A knighting ship came rushing through the fog, with its light a beacon of God’s love, shining about the small lifeboat. Captain Collin and his small handful of rescued passengers, at their ropes end lay inside the vessel like salted snails from the days of blistering sun and cold night winds. Lucky the ship of friendship took them in.
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He returned to America with the promise on his lips to return to Ireland no matter what the consequences.
With the break of day Elizabeth found her bedroom shaken by soldiers and police alike who were lead by the aphorism of her father’s keen voice. “ Search it all!” He squalled. “Elizabeth so much of your mother’s ideas you seem to muster within your veins!” “Get up this house is not your home!” Startled to the mess she jumped quickly from her sleep to a standing position.“ What’s this?” “ Why are they tearing my things to shreds?” Peering from the crack of the door was the sheepish eye of Harmon who had a satisfied grin as if he were reaching behind himself that very moment to pat himself on the back. “ What the blood of Jesus is going on!” Elizabeth bellowed.
Mr. Dobbs reaching into his over coat threw photos on the bed.” You are not your father’s weeper nor your brother’s keeper, Elizabeth!” “You have made a fool and mockery of me!” “You have no blood of me in those veins it is plain to see!” “ How long did you think this would go on, you’re stealing from me?”
“As for your dear friend the doctor he too will get his justice in the end!” “ I suggest your dress for the ride, how ever it won’t be far.” She scampered to throw clothes on over her over night gown while her father lead the men into her bathroom.”
“Any little thing that’s all, just any little minute paper that can tell me who else is involved.” He yelled.
“Father, no one else was with us, its plain to see it was all my idea, you can tell from the photos.” He whirled around with his fist in the air as if to hit her. “ Don’t say another word Elizabeth, I’m hardly the type to think you have the sense to bare this cross alone!” “Seems to me too much of your mother in you to be more then a pigeon on some other birds roost.” Fire flew from her eyes as the words burnt her heart. Diving like a hawk she made her way to his neck screaming to the top of her lungs. “ Damn your soul to hell, you bastard the likes of you ever having the gall to speak of my mother again!” Like a mad swarm of bees the officers were on her dragging her as she kicked and screamed in rage. “ You dear father will get yours in the end as well as these dear men!” “ Yes in deed!” “ Yes in deed there is no blood of you in me, you coward!”
They slung her head and toe out the door but before she was cast into the street toward the police vehicle she aimed a shot at Harmon who held the front door open, landing a swift goal of a kick to his shin while she aimed a boxer’s punch of her right fist to the side of his head. “And you, you bald headed leech I will see to it you are first in line for what you deserve!” Harmon shriveled to the floor like a swatted fly. Crumpled like paper he lay waiting for Mr. Dobbs to escort him to the near by chair. “ You ok, Harmon?” Dobbs eyes and mouth were wide open with unbelief. “ That girl has been the death of me so far.” “ She will see her devouring of me will no longer be.” Harmon resembling a damsel in distress lay sprawled out on the fainting couch with his arm stretched across his forehead panting for air. With trembling voice he answered slowly. “ I will be fine sir, just a small blow to the ego.”
The police head quarters on the edge of town crawled with British officers awaiting Elizabeth’s arrival. They all much interested in seeing her barred set at the steps to the building gaily chatting in huddles. Clouds from Smoking cigarettes danced about their heads as they leaped to attention when the car pulled to the curve with Elizabeth in the back loudly venting her disgust at her captured state of conviction. “ I think you men need a life!” “ Surely with the fighting on the streets you could find better things to do then phantom the idea that I would have any participation with the IRA!”” I merely stole goods from my Da, that’s all!”
As the officers drug her from the car door she kicked at each one while they danced about to avoid her blows. Delighted at the sight the on takers piercing laughter rang out. “ Little to much of ah woman for yea O’ Brian!” One soldier teased as he winked. “ Yes a little to much!” She yelped as she tore toward him with her feet aiming like torpedoes at his shins. To her surprise she caught him off guard denting his leg with the hard toe of her boot. Screaming out he danced painfully on one foot as the others chuckled heartedly. Humiliated the soldier sailed his fisted hand through the air landing a blow across her right cheek. The force causing her to fall to the ground while the other three men proceeded to drag her toward the hall, yanking her by the cuffed hands as if she were a circus animal.
Greeted swiftly at the door by a frumpy old woman wearing a black cotton dress and thick black tights with large set eyes of indecisive solitude. Elizabeth looking up through matted hair to watch a set of fat wide feet wedged in a pair of black pointed toe heels coming toward her as one shoe dangling a loose silver buckle chinking at its side. Heels clicked like mores-code bouncing off the stark white walls as the secretary followed along beside the soldier in short hurried steps carrying a clipboard. The angered officer spitting on the black tile floor watched out of the corner of his blood shot eyes the others struggle to keep Elizabeth retained while the old woman wrote frantically.
Bleeding and still fighting Elizabeth found herself a bit idled being shoved through the door of a dark bare room then locked in while they disgust who would search her. She set huffing mad enough to cry when hearing the slight whimper of a woman crying on the other side of the wall. Wiping the trickling blood from her nose with the back of her hand she blindly guided her way through the dark with the other hand out stretched feeling her way to the wall. “ Who’s there?” she questioned in a faint whisper. “Who’s crying?” “Well surely they didn’t treat you like a work mule before leaving you in there did they?” She asked. Pressing her ear to the cool wall she could hear a few sniffles and the clearing of a throat as she waited for an answer.
“ Elizabeth,” the muffled voice called out.” Oh my God did they find you as well?” “They have Harold and our dear doctor too!” “ Joe, he escaped harms way but for the rest of us it seems we will rot now in their hands if we are that lucky!” Elizabeth shocked at the sound of Gertrude’s voice swiftly pushed herself away from the wall covering her gaping mouth to stifle the sound of a startling awe that blared out unexpectedly. “Gertrude, damn it’s my father!“ “He is surely to blame!” “Harmon no doubt is loving this, damn his lungs from breathing!”
