Part 1 - Wings of an Angel

The gulls make a ruckus. They are restless. News will arrive shortly, my mother used to say. God rest her poor soul.

No clouds hide the blue sky. Before the morning mass, I see the sails. They appear on the horizon like the wings of an angel. Bright. White. Impatiently expected. I’ve been waiting for this ship. Everything is going to be fine now. Thank God Almighty.  She will arrive at noon. I give out the orders to bring Captain Andersen to my office as soon as possible.

*

The Naerden looks tossed, but I’m happy she is here.

I’m waiting in my office, in Fort Amsterdam, for the ship’s captain to bring me documents, subscribed by stadtholder of Holland.

Last month, the British ships cross the Lower Hudson Bay. They are cheeky enough, to sail up the Narrows. The outpost says they use Jamaica Bay for a trading post. This special powder keg I don’t want to think of.

It’s enough to deal with the Weckquaesgeeks. I hear Frederick Henry is now Price of Orange. I have to keep the British in check, and that only goes with his help.

A knock on my door and Andersen walks in, accompanied by four soldiers. He looks exhausted. The big leather roll in his hands is what I need. One of the soldiers carries a big satchel with more letters and parcels.

“Welcome, Captain Andersen. How was the crossing?“ He avoids my gaze and stands before my desk like a statue. That’s not the Andersen I know. How unusual! I wave at the soldiers, and they close the door from the outside.

“Please be seated.” Andersen has been through some dark times, I can tell. Something’s wrong. I push my best bottle of cognac over to him. He lays the leather roll unto my table and sits down with a sigh. “Go ahead, you seem to need it.” I can hear him swallow, but still not taking what I offer.

“Governor Midnight, God knows, we just made it by chance through a storm. The devil was on board with us, and a day ago we were as good as dead and the sea meant to swallow us.“ His voice scratches in the room like a hungry dog scratches for bones. He finally takes a sip, and I notice his lips and hands tremble. “And suddenly a man stood on board. Never seen him before. He growled and the sea and the winds screamed back, but then… They howled together and the sky and the sea calmed, and the man vanished.” Andersen too another sip. “It must be the devil. And we brought him here. I’m very sorry.” He stands up abruptly and runs out.

Huh. The wings of the angel might belong to the angel of death…

 

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