Prelude 01: “Siren’s Gold”

Prelude 01: "Siren's Gold" The Sheridan Tapes

CONTENT WARNING: Depictions of violence, injury, and death including sword fighting, cannon fire, head trauma, drowning, and stabbing, mentions of execution by hanging, hunting and animal death in a survival context, existential dread, character betrayal, loud noises, coughing and choking sound effects, claustrophobia, and disturbing elements, including descriptions of corpses.June 20, 1721: At the end of the Golden Age of Piracy, ex-pirate turned pirate-hunter Eli Barrett is found adrift at sea, raving that the infamous Anne Bonny is still alive. As he tells the captain his story, a bizarre tale of sea battles, shipwrecks, and the lost city of gold unfolds… and yet Anne Bonny is dead. Or is she?Starring Sam Taylor as Andrew, Trevor Van Winkle as Mick, Maurice Cooper as Captain Barnet, Jesse Steele as Eli Barrett, Jeff Frome as the Surgeon, Mike Kennedy as the First Mate, and Virginia Spotts as Anne Bonny, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written and produced by Trevor Van Winkle, and made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner.For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit homesteadonthecorner.com/tstP01Support this show http://supporter.acast.com/SheridanTapes. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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CONTENT WARNING: Depictions of violence, injury, and death including sword fighting, cannon fire, head trauma, drowning, and stabbing, mentions of execution by hanging, hunting and animal death in a survival context, existential dread, character betrayal, loud noises, coughing and choking sound effects, claustrophobia, and disturbing elements, including descriptions of corpses.

June 20, 1721: At the end of the Golden Age of Piracy, ex-pirate turned pirate-hunter Eli Barrett is found adrift at sea, raving that the infamous Anne Bonny is still alive. As he tells the captain his story, a bizarre tale of sea battles, shipwrecks, and the lost city of gold unfolds… and yet Anne Bonny is dead. Or is she?

Starring Sam Taylor as Andrew, Trevor Van Winkle as Mick, Maurice Cooper as Captain Barnet, Jesse Steele as Eli Barrett, Jeff Frome as the Surgeon, Mike Kennedy as the First Mate, and Virginia Spotts as Anne Bonny, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written and produced by Trevor Van Winkle, and made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner.

For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit thesheridantapes.com

Script

Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Depictions of violence, injury, and death including sword fighting, cannon fire, head trauma, drowning, and stabbing, mentions of execution by hanging, hunting and animal death in a survival context, existential dread, character betrayal, loud noises, coughing and choking sound effects, claustrophobia, and disturbing elements, including descriptions of corpses.

[The night wind blows]

[An Albatross calls in the night]

[A quiet night at sea. Sluggish waves lap against the hull. Ropes and ship boards creak. A bell is run halfheartedly – ding ding, ding ding]

Andrew

Four bells. Four bells and all’s…daft and dull, that’s what I say it is.

Mick

Somebody’s nae fond o’ the first watch, eh?

Andrew

No honest man should be. Only fit for ghouls and ghosts.

Mick

And drunkards, a’ course.

Andrew

Of course.

[Mick pulls an onion bottle from his pocket, uncorks it, and

throws back a draught]

Mick

Care to join the ranks of the undead, seaman Andrews?

Andrew

Captain’ll have my hide if he finds out, Mick…

Mick

Aach, I’m not going to tell him… are you?

[Andrew chuckles, then grabs the bottle from Mick]

Mick

Damm’d queer weather.

Andrew

What’s so strange ‘bout it?

Mick

This fog. Came up outta nowhere, far as I can ken. Thickest I ever seen.

[Andrew scoffs]

Andrew

Someone’s never been to London…

Mick

…and counts hisself lucky he hasn’t.

[Andrew and Mick chuckles, then sit in the oppressive silence a moment]

Andrew

Damned queer.

[He goes to take another swig]

[A loud splash is heard off the side of the ship]

Mick

What in godsname is that…

[Another splash. Andrew and Mick rush to the railing]

Andrew

Mother of… MAN OVERBOARD! MAN OVERBOARD!!

Mick

He’s slippin’ under! Someone get help…!

[Andrew removes his coat and dives in]

Or ye just can be the damm’d fool who jumps before ye seen what’s…

Jonathan Barnet

Landsman MacKay, what is the meaning of this?

Mick

Captain! I, uh… it’s ah…

Jonathan Barnet

Calamity and damnation, what’s Andrews doing in the water on a

night like this?

Mick

Oh, uh, yes, well, there’s a… we saw uh….

Jonathan Barnet

Good heavens, who has he got there?! MAN OVERBOARD! MAN OVERBOARD! Don’t just stand there man, throw him a line!

Mick

Aye, sir!

[Mick rushes off, grabs a rope, and throws it into the water]

Andrew! Grab hold!

Andrew

Got it! Hurry!

[Mick strains and grunts as he pulls]

[The rope stretches and creaks]

[Andrew and the drowning man wetly flop onto the deck]

Jonathan Barnet

Mick, go and fetch the surgeon to my cabin. Now!

Mick

Aye, sir!

[Mick runs off]

[Andrew coughs]

Jonathan Barnet

Boatswain Andrews, what in the name of sanity was running through that fool head of yours to make you leap overboard after this man?

Andrew

I really wish I knew, sir. Honest, I do.

[The drowned man coughs up seawater as he wakes]

Jonathan Barnet

Easy, easy man… try to breathe slowly.

[The drowned man catches his breath slightly]

Drowned Man

Where am I?

Jonathan Barnet

You’re onboard the snow, Tyger. I’m her captain. You’re safe now.

Drowned Man

Where is she?

Jonathan Barnet

Where is who?