Gertrude slid her hands down the cold block wall as her knees buckled under her from pure mental exertion. “I have been here three days now and it feels more like weeks.” “They brought me back for more interrogation I assume.” “ I hate it when they glare that light in my face after they make me sit in the dark for hours.” Crouching she rest her head on her knees as her mind wondered to Harold and the doctor.
The sound of strident voices coming closer to the door sent her rapidly to her feet. As the door handle slowly began to turn she held her breath wonder what to expect next when through the door way stood two officers.
One sheepishly holding papers in his hands as the head officer sipped on a hot steaming cup of coffee peering suspiciously over the rim of the large white cup stifling the air with his cheap cologne. The light from the hall haloed over their shoulders as they approached with the harsh language of waving hands suggesting she sit at the round table. Metal chairs squalled across the bare floor while they tightly positioned themselves at either side of her. One yet again arranged the lamp on the table to spot her face.
With a deep hollow voice the leading officer began his query. “ You seem a bit shaken today Miss, feeling poorly?” “Have we not treated you kindly?” He continued with passion equivalent to a drunken Viking’s respect for a damsel. She could barely endure the triad stench of whiskey, coffee and cigarette smoke on his morning breath.
He leaned in closer intensely sniffing her hair like a scheming dog then barks out. “Precedent people aren’t we?” He snarled gesturing his hand toward the papers. “ I think you’re well aware by now what we are asking in order for you to gain freedom.” “You’ve been through this before Gertrude, we know your past in Germany.”
“An easy enough task completed.” He went on to say. “You sign these papers after writing the names of your accomplices and we release you with no harm done.” “ A small price for the taste of freedom that you so infinitely seem to quest.”
Gertrude squinting her tired eyes tried to focus on his sharp edged chin that continued to jolt up and down as he spoke. Rubbing her hands through her hair she turned her head for a moment from the hot light when he gave her a stinging slap across the face with his open hand. “An answer is what I want now not a arrogant look!” “This can all be over in a flash if you will cooperate!” “Do you really think the others have not told your part, Miss?” “ Surely you aren’t that naive?” Both men chuckled while each gave the other a satisfied glance.
The mousey officer sly eyes stared at her cleavage as he slowly wiped the corner of his crusted dry mouth with his tobacco stained fingers. Licking his bottom lip he slid the papers across the table in front of her.
Gertrude stared down at the documents for a moment then rubbed her eyes intensely. Pinching the brim of her nose she concentrated on the small print reacting harshly by a dissonant turn of her body in the chair. “You know gentlemen you can beat me.” “ You can rape me, you can kill me but you can’t make me sign something I consequently know nothing about.” She then prepared her body for the blows she knew would come as the officer raised angrily from his chair. “ She is all yours!” “I’m through!” He barked out as he left the room steaming. Like a troll the hunch back officer groped at her while several more men swiftly entered the doorway for the pleasure of watching. They yelped and chanted aiding him while she fought them off as long as possible.
Elizabeth too awaited her aggressors with vengeance in her heart. The secretary came marching in behind three men carrying in her arms a pair of surgical gloves and a tattered beige dress. “ Remove all your clothing.” She coarsely blurted out while quickly slipping the gloves on. Snapping them into place at her wrist she stood staring impatiently. Elizabeth looked about the room strangely rolling her eyes. “ Yes sure and where do I dare say I go to do this?” The old woman looking at her sternly walked toward her with her hands in the air as if to be walking into an operating room. “Right here is fine.” “ I need you to carry on please, in a hurry.” “ I have to examine you for any objects that may be concealed.”
Three men stood at the door each with their arms folded across their chest like gargoyles guarding an ancient sacred tomb as they watched every move. Cracking a nervous smile she slowly unbuttoned her blouse. “ Don’t think you boys could turn your heads do ya?” “I’d hate to make you shake and all with the size of these bullets.” With a stern wave of the old woman’s hand they immediately turned their heads. Elizabeth leaned in to whisper. “I’m not sure if it was the thought of me or your superior post but they did respond quicker then I thought their brains had the sense to react.” Although the woman didn’t respond at all for a short moment Elizabeth could see a flicker of laughter in her brown eyes.
With the ordeal finally over she set waiting to be transferred. Sitting Indian style in the floor tugging at the sleeves of her new uniform she squirmed restlessly about feeling someone watching her although the darkness was like thick soup. Later transferred to a cell only to be more horrified at the sight of Gertrude lying in a heap on the floor. Gertrude was unrecognizable with her hair tangled and her clothes stripped and ragged. Rushing to her side she uncovered her face from the matted hair to discover her right eye swollen shut and her lip bleeding. “ Oh my God Gertrude!” “What have they done?” Gently she cradled her in her arms rocking her like a baby.
Morning came once again as the sun’s gentle raze flickered through the ghostly mist casting a beam of light down on Gertrude and Elizabeth who set huddled in the dark damp floor. Gertrude sleeping while her head rest in Elizabeth’s lap their silhouettes simulating two falling angels awaiting their doom. Later to be judged by ungodly characters who saw them as less important bodies of life for being women but the aided hatred fueled by the unsocial stamina of being associated with the IRA.
The women lie as if in the ambiance of sleeping lambs when abruptly foiled by the dominating presence of a predatory lion as several more women were cast into the inferno. “ Get in, get in hurry up!” The pretentious officer growled rustling them through the barred door. “You damn women make me sick!” “ You think that you have the authority to be men, well be one then!” His aloofness imminence as a maddened dog chomping into the throat of its helpless prays. “Enjoy the whole of being an ignorant one at that!” Crashing the iron door shut he hurled tobacco juice at their feet as he and his fellow officer snickered. “ A damn nuisance is all I can say!” He nudged the other officer in the ribs with his elbow as he winked. “ I get the feeling these lassies haven’t had much of a man around yet.”
