New Lands

New Lands

Status: Finished

Genre: Historical Fiction

Houses:

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Historical Fiction

Houses:

Summary

The ship rocked Will awake, and the smell of mildew entered his nose. The interior of the ship was as dark as always. Will grabbed a biscuit for breakfast and staggered to the top deck. The sun had yet to rise, but Will could see its fingers just beginning to grasp the night sky. He had day post in the nest; he looked up and saw Sean make the climb down. Once Sean’s boots hit the deck, he yelled up to Will just beginning the climb up, “Practice caution my friend, the winds be strong this mourn.”
“Aye.” Will replied.
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Summary

The ship rocked Will awake, and the smell of mildew entered his nose. The interior of the ship was as dark as always. Will grabbed a biscuit for breakfast and staggered to the top deck. The sun had yet to rise, but Will could see its fingers just beginning to grasp the night sky. He had day post in the nest; he looked up and saw Sean make the climb down. Once Sean’s boots hit the deck, he yelled up to Will just beginning the climb up, “Practice caution my friend, the winds be strong this mourn.”
“Aye.” Will replied.

Content

Submitted: March 26, 2017

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Content

Submitted: March 26, 2017

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New Lands

The ship rocked Will awake, and the smell of mildew entered his nose. The interior of the ship was as dark as always. Will grabbed a biscuit for breakfast and staggered to the top deck.  The sun had yet to rise, but Will could see its fingers just beginning to grasp the night sky. He had day post in the nest; he looked up and saw Sean make the climb down. Once Sean’s boots hit the deck, he yelled up to Will just beginning the climb up, “Practice caution my friend, the winds be strong this mourn.”

“Aye.” Will replied. Once Will was in the nest, he was in his own world. He would gaze out and see the never ending ocean. The blue water converged with the blue sky, and all Will ever saw was a never ending blue sheet. Every once in a while, Will would see some creature of the deep breach the waves and dance in the open air. It was those sightings that kept Will sane. As he stood there in the nest whilst looking, he began to eat the biscuit he had grabbed when he was down below. Whilst eating and looking, he wondered. He wondered if he might be the one to shout out to tell the others that he found what they’ve been looking for. Sean had insisted that it would be him, even bet a day’s rations on it about a month back, but Will could only envision himself as the one to shout the words.

This is what it had been like for months: wake up, climb up, eat, look, wonder, climb down, sleep, and repeat. Every day Will thought, today will be the day, but it never was. However, today was different; today he saw something he hasn’t seen since he left England: Birds.

Will watched the birds for a long while in amazement. He watched one fly high in the air, then swoop down into the water and emerge with a fish in its beak. Will thought in wonder, how strange a bird must be to live out in the sea, for where would it sleep? It wasn’t long thereafter, that he spotted the little sliver of green on the horizon. Green was a color he hadn’t see since he left the green grass of England. Laughing as he realized what he had seen, he shouted down to the crew below, “Land ho, Land ho!” Suddenly every man rushed to the rails of the ship to look out a see what none had seen since in a long, long while. And when they did, the whole ship shook with laughter and shouting. The men on top deck sung shanties with joy just as the largest whale anybody has ever seen broke the surface and when back down with a massive splash.  Will climbed down so quick that he might have fallen if not for many months of practice. When his feet hit deck more cheers rang across the sea. Will quickly grabbed a pint of ale, and joined the celebration. During of which, even the Captain was in attendance. Which was queer, seeing as Captain Gerald rarely left his cabin.

Will did not see Sean until the next morning. When he woke, and looked out, the New World was in full view. It would be only a matter of time before they would set foot on solid land. Will looked up and saw Sean in the nest, “You all right up there?” Will shouted.

“Quite, I think I shall stay a while longer. The view is magnificent!” Sean replied.

“Aye my friend, I’d wager it is.” Said Will just as a stale biscuit fell and landed on the boards in front of him.

“I’m done making wagers with you, my friend.” Sean yelled down.

“Aye, that you are. Just be glad you didn’t bet your wife.”

“Aye that I would, if I was married.” Sean yelled down with much laughter that followed.

“How many hours you spec?”

“Say two, three. Closer to two if this wind keeps up.”

“Next I see you will be on the dry, my friend.”

“Aye, till then.”

“Aye.” At that Will left Sean up there, and spent the two and a half hours that followed dicing and making wagers on fights with the other crew members.

When Will’s boots hit the wet sand, he fell to his knees and vomited. Being accustom to the constant rocking of the ship. Many of the other men were of the same condition, some fell and vomited as he did, some laughed as they attempted to stand without wobbling like a drunken fellow on the eve of the new year. All except Captain Gerald, who with a number of his most loyal men at his side, stood as straight and tall as kings. How, was a wonder to the crew.

“Alright, you slimy scoundrels. Celebrations over, now is the time to work. I want groups of three men to gather lumber. Two on a saw one with a musket. I want a separate group of six, to take muskets to scout and hunt the surrounding lands. Yeh got that you stinking animals? Yeh don’t want your families to come to uncivilized lands do ya? So get to work” Ordered the Captain unkindly in a tone that bade the men to do as their told. The only response of the crew was sloppy organization of the parties and execution of the orders. Will was to join the scouting team, as was Sean. It did not take long for Will to find a rifle, two men were unpacking them from crates, and passing them out. When it was his turn to take one, the man that passed it to him and gave him a peculiar look.

“Do ye know how to use one of these boy?” Said the bald headed yet long bearded man.

“Uh, heh, y-yes sir.” Will said clearly intimidated.

The man got real close to Will’s face and squinted, and in a near whisper, “These lands are not like the lands of England. Oh no, these lands are savage, and untamed, boys will not last long here. Mark my words, it’ll only be men whom survive. Only men will survive the winter, and winter, winter is coming.”

