TITLE: ABEL PIRATES
GENRE: YA Alternate Historical
A man on horseback blocked their path of retreat.
Beatrix was used to keeping her head down in Sheepshank, so she felt Miss Black tense beside her before looking up and spotting him where the cobblestones turned to packed earth. He hardly seemed a threat, but Miss Black considered everyone a threat. Even ruddy-cheeked men who couldn’t keep their periwigs on straight.
“Hallo there, Miss Black,” he called, approaching at a trot. Oily black curls bounced beneath his wide-brimmed planter’s hat; his orange feather plume sagged upon his shoulder. He wore a long formal coat, ill-suited to the heavy heat of a Caribbean summer, but befitting the event of the day.
The very event Beatrix and Miss Black were attempting to avoid.
Seeing the unease in her guardian’s eyes, Beatrix felt a wave of guilt for talking Miss Black into bringing her to town. She should be home with her sisters, who had both woken with stomach pains after staging a late-night jackfruit eating competition. By morning, they were competing for who could moan the loudest. But Beatrix’s pleas to escape her sisters’ dramatics would have fallen on deaf ears, had Miss Black known Sheepshank would be swarming with pirate hunters, bootnecks, and other Heavy Pockets.
“Good day, Mr. Reed,” Miss Black greeted with a false smile. She didn’t need to tell Beatrix how to behave. They’d gone over this scenario countless times. Demure, and don’t say a word.
Mr. Reed doffed his hat but didn’t bother to dismount. “Headed to the trial, are you?”