The women waiting for the sound of the last door to crash shut moved quickly to aide Elizabeth with Gertrude who was now stumbling to her feet. Fear rose in one woman’s voice seeing the condition of her face. “ What’s to become of us?” “ I have children, they can’t be without a mother!” She bald. “ Shelby will never for give me!” “He knew something was going on and told me just this morning I had better stop asking so many questions.” “Some things best unanswered, he said.” “ Oh my God when he finds out what I’ve done!” The whole room became a panic as she began to cry. “ Alright!” “Everyone calm down!” Elizabeth yelled out flagging her hands. “ But my children are with my mother, she’s too old to rear babies now!” “ I should have listened to him, he said it would come to no good in the end.” “ I should have listened.” She sobbed.
Gertrude seated on a cot trying to get her wits gathered spoke softly. “ The past does us no good now.” “We need to think clearly if we’re going to survive and thinking of what we should have done only brings sorrow.” “We don’t have the luxury for that.” “ What in God’s name did they do to you?” Elizabeth asked.
Wiping her lip with the hem of her dress Gertrude answered ostentatiously. “Not a thing that I couldn’t handle!” Playfully peeking out from over her raised dress she smiled up at all of them then laughed. “ Am I a cutie or what!” “ Ah come on girls what are we going to do let them win?” “This is not just a battle for the men its one for us too.”
Over two months passed with no word from the out side world as the women prepared themselves for famine. The guards came daily with mush in a large bowl to be served among them with one cup. Elizabeth looked down at the bowl with disgust. “ Its improbable we would eat this if it was warm but the way they wait until it scales over after the flies have taken their part makes your stomach churn. The women slowly joined her peering down at the bowl. Green flies stuck to the sides of the wooden container brushed their legs as they cleaned their wings with their front tentacles. The youngest of the women reached down to retrieve the cup. “ Don’t !” Elizabeth chastised . “ Don’t give them the satisfaction of watching you give in.” “ We will make it, we’ll survive!” One guard reading his paper watched at odds with himself . A momentary look of pity came to the surface of his eyes but he quickly changed when Gertrude leaned against the bars to ask him a question. “ Do we get water?” He lowered the newspaper answering her.” It’s made with water.” “ Why do you think you get more?” He stepped out of their vision and began a conversation with one soldiers seated at a dimly light desk. As the one unlocked the barred door to let him leave. When Gertrude heard the keys rattle she called out in a desperate tone. “ Tell him, I will !” Her voice echoed through the darkened dungeon. “ I will.” She whispered then cried . “ I will.” She looked at the paper thin faces of her cooing convoy who’s beaten spirits were like shredded rags in a hurricane. “ You will what Gertrude?” “ What?” Elizabeth called out. “ Don’t let them win, my God please!” The young girl next to Gertrude keeping her eyes lowered spoke up. “ I will also.” “ I have children.” “ I want to see them grow.” Death’s grandeur purpose flew over the tenor of the room as the women morn for their loss. “ I won’t!” “ Be damn nation!” I won’t!” Elizabeth madly screamed.
The cold morning had broken. Out of breath Joe rested at the familiar place he so often had visited Frances. Checking the log to see if his last letter had been removed he was dreadfully disappointed to find it still untouched. He realized a friend he had so often neglected now showed no sign of ever existing. Thinking the worst and already in a horrid head spin from the events that had previously taken place he was over come with worry. Why Frances had not came for his note puzzled him deeply. It had been over a month since he left the letter in the log.
Pacing for a moment while rubbing his hands wildly through his hair. He tried to calm himself thinking what might be the best action to take first. Having remembered a ship docked at the port which still waited for permission to sail abroad he deciding to find Frances rushed off in a mad pace leaving a ball of dust trailing behind him. If he could rescue him from the oppressions of his religious swathe at the convent they both could stole away. Only then could he feel safe to proceed with the fight for Ireland making sure Irishmen who had settled in America sent artillery.
Sailing up the hill onto the tracks Joe was just in time to see the old train whizzing by as its smoke rolled from atop its stack. He had a clear image in his mind what the building and factories would look like in New York if he could find a way there. The land of milk and honey where every man could make the mighty dollar and every dollar made the mighty man. If he could help Ireland anywhere it was there with all the riches that were to be had.
The continual dull blow of the train’s whistle could only mean one thing; there was some one else on the tracks as well. Seeing the caboose rattling to a halt Joe ran forward peering out from the side of the large metal structure hoping to see what the commotion was up ahead. Several officers on foot were flagging the train before allowing it to enter the city limits.
In a mad dash he aimed for a thicket of trees that lay just ahead hoping not to be seen. As he crouched down he could here the armed officers rushing feet pound the ground as they hustled about searching each compartment of the train. Joe held his breath as one officer ventured out from the others to relieve himself in the privacy of the brush near where he set like a captured rabbit. He could feel his heart beating so solid against the bones of his chest that it hurt.
The man smoking a cigar flipped the remains into the thicket then a change of expression came over his face as he walked toward the bush. Standing at the edge of the bank a man dressed in street clothes with a rifle strapped over his shoulder called out. “Come on!” “ The expedition is over and we’re leaving.” “ What are you doing?” He scoffed. The officer rattled one of the bushes with his hand.” Ah nothing just thought I heard something in here, guess it’s just the wind.”
