Copyright© 2007 by obohobo
Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Fleeing from horrific abuse, Christina tries to commit suicide but is saved by a passing yachtsman who becomes involved with her and her problems.
"Oh Jesus Christ, she's going to jump! That's all I bloody need! This sodding trip really is fated."
At 3 a.m. on a late September morning, there should have been no one about; certainly there was nobody on the quay that could stop her. I watched as the woman climbed the safety barrier and stood on the edge of the quay at the harbour entrance seemingly still making up her mind. Although I was still some distance from her, in the floodlights along the harbour wall her white mackintosh showed clearly. "Whether she jumps or not, you've still got to do something about her, Mick," I told myself. "If she jumps, you'll have to try to pick her out of the sea and in this rip tide, that'll be difficult; if she doesn't jump you'll have to alert the authorities. Better start the motor. Can't manoeuvre too well with only half the jib set." Fortunately the engine spluttered into life first time.
"Hi!" I yelled as loudly as I could but she either didn't hear or ignored it. "Don't jump!" A hundred yards still separated us although with a six-knot tide, the White Gull rapidly closed the distance. With the gap now reduced to fifty yards I could sense she'd made up her mind. "Don't do it woman," I muttered, "And if you do, jump well out into the water. There's rocks at the foot of the steel piling." Even if she intended to leap right into the main stream, her efforts were foiled. A bollard snagged the tail of her white mackintosh. "Oh Jesus," I groaned as she swung heavily at a weird angle and her body hit the pilings several times. Quickly I released the sheet to the jib so it no longer drew the boat along and slammed the engine into reverse to stem my headlong progress out of the harbour. Even above the engine noise I heard her cry out as her arms and then her back banged against the steelwork.
With only twenty yards separating us, the coat material holding her slowly gave way until she plunged sideways into the turbulent, dark water. Peering into the coal black shadow of the quay I watched anxiously for her to appear. "Will she still be alive? How badly is she injured? Will she resurface even? Jesus Christ, what a disastrous trip this has been."
My thoughts as I hurried along the quayside, were mainly on the relief I felt at being free from that dreadful prison; that airless attic in which I had been locked up for so long, that attic where I was so often whipped and raped for the pleasure and gratification of that retard, Eddie Ferguson. Yes, I know it is politically incorrect to use that term but what does it matter now? That's the last time that halfwit brute is going to rape and beat me. By the time they find my body I shall be long past caring about pain or the humiliation. They'll be the ones that have to answer the questions at the inquest. The questions about the marks the post-mortem will find on my body. Perhaps I'll never be found. This tide will take me right out to sea.
In many ways, Ralph Ferguson, Eddie's father and Jake Ramsey, my stepfather, were worse. They knew what they were doing whereas the boy seemed to have no conception of the pain he caused. For him it was the display of welts he could create on my flesh and the screams he could elicit that delighted him as well as the satisfaction he gained from fucking me in every possible way. His prick was the centre of his universe all day and every day and when it went soft, it was my job to make it hard again. Still that was better than being subjected to those terrible whips and canes. The two older men encouraged and goaded him to do the most obscene things to me and laughed when I cried out in pain or disgust. Both of them came into the attic and used my body in any way they wanted and at any time of the day or night.
I easily climbed the safety barrier and stood right on the edge of the quayside, my thoughts in a whirl. "Do you really want to end it all?' I asked myself and then I thought of all the pain I had been through, the pain I was in now, all the abuse I had taken and the likelihood of my being brought back if I was found, and decided, "Yes, let the water take where it will." I jumped but then that damned mack caught on something and I hit my arm and banged my back against the wall. "Shit," I mentally swore, "You couldn't even do that without more bloody pain." Even over the noise of he water I heard the material rip and I fell sideways into the water. My leg hit something very hard and my arms and face scraped more rocks but soon I was free and being swept along with the strong current. "At last," I thought but it was not to be. Seemingly out of nowhere this boat appeared and a fearsome looking, bearded man was hauling me out of the water and causing me yet more pain. "Why doesn't he listen to me? I don't want to be saved. I want to die. Why don't I ever have my choice?" I said over and over but I doubt if the words came out of my mouth.
