The Sailor's Stories

1025 Chapter twenty five – The Sailor’s Awakening.

with 7 comments

As it turns out, the boat…, called the Marneus, was registered out of New York, to a prominent businessman…, by the name of Fevrierson. He was the poor unfortunate I had found behind the chair. According to the boats log, he and his family, had been enjoying an impromptu family vacation. He was an accomplished seaman, evidenced by the current master’s ticket, found in his wallet. The log had been kept pretty much up to date as well, they had been out for two weeks, sailing up and down the coast. The last entry had detailed, how they had been heading home, when the storm hit.., and though it was at great risk to themselves, they had answered a distress call from a sinking vessel. The entry went on to say, that they had just gotten to it in time, as it had almost completely gone under…, though they had managed to rescue two survivors…, waiting in a life raft nearby. He had written a pretty thorough description of the survivors, which decently matched those of the two men I had killed. The last line stated that, despite the storm, they were heading to port…, to offload the survivors. It was dated and time stamped, early the previous evening.

Once I had gotten back to our boat, I had sent a message to the cutter, explaining the scene…, what I had witnessed and…, what I had done. When the cutter had arrived, she had sent over investigators…, and a man from the engineering crew, just to be on the safe side. Other than the bilges not working, the Marneus, was found to be completely seaworthy. There was no explanation as to why she was adrift, other than that the engines had been shut down. The tanks of the genset were also dry, which explained the lack of internal power, and the bilges. The investigators had done a pretty thorough sweep of the whole boat…, collecting evidence…, piecing together what had happened. The two ‘Survivors’, had had a very long night, it seemed. Fevrierson, had been killed very early on…, but his wife and twelve year old daughter, had not been so lucky. In fact…, I later found out, that if we had been only half an hour earlier, we would probably have been able to save the daughter’s life…, though from the report I had read much later…, what was left of her, almost certainly would not have thanked me for it.

Of course all this, I found out much later…, as right now, I was sitting across the table, from the cutter’s captain…, in the main cabin of my boat. My .45, and the berretta…, that I had rescued from the dead man’s grip…, were lying unloaded, in evidence bags, on the table next to him. While he was on his headset radio…, talking to his team, on the Marneus…, I couldn’t help but feel…, numb. As the seaboat had approached…, bringing the skipper aboard…, I had sent the boys to the cabins. I had wanted them to stick together, but Corey, speaking for the first time since the…, incident…, had stated that he wanted to be alone. So reluctantly, I had sent Carl and Dale to the forward cabin, while Corey went aft. That had been over a half hour ago, and as time wore on…, I became more and more anxious. I couldn’t care less about the outcome…, I just wanted to be with Corey…, I knew that the longer he was alone, the more his mind would amplify the experience.

The skipper, was a tall man, in his middle forties…, graying blond hair…, piercing deep almost emerald  eyes. He had obviously been round the boathouse a few times…, probably one of those, ‘Promoted from the ranks’ jobs…, I was judging this, based solely from the way the man talked. He had the bluff charm, of a Chief…, to be honest, despite the situation…, I was beginning to like this man. The ‘Captain’ wasn’t really a Captain by rank…, the three thick gold lines, on the slides on his shoulders, made him a Commander. None of this changed the fact, however, that I was desperate for them to leave…, and to be quite honest, the two burly…, heavily armed seaman, standing behind their Skipper, were doing little to improve my mood…

“Well then…, seems your story checks out Commander…, we’re gonna need a written statement from you and your nephew, but that can wait for now…”

He picked up the two evidence bags…, and made to stand, but before he did, he looked back at me…, fixing me with a steely gaze, he added…

“Look…, I’ve been told what happened over there…, the ID’s of the hijackers, aren’t confirmed yet, but my guys are pretty sure, that they’re well known to us…, and to be honest what you did, probably saved a lot of unnecessary court time…, you don’t have anything to worry about…, we’re on the same side here.”

He paused again, to let that sink in…, but when I didn’t respond, just sitting there looking back at him…

“Look son…, your record speaks for itself…, what you did was clean…, a clear case of self defense…, no one would be able to pin anything else on you…, don’t worry…, I’ll make sure of that.”

“So we’re free to go then?” I asked finally.

“You’ll be contacted in a few days, for that statement…, but yeah.., you can head back to port. Marneus is being rigged for a tow…, we still have some work to get done…, but thanks for the assist.”

