‘North Inlet? Yes, I’ll help you to sail her there.’
‘All right, tell me what I must do.’
And in a few minutes the Hispaniola began to sail north.
I put a handkerchief on Hand’s leg. He ate and he drank more brandy. Soon he was better. The ship was dirty and I cleaned it. But the eyes of the pirate watched me, and he smiled sometimes — a strange, bad smile.
We sailed fast along the north of the island towards North Inlet. But we couldn’t take the ship on the beach immediately, so we waited for the tide to change. Then Hands spoke.
‘Cap’n,’ he said with a strange smile. ‘Will you go to the cabin and bring me a bottle of wine? This brandy is too strong.’
I didn’t believe this and I knew that he had a plan; but I also knew that he was stupid.
So I went down below, but I didn’t go to the cabin. I went to a place where I could watch Hands. And I was right! He went across the deck on his hands and knees. In front of him there was a circle of rope. He took a long knife out of it. The knife had blood on it.
He put it in his pocket. So Israel Hands wanted to kill me! But I was safe for the moment. ‘He won’t kill me now.’ I thought. ‘He’ll wait, because he can’t bring the ship on to the beach without me.’
I took the wine to Hands and he drank some of it.
‘Jim, cut me some tobacco,’ he said. ‘I haven’t got a knife. Ah, Jim, I’m going to die. Cut me my last piece of tobacco.’
So I cut him a piece. ‘You’re a bad man, Mr Hands,’ I said.
‘Oh? Why, Jim?’
‘Why? You killed this man O’Brien!’
He answered, ‘Because I know that dead men don’t kill — amen! Now, Cap’n Hawkins, you listen to my orders and we’ll sail this ship on to the beach.’
It was difficult, but Hands was a very good pilot. We went into North Inlet where the water was calm.
‘There!’ said Hands. ‘I can see a good beach. We’ll put the ship there.’
At the right moment he said: ‘Now! Beach her now, Jim!’
When the Hispaniola began to go fast towards the beach, I was excited — and I forgot about Israel Hands! He was behind me. Perhaps I heard something and I suddenly turned my head. Hands was there, with his knife in his right hand. He was going to kill me and I shouted in terror. When he came towards me, I ran behind the mast and took a pistol from my pocket. I tried to fire it at Hands but it was wet with sea water. He came towards me. His face was red with anger.
Just then the Hispaniola hit the beach. She fell on her side at an angle of 45 degree and Hands and I fell with her. I was on my feet very quickly. But now I couldn’t run away because the deck was at a 45 degree angle. Quickly I jumped on to the mast and climbed to the top. I sat on the cross tree and waited for Hands.
He looked up at me and he didn’t know what to do. I loaded my two pistols. Then, with the knife in his mouth, Hands began to climb the mast.
‘Don’t come up, Mr Hands, or I’ll kill you!’ I said.
He stopped. He tried to think, but he was slow and stupid. Then he took the knife from his mouth and said:
‘Jim, I must kill you, but it’s difficult for me to kill a boy like you.’
And suddenly his right hand moved fast and the next moment the knife went into my shoulder. My two pistols fired; then they fell from my hands. There was a cry and I looked down. Israel Hands was falling into the water. Then he was on the sand on the bottom of the sea. And he was dead.
The knife was in my shoulder. There was a lot of blood on my coat and shirt. I felt very bad. When I tried to take the knife out, I began to tremble — and then suddenly it came out. I climbed down the mast and went to the cabin. My wound was small and it wasn’t dangerous. I cleaned it and put a handkerchief round it. Then I went up to the deck. It was evening now and I decided to go to the island.
I wanted to tell Captain Smollett and the others about my adventure. I wanted to tell them that the ship was ours now. So I left the ship and began to walk in the direction of the stockade.
The night was very dark and it was difficult for me to see. Then the moon came up and I found the stockade. When I saw the red light of a fire outside the cabin, I stopped. This was strange; my companions usually made a fire inside the cabin. Slowly, quietly, I went towards the cabin on my hands and knees. At the door I stood up and looked inside. It was dark. I couldn’t see anything. I walked in — and suddenly a strange voice said: ‘Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!’
Captain Flint, Silver’s parrot! I wanted to run away but there was no time.
‘Who’s there?’ shouted Silver.
I turned, I ran away. But I ran into the arms of one of the pirates.