ADAM TWISTED UP HIS NOSE. He wiggled his cheeks. He contorted his face every way he could to scratch the left side of his nose just below his eye, but it was no use. A torn bit of fabric from the blindfold that was tied around his head was flapping loose in the wind and, irritatingly, brushing against his skin with every gust.
Of course it would’ve been easier if his hands weren’t tightly bound behind his back. To make matters worse, there was that cord tied around his lower legs from his knees down to his ankles. In fact, he could feel that it was cutting off the blood flow to his feet.
Oh well, thought Adam, at least I’m not vomiting. That answered a question he’d always wondered about—whether or not he had sea legs. Then again, maybe it was just because the cutter on which he was being held captive was slicing through the water at top speeds, thanks to fair winds and following seas.
If only he could tell which way they were going. As it was, he had no idea. Everything had happened so fast. First, two ruffians forced him into their boat at the tip of a knife. Then, as soon as they had gotten him out of clear sight of the town, the oaf-like, stringy-haired one, Lot, tied up Adam’s limbs and blindfolded him while Ajax—the shorter goon, who had a heavily scarred face—sadistically dug the knife deeper into Adam’s side.
He understandably had a hard time concentrating in the midst of all of the confusion. It was enough of a challenge trying to be compliant while contorting his spine so as not to accidentally end up with a blade in his back. Trying to get some sense of direction from the jerky movements of the boat at that same time would’ve been impossible. Adam could detect that the men had intentionally made the boat take some unnecessary turns so that he’d be thoroughly confused about their course.
After what felt like hours, he felt the bottom of the boat scraping along sand. They had come to land, but where were they?
Oh God, he thought. Don’t let them leave me in the middle of nowhere. Adam’s heart was pounding. He realized what they were about to do, and he knew why. He had said too much back at the warehouse. He should have never asked Rasquelle about those barrels in that locked room. Now Rasquelle was dealing with the threat of Adam’s knowledge as quickly and quietly as possible.
The two men jerked Adam out of the boat and tossed him onto the shore. He was still blindfolded, and his hands and feet were still tied.
“What are you doing?” Adam shouted. “You can’t just leave me here!”
“Just watch us!” Lot replied. “Oh, wait. You can’t. You’re blindfolded.” He cackled sadistically.
“We don’t ask no questions,” said Ajax. “We take our orders from the boss. He wanted us to get rid of you, and this seems like a right good way to do it.”
Adam tried to work his way up to kneel, but one of them came over and kicked him hard so that he fell back down.
“If you’re just going to leave me here, this is murder. You’re committing murder!”
“No. I ain’t stickin you with this knife,” countered Ajax. “I’m just leavin you here. I ain’t takin your life. God can save you if he feels like it.”
“That’s right, boy,” said Lot. “We ain’t murderers. The Almighty might save you, but if he don’t, that’ll be his decision, won’t it? Guess that’ll tell you what he thinks about you.”
“I know why you’re doing this!” said Adam. “But it’s not necessary. I won’t be a problem. I won’t say anything. Please just take me back! Or drop me off at any port—I don’t care!”
“We are dropping you off—right here,” said Ajax.
“And don’t start thinking you’re going to ever make it back,” said Lot. “If you could see where we were leavin you, you’d know there’s nowhere for you to go.”
“That’s right,” said Ajax. “We’re hours from Beaufort. Speakin of which, we better be gettin back. And by the way, you’ll want to try to wiggle back a bit. Looks like the tide’s comin in.”