Seven.

The prison was quiet with sleep as the clock struck one, later that night, wee hours of the morning to those who didn't live by the rule; "It's not the next day 'til I've been to sleep, and then woken up." It certainly wasn't the morning, to Rhubarb. She hadn't slept. She didn't plan on doing so, either, sat cross-legged on the pathetic little mattress, provided for her, having found a hole in the sheets, after a blind feel-around, pulling out strands of hay, one by one, head in her hand as she stared distantly into the darkness. She only wished the dark didn't make her so nervous, and unsettled. Too many horror stories, she supposed. One could never be too sure when a monster, fashioned out of rotting body parts, or a creature with blood-sucking tendencies and a specific dislike for sunlight might creep out from the darkness. Or maybe even some executioner with a ready-tied noose. Either way, whatever was in the dark, she didn't want to know about it. She heaved a deep sigh, looking to the window, set high in the wall, barred up and small, letting weak slivers of cold, pale moonlight peer in, lighting only a patch of cobbled stone floor, with the round drain cover slid into place.

She'd tried to pry this drain open, but from the inside the cell, it was impossible, no grips or room to slip fingers beneath the heavy metal cover.

Stupid drain.

Stupid, loathsome everything. She hated it. Whatever it was, she hated it, be it her situation, or the bars in her window.

She hate. Hate. Hated it.

She rose to her feet, pulling her over-sized trousers up a little further around her waist as they threatened to fall down, and stood up on her tip-toes, gripping what could have been considered a window sill, and peeping up into the night. All she could see was the moon, and a few black, shadowed rooftops. No other life. No one to save her. A small hum vibrated in her throat, disappointed.

She wouldn't have even come to Stormalong in the first place, had she not made those stupid, childish mistakes. Maybe this was her punishment for wronging her family's face, in society.

It didn't really matter anymore, though.

Sitting in her cell, Rhubarb was more or less good for dead.

She jumped at the sudden sound of distant, scuttling footsteps; too heavy to be a rat, but too light to be a man. And too echoed to be in the corridors. It was almost like… It sounded again, louder this time around, followed by high-pitched pants. Yes, it was definitely like - It was like something was coming up the drain pipe. She stared at the cover, in the dim moonlight, considering moving towards it, but then deciding it'd be best to shrink back against the wall, and pretend she wasn't there.

She certainly wished she wasn't there.

The footsteps were growing closer, louder, rattling metallically beneath the drain cover, before it suddenly wobbled, and shifted. She took in a sharp breath, looking briefly into the darkness of the cell, next on, where it's prisoners simply snored away, oblivious. With a nervous swallowing of nothing, she slowly looked back to the cover as it wobbled and heavily rattled, a second time, rising slightly upwards, and then scraping against the stone floor. There was a pause, when the drain was pushed entirely open…

"HEY RHUBARB!"

"SHIT!" she hissed and swiped her pillow off her bed, slamming it down on the invader's head.

"No, wait, Rhubarb, it's me!"

Rhubarb gasped, slapping a hand over their mouth, shushing them, keening her ears and listening closely for any disgruntled snorts, as inmates were drawn from sleep. Nothing was changed, she decided, before finally turning her eyes back to the sudden head, in the drain. She squinted.

"… Flapjack…?"

"Hey, Rhubarb," he repeated, in a whisper.

"What are you doing heeuh, stupid boy?"

"I'm here to rescue you!" he replied, brightly, grinning at her, wriggling his arms through the drain, and grabbing her hand, giving it a tug "C'mon, it's all figured out, don't worry."

"Flapjack, I can't just-"

"But Rhubarb," even in the dimness of the moon's light, Rhubarb could see Flapjack's pupils over-dramatically dilate, sparkling and shining, wobbling in misery, lower lip stuck out in a pout "You'll die, otherwise."

"But what if dey catch me? My fate will be eben worse."

"They won't."

"But what if they do?"

"They won't," he replied, frowning.

"How do you know?"

"Adventurer's intuition."

