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Chapter Five : The Maine Province, 1722

Chapter Five

The Maine Province, 1722

Beatrice knew how to row a canoe better than most men. She did not like row boats. But the tiny fishing boat of her now-dead son-in-law gave her the freedom to drop fishing traps where she wished, and to row out to the ships that came to their harbor for trade. This ship was large and majestic, and it drew her like a moth to a lantern. Something about it would change their lives. She knew it as she knew when Mary Popham was due, as she knew that Virginia’s useless mollusk-beard of a husband would drown, foolishly drunken while fishing. She knew things. Her mother had known them. She’d learned to trust the instincts, the visions.

There was no path to board the ship, and she didn’t need to. A few men sat on swings hung from the side, kicking off barnacles and doing fairweather repairs.

“Good day,” she greeted them. “I have a letter for your first mate or captain.”

“Sim, senhora,” a young man nearest her said. He held out his hand. “I take it.”

“Você fala porto?” she asked in surprise at his fluent Portuguese.

“Sim, senhora.” He nodded. Beatrice inquired of the captain’s name.

“Qual o nome do seu capitão?” 

“Capitão Easton,” the boy replied. Beatrice nodded and stood with easy balance to hand him the wax-sealed letter. As she sat again and rowed backwards with good wishes to them, she saw the coat of arms carved into a small part of the prow’s elaborate engravings. It was a bird of prey, wings lifted.

An owl.

Her vision grayed and shimmered and she stopped moving, familiar with the process. She let it flow through her, but by its end, she was folded over in the tiny vessel, breathless and nauseated.

A man aboard that boat was going to be the death of her daughter.

Next Chapter: Chapter Six: Present Day