I looked at Bryant confused. He looked down at me then back at Marie. “What do you mean we’ll find what we’re looking for in Mexico?” She stared. “Exactly what I said.” I finally got the courage to speak. “Where are we going in Mexico?” She turned to look out of the door at the parties happening in the street. “Catemaco. I have a friend named John there he will take you where you need to go.” Bryant took a step towards Marie. “Catemaco is like 28 hours by car.” My eyes wided. “Yes, young one. And about 19 days on foot so you better get started.” We began towards the door when she stopped us. “Wait.” She said. “Wear these. They will protect you from what lies ahead.” She slide a necklace on both of us. Mine had brown and white feathers with beads on it. Bryant’s had black beads and a white skull on it. “Thank you Marie.” I said. “I’ll let John know you’ll be there soon. I know you’ll find a way to get there sooner than 19 days.”
We walked out onto the street where the partying still went on. It had to be one or two in the morning by now. I saw that girl from the dumpster with two men being carried up the stairs to a hotel. “Bryant, wait.” He turned around confused. “What is it?” He asked. His eyes showed fear. I pointed up the stairs. He saw the two men carrying the drunk girl. He nodded and we headed up the stairs. We began to peek through the windows of the hotel when we saw the girl getting into bed. One man had sat a bottle of water on the night stand and a bottle of advil. The other tucked her in. When they were done they turned off the light, opened the door, locked it behind them, and went back downstairs to the party.
We walked back down and through the crowd of bodies that would have been impossible to walk through if we had been alive. We decided it would be best if we started walking. “Should we walk towards the ocean and see if we can walk on the water?” I joked. Bryant looked at me. “That isn’t a bad idea actually.” He said with a smile. We walked for what seemed like hours because it did take us a few hours to get the the ocean. When we finally reached the ocean it was morning.
The sunrise was a beautiful orange, yellow, and blue. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. It was the perfect day to be at the beach. When we started towards the water I stopped to look at a perfect sand dollar. I tried to pick it up by my hand slid right through it. Bryant kept going into the water. We looked at each other and stuck a foot in hoping we could walk on it. When we both heard the splash of our feet in the water we looked at each other disappointed. We began to walk down the beach silently, holding hands. As we walked we approached a couple, probably both 18, and we stopped to see what they were looking at. “Cory did you just that sword fish jump out of the water?” The girl said. “Where at?” Said the boy who I assumed was Cory. “Over by the line of rocks.” She said. Bryant and I both looked out to see what she was talking about. Neither of them had mentioned the huge boat sitting by the rocks also. I looked at Bryant. “Do you think that that boat is always sitting there, or they can’t see it?” I asked in a whisper as if they could here me. “I don’t know but we’re going to find out.” He said.
We walked the line of rocks up to the ship and painted on the stern of the boat was USS Carolina. Bryant’s mouth hung open. “What?” I asked confused. “This boat sank in 1814.” He said as he looked down at me. “My dad always used to talk about how it kept New Orleans safe from Britain.” he said softly. “So what does that mean?” I asked. “I think this is our way to Catemaco.” He replied. We began to walk to the middle of the boat. There was a plank that led up to the ship. But next to it was a stand with a bell that had a sign that said “Please ring for service.” I looked at Bryant, shrugged my shoulders, and rang the bell. I looked up at the ship and saw three pairs of eyes peeking over the side.
One pair of eyes jumped up and ran down the plank towards us. It was a man. He was tall, and build, with a big beard, and long nose hairs. “Hello!” He called has came down the plank. “I’m Captain Jaggy, pleased to meet y’all.” He shouted. “Um hello Captain Jaggy, I’m Liz and this is Bryant.” I said “And we were wondering if you and your crew could take us somewhere.” His eyes lit up. “Of course we can. Climb aboard.” He said cheerfully grabbing my arm. “Don’t you want to know where we need to go?” Bryant said taking a step between Jaggy and I. I don’t think Bryant had liked that he grabbed my arm. “We can talk about it on the way. You need to meet the crew first. Come. Come!” He said walking up the plank. He had dark green pants on, with a red plaid shirt on. Not exactly stylish even for the 1800s.