Drowned Man

Where is she!?

Jonathan Barnet

Who!?

Drowned Man

Anne Bonny, damnation! Tell me where she is!

Jonathan Barnet

Bonny? Bonny’s dead, and all her foul brood. And good riddance as well.

[Silence]

Drowned Man

No. No she’s not.

[Opening Theme]

[The creaking of a ship’s hull, distant waves]

[Door opens, and the drowned man is carried in by Mick and Andrew, still coughing]

The Surgeon

Careful, careful! Watch his…

[A loud thunk, and the drowned man yells in pain]

…Head.

Mick

Sorry, Captain.

Jonathan Barnet

Godssake…

The Surgeon

Just get him into the chair without further incident, would

you?

Andrew

Yes, Doctor.

[Mick and Andrew ease the man into a wooden chair, then step back]

The Surgeon

Captain, may I trouble you for a glass of brandy?

Jonathan Barnet

Doctor, what have I told you about your drinking while you…

The Surgeon

Not for me, for him!

Jonathan Barnet

Oh. Right.

[Captain Barnet uncorks a brandy bottle and pours]

The Surgeon

Here we are, my good man – get that in you, quick as you like.

[The drowned man takes the offered glass and downs it]

[He coughs slightly as it goes down]

Ah, there we are. You’ll be alright in just a minute.

Drowned Man

I doubt that.

The Surgeon

You’ll find there’s little that ails mortal man that isn’t remedied by a good swig of brandy.

Drowned Man

Well. Here’s to English medicine, then.

The Surgeon

Here here!

[Arzt fills a glass and clinks it with his]

Jonathan Barnet

Doctor…

Mick

Limey gits.

Jonathan Barnet

What was that, Landsman MacKay?

Mick

I said…

Andrew

Uh, he just said: “Let’s git going,” is all, sir.

Mick

Nae I din’n…

Andrew

Yes, you did.

Jonathan Barnet

That isn’t what I heard. But you’d best get back to your duties, in any case. Dismissed.

Andrew

Thank’ee, sir.

[Andrew and Mick retreat out of the cabin]

Mick

Ye know that’s nae what I said…

Andrew

Well I’d prefer not to get the lash again for what your drunken Scots tongue decided…

[They shut the door behind them]

[Barnet sighs loudly]

[The drowned man just chuckles]

Drowned Man

Just can’t get dependable deckhands these days, can you?

Jonathan Barnet

Not for the life of me or them. And not for the lack of trying.

[Turns to the drowned man]

I thought you had the look of command about you. Royal Navy?

Drowned Man

Privateer. Pirate hunter, same as you.

Jonathan Barnet

How did you know that?

Drowned Man

The Tyger? I don’t think there’s anyone in the Caribbean who doesn’t know that name by now, or the name of her Captain.

Jonathan Barnet

Trust me, I’m hardly looking for infamy. I just do my job as best I can…

Drowned Man

Capturing Calico Jack, Mary Read, and Anne Bonny, in one fell swoop? I’d say that’s a bit more than doing your duty, Captain.

Jonathan Barnet

I’m afraid you have me at disadvantage then, sir. I don’t know your name, for one thing.

Drowned Man

Barrett. Captain Eli Barrett of the Courser.

Jonathan Barnet

Ah, now that’s a fine little cutter. I’ve seen it at Kingstown port more than once. Beautiful lines.

Eli Barrett

Was.

Jonathan Barnet

Beg your pardon?

Eli Barrett

She was a fine little cutter. Now she’s a fine little wreck, courtesy of our mutual friend, Anne Bonny.

[There’s a moment of uneasy silence]

Jonathan Barnet

Doctor, I think your patient will be fine without you from here on.

The Surgeon

Quite right, Captain. Call me immediately if his condition worsens.

Jonathan Barnet

That I shall.

[The surgeon retreats from the cabin, closing the door behind him]

Captain Barrett, I’m not sure how to tell you this, but you seem to be laboring under some… false perception. Anne Bonny the pirate is dead.

Eli Barrett

And I must emphatically repeat that she is not.

Jonathan Barnet

I suggest you explain your meaning, Captain Barrett.

Eli Barrett

It’s something of a long story.

Jonathan Barnet

Then I suspect it will be something of a long night. For both of us.

[Barnet pours himself a glass of brandy]

Eli Barrett

(amused)

What was that you told the doctor about drinking on duty?

Jonathan Barnet

Privilege of command and necessity of duty, Captain. Begin.

[Barrett sighs]

Eli Barrett

Very well. It was the evening of June the 12th, 1721. The Courser had been hired to undertake a pursuit of the pirate Anne Bonny and her crew. I’m sure you’re familiar with what happened at her trial?

Jonathan Barnet

Of course. She and Mary Read pleaded their bellies to delay

their sentence until they were delivered.

Eli Barrett

So it was, and so she did; a scant few days earlier. Twas a hard birth, and in the chaos, three members of Rackham’s crew who also escaped the noose were able to sneak her out of the prison. They reached the docks in the dead of night and seized a sloop-of-war called the Morgan, belonging to Governor Lawes’ personal contingent, and sailed into a heavy squall off the coast of Kingstown. Not wanting the humiliation of allowing Bonny to escape, Governor Lawes commissioned the Cutter to hunt the Morgan, and recapture Bonny.

Jonathan Barnet

But Governor Lawes…

Eli Barrett

Please! This story will seem strange, but I ask only that you listen and accept it as I tell it. Can you do as much?

Jonathan Barnet

As you wish.

Eli Barrett

We pursued Bonny along the course she was last seen: south by east out of Jamaica towards Trinidad. We were not ten days at sea when a storm blew up, faster and fiercer than any I’d seen in all my years.

