So Brutally; So Far from Home

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

I had this idea today to write this. It's about the frugality of life.


Worren Chesup grew up in a small English village on the outskirts of Liverpool. He’d never been to the big city or saw the flashing lights of London.  The 17 year old with a boyish face and innocent expression was just a farmer’s child in 1800’s Britain. He would wake up early every morning and be sure to do his chores to help his poor family sustain their measly existence. Picking peas, milking the cow, hoeing the ground was all in a day’s work for Worren. At night he would sit down with the family as they had a meager feast from today’s harvest. 

A letter came in the mail. The British East India Trading Company was recruiting soldiers to be stationed in India. The payment was nice. He looked it over several times and thought for sure he could support his family with this job. It promised adventure and a career; way more than the simple farm life could afford him. His mum was uneasy about the proposition. “You’ll get your poor self killed down there” she told him. He weighed on the prospect for a few days until a knock came at the door. It was a recruiter from the Royal Arms service.

 The letter he had gotten was not an invitation; it was a draft notice. The Army was weak and too spread thin and they needed fresh recruits to help resupply the line. He was given two weeks to work things out then report to Liverpool to be prepared to ship off.  His father, a kind older man, was worried of the news. Even though his son would be making more money, he desperately needed his help on the farm.  You see Worren was the only boy accompanied by 2 sisters.  They were already married and busy with their own lives.

Worren’s mother was now more upset than ever. She knew what going to India meant, she had heard the stories. Exotic lands far away filled with unimaginable dangers. When she would talk with the other women at the market she heard the tales of sons leaving and being gone for a decade, but they usually would not come back at all. She never slept much the next couple of weeks with this nagging suspicion this would be the last time she saw poor Worren.  

The day grew near, Worren grew nervous. He thought of the dangers of leaving and this encouraged him to get some things done at home. He first wanted to tell his longtime crush how he felt about her. Lacey Porrin was a neighbor farmer’s daughter. Although she did not live near Worren he would still see her more than any other girl in town. They would greet each other but nothing ever came of their relationship.  Both kids were very shy and work kept them busy enough to not have the time to visit much.

 On the day before Worren was set to go back he abandoned his chores to go see Lacey. He arrived at her house but her father informed the disappointed Worren he had just missed her.  Lacey and her mother had just gone into town to get some supplies. Worren shrugged and wavered back to his place. He took his time though, looking up at the sky and admiring the beauty of the countryside one last time. He knew he would not have another chance to see Lacey. Would he ever?

Bright sunshine greeted Worren the day of this departure. His family treated it as any other day.  Mum had a prompt breakfast prepared and father was out gathering some firewood. To his surprise his sisters were there along with the rest of his nearby family. This delighted the young chap as he never got to see them. Worren sat down and was greeted with condolences and goodbyes. He could tell his mum was fighting back tears as she poured their tea. But the biggest surprise at all came when a knock was heard at the door. His mum opened and Lacey Porrin herself stood in the doorway carrying a bucket full of apples her mom had sent over. “We heard about Worren’s departure”, she said as she handed his mum the bucket, “My cousin is going too”.

Worren’s dad invited her to stay for breakfast and they all ate like kings for his last taste of home. A carriage was coming up the road and once his mum saw she knew it was there to take her son away. Worren told Lacey when he came back he was going to take her to see London and the Thanes. She smiled and ensured him she would still be there when he got back.  Feeling refreshed, Worren took one last look at the farm as the carriage driver pulled up. His mum grabbed him with such force he never knew she had. She gave him things to remember home by then quickly disappeared behind the masses of other relatives giving goodbyes and well wishes.  Worren had the gut feeling that everything was going to be alright.

A month later Worren arrived on a small coastal harbor of India. Trained and fully equipped, Worren was scared and anxious. He had already seen lands and people that baffled his mind. He had never been to the city much less half way across the world. His superior Commander Conlick had took Worren under his wing and helped develop him into a decent solder. Conlick was a fine British gentleman. He always wore his officer’s best with a trim white beard and stern but understanding eyes.  Worren had only shot his small rifle at game animals before never a full sized musket at an actual human.He almost put out of his mind he may have to kill someone. Death was a regular thing around the place he grew up, but it was never intentional.  Worren’s first few days in the small town were a culture shock to say the least. New foods, smells, noises all triggered the senses of his young body.  He could never dream some of the things he experienced. All of this he wrote in his first letter home since going away.  His family will be secure now he thought, no more back breaking work for his old dad.

For a few weeks Worren was stationed there learning more skills and tactics of being a guard for the workers building the new train tracks across the country. Finally his unit was sent off on their first assignment.  Deep into the jungle they trekked. Conlick led the way and always kept an eye on Worren to make sure, “the poor chap” he would call him, didn’t find trouble.  They arrived at the encampment. Hundreds of workers were busy setting up tents, cooking, and piling supplies. The tracks laid nearby.  They were greeted by their new unit leader who guided them around the place. “keep ya head on during the night”, he said, “this is tiger territory”. “Tigers, I've heard the old timers here talk of them”, Worren thought. He never had books to read on the subject with work always being the prominent time consumer.

 He was given the night’s watch as his duties. He was to walk along the camp and watch for rebel attacks. Given a lantern, musket, and a few morsels of bread to hold him over; Worren was extremely anxious of his first night of guard duty. “I’ll have so much to write home about after this”, he thought.  The night passed slowly and so did Worren’s attention span. He was no longer nervous and now more curious about the area around him. He wondered away a few yards from his post to admire the weird and alien foliage that greeted him. He sat his musket down and peered over a strange plant that baffled his mind.  Dangerous and damming noises could be heard coming from deep within the jungle that provoked Worren’s senses again.  Looking up and around Worren concluded the area was safe and went back to nature watching. Suddenly some birds flew up from the bushes.

 He knew we was not alone, A rattle in the bushes, footsteps.  He glanced his lantern over to the noise direction, pitch darkness.  As he peered behind his shoulder he saw was seemed like two small floating lights staring in his direction. Worren was stunned, frozen in fear. The lights inched closer and he heard a snarl coming from them.  An image finally immerged.  He felt the tiger’s wrath in an instant. The blow of its paw knocked his breath away. The beast grabbed Worren by the neck and dragged him into the bushes.  He had no time to scream.

 In the morning Conlick investigated the area. But he knew exactly what happened. It was almost a common occurrence really. Fresh guards were replaced all the time. But this time it hit hard for Conlick as he found some remains of “the poor Chap”.  The man was battle-hardened and stern but still could spot a tragedy when he saw it. He picked up the unfired musket of the boy’s and thought to himself why a man has to die so brutally; so far from home.

The inspiration of the story came from this picture.

Submitted: July 08, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Milan. All rights reserved.

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