“Somali pirates hijacked Paul and Rachel Chandler’s sailboat and held them for 388 days” – New York Times, Oct 9th, 2011
The noose pulled tight against her neck. Her hands and feet, bound, behind her back, were loosing feeling. Out of the corner of her eye, through gap between the blindfold and her eyelid, she could see her husband, similarly trussed. The combined aroma of engine oil, sea-salt and sweat seared her nostrils. Rachel could only hope for one thing: an impending death that was merciful. Her immersion into self-pity was dissolved by the voices of the pirates, seemingly from directly above her. Although she couldn’t understand what they were saying, they seemed to be getting panicky. Their previously urgent and deliberate proclamations and become confused, scattered, self-contradictory. Rachel belatedly recognized both the threat and the opportunity that this presented.
Her husband Paul, had been less fortunate in avoiding the violence of the pirates then Rachel. The gash across his head from one of the pirates’ rifle-butt was turning an ugly shade of purple. Hid head throbbed, seemingly with two different frequencies. There was a continuous high-frequency pulsing that matched his heart-rare, and another lower-frequency drumbeat that ominously foretold of worse to come. Unaware if they were still being observed, he struggled to his feet.
“Rachel, are you there? Can you hear me?”
He was unaware that she was sitting on the floor next to him, and had watched him climb to his feet with a mixture of trepidation and encouragement.
“Yes! I can see you too. They didn’t tie my blindfold on tightly enough!”
“Good! How are you doing?”
“I’m cold, wet and terrified – but otherwise I’m OK. What do you think they want with us?”
“God knows. Money probably.”
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