Down Where It's Wata (Part 4)

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Charles came to on a bed of kelp. The sensation was rather unpleasant as kelp is a bit slimy when wet and crispy when dry, and the mix of the two left something to be desired. He took stock of his surroundings. 

He appeared to be in a cave of some kind, the shimmer of light on water playing over the stone walls. Every available surface aside from the bed was occupied by trinkets and baubles, all gold and silver. Combs encrusted with precious gemstones, necklaces and bracelets of delicate bead work, rings, coins in all manner of currency, even a lovely gold- wrought hand mirror lay on display. The flash and flare of so much precious metal nearly blinded him to the other occupant of the room.

She sat before a gold gilt vanity, brushing long lustrous black hair that would give Captain Pierce a run for her money. That hair was the only thing covering her sizable breasts, bare to the air. Two lovely dark eyes stared at him from the mirror. She would be considered a fine specimen of feminine beauty, most definitely, above the waist.

It was hard to miss the lower half, which was currently curling around his chest. Like some hybrid siren- gorgon from myth, the woman literally coiled her serpentine body around his midsection. She tightened it ever so slightly making him squeak.

"Do you feel blessed by my presence, worshipful one? The Mami Wata has chosen you for her divine mate."

Charles blinked. He certainly didn't remember worshipping any such being. "I beg your pardon?"

She frowned at him, the tip of her tail flicking his nose. "You have been chosen as my divine mate. You will swear your loyalty to me and me alone. No other female shall draw your gaze. Your manhood shall swell for me only." The frown deepened. The coils around his waist tightened further, causing him to wince. The Mami Wata's eyes widened. "You are not swelling?"

"Ah," replied Darwin, uncertain what to say to a snake woman when you couldn't get it up. He couldn't very well tell her the truth. "I'm afraid you aren't my type."

This was unfortunately also the wrong thing to say. Wrathful fire lit in the Mami Wata's eyes. "No, you cannot be unfaithful. You cannot leave me. You must worship me. Give yourself to me, human!"

Whatever protest he might have made was stilted by his sudden lack of oxygen. The snake lady was squeezing him to death. Black spots danced in his vision. He heard the unmistakable click of a pistol being cocked.

The coils loosened, giving him a much needed breath. Charles peered up to find a sodden Captain Pierce aiming her miraculously dry pistol at the snake creature, and one curiously dry Ingrid at her right side. Both women were panting, as if they'd swam or run a long distance to get here.

"How...How did you gain entrance to my lair?" The Mami Wata stammered.

"Never mind the details," snarled Captain Pierce, keeping the gun trained on the creature. "You will return our crew member or I shall put a bullet through your brain pan."

The snake coils began to irrevocably tighten once more. "No! He belongs to me now, he shall worship my body and me alone!"

Captain Pierce cocked an eyebrow. Glancing from Ingrid to the Mami Wata she gestured with her gun at the trapped Charles.

"I promise you, he isn't your type."

"What nonsense do you speak?" The Mami Wata hissed. The Captain rolled her eyes, stomping up to the creature, she grabbed a hank of hair, yanking the snake lady's ear level to her mouth to whisper to her. After a moment the Mami Wata widened her eyes. "'Tis truth?"

Captain Pierce nodded vigorously. "If you release him, I'll even throw in this little shiny for you." She flourished her spittoon from her pocket. A greedy light lit the Mami Wata's eyes.

"For a delicate trinket such as this, you can have your man back." Her coils receded fully, leaving Charles gasping for air. "Now leave this place."

"No problem, dearie," grumbled the captain. She approached Charles, an apologetic expression on her face. "Sorry, lad. This is a necessary evil."

Before he could ask what she intended, the handle of the pistol came down across the back of his head, knocking him out cold. 

__***__

Charles woke in the makeshift infirmary, otherwise known as the top of the mess table. Someone threw a mattress pad on top for his comfort. The Proteus was apparently still top side as the Captain kept his company puffing away on her pipe. Aside from sore ribs and a lump on his noggin, he appeared relatively unscathed. It was then the situation hit him. 

"That was real?"

The captain nodded, releasing a cloud of sweet smelling smoke. "Welcome to the odder side of sea travel, Mr. Darwin. How is that scientific brain handling your little side adventure?"

Charles was silent for a while, unable to quite process all he'd seen and been through in such a short time. "What the bloody hell do I tell the Queen?"

Captain Pierce chuckled, clicking her teeth on the stem of her pipe. "I'm sure you'll think of something."

Charles hesitated. "Is...is that snake woman going to come back?"

"Oh yes, she's a true monster of old. They will have to put her down to make her stop taking men to their deaths, but that is not our task for this journey." 

"What did you tell her, to make her let me go?"

The captain nibbled on her pipe. "My dear Mister Darwin, I've seen how you eye my first mate. What do you think I told her?"

A blush crept up his neck. "I don't know what you mean."

The captain winked at him. "Never fear. We all have our share of secrets here."

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