"Of course…"

The young woman's ears pricked at the distant clunk of boots on cobbled flooring. It was distant, but it was there. Someone was coming.

"Flapjack, gaw, you'll get yourself into trouble."

"Come with me!"

"I can't…" the footsteps were growing closer… Rhubarb was sick of being afraid of footsteps. She frowned, as the little boy pleaded silently with her, with those big blue eyes of his, and then looked over her shoulder into the dark, those footsteps now accompanied by a clinking of keys. She didn't want to live what was rest of her life, in fear of footsteps and the cheerful singing of tiddly om, pom, pom. She swallowed "… Gaw, gaw, I'm comin'."

"Hoora-"

"GAW!" she hissed, and the boy's head shot back inside, out of sight. She quickly got up, and covered the provided pillow up, in the sheets to create the illusion that someone was actually in that bed. She headed back to the drain, peering through to the little boy, who smiled, stepping out of the way.

"Kay, c'mon."

Rhubarb sat on the floor, and slipped her legs through the opening, sliding forward, further and further, 'til she was no longer sat on the floor. She blinked a couple of times when she didn't fall through, however. She wiggled.

"… You're jawkin' me.."

"What? What's wrong?"

"I'm stuck," she wriggled, panicking now, as the footsteps grew ever closer. She took hold of the drain cover "Flap, you gotta pull me through."

"Rhubarb, is your butt too big?"

"Dawn't ask questions, just pull!" she hissed. Flapjack took hold of her ankles, and started to tug, Rhubarb wincing in pain as her hips were squeezed through, and then finally, she slid free, pulling the drain with her, putting it back into place. A candle flickered in the hand of a prison guard, as he went on a patrol of the cells, more so out of boredom, than actually needing to. He strode past Rhubarb's cell, only glancing, briefly. He almost felt sorry for the girl, all curled up in her bed. She must have felt ever so guilty for the crimes she'd committed.

Rhubarb had to get down onto her hands and knees, as Flapjack, who only had to duck, lead her through the drainage systems, damp, with the smell of stale sewage hanging in the air. As they ventured through her escape route, it came to her attention how comically stupid the people of Stormalong were, making silly mistakes, such as leaving a drain, which, she supposed, was once connected to something, in a cell which could, easily act as an escape route, if your connections consisted of a small cabin-boy with a hunger for adventure and general heroism. Still, it just made things easier for her, she supposed.

It took about twenty minutes for Flapjack to remember his way out and for them to finally reach a clearing, disregarding the total of ten minutes spent trying to squeeze the convict through tighter parts of the drain.

"C'mon, it's this way."

Flapjack was the first to crawl from the drain, out into the sewer, lying down on his stomach and sliding backwards, taking a brief moment to dangle from the opening, before dropping onto the floor, and landing flat on his back. He laughed out loud.

"Owie."

"You got 'er?"

"Yeah, I got her."

"Clever boy."

Rhubarb let out a long breath, perhaps out of relief, as this brief conversation reached her ears, and she shifted, gradually, onto her stomach, getting stuck, momentarily, before managing to wriggle backwards out of the drain, dangling, as the boy had done, before dropping down, and landing heavily on her feet, knees threatening to give way. As she managed to maintain her balance, she looked from Flapjack, to the owner of the second voice.

"K'nuckles," she breathed, snaking her arms around him and burying her nose in his shoulder. The sailor blinked a couple of times, before smiling slightly, and briefly hugging her, in return, winking at his cabin-boy, who heaved and gagged, comically, in disgust. But even when the Captain's arms dropped down, Rhubarb still clung to him, eyes clamped shut. He frowned.

"OK, Rhubie, that's enough," he grumbled, prying her from him, holding her shoulders, as though expecting her to throw herself onto him, again, She didn't however; she remained still, with her head down. Almost embarrassed, she looked. He smirked "I know I'm irresistible, but we really need to focus, here."

She made a low growl, in her throat, face prominently red, even in the dim light of the lantern, at their feet "Shut up. I'm happy tuh be out, can ye' blame me?"