They headed up the bank when the one spotted something among the gravel flickering in the sunlight. Reaching down to pick it up he quickly looked over his shoulder back toward Joe’s hiding spot. “ Hmm, here’s an old pocket knife.” He opened it finding the blades broken then tossed it aside. “Piece of junk, should have known.” Joe frantically dug inside his pockets, “ Damn nation that was mine!” He pulled out the lining of one pocket spying a hole in the corner. “ Crap!” “I’ve held on to that all this time just to have some hooligan toss it to the wind!” Leaping to his feet he probed along the rocky bank with a stick trying to recover his only link to someone who seemed to have deeply cared for him as a child. Disheartened he gave up, slump shouldered he somberly walked on toward town now watching others feeling frantic from the soldiers appearance.
The conductor abruptly closed the doors trying to wisp the roused passengers back to their seats. The intensely offended crowd settled in peacefully to his commands although their belongings had been tossed to and froe. Making his way back through the hall he was infuriated by the sight of the roomettes that had been chuck through like a pack of raccoons in a garbage bin. Three miles from town and the foreboding tenor had already been set for the deportment of the people coming in.
The train grinding up the steep hill soon passed Joe by as the gust from its roaring wheels sent his hat sailing on before him. He ran on ahead snapping it up just in time to look further on at the soldiers still flogging about in the open field. What they or who they were looking for was of no concern for Joe as long as they didn’t spy him.
He scuttled up the other side of the track to avoid being seen then on toward the convent a brown blanched color two story brick that stood tangled in green vines among crisp golden dried weeds. It had been once the finest building in town standing as a proud reminder that the church was the beginning of life in their town.
There among the brush an elderly gentlemen intensely watched, Joe and the officers every move before he carried on with his own journey. He embedding his cold white hands deeper into the pockets of his black dress coat darted along after the anarchy died down. His sharp edged shoulders and bald shining head bounced up and down as he followed the tracks to town in a mad rush. Looking like a troll he bent down to wisp the discarded broken knife into his pocket as his beady eyes shifted about to see if he was being watched. Seeing Joe climb the bank he was satisfied that he hadn’t been seen.
He addressed the officers with a casual wave as his short legs galloped along the dusty small trail toward the alley.
The town its self a rookery of mass buildings in loiter for hope being unkempt by any standard how ever through the never ending rupture of hostilities its future pledged to be a place of stonework altered by war. Souls forever tainted, the land forever haunted by what lay beneath the grounds. A forgotten place that God’s forlorn hands outstretched beyond the sky asking no doubt, why won’t they say; what can I do for my neighbor.
These words forever vanishing as time goes on like the mist in a spring morning .We forget the dew that has fallen and needs for ones smaller then ourselves but unable to break the tie that bonds. For every place there is a season and every season there is a change. What may seem to be mere precipitation to one may well be alarms for draught to others and storms raising to yet others.
Joe with strong endeavor aimed toward the gate leading to the convent. As he charged closer to enemy grounds momentarily the idea swept over him that his last mission in Ireland would be successful. He heard his name called from the back alley as he prepared himself for the fight. “ Joseph is that you?’ The raspy voice of David O’Toole called out again. “Joseph my God, we’ve been looking every where!” “Are you ok?” The old man doddered toward him. Sinking back into reality with the sound of O’Toole’s voice Joe stammered for a second.“ David, David?” “ I thought they got you too?” “ I was sure of it when they came charging at us from behind.” “We weren’t expecting it, Mr. Von Hoke and I.”
The two met with a clutching handshake. “ No, lad I made it out just in time.” “ I tried to warn ya with open fire but so much was going on.” “ I had to get out fast.” David replied with a shameful expression.
“ Ah David you did what you had to.” “ Gees, you should have seen it!” “They didn’t hold back.” “ When they took in Mr. Von Hoke and the others I had to just hide and watch.” “It was all I could do when they shot that boy in the head.” “He was merely sixteen!” “They came charging like bulls from no where!” “ It was like they knew before we did what the next move would be!” Heading for cover on the back porch of the old building they rapidly finished their conversation.
“Why are you here Joseph?” “ Most of the people have been moved to the other side of town.” Joe stunned almost lost his breath. “Frances, where’s Frances?” David tried to have reassurance in his voice. “I’m sure he’s ok.” “You know the Father kept him pretty much by his side all the time.” “Where ever he is Frances is.”
Joe restlessly paced back and forth. “I’ve got to go!” “ I’ve got to find him.” “ We’re going to leave here David, on that old boat that’s docked.” “When it sails me and Frances will be on our way out of here.”
O’Toole placed his hand on Joe’s shoulder giving him a tight squeeze. “Son don’t you get caught.” “They’re looking for you and me both right now.”
‘Where’s your gun?” Joe responded by telling him he had lost it when hiding under the banks of the sea where he and Frances use to stay. “I slipped trying to cross under the old bridge.” “ The gun fell between that old crack in the bridge where it connects to the cliff.” “ I couldn’t retrieve it because so many officers about.” “Many a good cattle has refused to cross there because of that gap.” “Guess it was trying to keep me from crossing too.”
David shook his head. “You can’t be out here without any protection.” “Here take mine.” He handed him an old gun he had used in the service years before. This same gun had saved Joe’s life not long ago. “ I’m not taking your gun.” “ What are you going to do?”“ Don’t worry about me.” “I’m going for cover and staying put!” “Here, I said take it.” He shoved it back in Joe’s hands. “Thanks David.”
David wrinkled up his nose taking a big breath then spit a wad of tobacco on the ground. “Ah.” He snarled just be careful. “You might look at the school for Frances.” “I heard they had a lot housed there since it’s out of the way.” With that they shook hands again, Joe heading toward the other side of town and David slipping back into the alley.
Minutes later the edgy nerves of Joe quickened hearing shouts and gun fire as he ran back to where he had parted with David. His heart sank as he watched them drag the old man to his knees. His stomach sickened as he saw his ceaseless friend having to beg for mercy. From his quick count there were at least ten to his one. If he made a sound he would surely die if he didn’t what would they do to his friend. The demur of it all was killing him as his fingers fastened around the trigger.