The trip had started nearly three weeks previously. Jack Hulbert, a friend I sailed with on many occasions, developed what seemed to be a simple earache. We'd been exploring the rivers and harbours along the South Coast of England and he was due to sail with me back to my home port of Thwaitehaven, We delayed our departure but his simple ear-ache turned out to be a major infection of a small growth which needed minor surgery. With him hospitalised for a couple of days and instructions to keep out of the wind and definitely no sailing until it was completely healed, I was faced with the prospect of sailing the White Gull home alone. No problem really. The forty-foot sloop was fitted out so I could sail her single-handed and I had done so many times. I wouldn't be able to push her along as fast and would call in at various ports on the way but even so the trip should only have taken three or four days. Over a fortnight later, I still had one day at least ahead of me.
Although I use the expression, "Oh Jesus Christ," frequently, it is only a mild form of swearing and I have no real belief in God and certainly do not expect divine intervention to help me. However, like most sailors I am somewhat superstitious. I wanted to start for home on Thursday 12th but Jack was released from hospital on that day and I made sure he was well enough to take the train back to his home in London. That meant my leaving on Friday the 13th. Sailors prefer not to depart on a voyage on a Friday if it can be avoided and Friday 13th is definitely a bad omen. So it proved. Strong head winds forced me to stay longer in various ports and then in Middlewick I'd been held up for five days, first because of the adverse weather and then when it improved the belt to the engine's water pump broke and I had to wait until after the weekend for a replacement to arrive. By the time I'd fitted it, I'd missed the afternoon tide, hence I my departure in the middle of the night.
Middlewick is situated at the junction of the North Sea with the river Brant, a river tidal for several miles inland. Its entrance is relatively narrow, less than a hundred yards wide, but after half a mile this opens up into a wide expanse of mud flats and a man-made marina. In its haste to fill and empty these huge lagoons, the tide flow rips through the entrance at great speed. On the seaward side is a dredged channel and the flow continues through this until it dissipates into the slower current of the open water.
"Is she going to surface? Is she wedged in the rocks? Where the hell is she?" I muttered as I peered into the darkness. With the jib flapping noisily and the engine ticking over in reverse, the boat still drifted downstream but not as fast as the tide flowed. We drew abreast of where she jumped but I couldn't see anything. "If she's wedged underwater I can do nothing," I reasoned, "If she isn't trapped then the tide will have carried her on." Putting the engine in neutral I let the tide take us once more and stared into the water ahead. The quayside lights illuminated the water better now we were clear of the harbour wall but it seemed a long while before I momentarily picked out the flash of her white coat and the splash of her arms some fifty yards ahead. Knocking the engine into gear I headed for the spot. As luck would have it I spotted her again before almost running her down. A quick move with the tiller and simultaneously slipping the engine into neutral brought her right alongside and I was able to grab her coat, then an arm.
"No. Let me go." Her voice was feeble and I had a glimpse of a care-worn young face, but I didn't let her go. I couldn't let her drown.
Getting her aboard was a major struggle especially as she was no help. The guard rails, intended to keep me safely aboard, proved a real obstacle to getting her into the cockpit but inch by inch I lifted her out and eventually I was able to roll her over the top wire and on to the side deck. "Why did you have to do that?" I hardly heard her words because she started choking and coughing. I assisted her into the cockpit and there she slumped, a lethargic soggy bundle of clothes and flesh. In the dim light I could barely make out her form but she seemed younger than I first thought.
"Get down into the cabin and take those wet things off," I ordered, "I'll pull the space blanket out and wrap you in that so you'll warm up a bit." As I half expected, she just lay still. After checking our course I cut the engine and pulled the jib sheet in. The Gull heeled and we started making forward progress instead of wallowing in the choppy sea. She hadn't moved while this was going on but didn't resist too much when I helped her up and down into the cabin. She kept muttering though but I couldn't make out her words because she started shivering interspersed with bouts of coughing. In the pale electric lights she looked ghastly. A blood and water mix covered her face and hands and I wondered what internal injuries there might be. I'd noticed she cried out going down the companionway and couldn't put any weight on her right foot. "I'm going to radio the coastguard and get them to send out the lifeboat or the rescue helicopter to pick you up and take you to hospital. With the wind and tide as they are, I will not be able to take you back to Middlewick," I informed her as I made my way to the chartroom where the radio was located.
