A soft hum accompanied by the creaking of a ship echoed through the cloudy night as the Silver Widow hid in a cloud. Water droplets formed on Ara's goggles and her jacket felt damp but all was necessary to ambush the oncoming tea ship.
"Captain, I don't see it!" Fink called down from the crows nest and into a pipe that ran down near the mast where Charlotte stood next to Ara, goggles down, blue captain's hat on, with her feet rooted strongly in the ground and illuminated by the soft glowing yellow light of Ara's oil lantern. The pirate captain grasped her hand back around the copper piping that shined in the dim flame and spoke into it.
"Keep a look out, she should be rolling through the clouds any moment now." Charlotte called in. Ara felt uneasy but she continued to hum softly, as she usually did when faced with tedious wait work.
A whisper that echoed behind in the damp and dense air. Ara turned, thinking it was someone who came from behind to address the captain but when no one was there behind them, a shiver ran up her spine.
"Captain, someone's addressing you," Ara pointed out but Charlotte kept standing there, as if no one had said anything. "Captain," Ara said louder this time, but no response in the dark. Ara held up her oil lamp but there was only mist.
"Who?" Charlotte asked, "and keep that light down. we want it light enough to see, but dim enough so they don't see us!" the first mate wound the lantern down till it was barely lit.
"i don't know," said Ara,
"Can't we just talk about this? I don't like you working there!"
"Leander, you met me there and didn't have a problem with it then."
"You were just an acquaintance to me then."
Ara's eyes squinted into the mist of the cloudy deck, trying to make out the words and voices clearly.
"Ara?" Captain Charlotte, asked, "Ara what's wrong?" The first mate shook her head, still listening for the conversation that was supposedly behind them, slowly stepping towards the unclear muffles. It could have been Raphael and Naomi fighting as usual or even Dominique and Roderick. Either way, there was a woman and a man and they were talking bout something that wasn't the job. "Ara, what's wrong?" The captain asked again but Arabella ignored her as the captain disappeared behind her in the mist.
"Bells, you ever think about running away from all this?"
"Don't be silly. Where would I go?"
"I don't know, out of white chapel? out of London? out of England?"
Ara stepped further into the mist until she could see Dario and Ezra, standing like shadows in the dark, when she held up the lantern, their faces shown in the yellow light, staring at her as though she were mad.
"Ara, something happen?" asked Ezra after exchanging glances with Dario. Ara shook her head with disbelief, a little spooked.
"Don't you hear that?" She asked.
"You know, sometimes I think about it, I s'pose. Sometimes I dream about striking it big and buying out the old flat in Boston from before my father was killed, you know what I mean?"
"when it does-"
"Well, Leander, it will never actually happen."
"But if it does-"
Ara stood, breathing cold steam into the damp air of the cloud that engulfed the Silver Widow.
"But if it does, could I come to? Could I run with you?"
She remained silent, her bottom lip pushing her upper lip into a sad frown as she barred in tears. She could never let her crew see her cry as she breathed in and out to stop the circulation of her tear ducts. you're just spooked because it's dark. just ignore it. She thought to herself, blaming her phobia.
"Of course. Why would I run off without you?" Those words echoed in the cold and brushed Ara's cheeks, stirring her mind.
"There she is!" Ara snapped back around when she heard the whispers of her crew as a wooden tea ship with white sails and a beige balloon came slipping past them.
"NOW!" Called the captain and the crew began running, swinging onto the ship and tying it down to the Silver Widow. gunshot rang through the cloud but when Ara went to move, she couldn't. He was there, standing in the dark, his silhouette limp but steady. and when she lifted her lantern, He was gone.
"First the cursed scarf, and now ghosts. Sometimes I wonder why I kept you in the first place." Charlotte clocked her booted feet on the clear surface of her desk and leaned back in her chair with her hands resting on her stomach, her blue, three pointed hat falling down over her eyes with short, straight blonde hair jutting out.
"you make me sound like a troublesome pet." Ara said, leaning vehemently on the desk towards charlotte. "I'm telling you, I know what I heard, I know what I saw. And his ghost is on this ship." she shot a pointed arm back towards the door. "Isn't there piratical folklore about this stuff?" Ara looked back to Raphael and Roderick who leaned at the back of the room. Roderick shrugged while Raphael nodded and pulled up his right sleeve to use his informative device that remained always on the back of his hand. He began typing away.
"I'm checking my archives," He said.
"I've never heard of piratical folklore with the ghosts of boyfriends. The stuff that is, it's all made up by fairy tale writers, not pirates. Maybe you can start a movement. A piratical ghost story renaissance. In the mean time, I think you were just spooked by how dark it was." Charlotte shrugged.
"You told me you believed in the afterlife and ghosts. Didn't you see ghosts when you were little?" Ara asked, sitting down and scooting the chair in.
"Yes, but I don't have that anymore. Besides, why would Leander want to be on this ship? Why has he never shown up?"
"I think he's angry that I left…." There was a silence and Charlotte sighed irritably, kicking her feet back to the ground and leaning forward, her hands netted together and her elbows resting on the desk.
"Listen, we have a lot to worry about and with the Queen's new expansion on the military's budget, we could have a lot more air patrol to worry about. i'm not saying that I'm not worried because either we have a haunted ship or a mad as hatter first mate but either way, there's a problem to be fixed. for now, let's leave it. and see where it goes, ok?"