Tis Well

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


It had to be God’s wrath, what else could it be? A source of amusement for the Devil? Very possible. Who other than those two beings would cause hellish events like the entire island was facing at
this very moment? But why? Why have sheets of rain pound us towards the ground while atrocious wind pushes us around like some school bully? Why has fire consumed our homes that were once beautiful
if God wasn’t angry?



-- Or the introspection of Alexander Hamilton during the Hurricane of 1772.

Submitted: August 11, 2018

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Submitted: August 11, 2018

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It had to be God’s wrath, what else could it be? A source of amusement for the Devil? Very possible. Who other than those two beings would cause hellish events like the entire island was facing at this very moment? But why? Why have sheets of rain pound us towards the ground while atrocious wind pushes us around like some school bully? Why has fire consumed our homes that were once beautiful if God wasn’t angry?

 

Heavy wind and constant rain weren’t uncommon in places like the Caribbean. It was a part of daily life, a routine that Alexander has grown accustomed to. Pirates coming onto the island to take over, and Spain and France fighting over this well wanted trading center was an annual occurrence. It was normal, but wasn’t normal on that fateful August day.

 

Being near Saint Kitts, the island was warm, and known for its sandy beaches. It was easily a place where children could spend their days off going to the shore, accompanied by slave of course. White children were entitled to anything. But here, in the mid-1700s, the majority of people were labeled as mulatto. Alexander was considered one of those mixed children. He wasn’t quite sure where his father is after walking out on him and his mother. He didn’t even know if he was still alive, or rotting somewhere in the ground. Not having a father around meant there was no income of cash, considering his mother's parents passed away years ago; just like his mother had as well. “Tis well,” was uttered as the fever took ahold of her. It was normal for citizens to catch a fever or some other disease and to die just like that. His mother just happened to be one of those… incidents; that’s what it was, just an incident, not even in some obituary. His cousin wasn’t in an obituary either, but who would want to document someone taking their life all because of life becoming too hard? Showing that life was sometimes cruel and unmerciful?

 

Alexander wouldn’t let himself live in constant despair, he would work hard and make a name for himself. Tis well.  He would learn everything he can, everything in sight. Finding the books in his father's old study, he spends countless nights staying awake to absorb all the information he can. Soon he is made head of a trading charter, he was finally being recognized for something other than his forlorn upbringing.

 

Working at the trading charter is hard work, but he gets by. Tis well. He still struggles to search as far as he can for books to help continue his journey of self-teaching. There are still pirates and injustice among all the people on this sunny island, but he is getting somewhere. None of his books could’ve prepared him for the harsh blow of wind, and water surrounding him from all directions. Nothing could have prepared them. Nothing.

 

In late August, the island was warm like usual, palm trees swaying in the soft wind, sun shining down on them. Nothing was out of the ordinary, nothing produced a warning sign that would’ve told the habitants of the island that pure hell on Earth was coming their way. They weren’t aware until the lightning cracked and thunder boomed, until the rain fell and the winds howled, until it was too late.

 

Alexander had been up again late, reading since he acquired a new book from the trading post he worked at. It had belonged to a fisherman’s son but there was no more use for it around the house - no use but collecting dust somewhere in a forgotten cabinet. He had to make sure it was well hidden, considering the staff of the orphanage didn’t like the thought of education. The wind was howling outside, a bit louder than usual and once the sun broke through the horizon, it brought the first warning. There in the sky, was dark, swirling clouds. To accompany the looming clouds, the wind had escalated into a loud growl. The air seeping through the boys window reeked of salt.

 

A plethora of spontaneous events booms into action within a couple seconds. When the wind stills, Alexander finally looks up from his book. As he closes it warily, a large lightning bolt tears loose from one of the threatening clouds, and as if a spell had lifted, the skies release all that wrath. Streaks of light hit homes, causing some of them to erupt in flames, the wind whips around so hard that palm trees are even bent in half, the rain pours down so thickly that it’s hard to even see feet in front of you. This has to be hell, there is no other explanation for such horrors.

 

As horror reigned, and as the water levels rose, people scurried like rats to roofs of buildings. People flooded the streets to get away from their burning homes. Slaves scurried about, trying to keep their master’s children away from harm’s way, a near impossible feat. Yelps and sobs filled Alexander’s ears as he made his way outside, amid the chaos. Turning to his left, the elderly are out in the streets since the nursing home is now flooded. To his right, burning houses litter the horizon like fireflies. The sight right in front of him makes air rush out of him in a wispy gasp, it was a dark cyclone so high it looked like it was attached to the heavens itself.

 

His body forced him to take a step backwards, towards the entrance of the orphanage as the wind became stronger. He swayed back and forth, weak as a paper folding in the wind. He was weak, so weak, filled with hunger pains and blurry vision. Due to his blurry vision, he didn’t pick up on the swaying roof behind him until he was thrusted towards the ground, bricks and plywood upon him. A pitiful sob escaped his mouth, pain erupting all over his trapped body. His body shook with every painful breath he took in, it felt like all the bones in his body were torn, cracked, and ripped.

 

Minutes, hours, days passed like that, trapped, trapped, trapped. The hurt that was once in his body felt like little needle pricks now. The only concerning pain was his stomach contracting in on itself, and his throbbing head. He was so thirsty, and so, so hungry. He tried swallowing his saliva, but it felt like sandpaper scratching his raw throat. He now regretted sobbing so much, maybe he could’ve avoided this. He couldn’t move his legs, or any part of his body, without pain spreading through him. Waiting is all he can do.

 

Another day passes and Alexander’s teetering between consciousness and unconsciousness. His eyes are heavy, his lips are cracked and bleeding (which gives his stomach something to feast on when he swallows, sadly), he can’t survive much longer like this. Now he’s gotten used to the emptiness in his stomach, he now can barely remember what it’s like to have food filling him. He hates to admit it but he even misses the soggy, old bread the orphanage would give him. As his eyes began to flutter shut, the plywood and bricks are lifted off of him, and a blinding white light fills his senses.

 

Alexander is closing his eyes to accept his fate, when his body bursts upright in his bed, sobs wracking his frame. Putting his hands to his face, he feels the crows feet at the edge of his eyes, feels the dark bags, feels his trembling, not cracked lips. Tis well, Tis well. He wipes at his eyes, breathing in slowly as he tries to calm himself. His dear Eliza is still sleeping next to him, he doesn’t desire to wake her.

 

Looking towards the window he notes his surroundings, “Two curtains, 3 bottles of ink, 2 empty, 5 streetlights,” He puts his hand to his mouth, he closes his eyes and breaths in, “I smell drying ink, and candle wax. I hear my Eliza’s soft breathing, and quiet crickets. We didn’t have quiet crickets on Nevis,” He takes one more deep breath, that last sentence striking reason within him. It’s the year of our Lord 1790, he’s in New York, he’s safe now.


“Tis well,” Alexander utters, the sound getting lost in the soft wind.


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