Archie's Journal: Christmas in Spain
by Michele

A fortnight gone. And a fortnight to go.

My punishment has gone half-way through, and I must endure another
fourteen days and nights as a part of my surroundings, chained to the
wall of my unwanted home.

I have become somewhat used to it, though I do not like it, not by
any means. I have found ways of getting up from my bunk, favouring my
left leg, in order to keep the chain from pulling and the manacle
from digging into my ankle. Sleeping is not easy, as I am one to
usually sleep on my side; I have been forced to try sleeping on my
back, which eases the pressure on my ankle bone.

My rations have, as I had expected, been smaller again, and the
hunger some nights is truly painful. It has taken all of my strength
to bring myself back from the dark abyss I was facing some fourteen
nights ago; and only one realisation, just this morning, has given me
a new hope, or at least, a faint thought that I might have the
strength to endure...

Tomorrow is Christmas Day.

I had lost track of time here, but I heard some of the guards
talking, and have seen several guests going toward Don
Massaredo's
house, all of whom seemed quite happy and festive. At first the
thought filled me with a still deeper despair than that which already
pervaded my soul -- to think that now, at what should be the most
joyous time of year, a time of peace and hope and hours spent with
loved ones and friends, I am here, in an enemy prison, alone and
quite probably abandoned. For a time I felt I could not bear the
hopelessness and loneliness of it all.

But then, my weary eyes fell on something familiar, lying on the
dusty floor beneath my bunk. It was brown, not very large, flat..
where had I seen that before?

Dr Villa-Lobos?? When had HE been here?

I recognised it: It was the Spanish Bible he had brought me when I
was recovering in the main house, after my LAST escape attempt. They
had taken it from me this time, but somehow, miraculously, there it
now lay.

And I hadn't even SEEN Dr Villa-Lobos since that last time in the
main house.

I certainly have not left this cell for the last two weeks....

I wonder how it got in here....

************************************************************

Carefully reaching down, I grasped the worn volume and settled once
more onto my back, and idly turned the thin pages. My attention was
finally caught by these words in the second chapter of Lucas:

"..salvacion de nuestros enemigos, y de la mano de todos los que
nos
aborrecieron..."

The words sounded familiar, as I remembered Mother reading them to
me, long ago (a life-time ago), in English...

"That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of
all
that hate us..."

The words were speaking directly to me... to one who is in the hands
of my enemy...

I read on, until I came to the familiar words I had heard so many
times -- but in English -- on Christmases long ago, in better times...

"..que os ha nacido hoy, en la cuidad de David, un Salvador, que
es
Cristo el Senor..."

Christmas.

Maybe... Just maybe I MIGHT get home, to hear those words again, in
my own language... In some peaceful chapel somewhere in the English
countryside.. Or perhaps read by Captain Pellew, standing proudly on
the quarterdeck, to the entire ship's company, on a silent,
starry
Christmas Eve at sea.

Home. On the Indy.

Where I belong.

I put down the old volume, closed my eyes, and tried to picture a
scene like that -- breathing free air with the night sky above me,
standing at Horatio's side, and feeling safe.

And I began to sing, very softly, there in my cold cell:

"Adeste, fideles,
Laeti triumphantes,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem...."

And suddenly, I felt just a little warmer....

*****************************************************
The End of the Christmas Episode, but Archie's Journal will continue
in Part 24 :)