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[Image of Mr Impossible] The Schoolgirl and the Pirate
by Pablo

The twenty-eighth day of July. And the twenty-eighth night of July.

She is sleeping now, curled up on her side in the middle of my bed, her dark hair spread wantonly, the little finger on her right hand slid inside the corner of her mouth. The sea seems to be sleeping too, as if to quiet her after her sobs and screams. Or as if quieted by her. Diary, I may be losing myself to childish romanticism. She must not find out. Not yet. Not yet.

How far this creature has travelled, and what hardships she has faced, I remain to discover. She has not been harshly treated, though. I traced every inch of her dusky skin, and found only the faded remains of six stripes across her cheeks. I know those marks, and well recognise the skill with which they were administered. It seems that the trail must lead back to an establishment of some strictness and exclusivity. There is money here. Status. Power.

Perhaps the marks were the reason for her leaving. But I doubt that. A spur, at the very most. I saw fire and spirit in her eyes. She would always have broken away, in search of . . . I am sure she would not know, could not say. Only, away. In a matter of time, she will both know, and say. She will confess to me that she needs to be tamed. I will nod, and then proceed to tame her. She will be tame for me, and for no-one else. She will then be mine.

Aye, she is mine already, though only I know that. My belt has licked fire into her bottom and thighs, my hand and knee made a child of her again. I have diamonds enough for all the crowned heads of Europe, and my boat creaks beneath the weight of liberated gold. Yet she is the most precious thing in my life. And I have known of her for less than a single day. This is such exquisite madness.

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The twenty-ninth day of July.

This morning I sat a long time watching her sleep, wondering at how she could have passed unnoticed amongst the crew of the Scarborough. She has a cat's feral femininity. And yet, as I pictured once again the scrubbed cabin boy I took from the Scarborough yesterday - his features strong and proud, his hair pulled into a tight pony-tail, a working solidity to his demeanour - I did wonder, Diary, if I saw through the disguise at all. Perhaps it was the boy I saw, the boy I took, the boy I wanted, more than all the trinkets. I do not know what to make of this thought, but it intrigues me. That the boy was a girl, and the girl a boy, might be nothing, or might be everything.

She awoke slowly, with her eyes first, scanning the cabin, her instinct searching for escape. As I had hoped, she did not see me in the shadows, but leapt for a cloak, then for the door.

Which was locked, of course. She turned, looking for another way, and then saw me. I allowed myself a smile at her expense.

'Good morning,' I said. 'Did you sleep well?'

She reacted to this as if insulted to the core, flashing her brown eyes, lifting her chin defiantly.

'Let me out of here,' she said.

I crossed the cabin towards her, but halted as she shrank a little back to the wall, wrapping the cloak more tightly around her nakedness.

'Beyond that door,' I said, keeping my voice level, 'are thirty-seven men of no redeeming virtue. They have been away from port for seven weeks. Have not seen so much as an inch of womanflesh during that time - excepting one rather unusual cabin boy.' She glared, and I gave her that smile which reveals the gold tooth. 'They have no consciences individually, let alone together. But -' I drew the key from my pocket, slotted it into the lock, turned. 'I might suggest that your chances against the sharks would be more favourable, but that is your choice. It will, at least, be amusing to watch,' I lied.

She touched her full lips together once, twice.

'You are an animal,' she said.

I smiled, suddenly aware of the difference in height between us.

'We are all animals, lass,' I said. 'I, myself, am an irredeemable mongrel. Those men are little more than vultures. What, I wonder, are you, hmmm?'

She drew herself up.

'I am a lady,' she said, and there was more than haughteur in her eyes.

'Some day,' I said. 'But not yet.' I turned the key in the other direction. The cabin door locked with a satisfying clunk.

The minx then sprang across the room, throwing books, china - anything she could find - in my direction. No more play. As I advanced on her, she took refuge under the bed, as far from my reach as she could get.

I cleared the remaining books and charts from my desk. I could hear a pained sobbing, at once anger and frustration and fear. She struggled as I pulled her out, but calmed surprisingly as I took the cloak from her shoulders, lifted her across the desk, and tied her tight, legs wide, bottom high.

'Please,' she whimpered as she heard the belt slide from my pants. She could have been asking for death itself. Perhaps she feared violation, but that was not my aim, will never be. That part of her will be given voluntarily, if at all. I am a mongrel, not a jackal. Her glorious backside, though, is already mine to thrash.

Already scattered with weals from yesterday, her skin responded quickly to the leather, and she howled with little restraint, her tears soon dripping to the floor. As I lashed the belt across her thighs, striping them crimson, I heard her screams and pleas as if from outside the cabin, watching the men lick their lips, move closer.

I left her sobbing and shaking, while I hunted through a trunk for more suitable clothing. There are many histories locked away here. I found a simple light shift, and a belted grey tunic. She leaned against me as I untied her and helped her into them, her hands moving in air above her flesh, wanting to touch, not daring.

I did not clean or wipe her face. The streaks of sweat and tears were beguiling to me. The salt on her skin pleased my lips.

Then I grasped her firmly around the neck with my right hand, unlocked the door, and led her out to a bright, warm day. The wind blew her sweat-heavy hair across her face. She did not try to prevent it or move it aside.

There was no need to call the men. They had heard plenty, and their eyes devoured her greedily.

I tightened my grip on her neck, turned her around, then lifted her clothing at the back. There were scowls, rapacious grins, grunts of yearning desire.

'This,' I called out across the ocean, 'belongs to me. Any man who even thinks about touching my property will get to see his bowels before the sharks do.'

I lifted my left leg onto a barrel, draped the girl across it, skirts still hoisted, and hand-spanked yet more howls and tears from the child. She kicked with abandon, revealing all her secrets to a band of the scurviest dogs she could ever have found, not caring any more.

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The thirtieth day of July.

She slept in my arms last night. Her sleep is troubled, but better for the thrashings, I am sure.

Can she know that, I am sure for the first time in her short life, she has discovered someone stronger, more determined and stubborn than she could ever be? Perhaps not yet. But she will. She will.

Can she know that, even amongst sharks and jackals and vultures, she could not possibly be safer than by my side? Perhaps she will. But not yet. Not yet.

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