Where Mary tosses her skirts overboard…
“My, my, child,” Forsyth clucked as he assisted Mary into the basket. “Your dress is a sight, I do say.”
“You may say, and you may keep your opinions to yourself, sir. I have been living out in the wild my appearance is the last item of concern on a very long list of items.” She snorted delicately out through her nose and observed her new surroundings.
It was shaped much like a gondola in Venice from pictures she had seen. Yet it was woven like a maid’s laundry basket. A plank of study pine created relatively flat flooring.
Marshall rolled over the edge of the basket and lay with his back on the floor and his limbs staying where they fell. “Damn, your timing mister. That was almost too late.”
Distracted by the new man, Captain Forsyth turned his attention away from Mary. Her attention also went to Marshall.
“Your trousers! Are you hurt?”
Marshall lifted his head and looked at her, and then began laughing. His head fell back to the floor with an audible thud. “Ow.” He reached back and rubbed his head.
“Mary, you fussed at the good captain for rescuing us, and yet the first thing out of your mouth is to comment on my clothing. Woman take a look at your dress and then apologize to the good man.”
“Marshall you are in a state. Are you injured?”
“Of course I’m injured!” he bellowed. “I hit my damned head. Mary, are you injured?”
“Why on earth would you entertain that thought?”
“My dear, please,” Captain Forsyth began. “Your skirts are in a considerably worse state than the hem of your companion’s trousers.”
Bristling, Mary glanced down. She screamed as she saw the fabric of her pantaloons and the tops of her boots.
The goo the viscous sauran’s spit at her must have been acidic. The fabric was gone. There was a large section of outer skirt missing, and then her under skirts were shredded, and actively melting.
Suddenly Marshall stood in front of her, his hands on her waist. “Stop screaming. You need to get some of that fabric off before it hits your skin.
“I will not divest myself of clothing Marshall Hunt.”
“Divest yourself of your skirts dear girl, or whatever is eating away at the fabric is going to eat away at your skin,” Captain Forsyth said in a commanding tone Mary had never heard from the man before.
“Mary,” Marshall chastised her with her name. “Normally I’d be inclined to protect your delicate nature from what I’m about to show you.”
“I’ve skinned a rabbit,” she said indignantly. How dare her assume she was delicate.
“A skinned rabbit is a far easier sight than a skinned man.” With a grunt of effort, Marshall tore his pant leg at the knee, removing the entire lower half of the rough fabric and tossing it over board
“You got some alcohol, or some water? I need to wash what I can off before it eats through the muscle and clear to my bones.”
Mary covered her mouth with both hands, too horrified to scream. Marshall had a gaping wound above his ankle. The hole seemed to be growing in size before her very eyes.
“Out of the way,” Captain Forsyth demanded. “And get your skirts off. Toss them over board. We don’t want that stuff eating away at my airship.”
Mary stumbled back as the captain unstoppered a jug and began pouring it over Marshall’s leg.
He groaned through clenched teeth. “That burns.”
“It burns going down as well.”
Marshall held out his hand, and the captain handed him the jug. Marshall tossed back a quick gulp before handing the jug back. “That’s definitely not smooth.”
“Homemade. Can work as fuel for the balloon in a pinch. How’s that leg?”
Marshall wrapped his hands around his exposed leg above the red oozing patch where skin had been. “I think it’s stopped. Douse me again for good measure.”
Mary stepped out of her skirts. Finding an untarnished area she ripped off a clean section of fabric with considerable more effort than Marshall had shown while ripping at his clothing.
“Here,” she said handing over a few strips of cotton.
She felt ridiculous standing in her pantaloons with only the apron and bustle that had created a fashionable look to her skirts. Fortunately they had not been damaged in the escape efforts. Mary still felt mostly naked, at least none of her skin was exposed.
Once she saw the damage to Marshall’s leg, she didn’t need to be told twice to divest herself of the tainted clothes.
Marshall soaked the fabric before binding his leg. When he looked back up at Mary, he grinned. No doubt entertained by the ridiculousness of her current state of dress.
“I’m afraid I look a sight.”
“I believe we both do,” Marshall answered. “Were you hurt?”
“Only my wardrobe and my dignity.”
Marshall barked out a laugh. “I’m surprised you have any dignity left after the week we’ve have. Captain Forsyth, a pleasure to meet you. Marshall Hunt.” He turned his attention from Mary and shook the captain’s hand.
“Welcome aboard. This has been the most excitement I’ve had in days.”
©2023 Lulu M. Sylvian
Tune in next time to find out if Mary regains her dignity or her skirts.