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18th July: Another day in paradise

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18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:37 am

The other day he was told to come here. He knew that to not appear would only have made things worse and to tell someone, could end in his swimming to his grave. He was afraid. He had been progressively more afraid as days passed into months and his rank remained that of a sailor. He had also been afraid because with all the promises he had been given, when still a Midshipman, that the culprits that wanted to do him in, no investigation had taken place. Instead it seemed, life on ship continued as usual. He had lost hope that his actions, positive as they may be, would bring him any reward. Surely, he had tried his best still but when he was not on duty he was usually not seen either. He had stopped trying to mingle with the boys, could barely point to the date where he had been seen in the marine's berth and while being complimented by the lieutenant, he knew it caused only trouble to him.

The compliment, the good graces he had received from Lieutenant Bush had brought him here. Cattling did not like to see him have any hope of redemption. Hope would cause silly ideas to blossom in the hopeful minds. Such ideas that might endanger Cattling, and Cattling did not want to be in any sort of situation that could shake him of his present place.

His hands were balled into fists, though he did not intend to use them. No, it was this that kept him from turning and bolting up the same ladder that he'd come from. This and the knowledge that if he did that things would get worse. His bruises had not disappeared yet though they became less uncomfortable. Of course they were all under the fabric of his clothes. The seaman was not stupid. If De Guarde appeared on deck with a black eye, people would know, would ask questions. A split lip could be explained only that many times as the youth being clumsy. But what one did not see, one did not know.

He settled in the dark pulling his legs to his chest. He breathed in sharply. A little while ago he had been reminded again that he was to be here. His usual place where he sought to be alone, was now desecrated, but there were still so many nooks and crannies and if he really wanted, he would hide there, hide and not be found.

Not now however. He did not know how long it took, but finally he heard footsteps. He licked his lips, his throat going dry. At least when it was over, he would have some peace. He wanted to go home. He so dearly wanted to write home but couldn't find the time nor the words nor the courage. What could he say? All was great, he was still a Midshipman, the captain was kind and fair and so were the lieutenants, he could not wait to fight another battle where he could make them proud? He closed his eyes and then slowly opened them. Yeah, that was all his parents would get.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Allhands on Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:24 am

"Here with it." No hello, nothing. Cattling had gone straight to doing business, his business with the youth. He had demanded the chocolate first. De Guarde had received it in post from his parents. Cattling learned of it and wanted it knowing the boy would not, and could not say no. Life was good for the seaman, much better than it had been a while ago.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:29 am

Quietly and obediently the youth got up and then walked to the man who had descended the ladder and was now pretty much a few steps away from him. He held the small package out and saw it taken. He released it with some hesitation but did not fight the sharp tug that followed.

He lowered his gaze. "That's all I've gotten." He said quietly. It was the small comforts he was giving away. At least there was still drink that he could be left it or bargain for somehow. he could not do that with this man though.

He saw the packet disappear. He bit his lip and braced himself.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Allhands on Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:38 am

Cattling listened carefully for a moment. He glanced over his shoulder. There was no unusual sounds yet. Good. He pushed the youth further back into the darkness of the room. "Good lad. You better not be lying to me. You know what CAN happen and will happen, if you do. Nobody cares what happens to you..." The first strike made the youth double over. "This,." Another followed and then another in quick succession before he spoke again. " .. is to your benefit of course, so you remember your place and to keep your mouth shut. Remember, it could be worse. They won't believe you. Don't get your hopes up..the lieutenants don't care. Don't forget that." The words were spoken in whisper followed by more hits.

As before not a single one was aimed for the face, the head or anywhere where the bruise could be seen. They were controlled too, ready to stop if he felt something could interrupt them. De Guarde had learned that he could not cry out, and did his best to stifle any sound so that maybe a grunt could escape him, but nothing more. If he did not try to fight it, it would be over soon and then the lesson would be learned, the seaman would be satisfied and he would know better.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:35 am

Sewell did not really expect to find anything - after all, this was not a sloppy ship, and the sailors did want to burn or sink it as little as he did. But since the alternative seemed to be to either stand on the rainy quarterdeck or sit in the cramped wardroom, he had decided to take another round through the ship. If othing else, he could at least make sure that the drunken louts they had arrested yesterday were still there and had not yet succumbed to their hangover.

