Hornblower 55Fic Challenge

The challenge: write something about Hornblower - a scene, a thought, a description - in 55 words or less.

Added 7/1/01

A BRIDGE TOO NEAR
by Pam

Bullets whine, strike chips off stone.

Crouching beside the men, I swallow panic, hoard my powder and shot. Must
set a good--*better*--example. As *he* would.

A phantom brash and young, a blade new-blooded, stir in my memory. . .

"I killed two! Well, one certainly!"

Another lifetime. Where did that boy ever go?

 

WEIGHT OF THE WORLD
by Pam

Look after *him*? So strong, so brilliant?

But his eyes are red, his lips tremble.

"Come, Horatio. You did all you could."

Obedient to my touch, he turns away . . . and does not shrug my arm off as we
walk.

The burden settles--on shoulders finally strong enough to carry it.

"Look after him."

*I will.*



Crocodile Tears
By Derry

Plead for your life, Jack. The soft-hearted fool won't be able to kill a
man who's down.

Some tears might help. He won't shoot a man in tears.

He fires the gun into the air. I knew it! Stupid, weak, sentimental boy!

What's that? Not worth the powder?

No! Too much insult!

He must die!


LAST WORDS
by Sarah B.

Not worth the powder?

Up, moving,, fury building to a screaming roar.

Kill him. How?

Walking away - NO I want him dead!

Knife. Grab the hilt, bury it between his shoulders, I'll have his
life dammit!

Running. His back, unsuspecting and vulnerable, my two favorite words.

Over his shoulder. What's that glint?

POW!

Too late.


RESURRECTION
by Sarah B.

You don't understand.

"Don't you want to go back?"

He owns me, Horatio.

"Hear the wind -?"

You don't need me. Leave me alone.

"You're one of us..."

You believe that?

"We don't leave unless you do."

You do. It's in your eyes.

"Now drink."

My God. You see the future.

He *owned* me. *owned.*

Drink.


Bow up! Bow down! :)
Author: Skihee :)

Bow up! Bow down!

Groan.

Bow up! Bow down!

Hornblower inhaled quickly.

Bow up! Bow down!

He turned, pinching his throat in a swallow.

Bow up! Bow down!

"Excuse me, sir!"

He brushed passed Bracegirdle, making for the side.

"Horatio!" called Archie to his fleeing, green friend.

Archie saw Pellew and Bracegirdle and shook his head.
Poor Horatio.


Indefatigable
By Skihee

This icy water is cold. Shiver me timbers.
My lines are singing. My men caress me with their feet. My officers are
brave.
My guns are clean and proud. We bare my teeth when provoked.
My sails unfurl and we leap together as one. My heart and my Captain's heart
are one. We are Indefatigable.


Waltham Chase
by Joan C.

 

A crumpled envelope laid at the side of his breakfast plate. Smeared ink,
as if tears, and a scent of salt. Swollen fingers fumbled to open it.
"Dearest Father ..."

So few words, quiet as Horatio's voice. Would this letter contain his
absolution?

" ... Your affectionate son, Horatio."

A measure of peace, and a promise of hope.


The Examination for Lieutenant
by Beauvallet

The recurring nightmare was suddenly real.

Horatio screamed a series of orders.

"Helm a-lee!"

" Let go the sheets!"

"Off tacks and sheets!"

"Mainsail haul!"

"Let go and HAUL!"

The ship was safe and he could breathe again. No longer close-hauled on the
larboard tack, but there was Dover under his lee.

Thank God he had passed the only examination that counted!


Stiffly Stand, Part One
By Skihee

Stiffly standing.

I stiffly stand.

"Report, Mr. Hornblower."

"Six men, two cannon, lost, and our French allies...." head lowering.

"A failure then, like the rest of this miserable expedtion we've been engaged
upon. Yes, Mr. Hornblower, I include myself."

Relaxing, folding into myself, I ask, "What were we doing there, sir? We
were not wanted."

A tear. Stand stiffly, it isn't really there, is it?

Stiffly Stand, Part Two
By Skihee

"We brought nothing but destruction, death, and defeat."

Eyes closing. He cannot look on me. I disgrace myself. Stand stiffly.

"Look at your uneeform, Mr. Hornblower, not what we've come to expect, hm?"

"No, sir." NOW, he looks at my uniform? I wipe my slobbering nose.

