A Brave Woman | Teen Ink

A Brave Woman

January 22, 2016
By ValerieL BRONZE, Unknown, Tennessee
ValerieL BRONZE, Unknown, Tennessee
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Never fall in love?"
"Always," said the count. "I am always in love.”
-Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

“Captain!” cried Elizabeth’s first mate. “Captain, we need to turn back! There’s a storm brewing!”

Elizabeth resolutely ignored his panic. Her broad, weathered face was twisted into a scowl as she squinted into the crackling storm clouds. “This storm is nothing but gentle breakers, compared to what we have seen!”

She stomped closer to the terrified first mate. “In fact, the only true danger here is your ridiculous cowardice.”

The man wiped sweat and ocean spray from his face. “Captain, these waters are treacherous! Many a ship has met her match here.”

Elizabeth growled, there was no better word for it. Gripping the man’s grimy neck with one strong hand, she yelled, “My ship won’t end at the hands of a petty little rainstorm! Jump ship, Scully, if you don’t trust me. Perhaps you can feed the sharks.”

Scully followed his captain’s narrowed eyes to the ominous line of pointed fins behind the ship, and he swallowed hard. The infernal sharks had followed them for days now. Their numbers seemed to grow with every misfortune, and he knew that they meant bad luck. He lowered his eyes and stared at the ship’s worn planks.

Elizabeth, satisfied that her commands would be followed, released Scully’s neck. “Furl the sails!” she called, glaring into the storm. She was a brave woman, with a heart turned to stone. The boiling sky did not frighten her, and neither did death.

“I grow sick of these seas,” she muttered, so low that the howling winds stole the words before they reached her ears. “I will die, someday. Whether it be on a bed or a crashing wave, I will laugh at Death.”

The shouts of crewmen rang out all around her, but Elizabeth was like the eye of a hurricane. She breathed the salty air and scowled at the funeral parade of sharks. “Bear starboard!” she yelled. “We can avoid the worst of the storm, but you cowardly bilge rats must stay on our course. I refuse to turn back!”

Behind her, Scully’s pale eyes narrowed.  After only a moment of hesitation, he raised his pistol to his captain’s head. “You know as well as I do that the ship can’t stand another storm. Tell the men to turn around.”

Elizabeth felt the cruel metal against the back of her skull. Without turning around or so much as moving, she snarled. “This is mutiny, Scully.”

Scully shifted his weight nervously, but kept his pistol arm steady. “This is reason, Captain. I won’t let this ship be dashed to pieces.”

Elizabeth slowly began to turn her head, feeling her hair brush against the gun’s coldness. “You’re a cowardly worm of a man, Scully. You don’t have the stomach to shoot me.”

Around them, the crew glanced nervously at each other, hands placed uncertainly on weapons. The salty wind howled against the ship’s sides, but it was ignored.

“You won’t dare shoot me,” she repeated as a smirk grew upon her weathered face. She turned her head as far around as she could without shifting the rest of her body. “Put the gun down.”

Scully looked around at the scared, uncertain crew. Their faces were haggard, with prominent cheekbones and sunken eyes. Their captain was a brave woman, but not a good one. The ship could not survive the storm, and neither would Scully if the captain overcame the half-baked mutiny that he had set in motion.

His finger squeezed the trigger, and a red explosion bloomed at the captain’s temple. Her short, muscular body fell onto the deck with a thud that was not quite overwhelmed by the roar of the brewing storm. Nature howled around the ship, but Scully and his brethren stood in shocked silence.

“Turn the ship around!” Scully finally yelled, tearing his gaze away from the woman whom he had just killed. The crew remained frozen.

“You heard me!” he bellowed angrily. Finally, the crew sprang into action, turning the ship away from certain doom. His unnervingly pale gaze alternated between the ocean’s bleak, grey horizon and Elizabeth’s motionless form.

“I… I’m sorry,” he said in a whisper that was immediately swallowed by the angry wind. He wasn’t sure whether he was speaking to Elizabeth’s body or to a God that he had long ago denounced.

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