Under the Pitons

All the previous day, they had been tacking up from the Grenadines, bound for Martinique to return the boat and take leave of Freycinet. Blessington was trying to forget the anxieties of the deal, the stink of menace, the sick ache behind the eyes. It was dreadful to have to smoke with the St. Vincentian dealers, stone killers who liked to operate from behind a thin film of fear. But the Frenchman was tough.

Off Dark Head there was a near thing with a barge under tow. Blessington, stoned at the wheel, his glass of straight Demerara beside the binnacle, had calmly watched a dimly lighted tug struggle past on a parallel course at a distance of a mile or so. The moon was newly risen, out of sight behind the island’s mountains, silvering the line of the lower slopes. A haze of starlight left the sea in darkness, black as the pit, now and then flashing phosphorescence. They were at least ten miles offshore.

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