1. I have an opportunity at an education.
2. My daughter slept through me typing this.
3. I woke up to my alarm ( I was a little worried).
This post won't make much sense without reading Part 7.
The voice brought fear to Stacey's heart, because it was The Captain, and if he came looking for you while he was in the mood to leave, you might as well brace yourself for a long voyage. But, to The Cook's surprise, The Captain was trying to entertain some people with the story of The Woman and had just gotten to the part about the birth.
"Go on, Stacey! Tell 'em how ya took care a tha li'll bastard."
Stacey was shocked at how angry The Captain's words made him. Just as he'd assumed, The Captain had no idea what had happened to Sally, and assumed that The Cook had done the unthinkable. Stacey loved the boy as only a care taker can, and even the thought that he somehow disposed of the infant made his blood boil. But, he was all too aware that The Captain's blood seldom got cool enough to simmer and that blowing up now would mean his demise. His mind raced over the past few months: A child swinging in his kitchen, making a bottle out of a sheep's stomach, seeing Sally's first smile, looking for a care giver, finding the girl, leaving the baby, fighting back tears on the way back to the ship, and The Captain's words. Then his dream about running toward the west and the inn.
"Well, go on Cook! We don' have all day!"
Then a bullet in his back as he tried to run back to Scratch's hovel. Stacey wouldn't be making up his mind about running today. He had waited too long, and there was nowhere to go but the ship, and nothing to do but lie about what he'd done with the boy, the infant, the precious baby, his pride and joy. Sally. The Captain, while always hot tempered, was not an observant man, which was a service to Stacey as he fought back sobs while making up an awful story about what he'd done that night.
"It wasn't too difficult. The baby..."
"The bastard he means!"
Stacey gulped saliva in attempts of keeping down his rage. "Was half dead anyway. I just threw him overboard."
"Ha! I knew ye'd do the right thing!"
The Captain, calling his own son a bastard, was almost too much for The Cook, but hard situations make cowards out of most of us, and words seemed a poor reason to die. So, Stacey would forget Sally was a child of The Captain's at all. Sally was, in his mind at least, a sea cook's son. His dad had to go away for a little while, but would come back when he could. Andrill seemed a horrible place to leave his only living relative, but The Cook had no choice. He would continue sailing under the sail of a tyrant, and every night would be spent thinking of Sally, where he was, what he looked like, and what he was doing. They would be together again someday... someday.
The Cook walked for the ship before The Captain was entirely done with his story. The Captain didn't mind though. Stacey had been there for the part The Captain needed him for. Stacey's legs felt heavy, as if dry land didn't suit them, or maybe they felt that they were on a death march, and the longer they took, the more time they'd have to live. The Cook didn't worry about it. He had to carry on as if nothing had happened.
Stepping on to the ship sent a shiver up The Cook's spine. He wasn't sure if something was actually different or if he was just sad to leave Andrill, but the ship seemed to have a new sway. The rocking didn't feel right and as Stacey found his way to his quarters, he noticed some new faces. The Captain had taken some new men for his crew and they didn't look like the rejects he normally picked up. The Cook was hardly a judge of character, but even he could tell that these new men smelled of trouble. They were too bright to have signed on with someone as dull as The Captain, and The Cook tried not to imagine what he already knew to be true.