I grabbed Bryant’s hand, and he walked in front of me the plank to the ship. When we got to the top I saw the people that the pair of eyes belonged to. One was a girl probably 17, in a long dress and corset. The other was a boy with one arm. They both looked terrified. More and more people started to come out onto the main deck. Six men came out they all looked tired. “This is Lou, Luke, Lance, Lawrence, Lax, and Bob.” Said Jaggy. “They’re all brothers, but Bob was adopted.” we introduced ourselves and Jaggy invited us down to his quarters to speak to him. He sat in his chair and said “So mates where are you looking to go?” We looked at each other and both said “Catemaco.” The captain’s eyes got big. “Can we have a moment alone?” I asked Jaggy. “Of course” He said as he got up to leave. And closed the door slightly. “We can’t tell him why we’re going to Catemaco.” I whispered into his ear. “Why not Liz?” He whispered back? “They’ll want to come with.” I looked at him. He looked confused, but I couldn’t help smiling because of his pretty blue eyes. We walked out of his quarters and went back up to the main deck. Jaggy was steering the ship because we were about ready to “shove off” as he describes it. The crew was getting everything in order when Bryant asked one of the crew members where we could sleep. I think it was Luke. “You have to ask Captain, he has a special room for visitors.” He said. I walked up the rickety wooden stairs where the wheel was to Jaggy. “Jaggy do you somewhere we can sleep? We’ve been going since we died.” I asked. He looked down at me. “Oh! Of course. I’ll have Sam take you there.” He paused. “SAM!”
I was expecting the boy with one arm to come, but the girl in the old fashioned dress came. “It’s Samantha. Not Sam. The boys never listen to me.” She said with a sad smile. Jaggy looked at her and said “Take them to the special room.” Bryant and I looked at each other. I knew neither of us liked the sound of the “special room.” Samantha nodded. She began to walk down the stairs to the main deck. Bryant and I both followed closely. She took us back down by Jaggy’s quarter. Then down the hall, passed some cells for prisoners, passed the crew’s quarters, and then finally to the room. She opened the door. Inside was a beautiful four post bed, with a blue and green quilt, two nightstands, two lamps, and a chest. “Liz you’re more than welcome to stay in my room, unless you two are okay with sinning.” Samantha said. Bryant and I looked at each other confused. Then I remembered she probably went down with this ship when they were still super old fashioned about that kind of stuff. “Well we’re already dead I don’t think it can hurt us now.” I replied back. “Well then I’ll leave you be. Supper will be soon. Shall I come get you when it’s ready?” She asked. “Come knock and if we don’t wake up just leave us be.” I replied. “Sweet dreams.” Samantha said in a low hiss and closed the door quietly. Bryant looked at me “That was super weird.” He said. “Yeah it was.” I said sitting on the bed. Bryant sat on the other side of the bed. I took my shoes off and we peeled back the covers exposing the sheets. Bryant laid down and I got in bed next to him, and we held each other until we fell asleep.”
The next I knew I was looking into Bryant’s eyes, and he looked terrified. “What happened?” I asked sitting up. He was shaking. “You started screaming, and flailing around. You hit me in the head a few times. You got me pretty good.” He said. “What the hell happened to you?” He asked with sad eyes. I didn’t know. I couldn’t remember. I was thinking when it came to me. “I had a nightmare.” I finally found the words to say it. “It was about me getting murdered all over again, but I saw everything from Sara’s perspective.” I got the chills just saying that. He looked at me with puppy dog eyes and asked “Who’s Sara, Liz?” I swallowed hard. “Sara is the reason I’m dead.” He looked at me with sad eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me about your death? You know about what my father did to me. Why can’t you talk to me about it?” He asked. He sounded like he was begging me, and I couldn’t tell him. I was embarrassed. He loved me so much, and it would kill him to know how unhappy my childhood had really been. I gave him a cold stare trying to find what I wanted to say. “I can’t Bryant. Not yet.” Those were the only words I could find to say. He looked down at his feet as if he were disappointed. As I sat there on the bed I felt the boat rock back and forth. I stood up on the bed to hug him, and he hugged me back. “We should probably see what’s going on out there.” I said. He nodded his head, grabbed my hand, and we walked through the halls up to the main deck.
