The Sailor's Stories

1014 Chapter fourteen – The Sailor’s Awakening.

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God what have I done…, what the hell am I doing here? I thought to myself, thinking I was making a terrible mistake. I shifted in the overly soft chair, unable to find a comfortable position, What’s taking so long…, maybe I should just get out of here. I looked around, as I fidgeted with my hat. There was some pictures on the wall, probably supposed to be calming, and the odd pot plants dotted around the place, in a haphazard fashion. The sun streamed in through the large bay window in the corner, adding it’s warmth to the already stuffy room. I was sweating slightly, but not from the heat, and goose bumps were raising slowly on my arms.

I reached over and leafed through the stack of magazines on the end table. I found a copy of a hunting mag, and picked it up. I wasn’t really interested, I just needed something to get my mind off of what I was doing. Flicking through the pages, I came across a picture of a boy, he was holding a rifle , standing next to a man I could only assume was his father. At his feet was the body of a buck, it was only a small one, an eight pointer, but he was all smiles looking up at his dad. I couldn’t help but think back to my own latest little sojourn into the woods.

We had packed the trailer the night before, to avoid any last minute delays. Surprisingly enough, the boys made it out of bed early enough, to have breakfast, and get on the road to beat the traffic. We set off just before seven, and got onto the highway without any hassles. We drove for over four hours, before stopping for lunch. We pulled into a Motel, Just outside Albany for the night, then the next morning made our way up to Pumpkin Hollow. Having parked up the jeep, we headed over to the lodge to get something to eat, before the hike.

We must have looked quite a sight. I was wearing my fatigues, and the boys were dressed in mostly the same fashion. We got several looks as we sat down, maybe they thought we were storming the place. After lunch we unloaded the trailer, and  started our hike up to our spot. Alone, or with my team, we probably could’ve made it in under two, but with the boys it took just over four hours to get to the campsite we had picked. We had about another hour of daylight left, so Corey and I pitched the tents, while Dale and Carl went to collect some fire wood. By the time they got back, the tents were up and I had built a small fire pit.

The spot was perfect, we were on a small plateau, overlooking a wide, but relatively shallow fresh water stream. The area was open, but there was good cover from overhead, with the trees on the hill. Once the boys had gotten back with the wood, I set about starting a fire, in preparation for the evening meal. The kids were exhausted, but we sat around the fire and told stories while we ate. It was rather pleasant, but soon all three sets of eyes started to droop, and I sent them to bed.

The sleeping arrangements were, the three boys in one tent, and me in the other with the rest of the gear. That seemed to be the best way, I had decided that two tents would be better than a larger one, as that would have been hell to carry up the mountain. I took one last look around, as I lit a cigarette, before settling down for the night. We were in bear country and I wanted to make sure we were alone. As I snuggled into my sleeping bag, I pulled my rifle close, I had brought my M4, and the .45, just in case.

As I was just drifting off to sleep, I heard some rustling, coming from the direction of the boys tent. I was about to get up and investigate when…

“Uncle Cam you still awake?” Corey whispered.

“Yeah, what is it little man?”

“Can I slept in there with you?”

“Yeah, course you can…, why?”

I heard the zip, then felt Corey’s mat go down next to me. As he slipped back into his sleeping bag…

“Those two are acting all lovey dovey, and I can’t get any sleep.”

“What do you mean…, there not…?”

NO…, YUCK! They’re just talking and holding hands, and kissing and stuff.”

“Oh.., ok, well try and get some sleep ok?”

“Sure…, night Uncle Cam.”

“Night little man.”

Within moments, I heard an ever so slight snore, as he started breathing deeply, in blissful sleep. Huh! If only I could do it that easily. Chuckling slightly I rolled over and was soon asleep myself. I hadn’t had the dream, since I had spoken with Doug, and those kids. I thought that maybe I was finally over it, then it hit. Like a tsunami, the images of Mark’s death crashed over me, again and again. In a somewhat semi-conscious state, I felt something press up against me, during the night. It was comforting in a way, and I managed to calm down a little, well…, enough to get back into a better sleep rhythm.

I woke up the next morning drenched in sweat, though there was a distinct cold patch on my back. Looking at my watch, the hands mocked me, it was 0534. Rolling over I discovered I was alone. I didn’t know when, or where Corey had disappeared too. So collecting myself, and deciding I needed to piss like there was no tomorrow, I crawled out to greet the morning. There is something so incredible, yet so indescribable, about mornings in the wild. Devoid of all noise pollution, the beautiful birdsong, can be heard for miles. As I unzipped the flap on the tent, I could smell the fire, it was fresh and burning nicely.

I made my way over to it, finding it well stoked, and buffered, with the camp kettle boiling away happily. Corey must be up already, that’s probably where he had gone. Looking around, I took in the view, there was a small cloud bank low over the ranges. Hoping it wouldn’t rain too heavily, I picked up the kettle and poured some water over a tea bag. Deciding that I couldn’t wait any longer, I headed downstream to relieve myself.