[As he speaks, the storm and the waves are heard]

The waves broke over the side of the ship, and we were only hoping to stay afloat when my first mate cried out…

FIRST MATE (distant, muffled)

Captain!

[The scene shifts – a chaotic storm, with creaking ropes and

sails, lashing waves, and gusting, snapping wind]

Eli Barrett

What is it?

FIRST MATE

Sail! Sail off the larboard bow! Sloop-of-war, flying no colors.

Eli Barrett

What?

FIRST MATE

It’s the Morgan.

[Rumble of cannons loud enough to be heard over the storm]

Eli Barrett

Down!

[Cannonfire, splintering wood. One shot hits a sailor in the rigging above, sending him flying with a scream]

There you are, Bonny… Master Sanderson, beat to quarters! Run out the long irons and man the swivels in the fighting top!

FIRST MATE

Sir!?

Eli Barrett

That’s an order Master Sanderson!

FIRST MATE

But the storm is…

Eli Barrett

What, afraid of a little rain, man?

[Eli laughs. The first mate hesitates, then…]

FIRST MATE

Beat to quarters! Look lively, men!

Eli Barrett

You’re not getting away this time, Bonny…

[Cannons roll up on deck and are loaded and damped in a minute. The crew scrambling, shouting, and talking in the background]

FIRST MATE

Ready to fire sir!

Eli Barrett

Hold fast! Hold fast, lads! Just a little closer…

[The rigging creaks under the strain, and the storm seems to grow more intense about them]

FIRST MATE

Captain…

Eli Barrett (whispered)

Just a little closer, my Bonny lass – just a little…

[The Morgan’s cannons rumble again]

FIRE!

[The much closer report of the Courser’s cannons]

[The deck explodes into chaos – men screaming, wood shattering, and the rattling whirl of chain shot]

{A distant, heavy explosion]

FIRST MATE

We hit her powder-magazine sir! She’s disabled!

Eli Barrett

Gunnery crews, reload and prepare to…

[CRACK. A bone chilling sound of wood splintering and breaking]

FIRST MATE

Captain, they hit the Foremast! It’s…

[The mast falls like a massive tree, groaning and spintering]

[The impact shakes and cracks the hull, and a scream is cut short]

Eli Barrett

Master Sanderson! Get the men below to patch those holes right away!

[No answer]

First Mate Sanderson, when I speak I expect you to–

[Eli is cut short by the sight of Sanderson]

Oh god.

[Across the water, the report of cannons]

Wha… BRACE! BRACE!

[The deck beneath Eli explodes, throwing him into the air]

[He screams, then splashes down into the heaving sea]

[The sounds of chaos disappear beneath the waves – then reappear, farther away, as Eli surfaces, sputtering and choking] [He treads water for a moment, then sinks beneath another wave]

[He resurfaces again, gasping for air]

[Barrett tries to swim back, but only makes it a few feet before another volley strikes the ship]

Something flies through the air and strikes Barrett on the head] [Barrett slips beneath the waves again]

[The sound of a heartbeat, slowing and fading]

{[All sound vanishes]

[Silence]

[Muffled sounds of waves crashing on a beach, seagulls]

[A high pitched ringing, cut off]

[Barrett groans as he wakes]

Eli Barrett

Ohhh… god above…

[Barrett groans as he gets to his feet]

Where in god’s name am I?

Anne Bonny

Who the hell are you?

[A sword is drawn, ringing]

Answer me, or I’ll find out by the color of your guts once I’ve spilled them on the sand. 

[Eli laughs]

Eli Barrett

Anne Bonny, as I live and breathe.

Anne Bonny

You may not for much longer, if you’re the one who sunk my ship.

Eli Barrett

Aye.

[He draws his sword]

But since you sunk mine, I’d say all’s fair.

[Anne snarls, and swings her sword]

[Eli dances away, crying out in alarm]

Hold, Hold! Let me speak…

[Anne howls as she stabs]

[Eli grunts, barely blocking each blow]

[Their swords clatter as they lock hilts]

I don’t wish to harm you.

[Anne laughs wildly]

Anne Bonny

Then you’re a bigger fool than I already thought!

[Anne screams as their swords break apart]

[A quick flurry of blows, Eli and Anne grunting]

[At last, Eli knocks Anne’s cutlass out of her hand]

[Clatter as it hits the sand]

Eli Barrett

You’re disarmed, Bonny. You’re beaten. Surrender.

[Anne grabs for her pistol, cocking it]

[Eli slices the back of her hand with his blade]

[Anne cries out and drops the pistol]

Eli Barrett

No more of that, my Bonny lass.

[Eli steps forward]

[Fabric rustling]

Anne Bonny

Hey! Let me go, you bloody leacher! I’ll not be…

[Eli pulls a knife out of her belt and steps back]

Eli Barrett

Is this your knife?

Anne Bonny

Bollocks.

Eli Barrett

Hoping to stab me in the back with this later, eh?

Anne Bonny

The thought had crossed my mind, aye.

[Eli picks up her pistol and trains it on her]

Eli Barrett

Go get your sword.

Anne Bonny

What?

Eli Barrett

Get your sword and bring it here. Hilt first.

[Anne grows in annoyance, then marches over to her cutlass]

[Eli adjusts his pistol and grabs the sword, slipping it into his belt]

Eli Barrett

You don’t have any idea what godforsaken rock you’ve stranded us on, do you?

Anne Bonny

Oh, forgive me if I couldn’t shipwreck myself anywhere nicer. And no, I don’t.

[Eli groans slightly]

Eli Barrett

Did anyone else make it ashore?

