Sue Vincent’s photo prompt got under my skin this week.
It contains my dowry. All I was ever likely to possess if only for the length of a sea voyage. It was mine until I handed it over to my future husband. Mother made sure that part of the bride price was in brocade and hair ornaments, ear rings and filigree beads. Nothing that would tempt a man, she said silently with her eyes. Perhaps I would get some joy of my father’s wealth. The rest—the coin, the plate, the jewels, Robert would keep.
I was given the only cabin, a cupboard that stank of fish oil and vomit. The captain had threatened to cut the throat of any men who touched me and I prayed his threat would be equal to the lock that wasn’t on the door.
The chest squatted next to my narrow bed. Although I wore the keys around my neck, the next to open the lid was to have been Robert. I could see his stubby fingers grappling with the locks, his dark eyes glittering when he flung open the lid. I wondered would he be satisfied with what he found. Would he treat me gently, like the child I was, because my father’s gold was yellow enough for his taste?
It is cold, but I no longer shiver. Not since the storm and the cruel grasp of the furious waves. I will never know the touch of those stubby fingers or see the avidity in those dark eyes. Perhaps this is better, to know only the darkness, the green sea currents that slip and curl like serpents through the deeps. My shade sits, with my rotting brocades, the glint of my useless pearls, on the chest, watching the curious fish dart through the wreckage of the ship, among the casks and chests and lifeless bodies, to nibble our flesh.