On my way back to the camp, I noticed a small figure crouched low by the stream. He had his hand cupped to his face. As I got closer I saw it was Corey…

“Hey kiddo…, sleep ok?”

When he looked up at me, he was…, terrified. Acting on instinct, I moved towards him, and he made like he was going to bolt, so I stopped short.

“What’s the matter?”

“Na…, nothing…, don’t worry about it.”

Now closer, I could see the signs of a rather large shiner developing. His eyes were puffy, as he had been crying, and there was a slight cut just under his left eye. A slight slow trickle of blood, mixed with the stream water…, and his tears, falling slowly dripping onto his t-shirt.

“What…, what happened to your eye.”

I was starting to shake, I didn’t know what had happened, but I was beginning to get an idea. Last night had been pretty bad again, and in times like those I can get pretty physical in bed. My cup fell to the ground, as the realization hit me. Hot tea splashed over my leg, but I couldn’t feel it….

“Did…, did I do that to you?”

“It’s ok Cam, I know you didn’t mean it.”

He spoke fast, and the tremor in his voice was thunderous. There’s a first, I can’t remember either of them ever not using ‘Uncle’, that in and of itself was unsettling. I went to him, and he ran…, he was just so scared. I caught him after only a few feet, he struggled to get away, but I held firm…

“Oh god I’m so sorry…, please believe me when I say that I would never hurt you intentionally. What…, what happened…, tell me?

He stopped struggling after a few moments, then just held me, sobbing into my chest. A minute or two later, he laid it out for me…

“You were having one of those dreams again, you were so loud you woke me up. I tried to wake you up, but you were out to it, so I just tried to hold you…, then you…, you…, elbowed me in the eye…, you didn’t even wake up when I screamed out.”

I kept holding him, I didn’t know what to say, I didn’t even know what to think. I have never raised a hand to the boys, I have never had to, not that I would anyway, but that’s not the point now is it? His telling had chilled me to the bone…, I just couldn’t believe what I had done.

“Are you alright…, let me look.”

I took his chin in my hand and lifted his face. It was going to be nasty alright, but I didn’t think there would be any permanent damage.

“Yup.., that’s going to be a good one…, fuck it Corey, I’m so sorry, I’d never knowingly hurt you bud…, I love you too much, you know that right?”

“I do know…, I love you too Uncle Cam. But I think you need to get some help, like a shrink or something.”

The ‘Uncle” was back again, and my heart skipped with relief. But I couldn’t deny that he was right, I needed to get a handle on this…, if I didn’t, I would be no good to anybody. I had three very special somebody’s that needed me at my best, and I couldn’t put it off any longer.

“I know…, I’ve been holding on to this too long…, when we get back I’ll make an appointment I promise…, can you…, can you ever forgive me?”

“I already have dummy.” He said slapping me on the chest with a genuine loving, though concerned smile, “I was just scared…, that’s all, I know you didn’t mean to do it…, I kinda just got in the way…, you know?”

“That’s still no excuse kiddo, I know I have been having troubles, but I should have never let you guys get in the middle of it. I shouldn’t have let you stay with me.

The look in his eyes, as they brimmed with fresh tears, was heartbreaking. He wasn’t crying for himself any longer…, he was crying for me. His concern for me, made the whole situation harder. He let go and took a step back, the fear was gone, but the concern remained.

“I love you so much Uncle Cam, it tears me up inside to see you like this. I know you didn’t mean to hit me, and I know you would never hurt me…, I’m scared but…, I’m not gonna leave you alone anymore.”

He walked over and retrieved my fallen cup, then came back to take my hand. He lead me back up to the fire and sat me down, then poured another cup of tea. Sitting down next to me, he poured one for himself. I was still trying to process, all I felt was numb, I had hurt one the dearest things to me. Corey may have forgiven me, but I couldn’t even begin to forgive myself. He just sat there for a moment, then …

“I meant what I said Uncle Cam,  I’m not leaving you alone. I’m scared you’re going to do something stupid. I’ll be sleeping with you again tonight, just try not get all kung fu on me again…, ok?”

“Look kiddo, I appreciate your concern, but I’ll be fine, I don’t want to put you in harms way again. Stay with the others….”

“Fuck that! I’ll take an elbow over that any day…, besides you need me more right now. I’m staying with you.”

When the other two got up, there was some explaining to do, they were shocked at the sight of Corey’s eye. It had puffed up quite considerably, and was starting to blacken. I have to admit that for the first time in my life, I felt like a coward, as I let Corey take the lead in the story. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell it, it was just so hard. After the second or third look of pity from Dale or Carl, I came to the end of my rope and got up. I walked down to the creek and lit a cigarette. I was happily smoking away, when little arms circled me from the side. I lifted my own and let it fall down gently over Dale’s shoulders. He didn’t say anything, and neither did I. We just stood there, knowing what each other was thinking.