Anne Bonny

No. Well – no one living, that is.

Eli Barrett

What do you mean?

[Anne scoffs]

Anne Bonny

Look to the waves, captain.

[Eli turns – then gasps]

Jonathan Barnet (in the present)

What did you see?

[The scene shifts, and the sounds of seagulls disappear, transforming back to creaking wood of the hulking ship]

Eli Barrett

A dozen sailors. My crew. Hers. Floating dead just off the shoreline. And the Courser, like a rotting corpse with ribs exposed aground on the shore a little ways off.

Jonathan Barnet

God preserve us.

[Eli scoffs]

Eli Barrett

Trust me, Barnet – God had little to do with what happened there.

Jonathan Barnet

Where were you?

Eli Barrett

An island off the coast of New Granada, I believe. It was the nearest land to where the storm blew up, at any rate.

Jonathan Barnet

Were there any other survivors?

Eli Barrett

None but myself and Bonny. We searched through the remaining daylight for food and water, finding nothing but coconuts for both. I gathered what we could carry and then made camp in a little clearing in the trees near the shoreline. Bonny, of course, was none too pleased with the accommodations.

Anne Bonny (in the past)

Are the ropes really necessary?

[A small driftwood fire, distant waves]

[Ropes being adjusted]

Trust me, I won’t…

[Eli tightens the rope]

[Anne grunts in pain]

Eli Barrett

I do trust you. I trust you’ll wait until I’m asleep to cut my heart and feed it to the crabs, and that’s about all the trust you deserve.

Anne Bonny

What if I gave you my word as a pirate?

[Eli scoffs, turning back to the fire]

Eli Barrett (muttered)

Bloody pirates…

Anne Bonny 

Wait a moment… Don’t I know you from somewhere?

Eli Barrett

If you do, you’d best keep it to yourself.

Anne Bonny

God’s nose… I know I’ve seen you by another fire, mutterin’ to yourself. Huh… Done much pirating in your time?

Eli Barrett

None that I’m proud of.

Anne Bonny

God… Eli Barrett?!

[Eli grumbles, turning away]

Eli Barrett it is! Aah, it has to be!

Eli Barrett

Think it, if you must. And it’s Captain Barrett to you, in any case.

Anne Bonny

I thought you were still on Nassau when Rogers landed.

Eli Barrett

Indeed I was. Best turn I could’ve hoped for.

Anne Bonny

You were? And now you’re…

[Moment of realization]

Ah. So it’s true, then. You and Hornigold took pardons and turned hunter.

Eli Barrett

Some of us were smart enough to take what the crown offered, rather than stealing it. Learned that from your late husband.

Anne Bonny

Rackham was my husband, fool!

[Eli scoffs]

Eli Barrett

Right. And I’m sure a marriage by the pirate Calico Jack will hold up under common law about as well as the Pirate’s Republic did under British cannons.

[Silence]

[Anne cries out in pain]

Eli Barrett

What is it?

Anne Bonny

Something bit me!

[Eli jumps up and rushes over]

Eli Barrett

What! Where? I don’t see anything?

Anne Bonny

It’s right…

[Anne spits in his face]

[Eli cries out, stumbling back]

Bloody-minded traitor!

[Eli rears back and slaps Bonny across the face]

[Anne just laughs]

Eli Barrett

Keep a civil tongue, or I will be forced to gag you.

Anne Bonny

Oh, I bet you will. You’ll find me a bit harder to silence than your own bloody conscience.

Eli Barrett

I won’t be scolded on matters of conscience by a murderous, thieving adulteress.

Anne Bonny

At least I never pretended to be anything I wasn’t, Barrett. Can

you say the same?

[A twig snaps a little ways off in the forest]

[Both pirate and captive fall silent]

Eli Barrett

Did… did you hear that?

Anne Bonny

I’m afraid I did.

[Another twig breaks]

[A tiger growls nearby]

Eli Barrett

Oh, mother of god…

[Eli slowly draws Anne’s pistol from his belt, cocking it]

Anne Bonny

Cut me loose.

Eli Barrett

Not a chance in hell.

Anne Bonny

You’ll have better luck with two than one against that thing.

Eli Barrett

I’ll leave you to the beast before I see you free again.

Anne Bonny

Bloody fool…

[The tiger steps into the clearing]

[Eli raises his pistol]

[The tiger growls, padding closer]

[Eli aims]

[CLICK]

Anne Bonny

Huh. Wet powder. Shame.

[Eli drops the pistol and goes for his sword]

[The tiger leaps before he can draw it]

[Eli screams as the tiger knocks him to the ground]

[Sounds of a struggle]

Eli Barrett

Bonny! For godssake, Bonny, help me!

[No answer. The tiger slashes, ripping his shirt]

[Eli cries out in pain]

[Running footsteps]

[A sword stabs into the tiger’s side]

[The tiger roars in pain, turning from Eli]

Anne Bonny

Oi! Beasty! How’d’you like the taste of pirate steel, eh?

[The tiger snarls and swipes at Anne]

[Eli draws his sword, stabbing it through the heart]

[It roars in pain, then collapses]

Eli Barrett

No better than English steel, it seems…

[Anne’s sword flashes up, stopping Eli short]

Anne Bonny

I wonder how it tastes to you…

Eli Barrett 

Put that fool thing away, Bonny, before I…

[Anne laughs]

Anne Bonny

Before you what, eh? Your sword’s stuck fast in the old cat carcass.

Eli Barrett

Quit acting the fool, Bonny. When we’re rescued–

Anne Bonny

When we’re rescued… Who’s looking for us? Your friends? Mine? Last I checked, neither of us have overmany left in this living world.

