Chapter 2: Rumours

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Celeste had rubbed something onto the burn and now Hailie couldn't feel anything at all. She tried touching and pinching the skin around it but the area was completely numb. Celeste had also said it wouldn't leave a mark. She should find out what it was. She was sure she'd need it again.

Hailie and Faith were sitting at a table in a big room. The kitchen was in the corner of the room with a few other tables were scattered around the room. At least fifty people could have eaten in there, but there weren't that many people on board the ship. She had met the cook Gordon. He was a skinny man who wore a bandana around his head. He didn't look like he went on deck very often. They had also met Roberto, a big guy who smiled a lot but didn't talk much, and Tom and Dylan, two young boys about nine and ten who helped with the cleaning of the ship and do other odd jobs. They seemed a bit mischievous but had taken a liking to Faith and promised to show her around once they were done eating. It seemed that everyone was avoiding talking about the one they called Zigzag.

It was lunchtime. They had set sail a while before, heading towards a cove. The ship desperately needed some repairs, so they were keeping close to the shore.

Gordon set plates of fried fish before them with some beans and hardtack, which were crackers that sailors ate and kept on the ship because they could last very long without spoiling. The Captain, Kendra and Roberto were on deck. She didn't know where Celeste had disappeared, and Shen had said something about patching up a leak.

Hailie noticed the lack of food before Eli who was sitting across from her at the table. He reached over to Lilly's plate and started to debone the fish. She pulled it away from him.

"Stop that! I can do it myself," she said.

"You said that last night and almost choked on a bone," he said.

Tom and Dylan giggled and Lilly shot them a harsh look. Their eyes went back to their plates.

"I'm not a child," she said.

Eli leaned back in his chair. "You're fifteen. We'll talk about this again in three years."

Lilly grumbled something to herself.

Hailie was helping Faith with her fish. She hadn't touched her food yet. Her stomach wouldn't settle.

"Aren't you going to eat?" Eli asked.

"I am not hungry." She pushed her plate over to Tom and Dylan and nodded to them. They split up the contents between them. "You're not eating either."

He stood up. "That's right. I have to go help them on deck. Shen might need some help too with the leaks." He headed to the stairs.

Gordon sat down in the seat Eli had been sitting in. "I'm tired of fish. I can't eat another bite of it, or beans, or that disgusting hardtack. I could go for a mango right now."

"You like mangoes?" Hailie asked. She had finished with the fish and Faith was chewing each bite carefully in case she had missed any bones.

"Gordon goes crazy over them," Lilly said.

"I love mangoes. Pity we can't fish them out of the sea." He sighed. "We can only get them when we go into town. Even crabs or shrimp would be a welcome change. I could make a nice soup with them. Tom and Dylan can show Faith how to catch them when we reach the cove."

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