Bell Rock

byoggbashan©

+++

At that point I heard some sheep complaining in the next field. Richard's shape shimmered.

"I think you've heard enough for tonight, Henry," he said, his voice fading, "but relax and enjoy if you can what I experienced then..."

He disappeared from view if I had seen him at all, not dreamed of him. My body seemed to have acquired bodies around and on top of me, soft naked female flesh. My face was pressed against a pair of breasts. My erection was held between two firm legs. I drifted back into sleep worried that hearing ghosts was one thing; being smothered by them was frightening if pleasant.

+++

I felt a hand gently stroking my erection. I opened my mouth to object. A hand clamped hard across my lips.

"Abigail wants you, Richard," a voice whispered fiercely in my ear. "Just relax and let her have you."

Somehow I knew it was Rose whispering. I was worried. I'm not a mid 19th Century third officer Richard Jenkins. I'm a 21st Century Henry in my tent. Abigail couldn't be really holding my erection, could she?

She was. A gentle squeeze proved that I was very effectively held by Abigail.

"She's wanted you ever since she came aboard, Richard," Rose said. "That's why she and I chose you to be in our boat. Now she's going to..."

I knew what Abigail was going to do. I gasped against Rose's hand as I was slid into Abigail. It should be impossible but I had penetrated a very real vagina that clamped me with a soft contraction.

Rose shifted her body to bring my lips to her naked breast. As Abigail began to move up and down on me my mouth opened. Rose pushed her nipple between my lips followed by more and more of her breast.

"This is how I used to silence your captain, Richard. He was too much of a gentleman to bite me as Abigail swallowed his prick in her mouth. Just relax and enjoy as she swallows you with her other lips."

I might not be Richard but Henry. Abigail's lower lips and Rose's breast were as effective on me as they must have been on Richard. I was lost in the passion of being used by two experienced young women. As Abigail's movements became stronger Rose and Sarah pressed closer around us. Multiple hands were stroking my naked body. My own hands were pulled between legs and my fingers pushed into warm clefts. I was drowning in female flesh. Rose's breast sank further into my mouth as I tried to gasp for air. Her fingers were protecting an airway for my nose. As Abigail's movements turned from excited into frenzied Rose pulled her breast away to let me gulp air gratefully.

When Abigail slumped against me Rose's breast silenced me again. Abigail might have been spent. The other two women weren't. They were using whatever part of my body they could reach and claim to arouse themselves. Rose's breast almost seemed a protection from their activities.

There was no way I or Richard could have satisfied three young women by our own efforts. They seemed happy to be using my or his body to satisfy themselves. I was only the object they wanted as a pleasure tool. I hadn't ejaculated into Abigail. Despite the stimulation I was experiencing all over me I was holding back, or I was until Abigail started to move on me again. This time she brought herself to an orgasm much faster. As she reached her climax so did I. Rose felt me slump. I was vaguely aware as she persuaded Abigail and Sarah to end their sexual activities.

I slipped into sleep with a mouth still stuffed by Rose's breast.

+++

The next morning I was woken up by the sound of a bell. It took me some time to work out that it was a church bell sounding regularly, not the ghost bell of Bell Rock. I was back as myself and alone. I felt exhausted and there was a damp patch in my sleeping bag. After breakfast I sat outside my tent with the local history book. I read all I could find about the wreck of the Esmeralda.

Apparently two boatloads had safely reached shore much further up the Severn Estuary with a couple of seamen and a dozen or so women in each. Bodies had been retrieved from the shoreline of the Severn Estuary. There was no mention the survival of Third Officer Richard Jenkins and the women with him. None of the officers or warders seemed to have survived.

Later on in the book I found that the government had pardoned, some posthumously, the women prisoners from the Esmeralda. There it was. There were two exceptions. Rose Sanders and Sarah Sanders, sisters, were considered to be the ringleaders of the mutiny and already described as incorrigible rogues.

The legend? Locals fishing at night reported hearing the Esmeralda hit Bell Rock nearly at dawn and cries from drowning women. Over the years the legend had turned the ghostly women into mermaids or sirens who could lure a man to his death.

I walked down to the beach and looked out to sea towards where Bell Rock would have been visible if it was low tide. It wasn't. I walked along the cliff tops until I returned to the pub for their special Sunday lunch. The weather looked threatening.