Eli Barrett

Bonny, I’m warning you…

[Eli is cut off by her sword pressing into his neck]

Anne Bonny

I find it’s best not to make idle threats with a sword to my throat. It’s just you and me on this island, Captain Barrett. I suggest you do as I say if you wish your worthless life to continue.

Jonathan Barnet (in the present)

She took you prisoner?

[The scene shifts again, back inside the Tyger]

Eli Barrett

Only by luck – and a good measure of treachery. I suspect she wished me dead, but needed me for a bargaining chip if a ship of the line ever did happen upon that cursed isle.

Jonathan Barnet

Mmm. Much the same reason you wanted to keep her alive, I suppose.

Eli Barrett

Beg pardon?

Jonathan Barnet

Lawes’ commission was to return Bonny to Kingstown, alive. You could hardly return with a corpse and expect him to grant you a new ship, could you?

Eli Barrett

Well… no. I suppose I couldn’t.

[Awkward pause]

Days passed beneath the merciless sun, each worse than the last, we ate off the tiger for as long as we could, with its brothers always watching from the woods. Eventually we all but exhausted the supply of coconuts near the beach. Desperate thirst forced us to move inland in search of a spring. I was only ever untied when it came time to move camp…

Anne Bonny

For godssake Barrett, stop complaining.

[Eli and Bonny are tromping through thick underbrush, parting

it with occasional cutlass swings]

You’d think I left you tied up for a fortnight, the way you hobble.

Eli Barrett

You did tie me up.

Anne Bonny

Only on the watches, when I did sleep. And I didn’t take nearly enough of those.

[Eli grumbles something unintelligible]

[Anne ignores it]

See that ridge up ahead? The one circling the peak?

Eli Barrett

Aye, I see it.

Anne Bonny

There’s a crack in the rock a little ways up. May be a cave

we can shelter in for the night.

Eli Barrett

Or it might be a goodly height from which to fall and break our necks.

Anne Bonny

You have a better notion, Captain?

Eli Barrett

Aye. Turn back and wait at the shore for rescue.

Anne Bonny

We need water, Barrett. How many times need I tell you that there is no one coming to save us.

Eli Barrett

Always ever once more.

Anne Bonny

No. One. Is. Coming.

Eli Barrett

I don’t believe you. As ever.

Anne Bonny

Stubborn English fool.

Eli Barrett

Lying Irish whore–

[Anne turns around and smacks him with the flat of her sword]

Ow! What was that?

Anne Bonny

The flat of my cutlass, Barrett. Unless you wish to feel the sharp of it, I suggest you keep quiet.

Eli Barrett

Well how about you give me back my sword, and we’ll see who feels the sharp first, eh?

[Anne stops]

[She draws the other sword on her belt and throws it to Barrett]

Eli Barrett

What? I was… I was just…

[Before he can finish, Anne screams and swings at him]

[Eli yelps and barely gets his sword up in time]

[Anne grunts as she swings down, with Eli backpedaling]

Wait! Wait!!

[Anne knocks the sword from his hands]

Okay, okay, I get it, you…

[Anne snarls and grabs him, putting her sword along his neck]

Bonny, please…!

Anne Bonny

Give me one reason I shouldn’t spill your worthless blood for everyone in Nassau who died because of your treachery. Give me… one.

Eli Barrett

Your mercy, Bonny… mercy…

[Anne tightens her grip, and the sword draws a little blood]

Anne Bonny

You must’ve known a different Anne Bonny.

Eli Barrett (struggling for breath)

Anne…

[A low growl from the trees]

[Anne gasps and turns, letting go of Eli]

[He drops to the ground, coughing]

Anne Bonny

Get your sword, Barrett.

Eli Barrett

What?

Anne Bonny

Your sword. Now.

[The tiger roars – and then another]

Eli Barrett

Oh shit.

[Eli picks up his sword, standing back to back with Anne]

[Yet another tiger roars]

Anne Bonny

When I say run, make for the ridge. We may be able to fight them off if we reach that cave.

Eli Barrett

May?

Anne Bonny

Just… RUN!

[Anne runs through the woods, followed by a slightly slower Eli]

[The tigers roar and give chase]

[Anne and Eli crash through branches and vines, finally breaking through onto the stone side of the mountain]

Anne Bonny

There’s the cave! Hurry!

[A few feet behind them, one of the tigers burst through the underbrush, snarling]

In here, in here!

[The pair tumble into a dripping, echoing tunnel]

Eli Barrett

Now what? They’re right…

[Eli trails off, looking around]

Anne Bonny 

What is it?

Eli Barrett

This… this isn’t a cave – it’s a mine.

Anne Bonny

What?

Eli Barrett 

There’s a brace here! Someone carved these tunnels. Help me knock it down!

Anne Bonny 

Are you mad, man? We’ll be trapped in here!

Eli Barrett

Better than being eaten alive by them!

[Eli kicks at the beam. It’s old and splinters easily. The wood groans under the weight of the rock]

Anne Bonny

Eli, wait!

[Eli kicks again, and the post breaks]

Get away from the…

[A roar of falling rocks fills the cavern just as the tigers reach the entrance]

[The sounds of the tigers fade as the cave entrance fills up]

[After a long moment, the tunnel is silent]

[Eli coughs in the dust]

Eli Barrett 

Bonny? Bonny, are you still there?

Anne Bonny 

Where are you?

Eli Barrett

I don’t know, I can’t…

[Suddenly they bump into one another, falling over]

…See you.

Anne Bonny

Count yourself lucky I can’t, Barrett. Otherwise I’d run you through right now.

Eli Barrett 

What for? I saved us.