K'nuckles only chortled, looking smug and arrogant, shaking his head as the woman fumed, then scooped up the lantern, storming away from them "Let's just get out of heeuh."

"You're going the wrong way."

It was safe to say that helping Rhubarb break out of prison was one of the most entertaining things the Captain had done in a while. Especially as she then turned on her heel a little too vigorously, and went falling backwards into the sewer's water.

K'nuckles laughed long and loud, as Rhubarb sloshed about in the water for a moment, spluttering, before heaving herself up and scrabbling onto the dry sewer bank, choking in disgust. She lay still, slumped on the ground, for a good minute or so, simply breathing heavily, clenching and unclenching her fists until the Captain's laughter finally died down. There was a still silence…

"… C'mon, Rhubie, we gotta get going. Flapjack, see if she's OK."

"Aye, aye, Cap'n," the boy saluted, heading over to Rhubarb as K'nuckles fished in the water for the lantern. The boy got down on his knees "Hey, Rhubarb."

"God, damn it, Rhubie. It's all wet!"

"You OK?"

Rhubarb heaved a deep sigh, pushing herself onto her knees and straightening her back, so she could squint at him in the dark "…Naw… But, gotta be."

Flapjack looked at her, for a moment, before smiling a little, and patting her head "Don't worry, Rhubie-"

"-Rhubarb-"

"Rhubarb, we'll get you outta here. Me and Cap'n are gonna take good care o' you, yessirree."

"… Tengky," she replied, quietly, hesitating, and then ruffling his hair. He laughed, readjusting his sailors cap, before, pushing himself to his feet again, and then taking her wrists and helping her up, too. She sighed heavily, before looking at the Captain "… What do you plan to do with me, anyway?"

"I dunno. Keep ya, I guess."

"What?"

"Cap'n! She's not gonna be our pet, silly."

"Well, maybe not yours, but I'll make her mine," K'nuckles smirked, winking at her. She gritted her teeth, face reddening.

Flapjack only blinked "… So… Is she gonna be like, a cat?"

"Maybe."

"Or a dog?"

"Proba-"

"AWRIGHT," Rhubarb cut in, raising her hands up, interrupting any put downs before they had the
chance to leave the Captain's lips. She frowned "… Now, seriously. What ya gonna do wid me?"

"Only thing we know how to do."

"Which is?"

"Tell 'er, Flap."

"ADVENTURE!"

"… Adventure?"

"No, Rhubarb, you gotta say it like me!"

"… ADVENTURE?" she repeated. K'nuckles sniggered "… What d'ye' mean, ADVENTURE?"

"We're gonna set sail, Beautiful. Get you away from here, before somebody notices you're gone."

"It was Captain K'nuckles's idea."

"Hey, hey, no need to go tellin' details, Flap," K'nuckles snapped, flapping his hands at the boy. The convict crossed her arms, smiling a little, as the sailor stared her dead in the face, for a moment, before turning and ambling along to sewer's route, in the direction of an open manhole.

"Saw, d'zat me you'd miss me, if I were to be hung, K'nuckles?"

"No, it means I don't want to live with yer corpse hangin' over my head."

"Cap'n, what's a corpse?"

"A dead person."

"Have you ever been one?"

"Nearly."

"Wow…"

Rhubarb's trademark frown resided on her face, once more "Awkay, awkay, saw, dee plan is, you two are sneakin' me outta prison-"

"Right."

"Bundlin' me into a whale."

"Also right."

"And den we gawin' sailin'?"

"Righto, m'dear," K'nuckles clapped his hands, a couple of times "You, me, Flap and the whale."

"We're gonna have a whale of a time, ah, Cap'n?"

"Couldn't o' put it better m-"

"Wait, wait, naw, dis is a bad idea. I can't gaw sailin'!"

The two of them paused, looking at each other, and then at the young woman. The Captain frowned "Why not?"

"Because I get se-… Because… Because what if dey catch us? You two will pay dee price for breakin' out and harbourin' a foogitive."

"They won't catch us, Rhubie."