To my surprise her reaction was immediate and forceful. "NO!' she screamed. "No, you must not do that. That was the reason..." Her voice faded away again but her head began to shake no. "Please no..."
"You need hospital treatment and a warm bed that doesn't bounce around. I can give you neither. You're shivering and bleeding now, I must get you some help."
"No, please don't. I must get away." Her voice faded again.
"From the police? Are you an illegal immigrant?" She shook her head, no. I worried that she might have escaped from somewhere but then doubted if an escaped prisoner would commit suicide and from the way she spoke, I thought she was probably local. "Who are you?"
"From them," she whispered, "You can't understand." She didn't give her name nor did she answer my questions coherently.
The look of helpless appeal in her eyes caused me to hesitate. "I've got to go on deck and check our course and get the sails set properly. I don't wish to call the lifeboat because we've run aground on a sandbank; that would only cause us more trouble especially on the ebb tide. I'll only be a few minutes. You must try to get out of those wet clothes." Really I didn't wish to leave her but on a moving boat, there were other safety concerns to worry about. I pulled the space blanket, still in its original packet, from a locker and ripped it open, "You can wrap yourself in that. It will help to get you warm again." I'd bought the blanket a year or more ago, after I'd been washed over the side when sailing alone in rough weather. Fortunately I'd worn a harness that tied me to the boat and I was able to clamber back on board but it was some time before I could leave the helm to go below and change my clothes. Vividly I remembered how cold I was before I could get into dry things. I resolved to buy the blanket as an insurance against a similar emergency. I had some idea how cold she must feel even though the water temperature was probably still 12 degrees Celsius at this time of year.
"Why didn't he just leave me? I wouldn't be sitting here shivering and in pain if he had. I hate him. He was just trying to be a hero I suppose. At least I managed to stop him calling the coastguard people. Don't want to get taken back to Middlewick. Wonder how long I'm going to have to sit here. God it's cold. Why doesn't he put some heat on? I'd be at peace now if it wasn't for him. Perhaps I'll die just sitting here. Perhaps this boat will tip over. If he's such a hero why doesn't he do something to help me? Sod him, I'll just close my eyes and stop breathing." My confused mind conjured up many scenarios and images; none were pleasant.
In my semi conscious state I started to go over the events of the last few hours. I'd started planning my escape soon after I'd been forcibly taken to the Ferguson house, an old brick building with three floors and an attic only accessible by a steep set of wooden steps. The attic was one large open space with a rough wood floor, no windows and exposed rafters I could be tied to. This made it ideal for my prison cum torture chamber. Eddie had his bed in there and at night I was shackled by my ankle to his bed. Sometimes when he fell asleep after his final fuck of the day, I slept in it with him, but more often I had to lie on the floor alongside.
For two months I lived just in that one room and shortly after I entered until the time I escaped, I never wore any clothing at all. Somewhere I vaguely remembered reading about sex slaves but I never dreamed that I would be one. That's how they referred to me; that's how they treated me. After a month of the abuse, I seriously considered the suicide options, particularly hanging myself from the rafters using some of the rope I was so frequently bound with but each time, at the very last minute, I chickened out. Finally tonight an escape opportunity came. I overheard Ralph telling Eddie that he and my stepfather would be out until the next morning and he could warm up the food he'd left in the fridge. When the time came I hinted that it might be better if I cooked the food. He took the hint but put a rope round my neck and kept hold of the end so there was no chance of my escaping then. During my time in the kitchen I opened a cupboard and saw a nearly full bottle of whiskey. It was a risk because I had no way of knowing if Eddie might get very violent if he got drunk or what the reaction might be with the medicine that he took, but I showed him the bottle and he immediately grabbed it.
