Twelve days. Nothing but watery beer and hard tack scavenged from the hold. Most of it spent cramped up in a box, hidden away beneath a stack I needed to remake every time I came out and went back in. My legs would never forgive me and I’m fairly sure there would be some permanent deformation to my spine.

Still better than what would happen to me if I got caught.

We were in the middle of the ocean by then, riding out the third storm in as many days. Fortunately the crew seemed competent, inasmuch as us not being capsized. I appreciated the talent of the captain and his men, even if I had to hate them on general principle. They would toss me overboard without a thought. I would do the same in their position.

I had made occasional friends with the ship’s cat, kept on-board for the tradition of good luck and the practicality of removing the rodent population. As you might imagine, it was not happy with the rough conditions and the water leaking from above deck. It was just happy to have a warm lap to sit on while the crew worked around the clock to keep us from sinking.

Four days left, if my calculations were correct. I hadn’t gotten a chance to peek at the stars, so it was a very rough estimate. God help me, I hoped I was right. My innards couldn’t take much more.