Dark Skies and Rough Seas: Chapters 2 and 3

by Christopher Misiti

Preface

These are chapters 2 and 3 of my story, Dark Skies and Rough Seas. It portrays when Kensington leaves home at the age of sixteen and the beginning of his time in the Royal Navy. It is basically the rest of the background information for the rest of the story. After these chapters, the real story begins.


Chapter II Manchester England, 1720

     It was a rainy day on the farm, making it impossible for us to work, so we stayed inside. My mother made a gritty broth, and it smelled disgusting, and tasted the same way; still, it was food. As she cooked, I read one of the three books that I owned, some of which were just hand-me-downs that I got from my uncle. I've read them numerous times, but it was the only thing I did when I wasn't working on the farm.

When the stew was done, my grandfather came inside with a letter. He called my mother into the kitchen. The table where we ate was right next to the arch leading to the kitchen, so I listened.

"Lucy, I know you've dreaded this day, but we both knew it would come."

"Don't say anything, they're taking the house?"

"No, it's not that bad. Do you remember six years ago? That Naval Colonel came to our house trying to draft William? He sent a letter, he'll be here tomorrow to 'keep his promise'".

"Oh..." She didn't cry this time surprisingly, but she was still close to tears. "We have to tell him. Do you think he remembers that godforsaken day?"

"I don't know. Either way, he's in for some shock."

I remembered that day like it was yesterday. I waited, becoming stronger in the fields so that I wouldn't be weak as a kitten when the colonel came around. I needed to be at my top if I was going to become a soldier.

Mother and grandfather came back into the room to break the news to me, even though I knew what they were going to say. As they told me, I acted like I didn't hear a word of their conversation, and accepted the fact that tomorrow I would be leaving for a very long time.

-_-

  As I woke up on my cot, I realized what day it was. I made sure that I packed my sack completely and did not forget anything. When my mother woke up, she hugged me right away and held me for some time. Before long the colonel came with his glorious carriage and entourage of officers. He came inside, greeting me, but not my mother or grandfather. He took my sack and gave it to a troop.

"Is he ready?" The Colonel asked.

My mother hesitated at first , but nodded, her eyes teary.

"Very well. Let's get a move on then. We're burning daylight here!" He walked out, and I followed. I looked back at my family, and ran back to them, hugging both of them.

Colonel Welles did not come back inside to pull me away. A troop started walking back to grab me, but Welles held him back. After, I walked out of that shack for the final time, I climbed into the Colonel's carriage, which showed just how extravagant this one man was. The seats were made of a soft fabric and the wood was highly polished, and I knew that I was possibly on my way to a very wealthy place.

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Chapter III London, England, 1721

     London was a very big place. I lived mostly in the naval camp, training firing weaponry and sword fighting. Sometimes, my trainer, Lieutenant Ron Pearstle, took me outside the camp to eat some real food, even though the food at the base was one hundred times better than the food I had at home. The city was wonderful, and I loved it every time Lieutenant Pearstle took me out of the base. We mostly went to the opera to see late night shows. I remember going to small gatherings in my village to see makeshift shows. They were alright, but like the food here in London, it was a whole lot better. I suppose he treated me like this because he knew how I had been admitted into the Navy.

Over a course of a few months, I went on many voyages on small trading schooners, and got familiar with being on a ship. When I finished my time on schooners, I was stationed on the HMS Firebrand, a small frigate made for fighting on the open seas. I was promoted to an officer, making sure every cannon man was doing their job. Since I wasn't as strict as the other officers on other ships, the crew on the Firebrand took a liking to me. We were a good crew, and plundered many French ships. At the time, it was about a decade after the War of the Spanish Succession, with the French and English relationships still weren't good.

We saw many exotic places, fighting the French. As time went on, I got more and more skilled in swordsmanship, and crafted my own pair of cutlasses. I was soon promoted to first officer, being closer with the captain of my ship. His name was Captain Roger Hemington and he was a man who had seen many wars and tragic events, so I didn't blame him for his attitude. I don't think he liked me very much because of where I came from, growing up in poverty. I stood next to him for eight long, bloody years, defending him as we fought the French day and night. I thought that he would do the same for me in my time of need, but after a rough night on the sea, he proved me wrong.

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