Transport to Hell

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Tom is boarding a transport to the French coast in 1940, just at the peak of the battle of France against the Nazi war machine.

As I climbed the gangplank to the transport ship that was to take me to France, I though once more of everything I was to leave behind, my friends, my new car, and especially my father; who I hadn’t even told about me joining the army. I had no choice but not to tell him. He would simply stop me from going; I knew he would. After losing my mom, and my two older brothers, I was all he had left. I thought of the car he had just recently given me.

looking back at the harbor of Plymouth, I saw the car again, but only for a second. For at that moment a man shoved his way passed me and we both tripped over each other. He was about 5 foot 8, and well built with a short but earnest face, he had a dark moustache and looked as if he had just come out of the same place I had, boot camp. He looked at me for a second and hurried on, not saying a word.

It was early 1940 when the Nazis had stunned the world and invaded France. It was now April 11th, and I was boarding a transport to take me to France through the treacherous waters of the English channel. Were the U-boats lie in wait for their defenseless prey, were many a ship has been sunk, and many a more lives have gone down with the metal coffins in which they boarded, never to return, whether they be dead or breathing.

It was on one of these that I was boarding, and not wanting to run into anyone else, I hurried off to find the cabin in which I was to stay for the remainder of my “trip.” After being led by a crewmember to my cabin, I looked at the number: 104 “the irony” I thought with a chuckle. For on the 104th day of the year, I will be landing on the French beaches and fighting the enemy. If I can make it there before an enemy submarine causes my boat to flounder. I

 

paused a moment, then taking a deep breath, I opened the cabin door and entered the room. When I entered the room, I stood aghast, their, reading a book, was the very man which had ran into me.

 

I was able to choke out a surprised “hello” at that he looked up from his book, and exclaimed “ah! I was a’ wonderen’ when my ship mate might be walking through that door, I was just thinking to myself, ‘I wonder when that mate of mine ‘ll walk right through that there door’ I then decided to read my bible, it was right here, and I had only picked it up not two minuets ago. I then head the door open and heard you step in the room and say hello, by the way, you don’t happen to be the fella’ I tripped over goen’ up the gang plank? The names tom, yours is?”

He stuck out his hand. It was at this moment I noted with much respect that he was a sergeant, me being only a private instead of shaking hands, quickly saluted and replied “Andrew, sir, And yes, sir, I was. sorry for that, I was taking one last look at the shore.”

“ah, don’t be sorry, it was I who was doing the same, but while walking! And I can tell you’re a smart boy by recognizing me as a sergeant! Now, seeing we have just set off…..” tom babbled on and on, so I politely nodded in agreement with everything he liked, and shook my head at things he disliked. It was a full two hours later when he stopped. However, it wasn’t to last, for he soon summoned me over to a huge charcoal colored box with red letter stamped on the bottom of each right  hand side corner that spelled Kodak. A camera! He opened the box, inside was another charcoal colored object. He picked it up and handed it to me explaining “now, be very carefu-aoh! Careful, this thing cost me a’ arm an’ a leg now, don’t drop it like you almost did now.”

I held it in my hands and studied it while tom rambled on about how his dad had given it to him not three weeks ago, for that was the last time he had seen him he explained. Eventually I had to put it back, and listen to tom babble about his expeditions as a child. It was at a very boring part that I interrupted, “Sorry to interrupt you, but are you worried this ship may sink by a u-boat and your camera would go down with this tin can?” at this he exploded “tin can! This here fine ship is not a tin can! This ship is the finest o’ her class!

 

She can go 24 knots a’ top speed! That’s twice a’ fast a’ any inferior u-boat! And, o’ top o’ that, if it were struck, she would surely not sink; this ship is sturdy enough o’ survive two torpedoes! an’ even if she did sink, I’d simply bring my camera aboard’ the lifeboat with me! Now tis getting late, lets o’ an’ grab a bite o’ eat before dinners over.”

I quickly glance at my watch, sure enough, it was 6:27. I got up and quickly dashed to the kitchen.

 

It had been two days since we had set out, and most of that time had been spent at meals and my cabin, listening to tom babble about his life, and his many “adventures” he had experienced. However, when I woke up on the 104th, tom was not in his usual spot in the bunk beneath me. Instead he was out on the deck looking at the shoreline of France and listening to the loud booms of the artillery in the distance. He jumped when I casually greeted him, when he turned and I saw his face it was pale, “Looks like we’ e’ fightin’ o’ keep our limbs intact fore’ the days up”

“Come.” I replied “and tell me of your adventures again.”

This seemed to cheer him, so we started down the stairwell. However, we had only gotten to the door of my cabin we hear the most defining of explosions.

 

As the torpedo hit, it felt as if the sea itself was exploding with an anger uncontrollable. The ship immediately listed to one side before another explosion shook the ship as a whole; however, it quickly began to list to the same side again. Tom’s face turned white, a whiteness I have never seen, and have not seen again. It was as if he had seen a ghost or a demon from Hell. As we climbed the ladder all my hopes drained from me, so did the color from my face, for water was quickly flooding a deck below ours. Just an we reached the top deck. Tom suddenly screamed out “My camera!” and disappeared below the deck. I went after him, but by the time I got to the deck above mine, I looked down in horror, the water had completely flooded it, and tom I knew, was down there.

 

As I got to the top again, I was suddenly trampled by about 50 souls, all running to the lifeboats. However, just as I reached the last one, it turned out to be full, and I, was left with over 100 souls to perish in the English channel, however that number soon dwindled for many a soul was jumping off the doomed transport. I was soon left with about 70 souls, some of which, I counted 20, went back to their cabins. Never to be seen again. I ran into someone, “Andrew? They’ve left us! Left us here o’ die! Now what am I o’ do?”

“How did you-“

“No time fo’ that, we must find a way off this metal coffin.”

“but tom, I though you drowned, how did you-“

“I swam out o’ an open port ole’, then climbed up a rope to the ship, just a’ they were jumping off, don’t let me die! Please don’t let me die!”

Tom was losing it; I quickly dragged him to the port stern, just then the ship stopped sinking. Just stopped. The fast moving elevator to the ocean had stopped, but cries of agony soon followed, for another torpedo hit the ship, exploding, and killing many a good man. I looked overboard; there was the sub, surfaced. The ship was sinking quiet swiftly now, the list had become more dangerous, and it took all my strength to hold on to the railings. I looked towards the bow in horror, the bow was slipping beneath the waves, and so was many a good soul. I soon realized that I might not live to see France, let alone my father. Then came something unbearable. Tom, who was already losing his wits, finally broke completely, and jumped off the stern into the still rotating propeller blades. I heard the scream that stopped with a suddenness that made my blood run cold. Tom was no more. I watched as the water quickly advanced to my feet, as I looked around I quickly realized I was the last soul alive on this steel coffin. This thought had barley been preceded when the cold water of the English channel reached my feet, then I was in the water and half drowned. As I got my head out of the water, I caught a glimpse of the smoking hulk of a ship that I had called home the passed three days, as it slipped beneath the waves. As I scanned the waves, I could find not one lifeboat. Then, I saw the submersible, the submersible that had sent three torpedoes into the transports hull, surface so her crew could scan the water for survivors, but all they would find would be the dead, and one lonely sailor from Britain.


Submitted: December 04, 2014

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