Suddenly David’s fearful expression changed to rage as he leaped out like a lion charging one of the men who had a rifle barrel pin to his head. An orange flame of fire flew into the old man’s face as he went down in a solid waste, sprawling to the ground. Joe knew in that instant what David had done for their eyes had met. In one blink he could see that David intended for him to go on without him. Joe ran as tears blinded his vision. As he fled he squalled in agony seeing the last picture of his friend burnt in his mind, like a branding iron it would seal his memory of Ireland forever.
Joe ran hard and fast running straight into enemy fire. The rat- tat -tat of machine guns bouncing off the buildings followed him as he fled for safety. Stumbling to his knees he looked up the barren street to see the yellow house for a moment expecting Emma’s silhouette to come from the shadowed lawn but instead a furious blow to the back of his head knocked him cold.
Darkness fell as a blanket over the town. A dead silence rang in the ears of the townsmen as they waited for the expected gunfire to blast, but only dread filled the air. Several teens scouted about in the dark to pilfer through the abandoned homes and stores, hoping to find something worth eating or salvaging. They rough housed and teased while gathering in a potato sack things they felt would do them good after the war was over. Having been reared by parents who were use to making due after catastrophic events, they eased through the streets unheard or seen.
One young teen aimlessly struck with the toe of his shoe garbage and debris as he searched out his share of trinkets. When his foot hit with a thud a solid matter, he bent down to take a closer look. Screeching in horror at the sight of a blackened withered hand, he yelled out for the others. “ Bless me dear Joseph and Mary!” The other boys came to huddle over the sight, gasping in apprehension at the small deteriorate arm as they kicked away more papers and fallen material which laid in mounds on the warehouse floor.
“Who is it?” The one lad asked as he backed away. They all had their turn with death in the past but none had seen such a ghastly sight as a decomposing corpse. The stench manifested as they dug with a stick to get a better look. Several turned their heads as the body’s rotting flesh smothered the room. “ Oh Jesus, we gots ta go!” “ It’s a
Woman!” He yelped. “Lets get out of here before we get caught!” They all stampeded out the ware house door, leaving the wind to shift the yellow packing papers as some floated aimless about promoting more of the body to be exposed, while they headed for home sickened from the sight and the smell.
There among the trash lay a woman with no name, no one to wonder why she hadn’t returned. “ Who yea think that was?” One of the younger lads asked as they trampled through the streets for home. “ Ah”, one spoke up, “give it no thought, probably one of the whores.” The woman’s starved unwarranted body hung with rancid flesh as rodents happily made a feast from what was left of her deserted shell. The rest was covered in a hard black crust that resembled a putrefied fallen branch from a tree.
Next to her body laid an object with similar characteristics of her spirit waiting too patiently next to her silenced body. The dried blood on the blade seemingly beacon one to discover what had came about to bring them both to this position on the cold concrete floor of Mr. Dobb’s warehouse. The body, which was once packed in a crate of ice, had been tossed to the ground from the explosions earlier that month. The knife itself had been used through out the years for many task but for what it was deliberately recognized as being used for; was it the truth at all.
The sound of someone whispering then a, ugh could be heard as two men carrying a heavy load slammed weight against the building. “ Good lord, he is taller then I thought.” The one man complained. “ We’re almost in.” “ Hurry up.” Squeezing through the door they plopped the person down while the smaller man wiped frantically his brow. “Sir, it’s getting late and I’m afraid if we don’t hurry we could be interrupted by the police.” “I’m just reminding you, that they do come by at the same hour every night.”
Their shadowed figures stood in the doorway as the plump one panted for breath. “I know that, but my God look at the place, there’s not much reason for them to watch for any disturbance now.” “Surely they won’t be in any big hurry, besides that is the whole idea for this right, so that they will come check.”
He scowled as he looked about the room.“ The tyrants, I can see it’s not only the war that has managed to make a mess of things.” “ You can see that some of those stupid bums have been making themselves at home with what I have left, but that’s ok, I’ll get it all back in the end.” “Ok, I think I’m ready,” He rubbed his hands together before a grabbing his end of the weight. “ Lets get this done,“ He grunted. “You’re right they’ll be coming, and it would look strange for us to be here.” Dragging the lanky body as the boy’s feet swept clean a trail from the doorway to its final destination the two men wrestled to arrange Joe just as they wanted him to be found.
Nestled down in his bed of comfort Mr. Dobb’s reminisced the month’s events. Having seen fit in his mind that he had done his deed only due to circumstances beyond his control he gave no thought to what he had done to anyone else. Angered he recollected the memory of Katherine in her drunken binge threatening to let the world know his secrets. She in his mind was of no good use for anything but trouble. Her rattling on of letters she still possessed that would open the eyes of the townsmen and the IRA. Still he couldn’t believe that anyone in such a high position now could have let himself be altered at any point in his life by her. Although he could remember at one time she was very much the woman of stature and looks, having controlled many men by her beauty and charm. Her well-groomed business house had sheltered swarms of traveling businessmen and women from abroad, feeding their need for food and comfort away from home.
Katherine, assumed by others to be a childishly naive woman had a whole different means of survival she kept well hid, feeling in her heart that written actions of others could well be a ace up her sleeve for later. She carefully packed away logbooks of her visits from men and women of various places along with their personal papers and discarded letters. She horded like a scavenger without haste, what most considered trash when ever boarders would leave.
Later years when hardship began to fall, long before liquor had taken its toll she hid away in a box the few things of her life. Among the papers that would end her life she had things that began her life. While spring was still in her soul, she quickly took advantage of her beauty knowing the hardship of survival would soon paint the way to her destruction. Nested among all the documents she gently pressed with her fingers folded creases from personal letters she had received. Fondly she gazed at her most cherished stationary, which was from Adam. He unlike many had innocently passed through her life not knowing the change he had made by his mere presence.