"Bubbie's the fastest whale in the seven seas!"

"What if someone catches us, as yer sneakin' me around."

"Oh, that's what I have this for," K'nuckles lifted his hat from his head, and pulled a folded cloth out, from underneath. He took two corners, and with a flick of his wrists, unfolded it out, revealing it to be bag. He then opened it up, lowering it down to her feet "In ye' get."

She only stared down at it "… Yer jawkin' me."

"No joke, Rhubie. No joke."

"You are NOT carryin' me round in a bag!"

K'nuckles frowned, standing back up straight again. There was a brief second where he glanced at Flapjack, catching his eye, who looked back, and then slowly nodded his head, tip-toeing round, and ducking down on all fours, behind Rhubarb's legs, unbeknownst to the young lady. The Captain smirked, a little "Yeah… Yeah, you're right, Rhubie, it was mean o' me to expect a lady to be carried around in a bag…"

"… Not mean, but-"

"C'mere, gimme a hug."

It was almost laughable how embarrassed Rhubarb looked, at his words, as her fussing and fidgeting was caught by the moonlight. She then vigorously shook her head "Naw, leave me."

"Aw, c'mon, that hug before was nice, I want another!" she looked unsurely at him, not moving a muscle. He smirked shrugging his shoulders, before stepping towards her "Fine, I'll just come to you, then."

Rhubarb fidgeted on the spot, but seemed to submit to him as he approached, almost spreading her arms toward him, but as he suddenly stuck his hands out and pushed hard at her shoulders, any submission was soon replaced with a yelp as she toppled backwards, over Flapjack, landing flat on her back, with a painful thud.

"Hold still, Rhubie."

"K'nuckles, you slimey littl-"

In a couple of swift movements, the Captain tossed the bag to Flapjack, and then grabbed Rhubarb by her ankles, clamping her legs together and lifting her up, her head barely an inch above the ground as she thrashed and struggled in his grasp. The cabin-boy opened up the back and slotted the opening beneath her head.

"Flapjack, dawn't you-" he pulled the bag up, over her face, and K'nuckles let go of her ankles, letting her fall heavily to the floor, thrashing and flopping about in the bag, her shouts and cries muffled as the bag was then clamped shut at her feet.

"… Cap'n, what do we do now?"

The Captain frowned, in thought, before reaching toward the boy and swiping the handkerchief from his neck. He then ripped it into one singular strip, and tied it tightly around it around the bottom of the bag "There. Perfect."

The two of them looked at the bag as the young woman struggled around inside, shrieking muffled obscenities, feet kicking at the seams of her prison. It resembled a very large, brown slug with the unusual ability to buck like an angry bull. A bull-slug… A blug. Flapjack tilted his head to the side.

"… Cap'n."

"Yeah, boy?"

"… If we pick Rhubarb up…"

"Yeah?"

"And you carry her around, over your shoulder, like we planned?"

"Uh huh?"

"Won't it kinda look like we're sneaking a body around?"

K'nuckles looked from the boy, to the bag that had finally finished in its thrashing, and lay still. He picked it up, slumping it over his shoulder "Nah, it's fine. If anyone asks, it's full o' laundry… Or somethin'."

Flapjack laughed out loud "Captain, you're a genius!"

"I know, boy. I know."

Getting the young lady about was simple enough, once she'd been hoisted up, out of the sewer, and into the centre of town. Most people were asleep by this time; and they were safe, so long as they didn't go near the Candy Barrel, where the usual night owls would dwell, with nothing better to do. They hurriedly crept about, in silence, the only sound being that of K'nuckles's boots heavily clunking on the wooden decking, and the occasional, frustrated groan, from the bag over his shoulder. They paused, for a moment, in a darkened alley, and the Captain let the bag slip from his shoulder onto the ground, with a thud, as he rubbed at his collar bone "Geez, Rhubie, I think you need to lose a bit o' weight, Doll."

The bag thrashed around angrily, but he simply ignored it, parking himself on a crate "Hey, Flap, check to see if there's anyone, out there."