Anne Bonny

You buried us alive with no food or water to speak of. I’d hardly call that saving.

Eli Barrett 

“Thank you” would be the proper response, you ungrateful pirate…

Anne Bonny 

Oh aye, thank you for sealing us into a cold, dark grave to suffocate on one another’s stench.

Jonathan Barnet (in the present)

That’s enough, Barrett, I take your meaning.

[The scene shifts back to the Tyger]

Eli Barrett 

Oh. Yes, I suppose you do.

[In the background, someone rings the ships bell: first twice, then twice again, then once]

Jonathan Barnet

How long were you trapped in that tunnel?

Eli Barrett 

Impossible to say in the dark. Could’ve been an hour. Could’ve been half the day.

Jonathan Barnet

Damned foolish thing for her to do.

Eli Barrett

Umm… Yes. I suppose it was. 

[Awkward silence]

After a long time in silence, I started to notice something odd…

Anne Bonny (in the past)

Do you feel that?

[Back to the dripping, cold, and echoing cave]

Eli Barrett 

Feel what?

Anne Bonny

I think I just felt a draft.

Eli Barrett 

Typical woman to fret about the cold. I think we’ve bigger concerns.

Anne Bonny 

Trust me Barrett: if I was worried about that, I’d cut you down the middle and wear your skin for an overcoat… Though something tells me your cold heart would make you useless, even for that.

Eli Barrett 

Droll as ever, Bonny.

Anne Bonny 

I repeat, as before: there is a draft in this cave.

Eli Barrett 

And what does that mean?

Anne Bonny

It means that air is coming from somewhere and going to somewhere. Or, to put it plainly…

Eli Barrett 

There’s another way out.

[Anne draws her sword]

Anne Bonny 

Follow close behind me.

[Anne begins tapping her sword on the cave floor]

[With slow, careful footsteps, Eli follows the sound]

[Eli begins to breathe heavily, the sound echoing]

[Anne’s sword stops after a few moments]

Anne Bonny

Would you care not to breathe quite so loud, Barrett?

Eli Barrett

What, am I breathing wrong now?

[Anne pants, imitating Barrett]

Anne Bonny

That’s what you sound like.

[Anne starts down the passage again, tapping her sword]

Eli Barrett

Bloody Irishwoman…

Anne Bonny

I can still hear you.

Eli Barrett 

Bloody…

Anne Bonny

Still hear you.

[Eli grumbles to himself]

[The pair stumbles along for a while longer, then stop]

Anne Bonny

What’s that?

[The sound of roaring water can be heard a little ways away]

Eli Barrett

Sounds like a waterfall up ahead.

Anne Bonny

I… I think I can see a light

Eli Barrett 

I think I can see it too – Come on! 

[Eli rushes forward, past Anne]

Anne Bonny 

Barrett, wait!

Eli Barrett

What…?

[Eli cries out as he slips over the edge of a precipice]

[Small rocks dislodge from the edge as he scrambles for a hold]

Anne Bonny 

Barrett!! Hold on, hold on, I’ve got you…!

[Anne drops her sword and rushes forward, grunting as she grabs his hand and pulls]

[Eli struggles as he climbs back up, then laughs in relief]

Eli Barrett

Thank’ee kindly, Anne.

Anne Bonny

Don’t mention it.

Eli Barrett

That would’ve been quite a fall, if not for…

Anne Bonny

No really – never mention it.

[Before Eli can argue, Anne stands up]

There’s a path around this crevice… that light’s on the far side. This way.

[Eli sighs, then stands up and begins to follow Anne again]

[After a few moments, the sound of the waterfall is louder]

Anne Bonny

Where do you think we are?

Eli Barrett 

What? Eh, I don’t know – on the other side of the island?

Anne Bonny 

You think we’ve gone all the way through the mountain by now?

Eli Barrett 

It’s possible! Damned tricky telling how long we’ve been under for.

[Anne scoffs]

Anne Bonny

Yes, it is at that.

[The sound of the waterfalls becomes thunderous as they exit the cave]

[Anne and Eli both gasp at the sight]

Anne Bonny

Mary, mother of God…

Eli Barrett 

Is… is that…

Jonathan Barnet (in the present)

El Dorado?

[The scene shifts to the Tyger]

[Someone outside is striking the bell again – three pairs of two strikes]

[Barnet laughs]

Jonathan Barnet

Really captain… you expect me to believe you found the legendary city of gold on this barren island of yours?

Eli Barrett

I told you the tale would sound strange to your ears. And you agreed only to listen, not to question.

Jonathan Barnet

Aye. So I did.

[Eli sighs]

Eli Barrett

I can only tell you what my own disbelieving eyes saw: an ancient, crumbling city, either made or gilded with solid, untarnished gold. It was hidden on three sides by a steep and narrow canyon, and on the other by a thick canopy of trees growing above the river that passed out of a shallow bay. There was a heathen temple at the far end of the main road, which was paved with white marble and choked with living green moss. At the far end of the road, at the mouth of the river, was a large shipyard full of strange, alien watercraft of elegant and unknown design. It was here that our steps led us almost immediately.

Anne Bonny (in the past)

Hurry up Barrett!

[Footsteps over stone]

[The sound of birds chattering in trees, waves lapping happily]

The light is failing!

Eli Barrett 

Would you… would you just look at this place? Even a common piece of masonry would fetch a king’s ransom in London…

Anne Bonny

You can be as rich as you like, after we’ve checked these boats are seaworthy!

Eli Barrett 

Don’t you see what this place means, Bonny?

Anne Bonny

It won’t mean anything if we can’t escape it. What’s a fortune worth with nowhere to spend it, eh?