In her dreams he would always be Frances’s father, although in reality she knew it was just a dream wished for. The lie lived so long now it was embedded so deep in her heart that she could no longer face the truth. Although the town with its forked tongue and bobbing eyes watched their every move when Adam was there, and had came to the conclusion that he too was a lover, he was deeper then skin touching skin, he was a soul touching a soul. Katherine loved him for who he was inside not what he could do for her or his status in life.
A young soldier who set on her front porch morning after morning, sipping tea as he told of his life stories and adventures in Germany before the wars began. His broad shoulders fit across her winged back chair as if it was made especially for him and in his hands he not only held the tea that Katherine had made but her heart he had warmed. Although his perfect smile and light blue eyes light the flame in her heart she would never reveal to him the love she carried. Adam being a well-anointed gentleman never took advantage of his charm. He never came closer then his hand brushing hers when she would serve him tea.
In Katherine’s mind he was the only lover she had,. This world let her escape with less harm the actuality of few choices in her life. One certainty she couldn’t bare to face, she would live her life without ever been unconditionally loved. She fevered with rage feeling the effects of her life had caused such sorrow to Frances, having no choice but to send him to live in the convent, was now angry enough to rare up one last time in hopes of making his life better. Decided to confront Mr. Dobb’s with her anonymity she carried in a brown paper bag every document she had collected through out the years.
In a half run she headed toward his home with the thoughts that he would make things right after discovering her unassertive state. The sureness of her decision kept her knees from folding as she rushed through the crassly streets. She just knew with the papers as her allotted assurance he would send her son from this hell to somewhere safe. When she arrived at his back door the butler peered out from behind the lace curtain as if she was but the wind while she racked the door’s window with her knuckles. “ Let me in!” “ I know he is home.” “I won’t go away this time!” ““You best tell him I am here.” “ He owes me this much at least!”
The butler turned his head looking toward the hall as Mr. Dobb’s entered the Kitchen. “ What in the hell is going on?” His jaws swelled up like a snorting bull as he charged toward the door. Slinging it opened he blasted her back with the sound of his voice. “ What the hell are you doing, you damn drunk!” Katherine stepped backward for a moment to balance, then charged her way past the barricade of him and Harmon. “ You know why I’m here and the game is over!” “ You would have let me die knowing that my son wasn’t safe. “ “ You promised to many times if I kept things in order for you that one day you would repay me.” “ Now its time, you pay when you dance Dobb’s!” His flaring nostrils and rattling juggler veins well articulated his anger as he slung her by the elbow down the hall to his library room. “ I don’t know what the game is now Elizabeth but I have let you and your son live almost without a cent paid in my house and I have well taken care of you when you needed something!” “ When is the debt paid?”
She stood like a bagger lady holding her last possession in life in a meek paper bag but proudly she sailed the contents on to the floor. “ This is a mere few of the documents I have.” “ I am sure you thought me the dumb lady in your scheme of things.” “ I had the cunning idea to hide some in a place you would never look, the ones which will bring you finally to your knees.” “ You and your so called invitees.” “ The invoices and the wining and dining, its all in black and white.” “ But my most prized possession I have tucked away some where you will never think to look.” “ It’s the one thing that will let the world know what you, these leagues are and also your high appointed officials as well!”
He shuffled about the papers with the ball of his foot as if it really didn’t arouse him but his heart was in his throat when he looked down to see that one document light up as if the holly grail. “ What is this Katherine do you think for one moment I would be so naďve as to trust you.” “ Do you think he would have gave you a second glance had he not know you were just an ignorant whore.” “ Now come on who do you think will believe a word you say?” He began to gather the papers slowly skimming them over.
She rested her tired thin legs by making herself home in his fat cushioned chair by the fire. “ Well”, she began by slinging her legs across the arm of the chair. “ It must have been something more then a whore Dobbs.” “ He told me every move you and your red herring made, even before you knew yourself.” “ I have it all, the banks the money, the killings and the road is a straight path back to your Ministry of thugs with Germany and America’s so called elected.” “ I also know that Ireland as a whole suffers greatly and that my son and I suffer due to the hands of you and your clarity against us.” “ Of course things change with made up rules.’ “ The point made, golden rules don’t seem to matter when it comes to international trade only the name of man on it” “ You sold your own daughter for the dollar and prestige.”
Mr. Grady is not so invisible as you intended with his pockets lined well.” “ I have even documents that tell the very hour that American erected their wall in which they would no longer encourage us to fight for freedom as did the German’s who presided over what would be in their best interest, yet both pretending to be our friend in need.” “ The unification of these three in their glory knew that the people suffered while you and your sway back money loiters seceded laws, ignoring souls for money.” “That was the scheme of things, small and meek have no place in this world, if they suffer you seem to feel it is their own awning that blinds them from the true light not one who has over cast their days like a buzzard such as people like you against a sparrow.” Two giants fight for their own chance at the queen, their two edge swords beheading the innocent as they fight for her eye of approval.”
She set up resting her hands now against the arms of the chair. As she gazed about the room he walked over to chuck the fire with a poker. Stirring the orange flames he gloated. “ You think you have it all set fancy don’t you Katherine.” “All you have to do now is reap what you think someone else has sown.” “ What is it that you want this time?”
“ Nothing from you.” She snapped back quickly. “ From him, I want his son sent to America on the next available ship.” “ Come on Dobbs, you know as well as me, that everyone seemed to prosper greatly as Ireland falls by the way side.” “ Look at you and your house hold.” “ Is it not obvious that you have not suffered at all although factories were closed.“ “Scabrous talk for me isn’t it.” “ I know what my past has been and I know what I am.”