For some medical reason I think, they'd kept him away from alcohol and his first swallow must have burned his throat and he put the bottle down but I commented, "It's a man's drink. It's for your father." That goaded him into taking another swig. He ate the meal and I pinched what leftovers I could before we went up into the loft again. He wasn't too steady but he carried the bottle with him. For a while he sat on the bed taking sips of whiskey and forcing me to suck his prick. I guess the alcohol was affecting that too because it didn't become erect like it usually did. He dozed a little and I debated whether I could grab the bottle and hit him over the head but with the leash around my neck I deemed it better to wait. Meanwhile I chewed some newspaper and made little wet balls of it, which I stuffed into the opening of the handcuffs that connected my ankle to the chain at night. One link of the cuff was permanently on the chain and the other went around my ankle. I had tried it before but didn't use enough paper. Tonight I hoped the link wouldn't engage properly even if he remembered to fasten it.
He did eventually get a hard on and forced it in my bottom but it went down before he came. Normally that would have really annoyed him but he just pulled out and lay on the bed. I guessed his head was spinning because he kept giving it a shake. For a while I had high hopes he wouldn't fasten the ankle at all but he roused himself for a few minutes and tried to do it but his hands were none too steady. I pretended to help and showed him the fastened cuff. Only it wasn't really fastened. Agonisingly slowly he finished off the booze and fell into a deep sleep. I expected the clothes I came in were still unwashed in a black plastic bag in the utility room and even the little rucksack I used for school all those years ago and which I filled with toiletry stuff when my stepfather brought me to the house, was there. Whilst in the kitchen I'd also seen the mackintosh that probably belonged to Ralph's ex-wife, hanging on a hook in the hallway. It was too big for me but would help to keep me warm until I made it to my destination. Ralph wasn't one to tidy up much and for all his money he never had anyone in to do the cleaning, probably because of Eddie. Luck was with me until I tried to open the outside door. The dead lock was on and would need a key to open. Feverishly I tried the kitchen windows but they were stuck. At last, after trying the lounge and study windows, I found one in the utility room that opened and I was away.
Remembering the river from my childhood days, I knew just how fast it ran through the entrance when the tide was going out. "If the tide is right it will carry me right away from all this horror," I thought as I made my way along the back roads to the quay.
Of course it took longer than I expected to get the mainsail up, the jib properly set and the self-steering to hold the course I wanted. Luckily it was almost ideal sailing weather and under normal circumstances I would have enjoyed sitting quietly at the tiller, watching the compass and waiting for the first signs of dawn to appear. Wind westerly, force 3-4 and with my course a little east of north, the sails needed little attention. I scanned the sea but the navigation lights of only a few other vessels were in sight and they were some distance away. I was well outside the shipping lanes used by the larger, ocean going vessels, but I had to follow the channels between the sandbanks. Finally I deemed it safe to go below and see how my unwanted guest was fairing. She hadn't moved and hadn't removed any of her clothing but just sat sobbing and shivering on the cabin floor, her back pressed alongside the mast. I knew there was no point in being angry with her. Probably she was physically incapable of undoing the buttons on her coat. Again I debated whether to call out the lifeboat but once more something made me hesitate. "If I send her back to whoever drove her to suicide, she might well try it again. I was only shear luck that I was around to save her this time," I reasoned with myself. "I'll check her injuries first and then decide. Her face doesn't seem to be bleeding as much and much of what is there could be water spread. Lots of small scratches though."
"No," she feebly tried to resist when I removed the small backpack from her shoulders. She winced when I moved her
"Is okay Chrissie," I said reading the name handwritten in marker pen across the flap, "I'm not going to hurt you or rape you but I do need to get these wet things off and clean you up a little. Then if I think your injuries are too serious, I am calling the coastguard. I'm Mick by the way."
"No, you should let me drown." Her protests became more forceful when I removed her coat and sweater but she hadn't the strength to resist. Grabbing a towel I wiped the blood from her face and was relieved to see it was mainly from abrasion scratches probably from the barnacles on the steel piling. There was some bruising too, which puzzled me because I wouldn't have expected bruises of that colour to show in such a short time. If it hadn't been for the scowling glare of hatred she gave me, I could have believed she was quite pretty in a homely way. The real shock came when I removed her blouse. Her body, back and front, was covered with whip or cane welts.
