People searching for dreams finding their nightmares would
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still haunt them no matter where they lay their head. Souls
searching for the Liberty of freedom only to find the chains
of a stronger force never broken. The path that winds between
hills and gale winds carrying a descendant of Irish remission.
Seaworthy the ships docked stood fast against the iced hands of the whistling wind. The sign walloped against the building with one rope severed like a neck in a guillotine. The unpredictable grinding motion of eroded metal haunted the stormy night as sea gulls clung to the eve of the lined buildings for warmth. The assessable Nova Scotia rewards were not far from the memory of restless souls as they passed through in search for a place in life, finding Maine’s harbors. A Doctor led by two women fought his way through the storm. “In here.” “She is really a mess.”The old woman called out.
No refuge to run to was on all the faces that stood hanging over the bridge of the crowded docks . People in waiting as they always were for maybe the chance to find work for food. Turmoil was a boiling kettle for most even the Irish brother who was over come by the thought of trying to share what little he had with his dying kin. Hands down you can run but never can hide from a controlling stat, being the love of money. Children worked in factories to subsidize their food supply as did Ireland and many other countries. The promise land wasn’t a promise at all . For years before and for years to come the same people would find themselves, the rat in the maze looking for cheese.
The room dimly light by kerosene lamps as he searched through the beds of burlap. Emma’s frail body barely noticeable was wedged between stacks of grain. Hungry cries of frightened children echoed in the cold shack as he aimed his way to Emma. People with hollow lost eyes beckon for reassurance as mothers rushed to ask him for help. Raging fevered skin touching the body of others the only warmth from the changing season. Food a commodity not so willingly given as people scarred from war left bare boned to face the unknown. “My God help us! What happen to this girl?” He asked as he set down beside her. “ " The old man answered quickly Don’t know. Just know she is out of our hands now.”
The old fisherman walked over beside him to add. “ Thought maybe the baby would still have a chance. I had my wife fetch you.” The doctor checking her labored breathing cleared his throat. His stomach sickened from her gaping wounds as he touched her arm where a raw burn circled her wrist. “Wonder what this was from ? Her face is a mess as you said.” How long has she been here.”
The seaman looked about the room then replied. “ Its been a month. But mind you we don’t make that a habit. Seems the little woman took a liking to her. She was weak but was able to swollow food and drink.” Just this week she turned for the worse ." The old man’s wife joined the conversation. “ This, I was told, was tied to her wrist.” She entered the flock of gathered people who watched Emma gasping her last breath.
In her hands she carrying a black leather bag setting it down beside him she went on to say. “ Guess its all the poor thing had left.” “ She was on the ship coming from Ireland we were told.You know the one they said the fishing crew found on that small boat.” She wiped her hands with the hem of her apron before tucking them back under her sweater as she shivered. “ I would think what ever is in there could only be unusable now if it was exposed as long as those souls were in the sea.”
Emma never opened her eyes only moaning slightly when moved to a better location. “ I need something I can cleanse her with.” “ Do you have antiseptics of any kind? Whiskey? That’ll do. He asked as he opened his satchel.
“ Yeah, we got some of that.” The old man said. “Seems to be the one thing that keeps these people from freezing until they can move on.”’ May not be what the system needs but it keeps them numb enough that they don’t realize what they’ll be facing next.”
The doctor listened closely for any sign of life as he wiped her small stomach with the drenched cloth. “ I never done this before but I saw it done once when I was interned. I need to have everything ready when she passes on. I wish there was something I could do to help her but at this points she’s to far gone. Really, I’m not sure there’s much point in trying to rescue the fetus. I’m not sure if I’m hearing her heart beat or the baby’s. Which ever it’s not strong enough to even call a beat. That damn wind! What the heck is that noise? He asked.The old man looked around to see what he was talking about. “ You mean that sound? That would be my sign over the door. We’re use to it. It grinds most of the day. My wife calls it the chimes of Liberty Belle, cause it bares the name of our shipping dock. “ Belle, that’s me.” He said. “ Liberty is our fishing boat.”Not much of a wind chime is it.” “ But anyway its life here for us fishermen and guess the chimes goes along with our life to some degree, always moving with the wind of change.
He eased back on the hind legs of his chair ."It may be a rusted old sign that’s makes the racket but it’s the name that holds it together. My father started this business and he handed it down to me. He made the sign so as far as I’m concerned it will always be a welcomed beacon to others who are looking for a safe haven from the sea. Yeah old papa, he was a blacksmith by trade in England for many years before coming to America. He said as long as the sign swung in the air that others would follow, needing a hand."