Eli Barrett 

Oh. Right.

[Eli rushes over to the shipyard and onto the docks]

Anne Bonny

Damned odd ships… where are the sails?

Eli Barrett

I can’t see any… but the hull looks sturdy, if oddly formed.

Anne Bonny

Think we can attach a mainsail to that… whatever that thing is on the foredeck?

Eli Barrett 

Looks like a chimney… I don’t see why not, so long as we can find the canvas for it.

Anne Bonny 

You figure the people who lived here used bedsheets?

Eli Barrett 

Only one way to find out.

[Footsteps rushing off the dock and back into the city]

Eli Barrett (in the present)

We split up and searched the city, steeple to cellar. As it turned out, its long dead residents did use bedsheets, which we found by the dozens in their rotting homes. We also found strong leather string and needles forged of gold, along with strangely carved torches and candles which, with a little difficulty, we managed to light.

[The sound of a fire starting]

In our excitement, neither of us noted the passage of time. We worked through the night, and, once we’d stitched and hoisted the sail onto the strange ship’s semi-mast, we looked up to see the moon, by then full, high in the night sky.

Anne Bonny (in the past)

God’s guts, it must be nearly midnight.

[Eli stands, stretches, and yawns]

Eli Barrett 

So it must be.

Anne Bonny 

I suppose it would be rather foolhardy for us to try and sail out tonight, wouldn’t it?

Eli Barrett

Us?

Anne Bonny

Aye. You and I.

Eli Barrett

Oh.

Anne Bonny 

What, did you think you were just going to leave me here to rot, Barrett?

Eli Barrett

No, I just…

Anne Bonny 

Need I remind you who just saved your worthless hide in that cave?

Eli Barrett 

Well if you regret it so much, then why on God’s earth did you do it? Or save me from the tiger, for that matter?

[Anne falls silent]

Anne Bonny 

I guess… When it comes right down to it… I don’t like seeing people die who aren’t trying to kill me. Good or ill.

[A moment of silent understanding between them.]

Godssake, I’m too tired to be talking like this.

[Anne picks up a spare bedsheet and walks down the deck]

I’m going to take this sheet and find somewhere to rest my bones for the night.

Eli Barrett (quiet)

Aye. Quite right, too.

[Silence]

Anne?

Anne Bonny

Aye?

Eli Barrett 

Thank’ee again. For everything.

Jonathan Barnet (in the present)

“Thank you?”

[The Tyger‘s bell strikes seven – ding ding, ding ding, ding ding, ding]

Eli Barrett 

It seemed the right thing to say at the time. God knows why.

Jonathan Barnet

You let her charm you, that’s why. Get inside that head of yours.

Eli Barrett 

Perhaps that’s it…

[Barnet pours himself another glass of brandy]

Jonathan Barnet

So, you parted ways with the lovely Miss Bonny…

Eli Barrett

Aye, that I did. She left the docks a while before I did, taking one of the torches with her. I watched it retreat down the lane,

illuminating the white marble and golden walls until it vanished into a small house halfway between the temple and the docks. I chose to remain near to the ship, sheltering in a hovel I presumed to be the late harbormaster’s.

[The sound of a wooden door closing]

The night rolled by apace, and yet I could not sleep. Something stirred in my mind and refused to settle… a memory of Anne’s late husband, James Bonny.

[The wooden door opens]

[Soft, stealthy footsteps move down the marble lane]

He was a pirate and a treacherous rapscallion – not a man I’d trust farther than the nearest bar, for certain. But he taught me much about both piracy and life. He taught me how pirates think; what moves them and drives them and pushes them into their outlaw lives. He taught me how to turn poor situations to opportunities, in spite any cost. And he taught me one thing above all else when he came into my home on that last night of free Nassau and tried to kill me in my sleep.

[A wooden door creaks quietly as someone opens it]

Trust no man or woman – and pirate least of all.

[Anne breathes softly in her sleep]

[Eli creeps up, drawing a knife]

[Anne gasps as he plunges the knife into her back]

Eli Barrett

Shh, shh… no need to cry out. Only make the pain worse, it will.

[Anne gasps for breath]

Anne Bonny

Barrett? What have you… Why…

Eli Barrett 

The same I did for your late husband… And for the same reason. I didn’t trust him to keep his fool mouth shut. After all, a secret fortune’s only worth something if you’re the only one who knows where to find it.

Anne Bonny

How… Could you…?

Eli Barrett

Because, my Bonny lass: When it comes down to it, you’re a good

person… and I am not.

[Anne laughs – sharp and sudden]

[Anne laughs again – gurgling and wicked, turning almost to a cackle]

[The sound of rushing water, growing louder and louder]

Eli Barrett

What in God’s name is…

[Suddenly, the room is full of water]

[Everything becomes muffled, but Anne’s laugh can still be heard clearly]

[Eli gasps as he surfaces, treading water. From a little ways off, he can hear waves lapping against the side of a ship]

Andrew

Mother of… MAN OVERBOARD! MAN OVERBOARD!!

[The sound of waves fades away, replaced by a little fire crackling in the Tyger‘s great cabin]

Eli Barrett

The rest you know. The moment she stabbed me, I found myself in the water beside your ship. I don’t know what that witch Bonny did, but I do know that she is alive and in possession of a man-of-war, along with enough gold to draw a hundred ships to her flag. We must find her before she…

Jonathan Barnet 

Captain Barrett. As… fantastical as your story has been… I must repeat the point I made at first. Anne Bonny and all her crew are dead. Regardless of whatever it is you saw and heard.

