It was nearer to dark when I found him at last assisting in the loading of a ship. For a long time and at a distance I studied a tall muscular man, his hair and beard close cropped, peppered with gray, but looking every bit as handsome as I remembered him. Goddess! I could have fallen to my knees when he looked directly up at me! If one of the Gods had shot an arrow straight through my heart at that moment, I would have felt less. A sudden panic gripped my heart as he began coming toward me.
“Fanny?” he said softly, “What are ye doing in Barbados?” There was no fiery recognition behind his eyes, nor in his composure. There was no sign of any of the impassioned joy at laying eyes upon me again that I had hoped for or imagined. My mouth felt as stiff as planter’s cotton and as dry as the sand at low tide.
“I have been looking a long time for you, Douglas,” I said, “you look well.” And i’faith, he did. The years had been kind to him and in my woman’s vanity, I prayed that I too had aged favourably with the grace of the Goddess, and that not too much wisdom showed itself in the lines upon my face and form. At least I was not so ragged as I had been when Captain Myngs had found me and I was thankful I had asked for a dress among the things that had been purchased for the work that I did for Myngs.
“I’ve married,” Douglas said simply, turning his eyes from me.
“Why is it,” I scoffed shaking my head, “that yer niece, and every one else seems so dead set on informing of me of what I have known. I have spoken to Diannae and spent the evening with her. E’en if I did not possess anything of the sight, i’faith, I’d be deaf, dumb and blind and addled besides if I did not know!” I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks and my hands tremble slightly.
“I dinna say you were addled – ” he began, but I cut him off abruptly.
“Don’t ye know what to do now that I am here? You donna have to do a thing, Douglas, except keep yourself safe and heed my warning. Mengs separated us once, and he means to take all that ye have left.”
“So ye’ve warned me. Your work here is finished. It was good to see you again, Fanny,” he said with a slight smile,” I am glad to know that you are well. Goodbye.” he turned to leave me standing there to look at him.
“No,” I said increasing my stride so that I came to stand in front of him, blocking his path. I stood just inches from his chest looking up into those powerful eyes and face,” You will not just dismiss me. You will need me with you.”
“That is out of the question.” he said. looking away, “‘Tis a man’s business, ye’ve no place along on this one.”
“No, it’s not out of the question, and if you try to prevent me from going, I shall go to the Pilot myself and plead my case.”
“Why would you be doing that, Fanny Fae?”
“Because Mengs is not as you remember him. He is a creature between the worlds now – like me, and you cannot go where I can. He is pure evil now, Douglas.” I said simply, knowing full well he would not accept that answer.
“Wytchery again! ” Douglas spat and scoffed at me in disgust.
“Are you dreaming you can fight him?” I asked, ” Do you dare call yourself a conjurer now? You donna know what your doing and aside from all that, I have a score to settle with him.”
“Why? Because he split us apart?” Douglas asked, ” It was not meant to be ‘tween us. Leave it alone, Fanny he said flatly,” Thank ye again for the warning. I shall be careful, never fear.”
“No, ” my voice lowered to a hushed angry whisper, “Ye will not, not without me. And there is something else – and you need to know, Douglas. Because of him and for being hounded constantly across the Caribe, I lost our son, yours and mine. “I said letting the full force of my words take effect. Maybe he would begin to realize why I had come this far to find him, “I did’na come here to mourn, but I do know that you’d never forgive me if I did’na tell you, Douglas.”
Like a bear he turned on me flame blazing in his eyes, I could see the sweat glistening on his muscles in the dim light of the sunset as he twitched with my latest revelation, “Ye’re lying!” he fairly shouted at me, “Ye left me and ran off with Mengs, and any child you lost couldna been mine! T’was most likely his!”
“Then it was an immaculate conception as much as the Blessed Virgin’s was for Mengs ne’er touched me! I ne’er gave him the opportunity!” I blasphemed boldly, “I have ne’er lied to you, Douglas, ne’er e’en once about the smallest of things, do ye think I could start lying to ye now? About something like this? You’re right, Douglas. The child was neér yours. The truth of the matter was I became a whore in Tortuga after you left. The child could have been any number of men’s, but no, you’re right. Not yours. May you perish then. To the depths with ye!“
My words burned, even in my own ears and I turned to go, the weight of sadness for me, for Douglas, dragged at my heart. Part of me wished that I would have passed along to the West with our son. How could I say to him that all of the things that ached in me, the knowing of what could have been was the worst? Damn my eyes that see between the worlds for the gift oft comes whenever it pleases, and abandons you when you have need of it! For all the powers that I possess, I would have my heart cleaved once again for loving Douglas O’Reily as I did. I did not hope to wrest him from his wife and children and I would he content to have merely been a lover from before or a mistress after, if only the truth be known. The truth of the matter is that he needed to know of Mengs’s treachery before they set sail to the East.
I bear responsibility that night for I never took back those words said in anger. Douglas in the end did meet his fate. I always ask how much of the fault was in fact mine that he did.
Muse: Fanny Fae
Fandom: Original Character / Folklore / Mythology