A Letter From Hell
Reply: Archie
by Michele

Jack,

It did not surprise me to hear that you had somehow reached Horatio.
Perhaps I should not say it that way, for, as you yourself admit, you
never did. Hatred can be a powerful thing, and if you died a master
of nothing else, you have indeed remained expert at the wielding of
that one weapon, however impotent it may be, that is left at your
disposal.

My first instinct was to answer you with bitterness and anger -
to tell you of all I suffered at your hands, both directly and
indirectly. To speak of every detail - all I endured in Spain
as a result of your treachery. Yes, to satisfy your morbid curiosity
(for I know you now have so little with which to amuse yourself), I
WAS captured and spent more than two years of my young life in a
Spanish prison. Yes, you did deprive Horatio and me of each
other's company, just when I needed him most - something I
hated you
for, for a very long time. Only now can you begin to understand the
horrible loneliness, emptiness, and hopelessness I endured. But
before you fall from your brimstone seat laughing with twisted glee,
I only tell you of my misfortunes so that I can also inform you of my
triumph - and how Horatio would not give up on me, and saved my
life.

He was there too, in the prison much, much later, of course,
but he WAS there. He found me, in just the sort of state you would
have loved seeing me in - broken, lonely, in despair. So
desperately in pain and despaired of life was I that I allowed myself
to sink to depths which almost ended my life. I simply did not
care. I did indeed awaken from many nightmares, breathless with
fear, with your name on my lips. But eventually, Horatio was there.
He knew. He understood what you had put me through - what you
were
STILL putting me through. And even though I had given up on myself,
he never did. Do you hear, Jack? HE NEVER DID!! THAT is what
friends do -- THAT is what LOVE does...

That is something you have never known, and never will...

But I do not feel the anger now. I feel only pity.

If you must know, Jack, Horatio DID crumble at his first real
tragedy. He lost someone very dear to him, in a war in which we
should never have been so closely involved. You will no doubt be
overjoyed to know that he was devastated. But it will equally pain
you to learn that he did indeed have me "to cry on." Those
first few weeks were very difficult, and only by keeping busy with
his duties - and by talking to me, and to Matthews (and yes,
sometimes "crying on" me), knowing either one of us would
have done ANYthing if only we could have taken away his pain
was he
able to go on, and start to get on with his life. Once again, it was
those wonderful little intangibles which you will never know, that
gave rise to great triumph. Yes indeed, Jack, I do pity you.

There is something else I must address with you now, Jack, for where
I am going, there will be no connection to where you are. I would
not even be able to reach down and offer you a cool drink of water,
even when in the glory and perfection to come I shall feel toward you
only the greatest sense of mercy and pity. You see, Jack, one of
your fondest dreams is about to come true - that Horatio will no
longer have me in his life. He WILL, however, have another friend
to look after him - if you must know, a William Bush. I tell
you this so that you will know -- Horatio is a good man, and good men
attract good friends. Friends who care about them, friends who will
do anything for them. Nothing you could ever have done could have
changed that.

You see, Jack, whilst it is true I did have many times of weakness in
my life since you deigned to grace it with your presence, I will end
my life in triumph, and with dignity, honour, and the satisfaction
that my final act will be for the one person who has done so very
much for me - Horatio. Yes, Jack, we have had a time of great
difficulty here on this earthly home you have departed, a time you
would have greeted eagerly, for all the disorder, confusion, and pain
which the past several months have visited upon us. For some time it
has appeared as though Horatio, myself, and other good men might
die. Now, only part of that fear is destined to come to pass, for I
am going to give my good name -- and what is left of my life -
for Horatio.

You may think you have defeated him, and me; perhaps for a time you
did. But ultimately, pain is fleeting - weeping may endure for
a night, but joy comes in the morning. My time for weeping will soon
be past, and my everlasting morning is soon upon me. Horatio will
weep for a time, but he will NOT be destroyed. That is why I am
doing this (and he too will know it in time) - so that he will
not be destroyed. Horatio WILL be rid of you. I daresay he is
ALREADY. Aye, he WILL die someday - most assuredly we all do.
But I leave him with no doubt but that he will die a hero, and a man
whose life will have been fulfilled, both personally and
professionally. I can see Horatio as a Lord Admiral. Yes, I can see
it quite clearly. But more, Jack, MUCH more than that - he will
have lived his life with honour and courage, and in the company and
comfort of true friends.

My only regret now is that we must once more be separated. Though I
will be gloriously happy where I am going, I cannot help but feel
that I will yet miss him. But Horatio - well, I know that he
will be all right.

And you, Jack -- you know it too. Leave him, leave him for good.
For although you have eternity to waste, you are indeed wasting your
time trying to bring Horatio down. All such attempts have failed,
and will continue to fail. Please, try to leave yourself with some
small amount of dignity. If you are able to do this one thing, it
may be all you will have left.

Lieutenant Archie Kennedy