Sal drank from a dirty liquor bottle while the buccaneers worked to retrieve their stash from a nearby cave. The liquor helped to wash away some of his grief over Blas.
Stolen loot was dragged out of the caves and packed in crates, chests and burlap bags. Then the men hauled it to their vessel anchored offshore. Even a few live chickens squawked in one box.
“All aboard!” Jean Paul said. The men hauled Sal onto the boat. He slumped over on the cramped deck, thick with scum and moss. The ship’s sails were tattered and streaked with seagull droppings. He shut his eyes and pretended to sleep.
“I tell you he’s the lad we saw in Mazatlán, the military man who held the cargo,” Jacques said. He stood astride the deck as if he captained a fleet instead of this renegade pirate ship.
“You’re talking about the soldier who refused our liquor for seven days? Now, look at him. He hasn’t let go of the bottle,” Jean Paul said. “Why keep him? He’s no use to us. We’ll move faster without him.”
“Let him speak,” Jacques said. He dumped a bucket of slimy water on Sal’s head.
“Wha... what’s this?” Sal said. He spat grit and seaweed out and tried to regain his focus. Surrounded by their snarling faces, he became aware of the danger he faced.
The Devil spoke in Sal’s mind, “Listen closely, speak slowly. I know these sorts.”
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