For those of you who enjoyed my last sketch, ‘Is there any work for a young not-a-witch?‘, here is a new segment I wrote for it this morning. Enjoy!
Are my eyes open? Yes—yes, they must be… I can’t see a thing. Why is the floor moving? How did I…
The dip and yaw of the ship’s cellar make Issau suddenly feel sick. She takes a deep breath through the nose, but chokes on the stink of fish and sulfur. A boat? I’m at sea? “No, no, no, the Officers! Lord Raa’ja’naa!”
“Will you just shut up?” The voice is small and far off. “My goodness girl, I haven’t heard a baby cry in neigh a decade neigh longer!”
Issau kicks the darkness and scuttles back on hands and heels until her back hits what could have been a barrel. “Who’s there? Stay away!”
“Ohhh hush, no one’s goin’ta hurt you, baby.” The voice is closer than before.
“I’m not a baby, I’m,” but Issau’s voice fades to a sigh.
“I’m someone you don’t want to call a baby is all.”
“Ah-ha! The baby-witch doesn’t like bein’ called ‘baby’, eh?”
“Where am I?” She feels around with her hands. The hot air dampens her bare arms. She finds nothing but space. “Turn on the lights!”
“Can’t do that deary, can’t do that ‘m’fraid.”
“Don’t want ship’s captain findin’ us do we? He’s a real booger that one.”
“Captain? They don’t know we’re aboard? Who are you, are we near port?”
“Why? You plannin’ on another boom-boom show? Ha!”
“You saw that? You’re a Suit. You’re taking me to Lord Raa’ja’naa!”
“Shhh! baby-witch, you shouldn’t sound so thrilled about sommin’ like that. I’m no Suit, the boogers, and I’m not taking you to Lord—eh…Lord—well there’s no point in me sayin’ it. I’m not takin’ you to that madman. Don’t you remember what happened, baby?”
“No. I remember the butcher…”
“Oh, the butcher? Aye, aye, Al’Qohr. Quite a gentleman he turned out for… Listen baby-witch, like I told you, I’m no Suit, never mind what I am, just know that alright? I’m takin’ you as far from Big-Isle as I can.”
“But you can’t!”
“Hush! I said girl, hush! I wasn’t jokin’ that we’re not known to the crew. I may be able to help you along, but I won’t be any good to you if you get me killed by pirates you hear baby-witch?”
“Where are you taking me?”
“They are takin’ us to Ramí, then I’m takin’ you back to your father in Gogol.”
“You don’t remember, do you? You see baby-witch, the Officers weren’t the only men watchin’ you in the market. You’re not very inconspicuous, you know that baby?”
“Stop calling me that…”
“So, naturally, when I got into town, it was no problem spottin’ a little baby-witch roamin’ the streets alone, especially one goin’ to every merchant on Bilge’ta road and askin’ for hand outs!”
“I was looking for work.”
“Yeah, well, not a few of those fine men and women, when you had gone, ran as fast as they could to the nearest Suit they could. If I hadn’t had, well, silenced them, they would have brought the whole town on you. The only problem was, when I got back, my baby-witch had already hitched a ride with Al’Qohr. I had to cut a few ears to learn where you were headed, and when I found out I tried to catch up on foot, but I’m not much of a runner.”
“Right. Well, I didn’t catch up until the booger was handin’ you over to the outpost.”
“You shouldn’t have brought me here. You shouldn’t have taken me, we have to go back.”
“Go back! Go back? you are a mad little baby-witch aren’t you? And a fine right lady! Not even a ‘thank-you Tombo, you’re a true friend Mr. Tombo! Without you Master Tombo I don’t know what I’d do!'”
“Alright, you can just call me Tombo. Worth a shot eh?”
The sound of heavy boots above deck shake loose debris that makes Issau cough.
“Shh!” Tombo says. “St. Jimminy, will you keep it down? What’s all this talk about goin’ back? You’re safe now, as long as you keep quiet, and we’ll be out to sea shortly.”
“You don’t understand, I ran away.”
“To find Lord Raa’ja’naa.”
“What was that?” a man’s voice says from somewhere above.
Before Issau could think, something boney and cold presses against her lips. “That’s enough talkin’ baby-witch, it won’t do me no good bringing you back to your father in piece—”
Crash! The cellar door bursts open followed by a flood of lamplight that makes Issau shut her eyes and turn her face into Tombo’s cold chest. A man stomps into the cellar. Issau can hear others following excitedly.
“And where might you be bringing this, ‘witch?’, back to?” The voice is not a voice at all, but a smokey growl. “Oh don’t be afraid dear, I have no interest in hurting little girls. Or their yellow pets. But I can’t say the same for my crew… You know they can’t stand stowaways… And they hate witches.”
Image detail curtesy of oldtownpaul.