"Jesus Christ Chrissie. Who did this to you?" I didn't anticipate an answer and I didn't get one. Only the glare that said, 'You should have let me drown.' She wasn't wearing a bra. "Jesus Christ," I swore again when I saw that her breasts were similarly welted. "I'd better get the police."
"Then you'd better have a very good reason why I shouldn't."
"I have... but... I cannot... tell you." Her voice was little more than a whisper and her shivering made it difficult for her to get the words out. Wrapping the silver foil blanket over the top half of her body, I proceeded to take off her shoes and then her skirt. She cried out in pain whenever I had to move her right leg and I was very concerned about it. At the time and in rather poor light, it didn't seem swollen so I surmised it was a sprain. As it turned out, I was wrong. From what I'd seen so far, I wasn't surprised to find that her arse and the front of her thighs were also badly welted. Her arms and wrists had obviously caught cane or whatever as well but the barnacles had done nothing more serious than abrasions although they were fairly extensive and were going to be painful. Her right wrist was rather swollen but she could move her fingers so again I speculated it was probably a sprain.
"Jesus Christ Chrissie, someone should be in jail for this!" My anger must have shown in my voice and for a second or two her eyes opened wide and she looked very frightened but then a brief glare at me before her eyes closed. It took all my strength to get her into my bunk and the canvas dodger fastened so she wouldn't fall out if the boat heeled the other way. For an unaccountable reason, I was glad I'd pulled the bedclothes straight that morning, not that she would have noticed. When I left her to return on deck, she was sleeping fitfully and muttering but nothing coherent. Procrastinating still, I decided to wait until daylight before deciding what to do with her.
"At least I am a bit warmer now but I'm oh so very tired. What will he do if I go to sleep? Will he radio for the police? He seemed very angry when he saw the welts but he didn't even attempt to feel me when he saw me naked. I wonder if he will rape me later when he's done doing his captain thing? I don't like the way this boat thing keeps leaning over. Still it's warm and I'm so very tired." With these thoughts and the gentle rocking of the boat, I must have drifted off to sleep.
Phoebe rose above the horizon as a red ball painting the sky and flecking the waves in vivid colours. Beautiful as the sight was, I wasn't pleased to see it. Usually such a red sky display in the morning foretold wet and often windy weather later. The breeze had picked up a little already and we ploughed through the waves in fine style. It could have been a memorable and exhilarating journey except that my mind was constantly on the woman asleep below. Had there been another member of the crew, I could have continued sailing like that while the other made breakfast but on my own, I had to roller reef the mainsail and jib while I went below and started the gas stove going. The noise woke Chrissie and I heard her cry out in a disorientated way. "It's okay Chrissie," I called out, "You're safe. You're on a sailing boat, The White Gull. Do you remember I pulled you out of the water last night?" From her groan, I guessed she did.
"How are you feeling now?" I enquired, poking my head around the dodger. She shrank back into the far corner of the bunk without replying. "It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you," I tried to set her mind at rest. Probably my appearance added to her sense of fear. It's not that I'm a great hulking man; quite the reverse. At 5'9" I was probably the same height as her, but I do have a full beard which after being out in the wind and sea looks rather wild. On my head I wear a sailor's type peaked cap and under my life jacket and waterproof coat, I have a navy blue jersey with 'The White Gull' emblazoned in white across the front. It might look good in a studio photograph on the front of a frozen food packet, but I daresay it's enough to frighten the life out of a strange and troubled woman.
I tried to smile and maybe reassure her. It didn't have any effect. "I'm making some tea. Can you sit up? Do you need to pee?" No answer; just 'the glare' but behind it I could sense a great deal of fear. "Chrissie," I tried to sound kindly, "If you don't co-operate with me I shall have no choice but to hand you over to the authorities when we get to a port. The nearest one is Marshfleet which is about two hours away but that's only a small place and with the wind like it is, it will not be easy for me to get into the harbour and it would be several hours before there will be enough water for the boat to get to the quayside. I would rather go on to Thwaitehaven on the north coast. That's my home port and I have a cottage there and my nurse friend Cheryl can have a look at your injuries. If the weather holds we should get there before nightfall." The boiling kettle interrupted me and I made the tea. She made no effort to reply.
