The morning was calm, the seas gentle and still, but there was a storm on the breeze. She could smell the rain coming, see the clouds rolling in far off on the horizon. Still distant, but close enough she questioned the irritable Captain about her concern. He had simply waved her off with a growl and a glare, saying:
“Those clouds are far off. They won’t be any trouble, so stop worrying your little head about it and go be useful. If I had known you were to be so much trouble, I would have told your father to take you back home or find another crew before I ever let your cursed self on my ship.” She took the hint and moved quickly to her only friend on board, a young cabin boy barely into his teenage years, and followed him to the kitchen below-decks, where the two set about peeling the potatoes and chopping the onions, and whatever other task the cook set for them to complete.
Once those chores had been finished, the pair moved back above decks, and set about checking the rigging, cleaning what needed cleaning, and fixing what needed fixing. The crew, comprised of a rather large number of grown men, occasionally threw a teasing remark at the young boy about needing a girl’s assistance to accompany the uneasy looks and suspicious glares they threw the young woman from across the deck, but the lad only rolled his eyes and continued on working and talking to his friend. She had once asked him why such comments didn’t enrage him as she had seen so often in the other members of the crew when they received the same treatment during her first weeks at sea. His reply had been simple, but honest.
“They haven’t had to do this for a while. I suppose they’ve forgotten how hard the work is now that they’re the ones dishing it out.” He had shrugged, unruly hair falling into his eyes. “My mother was the one who taught me how to fend for myself anyway.”
They had returned to silence after that, content to work in each other’s company. The sun had snuck out sometime around midday, casting a glare over the ship as it sailed across the sea. The crew had grumbled and complained that such bright sun was a plague on them as they worked, and she hadn’t missed the glances they threw her way on this, the supposed hottest day since they’d been at sea. It was no secret that this crew was one of superstitious men who believed in the old tale of women on ships being bad luck, and she had heard them referring to her as “the curse” on more than one occasion. Still, it was an old superstition, and soon enough the sun hid once again behind the clouds, sending the relief of overcast skies.