The boy did as he was told, poking his head out, onto the street. This was the last street the two of them, plus their fugitive, had to take, before they made it back to Bubbie, and it seemed that it was free of any potential witnesses. Just a few metres, and they'd be home-free. And Captain would take little Jackers on an adventure. Flapjack buzzed with excitement "There's nobody there Cap'n! We did it!"

"Ahaaa, amazing," K'nuckles replied, beaming "I've never done a prison break before. Well, not successfully, anyway."

"What happened, Cap'n?"

"I was breakin' out a good ole' buddy o' mine-"

"What was his name?"

The hesitation and chewing of his lower lip went unnoticed, by the little boy "Um… I forget. I uh, hit my head and got amnesia. I can remember most things. Just not names."

"Is that why you called me Theodore, once?"

"… Sure."

A good ten minutes was spent concocting and telling this random little story about a prison break that never was, to the easily impressed little boy. And during this ten minutes, Rhubarb only lay in the darkness of her sack, sulking. It was getting ridiculous. She couldn't believe they were just sitting there, chatting, while she lay tied up in a bag. A really stuffy bag. She grunted and grumbled, after a few minutes, rolling onto her side in the bag, and then onto her back, kicking up her legs and pushing at the sides, in an attempt to get out. The seams cracked, but still, she was not free. She sighed heavily, before trying again, and the seams gave another crack. Back onto her belly, and she gave one more try for freedom, the seams cracking 'til the top burst, allowing her to see out into the dimly-lit alley way in which her "saviours" were having their pleasant little chat. She was about to try again, when she was suddenly, roughly gathered up in the Captain's arms and then slung over his shoulder.

"Right, Flap, let's get a move on."

Rhubarb grunted, in frustration.

"Aye, aye, Cap'n!"

Flapjack peaked round the corner, a second time, to confirm that the coast was still clear, before he and the Captain made for home, down their last, long street, past the same-old shops. Suddenly a door shot open, light spilling out onto the deck, the shadow of a man displayed in the sudden yellow, making K'nuckles and his cabin-boy freeze mid-run.

"Why, Captain K'nuckles…" Dr. Barber began, squinting at them, in the dark, stepping from the doorway to get a better look at him, and the boy and their… Sack. He frowned "Prey, what is in that bag you have, slung over your shoulder?"

"It's Rhu-"

K'nuckles slapped a hand over Flapjack's mouth, before grinning innocently at the doctor "It's my laundry…"

"Laundry, hmm…?" he bought a hand to his chin, narrowing an eye as he drew closer and inspected the bag. Rhubarb swallowed from inside, tempted to wiggle backwards into the bag, away from the broken seam "… Hmm… Very… Bulky looking laundry, Captain."

Bulky? The young lady scowled.

"Well, I'm a bulky guy. Y'know, all this muscle has to go somewhere!" K'nuckles flexed his arms, as though proving a point, shrugging the bag, on his shoulder. It was this shrug that lead Rhubarb to slide forward slightly, pushed up against the seam of the bag. She could only pray that he didn't do it again. Of course, wishes very rarely come true, as long as K'nuckles is involved.

With another heavy shrug, and another flexing of his muscles, the seams gave a further, final crack, and Rhubarb found herself falling head first out of the sack, from his shoulder, landing in a heap at the doctor's feet.

The three others could only stare at her.

"… Um…" K'nuckles bent down, awkwardly, trying to gather the sulk back up in his arms again, not being able to get a good grip on her as he concentrated on Dr. Barber's confused face. He cleared his throat "… Heh… Dropped my laundry…"

The Barber glanced from the sailor to the young lady who remained sprawled on the floor, looking both nervous and severely irritated as the Captain kept trying to pick her up, and then stupidly dropped her back down.

"… Hello, Ms. Rhubarb."

"Hellaw, Boss…" she grunted, flicking her index and middle finger from her temple, in a greeting.

"Mm… Yes. Are you being smuggled, somewhere?"

"Apparently."