"You look shattered, Henry," Amanda said as I ordered a drink from the bar after meal time.

"I feel it too," I replied. "I wanted a restful holiday but Bell Rock and the Esmeralda are getting in the way of rest."

She looked quizzically at me. She might have pursued the conversation but other customers needed drinks. What could I tell her? That I was worn out servicing female ghosts? She'd think I had lost my mind. I settled myself close to the log fire and half-dozed. I needed sleep after last night but I was afraid I would be back as Richard Jenkins.

Amanda brought me a cup of coffee.

"You look as if you need this, Henry. Didn't you sleep well?"

"I didn't. I seemed to be living a ghost story," I replied.

Amanda laughed at me but stopped when she saw the expression on my face. She sat down at the table.

"You're serious, aren't you, Henry?"

"Yes, Amanda. I was reliving the wreck of the Esmeralda, too vividly."

I gave her a short expurgated account of last night's dream.

"There are stories about the Esmeralda that aren't included in the book you bought yesterday. Dad and I are descended from one of the survivors. One of my aunts did some research into our family history. Mum's descended from a local farming family but Dad's family were from two survivors of the Esmeralda. The aunt's research is stuck at that point. The husband and wife told their children they had survived the wreck but their names don't fit as having been on the Esmeralda."

"What were their names, Amanda?"

"I'd have to check. I've got a printout of how far the aunt's research got. Have you got time?"

I looked out of the window at the rain pouring down.

"Plenty of time, Amanda. I'm not going anywhere in the rain and I'm more comfortable here than in my tent. But what about you? Haven't you got work to do?"

"No, Henry. I don't work here. If I'm here I'll help out when Dad and Mum are busy. Mum should be back in an hour or so. One of the waitresses has gone away for a couple of days to be a bridesmaid. She'll return Tuesday evening and I can get back to my work in Bristol. Lunch time is over. I'm not needed until about six."

"Then I would be very pleased to look at the family history," I said.

Amanda went to the private area of the pub. She took off her apron and left it behind the bar. What I hadn't said was that I would be very happy to spend longer with Amanda. But for her I would have moved on days ago. If she was going back to Bristol in a couple of days I might pack my tent and see some more of South Wales.

Amanda brought a box file. She put it on the table before pouring herself a cup of coffee. She sat down and opened the box. She flipped through a folder.

"Here we are, Henry," she said, "a copy of their marriage certificate."

She turned it around to look closely at it.

"In 1852 Robert Jones and Anne Mary Smith married in the local church. He said he was a bachelor. She said she was a widow, maiden name Owens. Occupation? Robert said publican, part owner of this pub. Anne also said part owner. Parish? This one."

Amanda flipped over some pages of the file. She paused over some handwriting, presumably the aunt's notes.

"Neither of them are recorded in the 1841 or 1851 censuses anywhere. In 1851 this pub was owned by a Mr and Mrs Leigh. There were a couple of farms with their owners and some agricultural labourers, wives and children. The whole community was less than fifty people. The dates and places of birth for Robert and Anne as shown in the 1861 census don't match any records anywhere but that isn't unusual. They didn't have to be recorded until 1837 and both of them would have been born before then. There might have been baptism records.

But what my aunt found odd was that Anne's previous marriage doesn't seem to exist. Anne Mary Owens should have married a Smith after 1837 and before 1852. Before 1837 and for some years afterwards she was a child far too young to marry. Her husband must have died a few months before she married Robert. Her son was born three weeks after the marriage but the father is shown as Albert Smith, deceased mariner."

Amanda moved around to sit beside me. She showed me the birth registration of Richard Jones, mother Anne Mary Jones and father Albert Smith.

"Albert Smith?" I asked. "It is, isn't it?"

"Yes, why?"

"Have you got a copy of that local history book? Mine's in my tent."

"Yes. It's behind the bar."

Amanda went to get it. She passed it to me. I flipped through it. I was right.

"Look," I said with my finger on the passage.

"Albert Smith, mate." Amanda read out.

"He was the mate of the Esmeralda and one of those lost in the shipwreck."

"Is that the connection my family tradition is about? No. It can't be. We're not descended from Richard but from his younger half-brother. Richard died in childhood, I think."

Amanda scanned the file again.