When we put on this uniform we entered into ......

Stiffly Stand, Part Three of Three
By Skihee

...into a life of adventure and adversity.

I knew it. I knew it.

"We must always be an inspiration to the men, Mr. Hornblower. And whatever
befalls us, WHATEVER! We must never forget we are officers in His
Majesty's Navy!"

"Indeed, sir!" I stiffly stand.

See me safe? Topsail yard? I stiffly stand.....and grin.

Stiffly Stand, Epilog (or maybe, revisited would be better, it's a circle,
you see)
By Skihee

The brisk breeze blows through my hair. I inhale deeply drawing strength
from the sea and the brilliant blue sky!

Now how the HELL do I get down from here? I thought as I looked to the deck
below. Then, a familiar voice came to me. It was Archie Kennedy!

"JUMP! YOU'LL BE ALL RIGHT!"


The Masthead
Wendy B

He was alone, gloriously alone. The first time all week; it was
heaven.The schoolmasters shrieks soundless, his cane harmless. The
bullying ceased for the moment. He could eat unmolested, the biscuit
secreted inside his coat. Sleet-lashed and wind-burned, it was
heaven. The masthead, his punishment, heaven. They'd never know. He'd
never tell.


The Renown Incident
by Beauvallet

Only fourteen and -- he was dying at the hands of his captain. Struggling
against the hands gripping his throat, he thrust the larger man away.
Miraculously his tormentor disappeared down a hatchway, never to trouble him
again.

Hornblower, whose testimony could hang him, stared in silence.

Then: "Pass the word for the surgeon, Mr. Wellard!"


The Wrong War in 55 Words
By Karen Lee

A General Old
His Plan Was Bold
A Bridge to Hold
Heads Rolled

Charette Uncombed
A Mad Marquis
His Ancestral Home
No more Feng Shui

Met a Lobster
Kissed a Shrimp
Watched her Sleep
Made her Limp

Matthews, Styles,
Oldroyd, too
Archie panicked
Wouldn't you?

No Medals Won
No Heroes Sung
Whatta lotta
Dung
Dey
Brung


All Your Fault, Oldroyd!
by Derry

How was he t'know?

Mr Hunter'd said they had t'escape. That were true, ain't it?

An, Mr Hornblower didn't seem t'be doin' nuthin.

But y'didn't always rightly know what Mr Hormnblower was plannin'.

But when Mr Hunter'd gone for it, he'd followed.

An, now, Mr Hornblower's down that awful dark hole.

All your fault, Oldroyd!


AFTERMATH
by Loz

The guns, having delivered their deadly message, were silent. The
pristine decks ran red with blood.

Cries of pain, and of mourning, replaced the sounds of war.

Needles sewed no sails; stitching instead a coffin. A flag lay
draped in farewell. No more commands, but a prayer for the dead.

Yet the ship sailed on.

Loz


Puzzle On Board
by Jan Lindner

"Damn your impudence, sir!" And bless your loyalty, however misplaced.
What the devil were you doing, challenging a man twice your age?

Won't you explain your shipmate persuaded you with a belaying pin? Have
you no defense? No excuses?

None. By God, here's one with some nerve! We'll see what you're made
of, Mr. Hornblower!

* * * * *

"My books, sir. For my examination."

Examination? What the -- Hornblower, you've never seen the black death.
You don't know this enemy. You have no idea.

"I hope you... I hope you find time to study them."

I hope you survive to take it.

"Thank you, sir!"

Don't thank me, boy. Just live. Live.


Bandit's Reply
by Bev F.

Why did I leave the Lamb, you ask.

Well, bless my ears and whiskers! To eat bullock with the Indy boys. To meet
rats and chickens. To cuddle close to dear Duchess K's bosom. To save Mr.
H's miserable life.... and sleep on his frilly nightshirt!

I may be a cat but I'm not stupid!


Added 4/6/02

Truth in Advertising
by Pam

A pair of woolen-broadcloth naval lieutenant's jackets: £22

Two standard-issue Navy cutlasses: 30 guineas apiece

Cleaning bill for remaining garments: £3, 6s., 3p.

Expression on Bush's face while being dragged off a cliff by Hornblower and
Kennedy: PRICELESS

Some things money just can't buy.

For everything else, there's MASTER (AND COMMANDER) CARD.