When Anne Delahaye, captain of the pirate ship the Merriment, is lead to a chest of coins with unusual markings, she assumes that she’s been cheated. But when she learns that the coins may be the key to a strange cave where desires become reality, she goes to find out for herself. What she finds there brings up memories and desires of a life she thought was gone.
More information, including content notes, can be found at Forbidden Fiction.
Word count: 5300.
It hadn’t taken her long to find the cave. Old Dog’s new instructions had so far proved correct. Well, she had promised him he would die if they turned out to be false.
Now the next step was in her hands.
Anne tossed a coin from hand to hand. Her feet were braced on the rocks above a pool that lay at the base of the cave. It was dry land; her legs knew how to keep upright on the deck as her ship, the Merriment, was tossed and lashed on frothing seas, so this low precipice gave her no trouble. The cave surrounding her, though, even with its height and clean air, was encroaching, like a pair of giant claws about to crush her. Her eyes kept darting furtively from side to side, though she was sure she was quite alone.
Below the surface of the pool, Anne saw the others who had come to this cave. Or rather, their remains. White skeletons lay across bottom, their clothes drifting around them like jelly-fish. One, Anne noticed, was glinting with spots of gold.
A bag of coins – coins identical to the one in her hand – hung from Anne’s belt, heavy against her leg. She assumed that those lying glittering below were exactly the same.
Anne turned the coin over her thumb and fingers. She held it up, letting it catch the light. Its unusual markings winked at her, both enticing and mocking.
Anne shook her head, rueful. In the back of her mind, she heard Finlay’s voice telling her she was lingering because she was afraid. Had he been standing by her, Anne would have said she was being cautious. Finlay would have smiled, knowingly, and she would have either slapped him or kissed him for his cheek.
It would only take a flick of the wrist for her to unlock the supposed mysteries of this cave. Or learn that they were nothing but a made up fantasy. But as crafty a trader as Old Dog could be, he’d seemed very certain about this particular place.
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