"Yes. Richard died at less than two years old. But there is still no record of a marriage of Anne Mary before she married Robert. I think... Yes, here's the note. Albert Smith died unmarried. The captain of the Esmeralda was a widower with no children."

I took the book back and flipped to the page listing those lost and those surviving on the Esmeralda.

"No Anne Mary. She wasn't on the Esmeralda. Neither was Robert Jones."

"I know that, Henry. That was one of the first things my father looked at when the book was first published. Robert and Anne weren't on the ship. All the survivors had been accounted for. Rose and Sarah Sanders weren't listed among the survivors. It was assumed that they, along with all the officers, were drowned. They are shown in the list as 'missing presumed drowned', and not in the list of recovered bodies."

While Amanda was checking the lists in the local history book I was looking at the printout of the 1861 census showing those at the pub. Robert was at the bottom of one page as 'Head of the Household and part owner". Anne was at the top of the next page which had been folded in the plastic leaf to show her immediately below him. I pulled out the sheet with Anne's name on. There were two women's names below hers and all three were recorded as 'part owner'.

"Amanda!" I said abruptly. "Look at this."

"At what? The 1861 Census? So?"

"There are two women as well as Anne. All are shown as part owners. Do you think...?"

"They are survivors of the Esmeralda? The names don't look right. You read them out. I'll check against the list for the Esmeralda."

They didn't match. None of them matched.

"It must have been a very unusual situation to have four part owners then, particularly as three were women," Amanda said. "What's this? The other two are marked FS. What's that?"

"Femme Sole I think I remember," I said. "If I'm right it means a single woman supporting herself financially. It's the female equivalent of gentleman of private means."

"That's not unusual in Wales," Amanda retorted. "Welsh women could hold property in their own right, unlike in England."

"But three women part--owning a pub with a man must have been unusual, surely?"

"I suppose so..." Amanda said slowly.

"But if they were survivors of the female prisoners they would have changed their names," I suggested. "Rose and Sarah Sanders were excluded from the pardon. There was Abigail... And of course Richard Jenkins, third officer, who told me he took a boat with the last of the women."

I looked at the census printout again. Robert Jones married to Anne Mary Smith née Owens with three sons and two daughters. The other women were Ruth and Susan Simpson, single sisters. But Ruth and Susan were also shown with children. The community was a total of eighty people.

"I wonder," I said aloud, "Richard Jenkins could have become Robert Jones; Rose and Sarah Sanders could have become Ruth and Susan Simpson; and Abigail Sanders could be Anne Smith... They kept the initials... And of course! Robert and Anne's son was called Richard. If Richard's father's real name was Richard Jenkins not Robert Jones..."

"You would need women on the Esmeralda with the initials R S, S S and A S?" Amanda suggested flicking through the book to find the names of the women lost from the Esmeralda whose bodies were not recovered.

"Here they are! Rose, Sarah and Abigail Sanders. They must have taken the names Ruth, Susan and Anne."

"And Smith, Owens and Simpson are common names," I added.

"I wonder," Amanda said, "what the women were convicted for? There's a list of all the sentences in an appendix."

She flipped to the back of the book. I hadn't looked at the appendices apart from the lists of survivors, found dead and the missing.

"Here they are. Rose, Sarah and Abigail. Rose and Sarah convicted of manslaughter; Abigail for helping offenders. Rose and Sarah claimed they fought off a man who attacked them. He died from hitting his head against a wall. Abigail gave her sisters a false alibi. All the sentences of those transported on the Esmeralda were re-examined in an enquiry after the wreck and doubt because of doubts expressed about the validity of many of the convictions.

Rose, Sarah and Abigail? It says that if they had a competent lawyer they might not have been convicted. The man who attacked Rose and Sarah had previous jail sentences for attacking women. However Rose and Sarah had previous convictions for petty theft. That counted against them.

The convictions of many of the other women were considered unsound, particularly the later assizes when the Esmeralda had left London."

As Amanda was talking I was idly turning over some of her aunt's notes. Another handwritten item attracted my attention. It was a list of questions her aunt had written. One was 'Robert and the women had no other male staff. How did they manage the heavy work of running a pub?'

"They were strong and fit," I blurted out.

"What? What are you talking about, Henry?" Amanda retorted.