We stayed at the camp that day, though Dale and Carl went off for more wood, after lunch. When they got back, we spent some time going over some bush craft. It was fun, I showed how to read signs in a trail, how to build shelters, and traps for wildlife…, the fact that they worked just as well for people, I discreetly left  out. That night as the we made our way to our tents, I tried again to convince Corey to sleep with the others, but he wouldn’t hear a word of it. So finally giving up, we climbed into our sleeping bags. I laid behind him this time though, but he snuggled back into me and drifted off to sleep. I lay there for a while, trying to avoid my own slumber, but it soon overtook me. I dreamt again that night, though not as bad, and thankfully, nothing untoward happened.

The next day we got up to a beautifully clear morning. We were all refreshed, even me. After breakfast, we decided to go for a hike around the hill. I took my rifle with me, again just in case we came across anything. It was a thoroughly enjoyable  walk, and I took the time to show the boys more bushcraft. It was quite gratifying, how  eager they all were to learn. Back at the campsite, Dale and Carl started to spar a little. Carl had had no training, that was obvious. Dale had mentioned it to me, and I thought it was a good idea to show him a few things. I had been meaning to do it myself, but had never found the time. After all, their lifestyle, was probably going to be common knowledge when they got back to school, and he may have need to protect himself.

Corey and I sat and watched them for a little while, then looking at each other smiling, we got up and joined them. Taking the lead, I took them through several drills and routines. By the end of the day, we were all tired, but Carl was seriously getting the hang of it. He had even managed to put Corey down a few times, though Corey outweighed him, and was somewhat taller. I was impressed, and not a little too proud of him. At dinner that night, I broke out a large box of chocolates, and a cake that Reggie had baked…

“Happy Birthday…” I said to a very surprised Carl.

The twins disappeared, but were back within moments, sitting down they both handed Carl his birthday presents.

“How…, how did you know?”

“I’ve seen your birth certificate dopey…, did you forget about the whole guardian thing…., I couldn’t let the birthday of one of boys go unnoticed. Why didn’t you say anything?”

He was still in shock, but as he started unwrapping his gifts…

“You guys have been so good to me I didn’t want you to go to any trouble…, you’ve done so much for me all ready…”

He couldn’t finish as tears started rolling down his face. Dale took him in his arms and kissed him gently. I think I shed a tear myself at that moment, but it was soon broken…

“Jesus you two! Can you stop sucking face for five minutes so we can have cake.”

Bursting out with laughter, we all tucked into the cake I handed out. I was happy again, the events of the other day almost forgotten. We needed to get a good start in the morning, so the celebrations were short lived. But before they went to bed, both Dale and Carl came up to me. With a heartfelt hug, they both thanked me, Carl was especially affectionate. As Corey and I bedded down for the night, I made a promise to myself and silently to them, to sort my shit out. The trip home was a bit of a blur, we stayed at the same motel outside Albany on the way. Carl had never been there, before the other day, so we made it a point to show him around a little. Albany can be a pretty nice little town, depending on what you are into.

We made it home just after dark that day. The boys were surprised to see lights on, I wasn’t…, me at my devious best. I hadn’t let on,  during our tour I had slipped away and made a phone call to Reggie. Stepping into the house, we heard soft music, and smelt the delicious smells of a fine cooked meal. I herded them down to the kitchen to find Reggie waiting with a marvelous spread laid out on the table. She greeted the boys one by one, saving Carl for last, when she pulled out a wrapped box from behind her back. With a ‘Happy Birthday’, she wrapped him in her arms. He was overwhelmed again, as we sat down to a proper old school birthday dinner.

I’d made the appointment the next day, and here I was, sitting in the waiting room. Why are these chairs so damn uncomfortable? Fuck it, I’m just gonna go.

“Commander…? The doctor will see you now.”

Too late. I thought as the shrink motioned me inside his office.

Written by bigct/Octavius

November 30, 2009 at 06:29

6 Responses

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  1. You have pulled out all of the stops on this one didn’t you? Cam’s inner struggles that turned into hurting someone he loves so much. Corey fearing his uncle, and fearing for his uncle. And Carl’s birthday? Well and truly sweet! This was a roller coaster of a chapter! And I enjoyed every curve, the slow pull to the tops and the can’t breathe wind tight against your face downhills!

    biki

    November 30, 2009 at 10:14

  2. best chpt so far CT! i really liked the insight into everything on this one. plus, the added bonus of the outdoors, mountains, lakes, and streams. you know im a sucker for the wilderness. looking forward to the rest. ttys.

    ~cody!

    cody

    January 9, 2010 at 21:51

    • Thank you chap…., I really appreciate that.

      CT.

      bigct

      January 9, 2010 at 22:16

  3. Very, very powerful.

    Tom

    January 23, 2010 at 21:43

  4. my favorite birthday present is always stuff toy, i always give cute stuff toys to anyone i know that celebrates his/her birthd ”

    Mobile Hard Drive :

    October 31, 2010 at 20:26

  5. Knowing what was coming I left and went to bed , then couldn’t sleep so had to get up and read it ! I felt Cam’s pain deeply. I have never hurt a child and never could, as he!
    *sigh*

    Beach

    May 4, 2012 at 22:22


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