"She must need to piss and it will do her good to get some warm liquid and food inside her. Guess I will have to be a kind of strict nurse and make her do things. I need to see how her ankle is — and those abrasions. They could easily fester if they're not cleaned. No telling what those barnacles are coated with. That river's not exactly sparkling clean. Did I ought to try and get into Marshfleet? That will waste another day and there'll be all sorts of questions. If she comes to Thwaitehaven, she could stay at the cottage until she heals." I kept up a debate with myself while I made the tea and got the bacon and bread out ready to make bacon butties for breakfast. I resolved to take the firm approach.
"Chrissie, I'm taking you to the loo first, and then we'll eat. After that I am going to have a good look at your injuries. The light is better now the sunlight is coming through the skylight." Again she tried to get further away from me and I saw how she grimaced when the boat's motion caused her ankle to touch the sidewall.
"Okay let me put it to you this way." I put on what I thought was a stern look, "Firstly, you are on my ship. I am the captain, you are only a passenger therefore my authority over you on this vessel is absolute. You will obey me and follow my orders." I knew it was a gross exaggeration of my authority and she probably knew it too but she wouldn't know if I believed I had such power or not. "Secondly, you threw your life into the sea last night. I picked it up. Finder's keepers. You're mine until your rightful owner claims you and if it is the bastard who whipped you, then he'll have to fight me first." Her eyes widened when I said that. "Chrissie, you will do as I say. I said I am not going to hurt you and I'm not, or at least not deliberately. You can refrain from answering my questions until we get to my cottage but if I don't have a satisfactory explanation by then, I will call the police. You have most of the day to think about it. Meanwhile, you will do as you are told and right now that means getting you to the loo. Try and swing your legs over the edge of the bunk so that I can help you up. That ankle now looks pretty swollen to me so you'll need my support."
After a little hesitation, she did as I requested and I managed to get her into the cubby-hole that housed the toilet. At first she tried to keep the blankets around her body but she needed her left hand to help support herself and her right wrist was painful so before we got there, they had dropped to the floor. The dreadful whip welts showed up horribly in the daylight but I refrained from commenting. With her right leg stiff and swollen she had to sit with it straight out and the door open. "I'm going on deck to check how we're heading, I'll be back in a few minutes to check on you." I rightly guessed she'd need a little privacy.
Five minutes later I returned to find her crying and struggling to get at the toilet roll. Her right wrist was puffed up and painful and the paper was in a position her left hand couldn't reach without her turning round. With her leg stuck out of the door that was nearly impossible for someone in a fit condition. Had it been a scene on Candid Camera, the audience would have been in hysterics. For Chrissie, it was a total embarrassment especially as she had pooped as well. "Lean forward," I ordered and then I reached over her and tore off a piece. To her utter amazement and surprise I leaned over further and wiped her arse. Tearing another wad of paper, I sat her up and dried her cunt. I could see her face go red under the bruises and scratches and it was some seconds after she murmured, "Thank you."
After getting her back into the bunk, I handed her a mug of tea and started frying the bacon. Part way through I glanced at the chronometer and turned swiftly to the radio. "No! Don't..." she yelled and tried to move.
"It's alright Chrissie. I need to hear the shipping forecast. My guess is that the weather is going to worsen later on. You might have a rough trip when we turn the corner of the coast and lose the shelter of the land." The Met. Office confirmed my judgement of the conditions and to make it worse the wind was veering more northerly and increasing to force five or six with heavy showers. "Just what we need," I muttered, "Heavy going and a sick and injured passenger!"
Between spells on deck, I did manage to wrap her ankle and wrist with towels dampened with cold seawater and clean her scrapes but there was little enough I could do. At first she refused the Ibuprofen tablets I offered her and I had to do my stern nurse bit and insist that she took them. They did seem to ease her pain a bit. Mid-morning, the clouds rolled over and the wind increased in strength, but fortunately I was able to hold the course I wanted. We were now close hauled to the wind and the White Gull bounced into the waves sending spray along the length of the ship. I could only leave the helm for short periods. Even though the self-steering kept us to the general course, using skills learned over many years, by sensitive use of the tiller, I could ease our passage through the waves.
