The barge lumbered through the ocean, its hull so heavy and flat that only the crash of waves against steel assured those inside they were still at sea. Crates and barrels had dampened the noise when the Magadan left port in Ramsgate, but now the sound thumped through a hold more empty than not. Experienced sailors had stuffed their ears with cotton or wax before they left port in Ostend. Kayne had never been to sea before, and as he trudged through the hold he wished for more than the thin cloth he’d wrapped around his head. The ship wouldn’t dock again for six days — not that Kayne was likely to see more of the port than was visible from the main deck. The captain’s mate had made that much clear.
Although Kayne couldn’t talk any of the other sailors out of a bit of wax or cotton for himself, a deckhand named Byers had offered to pick him up some when they stopped in Cork. When Byers returned, though, all he had to show for Kayne’s money was breath that stank of whiskey and a song he’d learned in a local pub, sung both loudly and badly until the deckhand passed out.