From Where I Am
by Loblolly Girl
"Bring him to the sickbay." Wellard barely made those words out before
giving in entirely to the blackness, however briefly. As the words sunk in
and he realized where they were going, however, he began to try to
struggle. Mr. Kennedy was supporting him and trying to get him to walk
under his own power.
"NO.." Wellard let out a moan. "NO.. not the sickbay... not the sickbay..
" Kennedy stopped, holding him up and looking at him worriedly.
"Wellard? Mr. Wellard?" Kennedy was asking.
"Not the sickbay!" Wellard cried. He was scared of the sickbay... Dr.
Clive's lair. Bad things happened in the sickbay-evil things. From ahead,
Dr, Clive looked back at them.
"Come along then!" he snapped.
"Sir, Mr. Wellard has expressed a desire to return to his own bunk."
Kennedy offered. Clive looked taken aback.
"Nonsense. He has been punished. Common sense says that n his condition he
must come to the sickbay and be treated."
"But sir.." Kennedy started.
"No BUTS Mr. Kennedy! He will come to the sickbay!"
With an apologetic glance toward the pale Wellard, Mr. Kennedy helped him
the rest of the way, on the verge of reliving his own days on the
Justinian, and vowing that as long as he could help, poor Wellard would not
know the same horrors he had.
As soon as the two had made it into the sickbay, Wellard leaned
first corner, as close to the door as he could be, and held onto the side
of the wardrobe for support, his knees threatening to buckle underneath him
at any moment. Kennedy remained beside him, one hand on his elbow, trying
to make sure the young midshipman was alright. Jesus, but Wellard reminded
Kennedy of himself, scared and shivering and frightened almost witless out
of his senses, never knowing from which side the next attack will come.
"MISTER Kennedy, you are dismissed." Clive's voice was loud, even though
his back was turned to the two officers.
"Sir, with... Kennedy began.
"YOU ARE DISMISSED, MISTER KENNEDY!" Clive bellowed. With a shrug, Kennedy
put a hand on Wellard's shoulder and then left, a worried look on his face.
Mere minutes later, Horatio Hornblower appeared. Dr. Clive had turned, and
was drinking something out of a small unlabeled bottle. Wellard stayed
where he was, feeling faint, and wishing again that he could just silently
disappear. Clive turned as he heard someone enter.
"Mr. Hornblower." Clive addressed the newcomer. "Nasty business, there,
nasty business." He gestured towards Wellard with the bottle before putting
it down. Hornblower stood next to Wellard, putting a steadying hand on the
midshipman's shaking shoulder.
"But then again," Clive continued. "boys have been beaten since history
began, and it would certainly be a bad thing for the world if boys should
cease to be beaten." He spat the last word towards the two officers.
Wellard flinched and pulled back, closing his eyes.
"That may well be your medical opinion, Dr. Clive." Hornblower sounded as
if he were just on this side of rage, "but I can see no useful purpose,
sir, by thrashing a young boy within an inch of his life." He was seething
beneath the surface.
"Come, come, Mr. Hornblower. " Clive tried to placate him. "A little
tincture of laudanum for the pain, and al will soon be forgotten."
Hornblower stepped forward to speak to Clive face to face, his words
clipped.. "Forgotten, maybe, Dr. Clive, but forgiven?"
"Careful, Mr. Hornblower." Clive warned. "I've had the good fortune to
serve the captain for over 15 years and he has inspired nothing but loyalty
in the men under his command."
"And that too is your medical opinion, is it not, Mr. Clive?"
The two stared at each other for a long moment. Wellard felt his legs
start to buckle, and he grasped the wardrobe even tighter, inadvertently
shaking it in his struggle to stay upright. A small clear bottle fell from
the shelf and shattered against the floor, snapping Hornblower and the
doctor out of their stare.
"Get that.. that filth out of my sickbay, Mr. Hornblower.
I have half a
mind to report your mutinous tongue to Captain Sawyer."
Horatio put his arm around Wellard's shaking shoulders and
the midshipman out of the sickbay, silently seething with rage towards now
the captain and the doctor, for the cruelty he had shown another member of
the crew. And another member of the crew in circumstances like that. If
Pellew had seen... *Pellew... Pellew's not here to rescue you this time
Horatio. You or Wellard there. It's up to you this time to save your hide.