"Cap'n!" Flapjack hissed, flapping his hands, and then pointing up the dock, to a couple of drunken silhouettes stumbling toward them "Somebody's coming!"

"Oh, this is ridiculous," K'nuckles gave up on trying to pick Rhubarb up and simply grabbed her ankles, dragging her through the doorway, shoulder the Barber out of her way "You don't mind harbourin' a fugitive, for a moment, do ye', Doc?"

"Oh, yes, I heard about that… Never thought you a murderer, Ms. Rhubarb…"

"Needuh did I, 'til K'nuckles decided I was one."

"Hey, hey, I rescued you, don't you go pinnin' the blame on me."

It was lucky, really, that Rhubarb of all people, had fallen out of the Captain's sack, in the wee hours of that morning, as Dr. Barber, whose hands were not quite as steady as they usually were, so late in the working day, was just finishing up with a patient, who was in need of having a wound stitched up. As payment for harbouring a fugitive for a few minutes, the dark young woman scrubbed up her hands and went about stitching the patient's arm, enlightening the Doctor on her accusation, capture and rescue. And, against K'nuckles' wishes, she pinned the blame on him for anything that came to mind.

Dr. Barber was an… Interesting man, to say the least. He seemed normal enough as a barber… Usually; talking to his customer's about their lives, just as any barber would, despite not really giving a monkey's about what they were saying. But then, there was something rather… Twisted, in him. Perhaps it was the monotone drone that was his voice, or the over-sized gums that lined his crooked teeth. Maybe it was the twinkle in his eye when someone was in need of a little… Surgery. Whatever it was, it was unnerving to see the Doctor at work, to say the least.

K'nuckles, truth be told, was actually somewhat afraid of him. You could say that Dr. Barber wouldn't harm a fly. But then, there's the cold realisation that he hurts for a living; you walk into that office and your heart threatens to fall out your ass. At least, that's how it worked with the Captain. He remembered the severe case of candy-rot he got, a while back, after eating too much candy, in one night. Mind and body racked with the unbeatable craving for sugar, K'nuckles didn't really have much concept of what the Doctor was planning to do to him, to cure it. But when Flapjack informed him, long after his cravings had passed, that it involved a dirty toilet brush, and a swarm of wasps in his throat, it kind of put him off visiting the good, old Doctor for a while.

So as he and his cabin boy sat in the Doctor's surgery, while he and Ms. Rhubarb casually talked over a patient's seeping wound, about what she had been up to the past couple of days, the old Captain couldn't help but notice something different, about the Doctor. It seemed that he and Rhubarb had developed, he supposed, a rapport of sorts, with one another; one of those odd little ones where snide comments were made, but never really taken by offence. There was even a fair amount of smiling… even from Rhubarb; Ms. Misery-Guts, the girl who would sit at the bar night after night and stare mournfully into a half-empty glass of candy.

He'd never seen the Barber get on that well, with anybody. Mind, he'd never seen anyone who shared a common interest with him, either. Maybe it was this, that he liked.

K'nuckles turned his gaze to look at Rhubarb, cocking his head to the side. He couldn't help but wonder why anyone would share the interest of surgery with the Barber, though. It gave most everyone he knew the shivers to talk about, and watching the young lady poke in and out of this persons flesh with a needle and thread as casually as the Captain would order a glass of candy, was just... Odd. So much so that he couldn't keep a cold shiver from rattling up and down his spine.

He puzzled over the matter for a while, actually. He'd never thought about it when she'd told him nursing was what she wanted to do; he was more concerned about being throttled by her, than her choice of career, but Rhubarb, impatient, blunt and a little snobbish in her ways... The Captain wasn't sure if nursing, and caring for people was really her thing. She seemed too bitter to really care about anybody. But then, there she was, finishing up with stitching this miserable-looking sailor's wound, asking him if he was all right and if there was anything she could do for him, to make him feel more comfortable. And then sat across from her was Dr. Barber, approvingly nodding his head. And then Rhubarb was grinning, looking pleased with herself, as she sent the patient on his way. Then she and her rescuers were sent on their way, in turn, but not without a kind thank-you from the Barber Surgeon, a wish of good fortune, in her escape. And then she was grinning, nodding her head, shaking his hand, and looking very pleased with herself, before heading out of the shop with a spring in her step.