He handed the doctor a watch he carried in his pocket. “ See,” he said; “ not much of a hoot to some but this beat up watch is gold to me.” “Dad was a good ole’ soul never put a bite on the table that he didn’t remind us how life could have been, had he not made it to these parts with mother.”
The doctor looked at the silver watch that hung by a thin thread of rawhide. “ Have you met many searching?” “I mean what do they seem to think they will find when they get here?” The sailor pulled up a plank box then light his pipe. “ Pop always said the pursuit of happiness was what people were after but through blinders they were looking at a Carte du jour consequently having no special on the menu.” “ He said if you were looking for happiness through money or people you would be roughing the sea of life for the rest of your life.’ “ Most we see come through here are hoping any is better then none.” “Happiness I mean”. “I can’t be found helping, mind you.” “ That would end the tides for me.” “I’d be as cut off as most if it ever got out.”
Emma moaned then sighed for a short moment. The two men assisted by the fisherman’s wife paused like statues waiting for her next breath. Seconds later and the awe of winds changing swept across the barge. Silence shook people standing to a praying knee as the angel of death took Emma’s spirit from the darkened core of the room. The doctor rushed to perform his surgery. In stench of filth and grime a child was removed from its mother’s womb. The baby made no sound as it was being wrapped in burlap sacks. Dagger sharp lightning darted about the roaring black sea. The feel of more storms rising was felt on the hair of every person’s arm as they waited with worry.
Finally a choke, a gulp and then a grunt came from the pale thin lips of the new arrival. This child a pristine inherent of a seed planted along time ago. Life swept into the lungs of the startled infant while with arms wide open, the soul accepted the challenge as it cried out. Strangers with weakened bodies rose together in glory. People dancing for the living as the baby’s face began to glow pink with life.
A small golden hair boy stood holding to his father’s leg as he looked up for an answer. “ Papa, why is the baby crying so loudly?” The father looked to his wife . “ You tell this one Victoria.” The mother knelt down eye level with the little boy. "Christopher, when we are first born we all cry because of separation from one spirit to the other.” “As a child does there mother. From that moment on our drive for life is finding that separation which is only filled by the spirit that made us. All others before us make impressions in the sand toward the knowing. They make the maps we take along for guidance.”
The little boy wipes his runny nose on his sleeve. He looked up at his father. “ So why is the baby crying?” The father laughed. “ I would think it was hungry.” He said jokingly then smiles at his wife. She laughed too. Life for a moment wasn’t so bad.The old woman had taken her apron off before wrapping the child in the burlap. The pocket of the apron fit around the child’s head like a white hood.” Poor thing.” She said, “ Which is the worse of the two ; to die in the warmth of your mother’s shell or to be exposed to the cruel hands of this world.”
With the break of day the doctor and the fisherman carried the body of Emma inside a crate to be buried at the top of the hill. There a short service was performed by the people who cried not really knowing her life but still mourn for her death. Emma’s final resting place on the rocky bank over looked the ocean front where she could always hear the call of the sea. The black clouds hung over the sky as lightning danced to the drumming thunder;each time the count of the rumbling was carried farther away as the sun broke over the hill.
The doctor exhausted set with a tin cup filled with brew. He had done what he could to help the ill most of the night carefully watching over the new born in fear the baby wouldn’t make through the night. “ Here, doc.” The old man handed him a small biscuit and warmed his drink. “ Seems like fate is a bit harsh now but we all have hope that tomorrow will bring change. At this point I don’t think any of us care what change is; just so we see something change. Doc, what’s to be come of this baby?” We can’t take on any more and you can
see there is no one here who can take on another empty belly.”
The doctor slumped over with his head lowered in his hands. His face filled with worry. He paused for a moment then set the cup down on the floor. “ I brought her into this world , I guess she was meant for me.” The old bearded man walked over placing his hand on the doctor’s shoulder. “ You truly are God’s servant.” “ You will be repayed someday.”
Several women had taken turns feeding the infant; none of which had efficent means, having small babies of their own to nurture. Everyone gathered about as Doctor Hargos gently cradle her in his arms.” What’s her name to be?” Someone from the room asked. The grinding sign over the door played a tune as it gently swayed in the soft breeze.
“ Well," Doctor Hargos softly spoke up. “ She was born under the sign of Liberty Belle. It seems to suite her.” “ She will be, Liberty Belle Hargos.I just hope my wife understands when I bring home a new member.”
The old fisherman’s wife light up as she tryed to sooth him. “ Doc, she knows you and she knows why Miss Libby is coming home.” Hargos placed her gently in a small open box on the floor next to him then slowly drove home. He had a thousands ideas floating in his head of how to explain Liberty to his wife before pulling into the drive, now that he had arrived none of them made sense.