With that he left, taking the two gorillas with him. I followed them out to the aft ramp, and then watched as they went over to the Marneus. Back in the wheelhouse, I was torn…, as I stood there gazing at the helm. Do I set course and sail now…, or do I go comfort my nephew. I just couldn’t decide what I needed to do more…, but I knew, whatever it was, I had to do it fast. With these thoughts in my head, I found myself standing in front of the door to the master cabin. As the sudden realization dawned on me.., this wasn’t a decision that even needed contemplating…, right now, a little boy was hurting…, he needed me more. When there was no answer, I tried the handle…, it was unlocked. I didn’t know what to expect, when I opened that door…, well I knew what I had hoped…, I had wanted to find my Corey…, big sandwiches, and all smiles, just like always.

What I saw instead, was a frightened little boy…, deathly pale…, cocooned in a blanket…, asleep…, wrestling demons. What have I done? my heart screamed, as I stood there in shock…, feeling my gut sink through the deck. I made my decision, as I stepped back and headed forward. I had to get him home.., if I could surround him with the familiar…, the things he loved…, maybe, just maybe he would come back to us. I was no headshrinker…, that was woefully obvious…, but I knew that the trauma could have easily broken him, I needed to take him away from it as soon as I could. As I got closer to the forward cabin, I could hear the other two talking…, they too were scared, as they had obviously overheard everything I had told the coast guard Skipper. But…, at least they were still functioning…, I knocked, then stepped inside…

“Is he ok?” Said Dale, with teary red, frightened eyes.

Carl’s concern was evident as well, but as he sat there…, with his arm around Dale, I guessed he had decided to just stay strong for him, and was at this point was staying silent.

“He’s asleep at the moment, but he’ll be ok I think…, do you feel up to getting us home?”

“Sure Uncle Cam…, we can do that.”

“Thanks Dale…, don’t push her too hard, but get us back as quick as you can…, I’ll be with Corey if you need me.” I said, but as I turned to leave…, “Oh! … When we get close enough, can you call Reggie…, ask her to meet us at the dock, we may need her…, ok?”

They both nodded and got up, as I left…, they followed me. Stepping back into the master cabin, I felt the engines kick in, and the old girl heeled slightly to starboard, as we turned for home.

Corey had shifted in his sleep, I noticed, but there was still enough room on the bed…, so I slipped in behind him. It wasn’t easy, however, because he was lying awkwardly…, he’d pulled tight into himself, and was sleeping like a ball. As I slid my arm over him…, he squirmed…, like he was trying to get away. I wasn’t sure what would happen if I tightened my grip…, the memories of earlier could easily have tipped him over the edge…, but I felt that he needed the closeness, so did I it anyway. He shifted once or twice more, but holding tight, he soon straightened out.., pushing himself back against me. As I laid there…, my face buried in his soft blond hair…, listening to his shallow, anguished breaths, and the slightly fast beating of his little heart…, my emotions crashed over…, I started to cry. Minutes later still sobbing, I drifted off, elsewhere…

“What have I done dad? Jesus…, I’ve fucked up big this time…”

“You couldn’t have known what would happen son…”

“That’s not the point, though is it? I should’ve known he wouldn’t stay in the rib…, I should have made him stay on the boat…, I should’ve never let him come with me!”

“Look bud…, you can’t focus on that now…, he’s strong…, but he needs you…, he’ll pull through…”

I woke up with a start…, it took me a moment to realize where I was…, then the events of the day crashed back over me. To be honest, I hadn’t really been sleeping that well anyway…, several times I had woken, when Corey shifted…, or worse…, cried out. My mind just wasn’t able to properly shut down…, “Cat Napping” it was called…, it happens when your body needs rest, but you are still aware of your surroundings. Now that I was awake, I found Corey was staring back at me…, in the darkness. I hadn’t noticed it before, but at some stage, he must have rolled over…, we were face to face…, I smiled…, he didn’t. As the concern I was feeling sprang forth, I desperately searched my ragged mind, for something to say…, turns out, he had been waiting for me…

“How do you do it?”

In my time, I have served in countless battles, through many warzones…, I have seen evil, and spat in it’s eye. As the leader of men in combat, I have been a warrior, a father, a big brother, a counselor, and a friend…, I have seen faces torn apart by conflict, and shattered by emotion. I have looked on at dead friends…, and dead enemies. But with all that experience…, all my worldly knowledge…, I realized how useless it all was, when confronted by a terrified little boy. That was certainly not what I had been expecting…., but I had to admit…, at least it was a start…, at least he was talking….

“Do what little man?”

“Kill people like that…, I just can’t figure it out…, I mean, I saw you…, you were there…, but you weren’t…, how can you be my uncle one second…., and then…”

“I’ll always be your uncle Corey…, nothing will ever change that.”