A spring, in Rhubarb's step. K'nuckles thought her ill. Then something clicked.

She wasn't ill.

She was lovesick.

The huge, pleased grins when the Barber would complement her, on her efforts, the rambled, repeated thank-yous, the banter and rapport. Ms. Rhubarb had a school-girl crush on the good old Doctor.

A cruel smirk spread across K'nuckles' face as they crept down the remainder of the dock, no one in sight to capture them and bang them up in prison.

"So," he tapped her shoulder, a cunning grin on his lips. She looked at him with an anticipated frown "You and the Doc, huh?"

"Excuse me?"

"A little old for you, eh, beautiful?"

"Uh, s'cuse me, Captain, I dawn't knaw what you me-"

"What is it about him you like? Perhaps it's that boyish-cute smile of his," he snorted in his throat, at his sarcasm, as Rhubarb stared at him, blinkered, as they ambled along "Or that endearing twinkle in his eye, when he hacks into someone's leg with a saw, hmm?"

She only continued to stare at him as he continued "Makes sense why you'd wanna be a nurse, I guess. I know the Doc, and he only lets people get close when they show an interest in his line of work."

"... K'nuckles, I have naw idea what you talkin' about."

"How far have you two gone?"

"... In what respect?"

"Ya know..." K'nuckles looked awkwardly down at his innocent, little cabin-boy who was skipping along beside him, grinning up to the stars. He then leaned a little closer, muttering quietly into the young lady's ear "Has he put it in ya, yet?"

"K'NUCKLES!"

His brain rattled in his skull as her hand clipped hard against his cheek with a painful sounding smack.

"What, WHAT? What I do!"

"I'll habb you knaw, K'nuckles, da-"

"HEY! Quit all that racket out there!" a man, fat, tired-looking and very bald, burst out of the shutters of his bedroom window, to bawl at whoever was making the racket outside, only for his enraged expression to falter for a moment "… Hey… Hey, hey! It's that murderer!"

"Shit, shit, shit, shit."

K'nuckles scooped Flapjack up in his arms and made a run for it, leaving Rhubarb to stand, and most-likely soil her underwear, petrified, as this man exclaimed about her being out and about. The Captain stopped in his tracks, looking back at her "Rhubarb, you stupid girl, what are you doing?"

"Wha'?"

"COME ON!"

Rhubarb let out a shriek, taking after them as well, as people stuck their heads out of front doors and windows to see what all the commotion was, the braver citizens starting at a confused jog, after her, as the three blurred the rest of the way down the dock, to the stairs, willing themselves not to trip over their own feet as they desended down the steps and closer toward the whale floating, fast asleep, on the water.

"Bubbie! Bubbie, Bubbie! Wake up and open up!"

Bubbie groaned, as this unusually shrill, raspy voice rattled through her ear drums and thrust her from sleep, only to see K'nuckles charging towards her, eyes wide, and mouth agape, gasping for breath as Flapjack wriggled in his arms.

"K'nuckles! What have you DONE?"

"Nothin', open up!" he cried, throwing Flapjack, head first, like a spotsman would throw a javlin, into Bubbie's now gaping mouth, before whirling his head over his shoulder, to see Rhubarb scrabbling towards him, hand out-stretched for one last final pull, into the whales mouth, as the mob on their tail began to grow. K'nuckles grabbed her wrist and swung her past him, hurtling himself in, head first, after her and slamming Bubbie's mouth shut, screaming a "GO, WOMAN, GO," for his home to speed from the dock.

The whale had no choice but to follow Captain's orders.

Spluttering in confusion, she thrust herself, top speed, from the town, mind buzzing with confusion, from the urgency, the rude awakening, the angry mob and the alien taste of a young lady on her tongue.

It wasn't unusual for Bubbie to feel like a complete stranger to the inside of her mouth.