When we reached the deck it was pitch black out. Had we really slept that long? We could hear the crew laughing from the other side of the deck. We walked over to see all of the men on the low deck eating dinner, and Samantha was nowhere in sight. Bryant found two empty seats and motioned for me to come over there. I walked and whispered into his ear “I’m going to find Samantha. Bring me something back to the room.” He smiled at me. I walked over the Jaggy, leaned down, and whispered “Where’s Samantha, Captain?” He looked up at me confused like I’d been hitting on him. “I think she’s down in here her room.” He said with a creepy grin. I turned to walk away when some of the men whistled at me. I turned around and flipped them off. Bryant looked uncomfortable, so he grabbed some food and followed behind me.
As we walked back down through the under parts of the ship I said “Bryant. I’m going to talk to Samantha. If I’m not back in our room in 15 minutes, come find me, okay?” He looked worried “Of course Liz. Please be safe.” I nodded, but before I left I got on my tippy toes and gave him a peck on the mouth. He grinned and my face burned with happiness. As I walked the halls I could hear a faint cry. I decided to follow it. When I came to a room with a sign on it that read “Samantha’s Room.” I knocked and whispered “Samantha, it’s me Liz.” The door quickly opened and she pulled me inside by the collar of my shirt. “Samantha. What’s wrong?” She looked at me like I was crazy. “You’re joking right?” she said. I looked at her confused. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “You really think that Jaggy is going to let you leave?” She said.
I looked at her confused. “What do you mean? He’s trying to help us?” I said. She laughed as she went to sit down on her bed. It was covered with a pink quilt. In fact her whole room was pink. There was a sign that hung from the ceiling that read “daddy’s girl” I looked back at Samantha. “Is Jaggy your dad?” I finally found the courage to ask. She looked at me with wounded eyes. “He likes to think that he is.” She replied. “What do you mean?” I asked. “When Jaggy died he had a daughter named Sammie. She was about my age, maybe a little younger. Sammie was crushed when Jaggy got hit by a car. He pushed her out of the way.” She looked down at the floor as she told me this story. “Samantha. We’ll take you with us. You just need to wait a little while longer. We’ll think of a plan.” I said as I turned to leave. “Liz.” She said. “Yes, Samantha?” I replied. “Hurry.” She said in a low whisper. I closed the door behind me, and sprinted down the hallway. As I turned the corner to go into mine and Bryant’s room I hit something hard and fell to the ground.
I feared it would be Jaggy, but when I looked up it was Bryant’s sweet face. He quickly bent over to help me up. “Are you okay honey?” He said. Were we dating? Did he have a crush on me? We hadn’t ever talked about anything like that before. “Liz?” He said. “Oh yeah. I’m okay.” I said as he pulled me to my feet. “Bryant I need to talk to you.” I said still trying to catch my breath. “About what?” He asked. “Well there is more than one thing, but I think I should tell you the more important one first.” I stopped trying to debate on which one was more important to me, and then I thought about what might be more important to him. “I can’t decide which one you think would be more important.” I said. He looked at me said “I want to know the one you think is more important.” I thought about it. If told wanted to talk about him and I first he’d think that I didn’t care about being stuck on the ship. If wanted to talk about escaping first then he’d think that him and I weren’t as important to me.
I said “Bryant I want to about what’s going on between us, but Samantha thinks that Jaggy isn’t going to let us off the boat and we’re going to have to stay here forever with these people.” Bryant sat there and stared at me. He finally said “They’re both really important to me, but I know you and I can be together forever, and if that’s going to happen we have to get off of this boat first.” I know he could see the disappointment on my face, so he continued “but Liz you should know that I love you.” I felt my ears perk up, and I couldn’t help smiling. “I love you too Bryant.” I replied. “Okay so let’s figure out how to get off this crazy train.” I said. He smiled and said “You mean boat?”