The rotting smell of rodents filled the air. Anne’s hair was filthy, sticking to her dirty clothes. The entire scene was pitiful, there she was, a woman, a person, a pirate restrained to shackles in a shell, a prison. The chains themselves were merely instruments of the system she so desperately wanted to see brought to its knees. Had she taken on the dreaded word – ideology?
Was she fighting for something larger than herself? None of that really mattered now, here she was, sitting on the eve of her execution. The thought alone frightened her into either submission or into vehement anger. Could she accept her execution? What else was there to do.
Beside her was the only thing she could be empathetic to: Mary Read. She was in the same boat as Anne. Confident, female, pirate. In a certain way she looked up to Mary. In another way she despised her for having an affair with her husband. But was it really worth the fraternity she created? Anne dismissed all of these wild thoughts and focused on the task at hand: escape.
“Mary. Wake up.” Mary slowly opened her eyes and let out a sound of groaning mixed with agitation.
“What is it.” She groggily replied.
“I have a plan to escape.” Anne could sense the slow kindle being placed within Mary’s mind. All she had to do was light it. “Look, if we say we’re pregnant then they can’t execute us.”
“How the hell are we going to get pregnant.” Mary fired back, looking down at her feet, shackled, and then back at Anne.
“That’s not important. We just need to buy some time.” The kindling grew to a small fire. Any amount of hope was enough to keep Mary from falling into hopeless despair.
Anne surveyed her surroundings again. All she could see was the sleeping guard lit by the light of a small a candle. He was sitting in his chair, neglecting his duty.
“Oh my! I’m feeling a terrible sensation in my gut!” Anne yelled, the entire prison erupted in mixed cries to shut up. The guard awoke.
“What’s all this racket?” He said, tipping his hat back to its normal position and wiping the drool dripping from his lips.
“Oh my, please Mr. Help me! I think I’m…pregnant.” Anne said, grasping her stomach. Mary clasped hers as well.
“Oh gosh I am too!” Mary grunted to signify just how much pain she felt.
The soldier walked closer to the bars to get a closer look at the grunting women. Anne stood up and approached the bars.
“Please, you have to help.” She said, reaching her hands out to the soldier.
“Shut up wench! Let me get the commander. You two be quiet now.” The soldier brushed her hands off of him and turned around. He clumsily marched down the corridor until he was eventually out of sight.
“Anne, he went away. They’re going to find out eventually.” Mary picked at the shackles.
“Not if we have this.” Anne said, holding a small golden key. She couldn’t help but smile. In her hand was the key to her freedom, to her life.
“You rotten bastard.” Mary said, trying to hold back her amazement. Anne worked quickly to undo the shackles on her own feet and on Mary. She placed it in the lock to the cell and opened the door. The two walked as silently as possible, trying not to bring attention to them. Anne’s mind was rushing with adrenaline. She could feel inside of her the bonfire raging. She could feel the call to freedom as a bell ringing in the distance.
“Hey stop right there!” The cry of a soldier came from behind them.
“Quick! Run!” Anne said as the two renegade pirates burst into a sprint down the corridors. The soldier ran after them, pursuing them into the darkness of the prison.
Anne ran as fast as she could, remembering the sands of Cork and how the boundlessness of the world around her gave her energy.
“Quick, in here!” Anne and Mary dove into a small cloister, hoping to throw off the soldier pursuing them. “This seems like a tunnel.” Anne said, pushing the small stones away to reveal an opening used by the builders to provide air in the case of a cave in. The two pirates worked there way down the tunnel, feeling the walls of the cave squeezing their will into a burning passion to escape.
A light drew nearer, the cave opened up – it was the reflection of the moon on the water. There it was: the Caribbean in all of its boundless glory. Anne felt the air dance around her hair. She could smell the sea air waltz along the water and trickle into her nose. Here it was. Freedom.