onto his face, he knew he must look terrifying. He started again, “I want you to go to the prison and place yourself within, letting the men within out.”
The four looked to each other. The cannon-master rubbing his neck as he did. They ran out of the room, fear painted large in each one of their eyes. Marshall wiped the blood around his face in a failed attempt to clean it, he thought of the wonderful waterfall he had found a season ago on one of the southern islands. He put such comforts from his mind, he looked down at the dead. He was looking for someone in particular. Not seeing him there he called out, “Killen! The enemy are defeated, come here!”
[Marshall will return.]