He was just making his way through the hold, moving in his usual controlled and quiet manner, when he thought he heard a scuffle. Reckoning that the drunkards were discussing the question of quilt among themselves, he sighed and began to walk more heavily. If they were intelligent, that would give them enough warning not to let it go any further, but rather to break it up before he arrived.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Allhands on Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:41 am

Cattling raised a fist to deliver another blow when he heard a sound. At first it was quiet and distant. It did not take him long to figure that it was coming their way. It was getting louder. The sound was easily recognisable now as footsteps that seemed to have an intent to be heard.

He smiled and patted De Guarde lightly, tugging at his shirt to bring it into order. The youth breathed in sharply expecting another blow. It however did not come.

"Remember...keep your mouth shut." Cattling whispered into his ear before straightening.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:31 am

Sewell was somewhat surprised when he found Cattling and De Guarde before he was at the holding cell. As far as he was aware, neither of them had any business down here.

Frowning, he addressed them:

"What are you doing down here, men?"

He scrutinized them sharply - neither a theft from the stores nor any reprisal or taunting against the arrested would be tolerated - nor any other unsavioury pasttime.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:37 am

De Guarde was quick to lower his gaze. His breaths were still a tiny bit laboured and he tried to bring them fully under control. It seemed that Cattling had no such trouble and he shrugged, though looked quite politely towards the marine. "Been down 'ere ter see all's well and all, sir." He said with a tone that was respectful of the officer.

De Guarde nodded without needing to be nudged about it, or told.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:16 am

""You two? Why?"

Despite the reassurance, Sewell looked less convinced than before. The "and all" might have been responsible for that.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:25 am

"Ain't no real reason, sir. " Cattling answered politely again, acting as if though such questions were quite silly and without any good ground. De Guarde remained silent, though perhaps secretly thrilled that they were standing her more occupied with questions than anything else. He felt the throbbing pain of newly forming bruises but gave no indication of them.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:44 am

Sewell's brow furrowed.

"So you are without any real reason lurking near the prisoners and the stores, with a boy half your age?"
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Allhands on Sat Feb 08, 2014 4:12 am

"Oh no... he wanted to see the prisoners and asked me to come along. Curiosity, I'd reckon. I've told him it was a stupid idea and when I thought he got it and wouldn't go, I found him half way here. Couldn't do other but try to reason with him again." Cattling answered leisurely as if this had been completely true and he had no other reason why he would have been found in the same place as De Guarde.

The youth at his side said nothing.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:58 am

Sewell's frown deepend. What he had heard had not sounded like any kind of discussion. He also started to feel suspicious of the ease with which Cattling answered. Usually sailors were a lot more wary of him, even if completely innocent.

"So you are a close friend of DeGuarde, then?"
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:07 am

"Not the closest..sir." Cattling answered and shrugged "But I've started helping him out. Learn the ropes below deck..n'all." He glanced at the youth as if expecting him to say something too.

De Guarde, seeing that he was needed, nodded slowly. "Yeah...he's helping." Neither of the two lied, it was only the nature of that help that was far from the type it appeared to be.

"Why askin' sir?." Cattling asked, trying to be helpful, respectful and certainly not the sort that could get in trouble.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:16 am

"Because I have never seen you help anybody, least of all DeGuarde", Sewell said bluntly. "I find it highly unlikely that somebody would request your company to see the prisoners, then go by himself, and I have not heard any discussion that would substantiate your claim that you followed to dissuade him."

He kept a sharp eye on both of them, waiting for any reaction - or for a complete lack thereof.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:22 am

"Oh sir, that's not entirely fair." Cattling protested. "..I have helped with the saving of that Frog." He answered appearing genuinely offended.

