Crouching behind damp reed baskets, she nervously watches the armed sailors patrol.

Before dawn, hunger had forced her to clamber aboard.

She stole three pieces of brown fruit from the galley and stored them deep inside her filthy skirt.

Her daughter will eat like the captain tonight.

More sword brandishing sailors board the ship; hauling, sweating, swearing.

Fear of capture keeps her from leaving.

The yardarms screech into life and sails drop slowly.


The quiet sound of crying, is lost in the chaos of the dockyard.

Her mother has concealed her well.

Apart from the rats, nobody will notice Jane’s gentle cries.


Originally published: 101 Words