“ You may have scattered the seeds but I’m here to make sure they no longer grow.” “ Not that my actions now will hardly be in my favor but I intend to pull a weed that I have help sow.” Her raspy voice seemed to weaken as she leaned back into the chair again. She put up a good fight, daring not to let him for one moment know that her health was fading even as they spoke.
When she was just about to hit him with her bombshell Mr. Harmon knocked at the door. The heavy wood door grinds open while he pops his small round head in calling out.“ Tea, Mr. Dobbs?” He stood holding a silver tray. His unsteady hands rattled the china cups as black steeping tea swished about in the white porcelain teapot.
Harmon slowly inches between them carefully placing a cup in front of Katherine. Adding milk to her cup, he leisurely stares straight into Katherine’s eyes. With a stern look of a warlock conjuring his brew he slowly stirs the tea, handing her the sugar bowl. She eagerly accepts, having nothing in her stomach for such along time. The bowl contains two crystal sugar cubes. “ Didn’t you want sugar Dobbs?“ “He only has two here and you know how I like sugar.” Still standing with his arm resting on the fireplace mantle he answers without moving his eyes from the crackling fire.“ No, go ahead.”
She gulps the hot drink down in two short slurps then wipes her mouth with the napkin that Harmon placed in her lap. Harmon stiffly stands at the doorway waiting for his next command as Mr. Dobbs takes the cup from her hand.
“Well, Dobbs we can go ahead with this, or we can stop now if you aren’t ready for the fight.” “Its all up to you.”
“ I want Frances safe.” “ He deserves that much.” Dobbs hands the empty cup to Harmon and he leaves shutting the door behind him. “ Go on Katherine, tell me what you think you have that’s such a surprise to me.”
Katherine tries to rise from the chair then slumps over for a moment. With a slurred voice she speaks. “ You and I both know that many have prospered due to the hunger and hardship of Ireland, like many others who face the same deal.” “ I have documents that prove banks and companies who failed have falsified their claims.” “ You people have sold goods in other places but claimed to have lost them during the war.” “ The ships took these commodities to America and Germany as well, given deals for them that left hungry people to die.” “ Companies that seemingly wanted to give a helping hand were the very ones to start the fire that they so willing wanted to help put out.” “Monopoly it’s called some where, I think.” “ Dominos I believe is a better word.” “ Your friends, Grady’s feuding advisors and then we are left again as yet another decoy.” “ Who was to fall, would it have been the fatter men, hardly in the books.” ‘ What’s in my book? “ “ As long as we Irish destroy ourselves no one else has to worry.”
Dizzy she falls to her knees looking frantically up at Dobbs, then puddles to the floor. The room quietly settles as
Mr. Dobbs stands watching for any movement. He reached down to check her breathing; satisfied with the results he calls for Harmon. “ Just get her out of here.” Dobbs rings the operator for a number then pinches at his flabby stomach. The voice on the other end answers the call after a short moment. “ Its me.” “ I think we best do something about that boy.” “ Where are you going to be tonight?” He hangs up the phone, picks up all the papers then grabs his coat and speeds out the drive into the dark night.
Weeks later with control severing the town, newspapers aroused the curious and concerned. People marched to their doom as secret courts were taking place. Out of concentration camps came men and women who in their minds made a path for freedom still reachable. Desperate solutions for more desperate times were the captions that surrounded the plastered faces and names of IRA members in the paper. Mr. Von Hoke looking beyond the bars of his chamber read over the shoulder of one of the guards. The hour of his conviction was to be sentenced soon. Gertrude’s ruse eyes on the front page was the last time he would see her. She was released into the custody of Germany officers after her confessions.
Across the dark corridor from him was the young Doctor who had sworn an oath to the good of the people when he was younger, not yet knowing his oath would be the death of him. For hours and days they had set across from each other without a word only their eyes revealed their hearts as they prayed. In the middle of the morning hour Mr. Von Hoke awoke to the sound of a desperate man’s pleas as he heard the iron door slam. He knew from the voice it was his friend. Bowing his head on bending knees he prayed not for himself nor for his friends but for Ireland.
The old man lying next to his sleeping grandson, closed the tattered book of Ireland with tears in his crystal blue eyes. Kissing him on the forehead he whispers softly in his ear. “ See little John Zachariah, this is the story of why I want you to know that what you do to others does matter because Precedent fruit will bare. He turned off the television which had been the source of light and walked into the den. The news he saw disturbed his soul.
Thinking as he opened to read the last pages of the book in silence; how we live life on earth in a circle. For every change there is a season , every time there is a reason. These lives he compared to the days of Moses . Then compared it to life now. As he read the last few paragraphs he opened an old chest he had bought some time ago. Inside the chest was a doctor’s medical bag crammed full of tattered poems and letters. There were treasures and documents from a long time ago, also the Novel of Ireland which had an anonymous author. He only decided to read the book out of curiosity for the past but this made him remember the old woman who he had bought it from. She ask if he might be interested in the other book as well. She explained they had always laid together in the chest but that her niece had separated them when she was bored wanting something to read. “ I think you might be interested in the book,” she insisted. “ Its titled : Chimes of Liberty Belle.” He had brushed her off explaining he was more interested in the chest itself. He now remembered a tall lanky young woman purchasing it as he waited in line behind her.
His grand son brought up; why do we always have wars, so he went on to read the last few chapters. He read how the young Chad had given his life so Emma could be rescued. Tears filled his eyes as he though how the Captain must have felt calling out for his nephew on the cold dark sea. The lad made it to the boat’s bow in his hand the head of Emma he kept from drawing only to loose his life with the last wave taking him under. Tied to Emma’s wrist was the satchel Mr. Von Hoke had sent with her for safe keeping. The young doctor had given the bag with medications. Katherine gave letters with information and Emma her poetry.