Eli Barrett 

That’s only the official story, Barnet! I told you, she escaped, stole a ship…

Jonathan Barnet

…And Governor Lawes wanted to it kept quiet. I know. That’s why he hired me to hunt her down.

Eli Barrett 

He… What?

Jonathan Barnet 

You don’t really think you were the only ship dispatched, do you? The Morgan was the jewel of Lawes’ fleet. He’ll be rather disheartened when I tell him what’s become of her.

Eli Barrett 

What… What are you talking about?

[Barnet sighs, exasperated]

Jonathan Barnet 

The squall Bonny sailed into was far stronger than she anticipated. The Morgan capsized and sank in the storm, with all hands lost.

Eli Barrett 

How do you know this?

Jonathan Barnet

We followed her course out of Jamaica a few days after you did. We found her wreckage off the coast of Hispaniola, less than a hundred leagues out to sea. The Morgan. No mistaking it.

[Eli goes silent]

[Above decks, the ship’s bell sounds 12 times – Midnight]

Jonathan Barnet

First watch is ending. I’d best get aloft and make sure Mick’s not drunk the entire supply of grog.

Eli Barrett

Oh. Right.

Jonathan Barnet

Are you feeling quite well?

Eli Barrett 

Nay.

Jonathan Barnet

I’ll send the surgeon down in a minute to check on you. Have some more brandy.

Eli Barrett

Aye.

[Barnet walks out of the cabin, closing the door behind him]

[Eli exhales, mind racing]

Eli Barrett

What in the name of God is happening?

Anne Bonny (whispered from behind him)

Trust me, Barrett – God has little to do with what’s happening here.

Eli Barrett

AHH!

[Eli jumps out of his chair, backing away]

Anne Bonny

Whatever’s the matter, my bonny lad? Weren’t expecting to see me again, were you?

Eli Barrett 

You… you can’t be here. You can’t be here!

Anne Bonny 

Normally I’d be obliged to agree – but seeing as I am…

[Anne picks up the bottle, uncorks it, and throws back its contents]

Ugh! Really? Brandy? Limey gits…

Eli Barrett 

What are you?

Anne Bonny 

I thought that was fairly obvious… I’m Anne Bonny.

Eli Barrett

Anne Bonny is dead. Drowned off the coast of Hispaniola.

[Anne laughs softly]

Anne Bonny

You really think so small a thing as death could stop the pirate Anne Bonny?

Eli Barrett

You are NOT Anne Bonny.

Anne Bonny 

Really? I feel as she did: The bastard daughter of lawmen and serving woman, disowned of her father and orphaned of her mother. A lover and fighter and warrior in a world that told her to cook and clean and care for children – Pah! A woman who loved the sea, and her crew, and her husbands both to the measure that they loved her. All these memories are mine, Eli Barrett – and I am she.

Eli Barrett 

How?

[Anne laughs]

Anne Bonny

That I know not.  That bastard Barnet is right: I went down with the Morgan in that tempest. I don’t know what I should’ve expected: the men I escaped with were the same ones too drunk to fight when we were taken prisoner. We struck a shoal any able seaman could avoid, and the ship capsized before we could even reach the longboat. A piece of rigging wrapped around my ankle and began to pull me down into the depths. I tried to cut it loose, but my knife slipped from my hand. And then I heard it…

[She falls silent]

Eli Barrett 

Heard what?

Anne Bonny

The voice.

Eli Barrett

What voice?

Anne Bonny 

What makes you think I know that? 

[Exhales, collecting thoughts]

“And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them.”

Eli Barrett

That’s… Revelations, isn’t it?

Anne Bonny 

Is it?  I was dying, that’s all I knew. I was good as dead, and there was no salvation waiting for me on the other side. It made sure that. The voice I heard.

Eli Barrett 

What… What did it say?

Anne Bonny

Not much. That verse. A few other words… and the question. That’s all that really matters, I suppose.

[She sighs]

“What would you do to save yourself?” It asked. “Anything,” said I. “What would you give to save yourself?” It asked. “Anything,” I repeated in my mind. “Who would you give to save yourself…?”

[Anne trails off]

Eli Barrett 

What… what did you tell it?

Anne Bonny 

I told it… “Everyone.”

Andrew (muffled, above deck)

Sail ahoy! Sloop-o-war, flyin’ no colors!

Eli Barrett 

No…

Jonathan Barnet (muffled, above deck)

Landsman MacKay, beat to quarters!

Mick (muffled, above deck)

Aye, sir!

Eli Barrett

No!

[Eli jumps up and runs out of the cabin, onto the deck]

Eli Barrett

Where’s the captain? Where is the captain!?

Captain! Captain, turn this ship about, now! Turn about and fly!

Jonathan Barnet

Andrew, can you make her yet?

Andrew

Nay sir, I can’t see her clear through the fog!

Eli Barrett 

It’s the Morgan! Bloody hell, why isn’t anyone listening to me?

Anne Bonny

Don’t you get it, Barrett?

[Eli turns to face Anne, now standing on the quarterdeck beside him]

They can’t see either of us. Not unless I want them to. You’re like me and that ship on the horizon now: a lure.

Eli Barrett

Stop this. Stop this now! None of these men deserve to die. 

Anne Bonny

And I did?

Eli Barrett 

Absolutely.

Anne Bonny 

Even when I was lying asleep, no threat to you and willing to help you escape? A good person, as you put it?

[Eli has no answer]

[Anne steps close]

There is one truth, Eli Barrett, and one alone: We all get what’s coming to us. It just takes a little longer to catch up with some people.

Eli Barrett 

I don’t want to die. I’m not ready.

Anne Bonny 

Really? Well, in that case…

[Anne leans in closer]

[All grows silent and still]

What would you give to save yourself?


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