I showed her the aunt's question.

"The women were strong and fit," I repeated.

"And how do you know that?"

I blushed. Amanda giggled.

"I thought you were being slightly evasive with your account of that dream. There was more, wasn't there?"

I blushed again.

"Come on, Henry. Out with it. What was the rest of the dream?"

I looked around the pub. There were still a few customers. None had been paying attention to us but I didn't want to discuss that dream in a public place. Amanda noticed.

"OK," she said, looking out of the window, "It's stopped raining. Can we continue in your tent? I'd like to see how comfortable you are in there."

"I would be delighted to show you," I replied, "It would be more private."

"And your account needs privacy, Henry?"

"Yes, Amanda, it does."

"OK. I'll check with Dad and Mum and be with you in a few minutes."

+++

A quarter of an hour later Amanda arrived in the tent just as I finished making coffee for us.

"The barmaid has returned early from the wedding," she said. "She had a row with her boyfriend about going on her own while he was working. She decided that her boyfriend was more important than catching up with old friends. She did that at the reception and felt that two more days weren't worth annoying the boyfriend. She's on duty tonight and tomorrow. I'm covering for her tomorrow night so she and the boyfriend can have an evening together."

Although I had a small folding stool we were sitting side by side on my sleeping bag. We had nearly finished the coffee when the rain returned.

"Oh dear," Amanda said, "I'll get wet going back to the pub."

"No need to," I replied. "There's a folding umbrella you could use."

"But you haven't told me the interesting part of your dream about the Esmeralda yet. Are you still embarrassed by it, Henry?"

"Yes."

"I'm broad minded and it was just a dream, wasn't it?"

"It didn't feel like a dream, Amanda. I seemed to be experiencing what Richard had."

Amanda snuggled next to me.

"You can whisper it in my ear," she said before kissing me on the cheek.

I started with what she already knew -- the beginning of the Esmeralda's voyage from Bristol. When I got to the part where Third Officer Richard Jenkins was overpowered by the women and tied up in his bedding Amanda stopped me.

"If the cabin was as small as Richard said it was, that could have been difficult to do."

"With several women getting to him while he was asleep, I wouldn't have thought so," I replied.

"I wonder," Amanda said. "Get into your sleeping bag and we'll see."

That was an order. I hoped it might lead to something interesting so I shed my boots and slid myself into my sleeping bag. Amanda zipped it up, pulling the zip higher than I would normally do. She threw herself on me, grabbed the sleeping bag's hood and pulled the draw cord. It tightened around my head.

"Wha...?" I started to protest.

Amanda's kiss stopped me. I was helpless as she kissed me again and again. She fed a loop of the draw cord through the zip's slider before knotting it. She climbed on top of the sleeping bag, paused and looked at me.

"I can see that tying a man up has possibilities," she said before kissing me again.

"And you are slow, Henry," Amanda continued. "I've wanted to kiss you, or be kissed by you, for days."

Any response I might have made was stopped by another kiss. Amanda's face was inches in front of mine. I was aware that my erection was building as her body pressed through the sleeping bag.

"Now I'm comfortable, and you're my prisoner, like Richard Jenkins was, you can continue with the ghost story, Henry."

I did, interrupted by a few kisses. I was beginning to notice that the real Amanda and the ghostly Abigail seemed remarkably similar. If Abigail/Anne was actually Amanda's ancestor that might explain it.

When I started to tell Amanda about the four of us naked in the hut she became excited. She kept prompting me. When I started to tell about Abigail wanting me inside her, Amanda's body moved down to press on my erection through the sleeping bag. At the point of Rose's hand gagging me, Amanda briefly stopped my story with her own hand.

At the point in my account when Rose pushed her naked breast in my mouth Amanda's hand stopped me again.

"I'm not doing that, Henry. Not yet. But..."

Amanda lifted her top and pressed her bra covered breast over my face. She wrapped an arm behind my hooded head. She held her breast tight across my face covering my mouth and nose. I couldn't breathe for the half minute that Amanda was smothering me. She released the pressure before pulling back a few inches.

"That's as far as I'll go." Amanda said. "Now..."

I finished the story of last night's dream.

"You can't leave it there, Henry," Amanda said. "What happened next?"

"I don't know," I admitted. "Maybe the dream will continue tonight?"

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