Disclaimers – for the final time.
Well, this is it. When I posted the first chapter, I never thought I'd still be here sixty chapters later, but I am. A huge thank you to everyone who took the trouble of reviewing, but especially to those who have reviewed on a regular basis, this chapter is for you. Another big thank you goes to Hilary, for her support and for getting me started in the first place, to Linnie, who is my beta reader, bouncer off-er, and general support post, and my son, who also had a few ideas bounced off him and provided me with endless names of people and ships.
Why am I finishing now? A couple of reasons. Firstly, I could have written more and more, but in the end the story would have become boring and repetitive, and I didn't want that to happen. Secondly, I was bitten by what I have since discovered is referred to as the plot bunny! I had another story nagging away at me and had to type it down, I'll be posting the first chapter up later in the week. Once again, thank you – Ani XXEpilogue
Maddy looked out on the moonlit harbour of Freetown with faded eyes, and pulled her shawl tighter round her shoulders, sighing at the memories, so many memories. Some bad, most good, nearly all of her beloved Jack. 'Jack.' Maddy closed her eyes at the thought of her husband, a trembling smile playing on her lips.
She opened the window of the room she lived in, in Eb and Rebecca's house, savouring the sea breeze on her face. She and Jack had been overjoyed when the couple had returned to the Caribbean, along with their menagerie of eight beautiful, dusky skinned children, and Eb had become captain of one of Will's fleet of four ships. Maddy smiled again at the thought of Will and his father, who had remained good friends throughout the years, then gave a small laugh at the memory of Jack's disgust when he realised he made more from his shares in Will's company than he did through pirating. He'd cut back a little on looting other ships after that, but couldn't resist one more attack when a Spanish galleon crossed their path. It was a fatal mistake and Jack had died from a pistol shot, his eyes never leaving Maddy's face as he fell, until they saw no more. Maddy blinked back heavy tears and closed her eyes again, sorrow etched on her face. She frowned at the sound of someone calling her name and looked around the empty room then shrugged to herself and settled back in her chair, looking out on the sea again. It had been many a long year since she had sailed, and even now she missed the feel of the ocean beneath her feet, the sound of the ship creaking at night and lulling her off to sleep. Her eyelids started to droop once more, getting heavier and heavier, but just as she was about to nod off she heard the voice again, louder this time. Maddy's eyed snapped open and she saw through the open window, a moonlit ship in the harbour.
'The Pearl?' Maddy frowned and shook her head, trying to clear it. 'It can't be The Pearl,' she thought, seeing in her minds eye the image of the majestic ship going up in flames as it became Jack's funeral pyre, black turning orange as the flames took hold quickly, while she and the crew watched from Will's ship. Maddy's gnarled, stiff fingers played with the amber bead, hanging on a leather lace around her neck, that she had given Jack all those years ago as an anniversary gift.
'C'mon Madalene, I've been waitin' for ya luv.'
'I'm coming Jack, I'm coming…..'