One Foggy Night
It was a foggy night. Archie Kennedy couldn't sleep. Heathers
had just called a duel on a man by the name of Robert Farris.
Cleveland was going to be Heathers second in the duel. Since Horatio
had left the Indefatigable, Archie had grown close to Heathers
and Cleveland. It was not a close friendship, but, Archie did
care for the welfare of the two men. Maybe that is why Heathers
getting into a duel troubled Archie.
That and it reminded him of when Horatio was to fight a duel with
Simpson. Archie and Clayton tried talking Horatio out of the duel.
Archie pleaded with Clayton to do something to stop Horatio. Clayton
stopped Horatio and took his place in the duel. Archie would always
remember Clayton's words to him, "Someone has to stand up
to Jack Simpson. I failed in protecting you, I won't make the
same mistake with Horatio. I will stop Simpson. I will make sure
that he will hurt no one ever again!"
Too bad that Clayton lost the duel and with it, his life. That
duel taught Archie that duels are useless and deadly ways to solve
an argument. Heathers was at the same duel between Clayton and
Simpson, but yet, he did not get the message that Archie had.
Heathers told Archie that Farris tried to ruin his image. Nonsense,
Archie thought. He had lived through a million insulting remarks
and never called anyone out on them.
Archie decided that the sea air would clear his mind and lull
him back to sleep. He got out of bed and walk up on deck. Along
the way, he stopped by Heathers cabin. Heathers was sleeping like
a baby. How could he do that? Did not he know that tomorrow might
be his last day alive? Archie shook his head and walked on.
The deck was quiet and peaceful. Archie saw Helm Boy at his station,
but no one else. It was then that Archie heard a voice he had
not heard in years.
"Looking for anyone in particular?" The male voice asked.
"No," Archie replied to the voice as he turned around.
He saw no one there. Archie looked over at Helm Boy, but knew
it was not his voice he heard.
Archie cried out, "Is anybody there?"
"I have been watching you, Archie, " the voice said.
Archie felt a cold wind blow through his hair and shivered. Maybe
he should go back down below. Being up this late was making him
"Don't worry about Heathers. Nothing will happen to him,"
the voice calmly told Archie.
Archie turned around in a circle and spoke to the air. "How
do you know? Who--What are you?" he asked.
"I am right here, Archie. You know all that worrying is not
good for your health."
Archie turned to see a ghostly figure in front of him. "Clayton?
I thought you were . . ."
"Dead? Yes, I am. I am a spirit. When a duel is called, it
is my job to visit the duelists. I am amazed how much this Farris
fellow looks like Heathers. It is almost like they are the same
man," Clayton told Archie.
"So, why are you talking to me?"
"Can't I talk to my old friend? You seem to be more concerned
for Heathers welfare then he is about himself."
"Someone has to watch out for him."
"Why would you care? You are not the having the duel."
"Death and dying always bother me. It is wrong."
"I know duels are stupid. I am here to . . ."
"Stop the duel? Is that why you were sent?"
"If I stopped the duel, both men would feel no honor. I am
just going to move the pistol a little. No one will be seriously
hurt. I will make it seem as if Heathers wins," Clayton said
with a sly smile.
"You said you have been watching me. Where, when, how?"
"I have been watching both you and Horatio. Congratulations
on becoming a Lieutenant. I hear that Horatio has been made a
Commander. It makes me glad I made the right decision and took
his place in the duel."
"Even if it means an eternity of purgatory?"
"Horatio and you have a lot of work to be done. As for me,
maybe my time on earth was spent to wait for the award of afterlife."
"I get to help people and make a difference. The way I never
did in life. I was always such a coward."
"You were never a coward to me, old friend. You tried to
stand up for me. I will be forever grateful."
"Thank you for that. I will have to leave you now. I am afraid
they only give me a little bit of visible time. Take care of yourself,
Archie. Keep that kind heart of yours,"
Clayton said with sincerity.
"Wait, I have so many things to ask you!" Archie called
out to the air. Alas, Clayton was gone.
"I am not leaving you, Archie," a voice said to him.
It was Master Bowles. He put a reassuring hand on Archie's shoulder,
which made Archie jump.
"Bowles? When did you get here?" Archie asked him.
"Just now, it is time for my watch. What are you doing up
so late, if I may so ask?" Bowles asked Archie.
"I couldn't sleep."
"Captain is upset at Heathers and I see you are most likely
"And you, sir?"
"I don't like it. Captain told me that if Heathers makes
it through the duel, that he wants to see him."
"Oh, Heathers will survive," Archie said with certainty
in his voice.
"How do you know?" Bowles asked.
"I can't release my source, but you can believe me on this,"
Archie told Bowles as he smiled broadly, showing his chipmunk-like
Clayton was true to his word. Heathers came through the duel without
a scratch and Robert Farris had his arm grazed by the bullet.
No one was hurt badly.