“Heh.” Will nervously chuckled, “Thanks for the advice.”  That was when the man began to roar and rumble the rumble with laughter.

“I’m only pulling your chain boy,” the man roared, “Heh eh eh, thanks for the advice, heh eh your welcome boy Ah ha ha.” It seemed like forever until the man stopped laughing. “The names Sam.” Said Sam as he held out his hand for a shake. Will shook Sam’s hand reluctantly, the gave a slight nod and began to walk away. As he did he heard Sam call out behind him, “If you see any gremlins or snarks, run… ah ha ha.” Just then Sean came and began to walk with Will.

“Who was that man you were speaking to?” asked Sean.

“Buggar all if I know.” replied Will.

“I never saw him on the ship.” said Sean.

“Neither did I, perhaps he’s a stow away?”

“Perhaps, should we report him to the cap?”

“No, I don’t spec he’ll cause much trouble.”

“Right then, the rest of the scouting party is this way” said Sean as he waved his hand in the direction of a group of men armed with rifles. As Will and Sean neared, one of the men in the group, a man called only be the name Dogger stepped up and began to speak.

“Alright men, our task is to scout and hunt the surrounding area, we need to know what’s out there and we need food so best get going.” At that they left the beach and entered the forest.

 The forest seemed so alive to Will he felt as though the trees could simply stand and begin to hike the landscape with them. It did not take the party long to spot a flock of large queer birds just in the distance. One man asked if they should shoot it, just as another man took aim. BOOM, as spark hit powder and a jet of smoke exploded from the barrel of the gun, and the queer bird let out a squawk sputtered then died. The others in the flock quickly scattered. The men approached the poor beast and looked down upon it.

“What d-ye think it is?” one man asked.

“It’s not like any bird I’ve seen, what d-you think we should call it?” A second man asked.

“Dinner.” Said a third, and they all let out a chuckle. That’s was when Sean grabbed the queer bird by the legs and hefted it over his shoulder.

“Right, one bird tis not gonna feed the lot of us. Let us see if we can’t kill ourselves some more.” Sean said which incited much “agreement” among of the rest of the men.

“He’s right, let’s keep moving.”  Said the self-proclaimed leader of the group, Dogger. That was when out from the trees an arrow whizzed by and found a home in Dogger’s throat. Suddenly, it was as if the whole forest was screaming. It did not take long before the party was surrounded by strange red men armed with primitive stone axes and wooden spears only some tipped with a stone point. One with a bow. Nobody knew exactly what was going on but as soon as one man fired his rifle, every man pulled his own trigger.

After the initial volley there was no time to reload and most of the men had their hunting knives ready. In total it had been eight of the red men and six of them. Dogger had died in the beginning of the conflict and only two of the red men had been shot in their crazed and unorganized volley. That left five against six of the red men. The fight lasted only about three minutes, but to Will it felt like his entire life. His heart bounded and he could only see what was in front of him. Will hardly knew what he himself was doing as he swung his knife around wildly, but he noticed the sticky red of blood on his hands and face. As unprepared for what came as they were they managed to kill three of the red men, but not long before Will realized he was the only one left still alive. Knowing that he had lost he dropped his knife and looked around and saw his comrades dead on the forest floor. He shuddered when he saw Sean’s, dead eyes, stare back at him. As he fell to his knees two of the savages took him by each arm, and pulled him to his feet. Then they started to walk.

For what seemed like ages he had be dragged around by the savages, but the journey did eventually come to an end at the savage’s village. He was determined to notice and remember how they had built their huts and how the village was laid out. Only to know how best to destroy them. Once they were in the middle of the small village the savages shoved him into a hut larger than the others, longer than the others. There were three fire pits in the long hut but only the center one was lit for the purpose of light.

At the end of the hut a man sat on the ground with his legs crossed. He was holding a staff which was laid across his lap. Will could tell that he was the leader of these strange people. The leader looked up and said something in a tongue Will did not understand, and he found himself be shoved forward. Once he was about three feet away of the sitting man he was shoved down onto his knees. The sitting man rose to his feet; he pointed to Will and asked his warriors a question. One of the men pounded his chest and said something Will didn’t understand. The chief reached over and grabbed the man’s shoulder and gave seemed to be some kind of praise. That was when the chief turned to Will and looked him over. He grabbed Will’s face, harshly lifted him to his feet, and turned his head to the left then to the right.

Will could tell he has never seen anybody like him before just as he had never seen anybody like them. Will thought that this might be an opportunity to speak. “Uhh, I don’t imagine you can understand me?” said Will nervously, as he darted his eyes around the room. Everybody in the hut began whispering to one another. The chief then said something to a younger man standing to the left of him, and then he said something to the men holding Will. Suddenly will found himself being dragged back outside and across the village. Until he was thrown into a flimsy wooden cage, and left there.

Back at the settler’s encampment-- large piles of felled trees were neatly stacked and a perimeter wall was already under construction. At this point only a few men decided to sleep on the solid land, whereas most still slept on the ship. Captain Gerald was in his cabin speaking to his first mate Geoffrey. “Report.” Said the Captain

“Three stacks of solid lumber were collected today and a perimeter wall has begun construction.” Reported Geoffrey.

“And what have the scouts came back with?”

“The scouts have not yet returned sir.”

“Well were the hell are they?” yelled the Captain.

“I don’t know sir, they entered the west wood and they have not come back. Perhaps some creature has gotten to them.” Replied Geoffrey

“What like troll, or some other creature from your mother’s stories?”

“Of course not sir, but some of the lumber men had reported sighting strange men watching them then disappearing into the brush.

“Don’t bother me with this nonsense again, the incompetent fools got lost. Send out a search party in the mourning.”

“As you say sir.” Geoffrey said with a quick salute.

 


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