Besides, Pellew would have nipped this all in the bud, and you wouldn't
have to worry about helping a delirious midshipman back to his bunk.*
Wellard was more incoherent than delirious. He knew exactly
where he was,
and exactly where he was going, and just wished himself anywhere else. He
wished he could die. He wished he could just curl up into a quiet little
ball and fall silently overboard. nobody would miss him, he was sure of it.
That was one less midshipman to be taught and one less mouth to fed, not to
mention one less person for Matthews and Styles to worry about. He barely
noticed as Horatio helped him into the midshipmen's berth, deserted,
because it was in the midst of the time allotted for lessons. His raw skin
screamed in agony as he climbed into his hammock, the last one in the
darkest corner. Carefully he curled up, trying to be oblivious to the pain.
Horatio put a hand on his shoulder.
"Wellard.. Mr. Wellard?"
The midshipman didn't reply, staring at the wall facing him. During storms
he was battered against that wall, and woke up bruised, much to the
amusement of some of the other midshipmen.
"I feel I owe you an apology Mr. Wellard, for being the reason you have be
subjected to an unjust punishment. I..."
"'Scuse me, sir," Style's voice cut in. "But seein' as Mr. Hobbs is
lookin' for you I thought you should know that the beginin' of yer watch
"Thank you, Styles."
Styles saluted and left. Hornblower leaned in closer to Wellard. "Things
do seem bad, Mr. Wellard, and I assure you, they stand every chance of
getting worse. But Mr. Kennedy and I would be honored if you would allow us
to hold the tile of your friend." One last pat on the back and Hornblower
was gone, leaving Wellard to the sound of the ship around him.
He shifted slightly. It felt as if someone had taken a red hot cannonball
and forced him to sit on it.
Hornblower and Kennedy. What did they know of pain? Of torture? Of a
captain so far gone in his own delusions that he beat a midshipman almost
daily for doing nothing more than not standing to attention fast enough?
Did they know how he had screamed at the beginning, oh those many months
ago, months before they came to the floating hell of the H.M.S. Renown? How
he had wished for death to be free of the pain an embarrassment?
As far back as he could remember, Wellard had been an embarrassment.
was the bastard son of a nobleman and a servant woman, and from the
beginning his father had hated him. Hated him for simply begin what he was,
a living reminder of the mistake that had been made oh those many years
ago. He had been malnourished and uneducated at home, passed off as one of
the servant children, learning abuse as a way of life. Then his father had
met anther woman, a noblewoman fit to marry, and young Wellard had gotten
too much in the way. BY sending the young boy to the navy, his father had
to pay his expenses, a small price when he was kept out of the way,
forgotten on a ship tossed in the middle of the ocean somewhere.
Wellard had always known this story, pieces together from
whispers. He figured that really his father was hoping as well for his ship
to be engaged in battle and destroyed, and Wellard killed, the reminder was
well and truly gone.
A tear rolled silently down his cheek. He was well-practiced
noiselessly, as he had done numerous nights both at home and here, aboard
the ship after begin roughed up in almost unimaginable barbaric ways, by
not only the common men, but by the captain. The captain! And he knew no
way out. Desertion, which hung the price of death over his head... death,
which was the only he saw fit, painless, the only way out.
Tears flooded down his face. It was like there was a hole
inside him, a
jagged hole, like the ones left by the ships' cannons. Something was
missing deep inside him, something that he knew should be there, and it
hurt. It hurt so badly sometimes, that it overshadowed the welts and
bruises he received from the blurs of faceless abusers.
The only time the hole was healed, the pain went a way was
in his dreams,
where she waited, a figment of his mind. She was the one who forced his
chin up in pride before kissing him. She was the one who would hold him in
her arms like a baby as he cried and then rock him to sleep. She was the
one, the only one who cared. And he hoped, he hoped beyond hope that
tonight she would be there, and she would brush away the tears that were
rolling down his face as Wellard fell asleep, tomorrow looming black and
forbidding on the horizon of his mind.
so? whadja think? be gentle guys.. this is my first attempted
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