"I don't know why I should be so embarrassed by him wiping my arse after all I've been through. He seems to want to help me but with all this pain, I still wish he hadn't picked me up. I doubt if the pills and towels will help much and the rocking of this damn boat makes me feel queasy. He's seen everything now and doesn't seem too disgusted with the sight but I can tell he is very angry with those that did the beating. Not that it will help me much. The sight I had of my face in the mirror on the loo door should have been enough to put him off for life. Don't know what I look like now he has wiped more of the blood off. Bacon smells nice but I don't really feel like eating. God I wish the pain in my foot would ease. Can't find a place to put it in any sort of comfort. Doesn't look as if I will be able to get up those stairs without help so won't be able to slip over the side into the water again. Not so sure I want to now but all the hurt and thinking of what will happen when they find me, or the police step in for that matter, may make me change my mind. At least I'm getting further away from Middlewick and away from them. No doubt those bastards, Ralph and my sodding stepfather, will try and find me, unless they think I am dead. It won't take them long to find out once the police know and this bloody boat captain will report me for sure." At the time I still harboured some thoughts of killing myself but they were receding further into the back of my mind.
"I don't know if he thinks I believed the bullshit he gave me about his authority as captain. I went along with it only because I thought he was trying to help me and I really did need to piss but what if he tries to use it to make me become his sex slave? He sounded as if he really wanted to be my master almost like Ralph. Will he beat me if I resist? Will he be as perverted as the others? He could have tried to already but maybe it was only his having to care for his precious boat that stopped him. God, I wish this boat would stop bouncing around. Mick wasn't happy when he heard the forecast so I guess I'm in for a rough time. Please don't let me be sick." None of these words were spoken out loud but at the time they fuelled the fear I had of what my happen to me.
At lunchtime the first of the heavy showers hit us and the wind piped up with it. It was short lived but when I went below Chrissie was looking very green. She needed some fresh air but her clothes were still sodden. I'd laid them over various coils of rope and sail bags but I doubted they'd even started to dry. They were pretty inadequate for shipboard use anyway. "Will my over-clothes fit her? My normal wear won't. We're about the same height but she's much bigger around." I gave a little smile to myself at the thought. "If I can get her dressed she can sit in the shelter of the plastic canopy over the hatchway."
In the lull after the squall, I rooted out my spare clothes and found some that might do. "Sorry, these are not Yves St. Laurent," I joked but she didn't respond, "But they might allow you to sit outside for a while. Sit up a bit and I'll see if we can get this shirt on you." It was a stop/start job because I needed to keep tending the ship and a big tanker was not far off but eventually I had her sitting on a cushion at the top of the companionway. It must have been all of ten minutes later she turned to face me and said, "Thank you." I noticed the hostile glare had gone from her face but she still looked sullen and anything but pleased. "Was it because of the pain she was in? Was it because I'd saved her? Was it because she didn't like being on a boat? Was it me? Because I was a man?" I wondered what was going on in her head but I couldn't even guess.
Another squall hit us and I had to reef the sails some more but we still made good forward progress although the changing wind direction had forced us further east than I wanted. Soon I would need to come about and make a more westerly tack. It was in conditions like this the GPS system proved a godsend. At least I knew my exact position and didn't have to rely on visual sightings and dead reckoning. By mid afternoon our course was north-west, directly into the wind and we had to fight our way through the waves. In such conditions, we had no chance of making a hot drink and I cursed myself for not making a Thermos earlier like I would normally do. Bottled water was a poor substitute as was the cold pork pie and two tomatoes instead of a warm lunch. All through this, Chrissie sat silently and almost immobile except when I had to climb over her to get to the galley. She ignored me when I pissed over the side and I guess she was glad that she went before I got her trousers on. "We're not going to make Thwaitehaven before dark," I shouted to make myself heard over the wind and waves. I wasn't too worried because I'd been there in the dark on many occasions and the entrance was well marked with lighted buoys but I was concerned that we might even have to spend another night on the boat. I was pretty tired, having been up for thirty-six hours or more and the struggle to keep the Gull on course was taking its toll of my energy. She looked pretty worn out too.