“Stand down, sailor!”
He was battling for his life, he realised. He heard his captain’s shout. But he no longer had a choice. He had to keep fighting. Stand down and this pirate would run him through. His opponent was parrying every thrust thrown at him. The clang of razor-sharp steel only emphasised the deadliness of the fight. Every return blow forced shudders of clashing steel through the muscles of his arm. If Mitchell obeyed orders, he’d be hacked to death. He was strong, he was fast, this Barbary corsair. His captain had ordered Mitchell to stop. But if he did, he was dead. He was fighting to stay alive.
“Desist! Desist, I say.”
Mitchell was not one to disobey. A Marine, trained to obey without question. But impulsively Mitchell had leapt into this attack. Without thinking he’d attacked this corsair, And now he had no choice but to keep parrying back. Swords clashed. Vicious shockwaves jarred down his arm. His muscular shoulders sometimes almost giving way under the ferocious force. But if he hadn’t blocked the blow, the pirate’s sword would have sliced open his neck.
“STOP! STAND DOWN!”
Madness had made him attack. Infuriated at his captain’s cowardice. The pirates had boarded. His shipmates had fought back. A hard struggle, hand-to-hand ferocity. Then their captain had called it a day. He had surrendered. But they weren’t done-for. There was still plenty of fight. His fellow Marines were still full in their attack. But their own captain had called a halt. Surrendering. Handing over his sword. American navy surrendering to a bunch of Barbary privateers! Giving up before the fight was lost!
The pirate lunged at him again. With his own captain’s sword. Mitchell had seen his captain handing it over .. surrendering their ship and crew .. that was when something had snapped. Bawling out in frustration .. in a rage at his own captain’s cowardice .. Mitchell had stormed forward, sword raised. Going for the corsair captain.
“Sailor. STAND DOWN.”
His captain’s anger hit out shrill. Mad that one of his own men had dared leap into attack. He had already surrendered his own sword. This was mutiny! But the pirate was coming back at Mitchell again and again .. with his own captain’s sword. Mitchell blocked a strike that would have split open his skull. Shockwaves reverberated across his shoulders. But quickly his own sword slicked at the pirate’s side .. forcing him to jump back.
“Desist. THAT IS AN ORDER!”
His captain’s infuriated bawl hit home .. but if he stopped, he’d be dead. That thought struck him just a few moments before Mitchell felt himself grabbed. Strong arms wrenched at his arms. Surprised by the sharp wrench on his fighting arm, Mitchell felt in dismay his sword falling from his hand. A quick glance to the side .. he had been grabbed by his own side .. by sailors .. obeying their captain. Seized by his own shipmates. He was a dead man!
A sharp prick jabbed at his throat. Mitchell twisted his head back. Looking down the line of the sword stuck into his throat. Seeing at the other end a face red with rage. The pirate captain had his sword pricking into Mitchell’s throat. While his own mates had him held tight by the arms.
The pirate’s face was seething. His eyes ablaze. His mouth set firm. Quickly Mitchell prepared himself. For the killing thrust.