Emma was on a ship to America. Gertrude again escaped punishment by laying with the court of law. She signed transcripts revealing the names of sisters and brothers once again. Elizabeth died in her cell after months of refusing food. The one thing that seemed to have been her greatest love, she refused until her end. Mr. Dobb’s escaped to London where he and Harmon lived out their life. Mr. Grady’s bank went under and so did he, hiding until his death at eighty three.
Joseph convey to Katherine his secrets with the IRA there for she had asked him earlier to send her documents to MR. Von Hoke . Joe was awaken in the cold warehouse by the boot of an officer to face hanging at the town court yard for never giving names of others. He was accused of Katherine’s death. He proudly stood, beside Mr. Von Hoke and the young doctor, knowing the truth of his accusers. Frances grew to be a man ,with his education he became a writer, and a active true catholic, helping others with there trauma.
As night fell the grandfather decided to finish the story. The pen my heart spoken the page my soul’s despair, came to mind. He thought for some time then he went back to the poetry that Katherine had left behind. He also took into consideration what the author may have been trying to say by the use of the holy grail. The chest he had bought was the true reason for his finding the pearl inside. But would any one every believe him or understand what he saw in the book and poems. One poem that struck him odd was the poem of numbers.
inspired to write.
The thought of numbers came to my head for
some reason ,I could not say.
But I had never understood the difference
between 6 and seven, the one meaning hell
the other Heaven, until I was showed me
the difference today.
SIX like a winding road going no where
that we haven't already been.
SEVEN has no beginning and there for no end,
just like our MIGHTY GOD"S loving hand.
So when the burdens feel like his rugged cross,
think of all the souls out there, that would have
had it not been a friend we found in him and
doing as we should all do, look at the number
and call out to him in prayer again .
Put SEVEN on the paper facing left for you and
one facing right which stands for me, then draw a
line across the top this is where he will be.
With our many burdens I hope that you
understand, that God puts us here to uphold each
and to me you are a friend.
THATS WHAT FRIENDS ARE 4
another product of God's love.......the corners here
are you and me the ending is his love, together the
3 of us shall make it
3+4=7.....(3=you me and God) (+4=friends)=7
which equals Heaven..
It was like a code that had not been broken. He thought of what Katherine had said, of the red herring, the domino, the monopoly and the fact of ministry thugs and banks making money off others misfortunes and most of all their lives. What he thought out loud could this book mean. He walked into the kitchen with the poem in one had and the book in the other. He slowly poured himself a cup of coffee feeling over whelmed and confused he set down. “Something is here.” “ I just know it.” He licked his thumb and began to flip the pages back, reading what Mr. Von Hoke had said to Joe before he had been arrested. “The president, he thought, “ Did he die of an induced heart attack, because of what he wanted to tell the people.” “Was it so horrid that he had to be destroyed?” “ One, died of poisoning but would it have been his wife, after all he was sure she had nothing to gain, by losing the prestige of a First Lady. Maybe his life style was getting in the way. How did these people really get where they were in life. What if these heads placed and then destroyed were indeed a conspiracy against us as people. Have many presidents got in the way of the real handling of affairs?
President Kennedy; who shot the bullet that killed him? Were these men placed there for a reason other then America’s political propaganda. Were they removed because they were not of any use . What are the numbers in the poem ? Do we think outside the box? What would effect America that would effect the world in such a manor? Maybe others rule our voting poles by a rod that we can’t see. A global awakening that people are so blinded and so deaf they can no longer be made aware; which could mean we are not far from the end. The invitees, “ what in the world is that? He raced over to the computer and began to search. What was this a conspiracy against one man, or the people. Was the war a red herring or was the bomb sent out of ignorance . Who was the hand that threw it? What is the United Nations? How can you undo knowledge you already have? How can you separate church from state when man was formed by God. Who really holds the script?
The old man wanting to put his tired mind to bed folded the poems and placed the book back on the shelf. “ Good greif !” He said. “ I almost began to believe this all might be true.” “ I have to get up early.” I’ll put this to rest.”
Look underneath the tortes shell
the eyes untold of their own hell,
the suites of muted colors they live
for our freedom that they give.
Whether they be at sea or in the air,
in the trenches on the ground,
The backbone of us all
this man we call, father, or son,
sister or mother,
deserves more then reconciliation.
Although thanks to some seems unintended
the sacrifice is greater then what we see
in reality with spirits left to their own despair
a soldier's work is never fair.
A heart of gold hangs from their sleeves
as we place burdens one by one
on the shoulders of our son's and daughters
with nerves of steel and the souls of Old Glory,
their hands reach out to end our story,
in the hopes of peace to unarm the War.
I was in Africa for a short time to help during the crisis of famine in 1983.
I found things to be a great deal different then what I first perceived during the little time I was
there, I did what I could, but as many I let the thought pass by while living my own life.
How ever with years of family Reunions and being blessed by a kin we all called uncle Joe
and his never ending stories of Our Irish back ground, in my mind a seed was planted .
The situation of our world and my later family released the seed to my heart, thus I began to write
about Ireland and what effects we have on each other, only to be shocked by the bases of my
story as if my hand was guided .
The content wrote was not clearly understood until, the computer made evident similar information by
confirming peculiar revelation to words and events. I for one can not see the volunteer indifferent nor different
then a Patriot in America’s History. So many documents and so many tells of what really happened.
War, the Webster dictionary enlightens as a word meaning, attempt ,endeavor, essay, strive, struggle,
challenge ,take on, contend or to strive in opposition to someone or something. War is ugly and unfair,
but none the less war is an affair we hold payment to. What I question is what Wars are arbitrated by lack of knowledge by the people not the fashionable wealthy and their officials. What contracts are broken and will be broken remains to be seen.
I cherish you With my heart and hat tipped to, Ireland and her never ending spirit. I love you all.
Peace is for everyone not just the few