'Terra Marique Potens'
So, there we were, me and the wee'un at my breast, nestled in my sheepskin coat, cradled by the pitch and roll, when a fearsome din broke out on deck. While Tioboid slept the sleep of newborns, Cap'n O' Domhnaill burst into the cabin urging me to rally the crew. Sticky with birthing, milk and sweat, cursing the eejits who wouldn't grant a woman rest after labour, I sallied above with my musketoon, legs shaking as if I'd been keelhauled from Inishlaghan to Carrigeenglass Norht. Through flags of smoke, a square-rigged galley, its blackjack flapping as corsairs swarmed aboard. Snugging the stock into my shoulder, I picked out a flinty crag of a man bawling like the divil hisself and assailing my lads with a boarding axe. Aiming the flared muzzle, I cocked the hammer, squeezed the trigger. When he hit the boards, mouth agape, the remaining Berbers scarpered like bilge rats. I succoured the babe wrawling for teat and ordered all hands to bear up for port.
Published in The Suitable Girl, Pindrop Press, 2010
Michelle McGrane is the author of The Suitable Girl (published by Pindrop Press in the United Kingdom and Modjaji Books in South Africa). She lives in Johannesburg and blogs at Peony Moon.