"Buckles?" The youth looked up. He knew what disagreeing would get him so he nodded slowly. "He's not one for public display o' good will sir." He tugged at the sleeve of his shirt with one hand. "...I asked for his company....and because he did not think it wise.. I ignored his council.. and just went on my own." He was repeating it word for word.

Perhaps if he lied well enough he would be left alone by Cattling. That would have been nice. At least for a little while. "M' sorry sir. ..I know we should not go sightseeing captives.."

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:28 am

"Very well - in this case, Cattling, I suggest you go back to your station. I will deal with DeGuarde."

And perhaps this way get some more illuminating answers - not that DeGuarde's puppet-like repetitions weren't quite illuminating in itself.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Allhands on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:32 am

Cattling did not like that at all. He did not trust De Guarde. If he had, he would not have thought it necessary to hit him. He could not protest however or else the officer could become suspicious.

"Very well...don't be too hard on him though, sir. He's just young and daft sometimes." He smiled and patted De Guarde very lightly on the shoulder. "See you later then.." He said in a manner a fellow seaman or even a friend might have to another.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:34 am

De Guarde managed to keep himself from stiffening at the touch. It had struck a fresh bruise and though the pat was very light, it still hurt. He watched the man go and then lowered his gaze. Brilliant, he'd get in trouble again and by the marine officer no less. The one he had not wanted to disappoint. "Sorry sir. Wont' happen again." He hurried to say.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Sat Feb 08, 2014 8:55 am

Once Cattling had gone, Sewell waited for a moment, making sure that the man's footsteps were really retreating, then asked:

"DeGuarde, is everything Cattling said the real and complete truth?"
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:12 am

De Guarde was a little startled. He had expected to be scolded or told what punishment might await him, should he repeat this, he really expected something harsher, or even a simple - I am disappointed with you - speech, but none of that came.

Instead it was the question he dreaded most. He hesitated then nodded. He could not tell him how it really was. He could not show him how it was. He wanted to live and if he did any of this, he was dead because nobody would stop it happening and most probably even Sewell would do nothing about it anyway.

"...Yes,..sir." His voice was however more withdrawn now.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:35 am

Sewell sighed. He was convinced that this was only a morsel of the truth at best, but if both insisted on it, he had nothing to go on. Unfortunately, that left DeGuarde to face the consequences Sewell was not sure he completely deserved.

"In this case, down with your trousers. You boys know that you are not to go down into the hold without a good reason and not to spy on prisoners, and attempting to make someone accompanie you makes it even worse!"
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:45 am

"But ...sir." De Guarde bit down on his lip. Arguing with an officer would bring a minor transgression back on deck and he knew how easily it would result in him clutching the gunner's daughter. He sighed.

It was better if it was over with fast and in the confines of the hold where nobody would learn of it and it would hardly be as painful as a public punishment on deck. He turned and began to unbutton his trousers. "...yes sir.." He murmured, sounding rather dejected.

Slowly he lowered his slops. "....didn't want ter get in trouble.." He murmured in earnest.

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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Sebastian Sewell on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:07 am

"Then you should take more care - and if you permit some advise, not prolong staying where you shouldn't by arguing."

Sewell sighed again and flexed his hand. He would not get a cane for this - the whole thing was just so stupid. And for all his sanctimonious efforts, Sewell would talk to Mitchell and Mowett to keep an eye on Cattling - sooner or later the man would slip up. This was now the second time Sewell had walked in on something suspicious.
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Re: 18th July: Another day in paradise

Post  Mathew De Guarde on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:13 am

"...Yes sir." De Guarde lowered his head a little. His hands balled into small fists, more to keep him steady than with any other intent. He was holding his breath. First it was Cattling who started it and now he got in trouble because of that same man just to get more. It was taking all his will not to begin trembling with the emotion at the prank fate was playing on him.

"...will take more care, sir." He whispered and then his hands moved to bunch up on his shirt to kip it from slipping lower, since its length was certainly greater than his hips.

There was a dark bruise that just peeked from under the hem of his shirt, right next to it, another, more yellowish and older, and then there were few in different stages and sizes, fewer down his hips and legs, but more perhaps under the fabric itself.  Some were old, some were quite fresh.

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