“Not today you weren’t…, I mean, I know what you said when I asked you about killing…, but you weren’t you…, what you did was movie shit…, real people aren’t supposed to do that…, but you did…, you killed two men like it was nothing…, nothing…, how can you do that…, how can you and still be the man I love?”

“I don’t know how to answer that bud…, I’m sorry I really don’t…, it’s my job…, it’s who I am.., what I am…, you were in danger…, I had to do something…, I did what I needed to do to make you safe…, and I’ll be honest with you Corey…, I would do it again.”

“Jesus Christ! … WHO ARE YOU?”

“I’m the guy that loves you little man…, the guy who’s always been there for you…, the guy that would carry you back into the house after you skinned your knee…, or fell off your skateboard…, the guy that would come into your room at night and hold you, after a nightmare…, I’m the one who wiped your tears, and picked you up when you fell…, AND.., I’m the guy that will do anything to make sure you’re safe.”

Whatever resolve he had had then, shattered, and I caught a glimpse of my boy, as he broke down…, it was heart wrenching…

“I was so scared Uncle Cam…”

“I know you were little man…, I know…, I’ll always be there for you…, I’ll never let it happen again.”

What could I do? After that, the emotions of the moment, held me speechless as his tears came…, all I could do was pull him into me, as his little arms wrapped around my neck. All the terror, all the fear that he had felt…, everything…, came rushing out in those sobs. He held me as tight as he could, as his body shook. I held him gently…, tenderly…, almost as if he would break. I don’t know how long we stayed like that…, and quite frankly, I didn’t care. I just kept holding him…, as he sobbed against my chest. After a while his sobs died down, and he drifted back to sleep…, but this time…, in my arms…, he slept more peacefully.

The night was well and truly old, when we pulled alongside the pier. Corey was still asleep in my arms, when Reggie came in…

“How is he?”

“Still terrified, but I think he’ll be ok…, can you take the boys up to the house, and stay with them tonight? … I don’t want to move him.”

“Of Course…., oh Cam of course I will.”

“Thanks Reggie…, those two will probably sleep together…, just let them…, ok?”

“Ok…, but if he wakes up, bring him up to the house…, I’ll fix something to eat and leave it in the fridge.”

“I will…, thanks.”

She left me, still holding Corey, asleep in my arms…, with me gently rubbing my hand, up and down his back. He did wake up, a few hours later…, and true to my word, I picked him up…, his arms around my neck, and his legs around my waist, I carried him up to the house. He wasn’t hungry…, so I just took him upstairs, laid him down in his bed, and crawled in behind him…, we were still there the next morning.

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Written by bigct/Octavius

January 14, 2010 at 18:22

7 Responses

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  1. Well, If your not a professional writer, you ought to be. The whole episode was handled with a grace many “published” authors can’t match. Again, I not kidding. I will gladly put you on par with Tom Clancy any day. The character of Cam reminds me alot of Jack Ryan. Hence, the flawed hero who does’nt go looking for trouble but… Enough said. I sit before a master at an art I could only dream of matching. My gift lies elsewhere; yours is the written word. Long may it live.

    Dawngreeter

    January 15, 2010 at 01:27

  2. What a beautiful chapter! And you are so right, many people look upon others that have had to kill in the line of duty in a different light. But, to have to see it in person, as a child, that must be doubly hard to deal with. You nailed it! But, is that really such a surprise?

    biki

    January 15, 2010 at 03:32

  3. I can only imagine how you feel after writing this chapter. Hell, the last three for that matter. I’m spent just reading them! Can’t wait to send you a check for an autographed hardcover copy of this wonderful book!

    Rick

    January 15, 2010 at 04:02

  4. I don’t know what to say, I’m speachless. Simply phenomenal.

    stickypants

    January 15, 2010 at 09:09

  5. I am amazed at the depth you write. Never once have I been let down reading. I really can’t wait for more. The feeling you put in , the descriptions just take me out of my real world … driving me into theirs . So glad you braved your own fears and put it to paper. Is so need to see the light of day. Talk about great chapter…. waiting , wanting , and needed more … you did say serious a series right … am hoping …

    Lee

    January 16, 2010 at 18:59

  6. CT, what an astonishing chapter! It truly held me spellbound. Another GREAT read. Thanks!

    Vern

    July 9, 2011 at 09:21

  7. It’s all been said above! You bring the feelings to the reader — I felt each of Cam’s emotions, pains, fears and…

    Beach

    May 5, 2012 at 20:02


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