Moonlight illuminated the water, creating little shimmering ripples around the strokes of the oars. Bioluminescent algae clung to the wooden boat, glowing faintly green as it passed. Domino kept rowing, as she had been for what felt like hours, not stopping to take in the strange beauty of her surroundings. Her eyelids started to droop as her fatigue caught up with her. Her arms still ached from being tied over her head and heart pounded in her ears. She needed rest, fast.
A sandy beach came in to view as she rounded a small rocky headland. The exhausted pirate stuck one oar in, spinning the dinghy to face the sand and started rowing. She ran the little boat ashore, jumped out and dragged it up the beach. Shelter.. she needed shelter. The beach looked bare and she didn’t want to explore inland in the dark.
“Of course!” she thought, slapping her forehead to stay awake. The dinghy would work perfectly. Heaving and straining, she lifted one side until it almost stood vertical, then shoved, rolling the boat upside down. She dragged sand against one side, half burying it and, hopefully, hiding it from view from the sea. Barely able to keep her eyes open, she crawled under her improvised shelter and collapsed, unconscious before she hit the ground.
She awoke to a pain in her cheek. As she opened her eyes she saw a crab had latched its claw onto her. She jolted upright, banging her head on the dinghies thwart. Cursing, she slapped the crab off and watched as it scuttled away.
Domino crawled out from her improvised bed and sat against it. Her stomach growled, making her immediately regret not catching the crab for breakfast. Looking around the sandy slope, she couldn’t see it, or anything else to eat. She sank lower against the boat, pouting.
Light spread across the sand as the sun started to peek through gaps in the rock up the beach. Domino got shakily to her feet, deciding to look for food, and hopefully a way home, inland.
The sand of the beach met jagged rocks at the top of the slope. A few hardy plants clung on in crevices. Nothing she recognised as edible. A little further inland, life was more abundant, still small and weather beaten, but at least there was some soil.
Domino picked her way between the rocks. Feeling an itch on her forehead, she scratched her face and instantly regretted it. Her skin was red with sunburn from her time tied to the stake. She stopped and groaned, holding her hand over the painful area.
“Hisssssssss..” to her right. A few meters away was a snake, but enormous. Its head was the size of her torso and its coiled body looked about twice as long as the Riff cutter she had sunk the day before.
“Hissssssssssssss” it raised its head until it towered over her, moving slowly side to side, eyes locked.
She backed away. The snake hissed again, but didn’t follow. As the massive body moved to the left, she saw it was coiled over a nest filled with eggs. Backing away further, she breathed a sigh of relief when it settled back into its coil, it was just protecting its young.
Domino picked a new path, trying to ignore how her face stung and concentrate on any dangers that might lie ahead. It wasn’t long before she found one. A loud buzzing startled her as what she’d thought was a boulder sprouted wings and took off, landing in front of her. The beast looked sort of like a bee, but about as long as she was tall. The creature started to crawl forwards, antennae feeling the air and mandibles snapping. She stepped back, drawing a pistol and aiming at its main body section.
It moved closer again and she fired. The bullet pierced its body, but didn’t slow it down. The beasts wings didn’t look big enough to hold it in the air, but they were clearly up to short flights, she realised as it took off and landed right in front of her. she jumped back out of its reach.
“Hiisssssssss” from behind. Domino closed her eyes a moment, realising her mistake. Her boot was almost in the snakes nest. She didn’t have time to dwell. The bee launched itself at her, stinger out and pointed. she dived sideways, landing on the rough ground and feeling blood trickle as a sharp rock sliced her leg.
Looking up just in time she saw the bee, stinger impaled in the snakes side, bite the scaly skin with its mandibles. The snake let out a strangled hiss and, in one bite, took the bees head off.
Domino stood as it turned to look at her. Its mouth seemed to snarl and it came at her, angry and in pain. Its movements seemed sluggish, from the sting she thought. She drew her sword, just as the beast lunged for her.
The enormous head pinned her against jagged rocks.. and stayed there. She waited for the bite that would end her. Nothing. She opened her eyes a crack, to see the tip of her sword poking out of the creatures head. As it came forward it had impaled its own brain. The pirate let out a sigh and collapsed against the dead snakes jaw.
Part 2: https://cityofnewbabbage.net/pirate-among-thieves-sacrifice/