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#1 Nov 30, 2018 2:09 pm

New Historian


Of the forty-five people who jumped over the walls at Fort George that day, fewer than twenty survived. As he lost his grip on the railing Col plummeted earthwards along with other desperate souls trying to escape the carnage above. His first impact was a glancing blow off the Fort's sloping walls, breaking his collarbone. He continued falling, cartwheeling wildly as his body careened down the precipice. Col's life was saved by the bodies of those who had preceded him over the cliff. They formed a protective cushion over the rocks, and caterpaulted him down the steeply sloping hill. Unconscious, his body gradually slowed to a halt, tangled up in the thick vines and branches that clung to the hillside.

He had no idea how long he lay there, slowly emerging into an agonizing reality. He lay there unable to move, aware of burning pains all over his body. His head was bleeding profusely and it felt like a burning hot poker had plunged into his left shoulder. He had the presence of mind to realize that he had to get out of there, fast.  The soldiers would be rounding up all survivors from the Fort. He stumbled down the steep hillside, the thick undergrowth tearing at his flesh. Finally he emerged at an old wooden jetty with a rowboat tied up alongside. Slowly, in excruciating pain, he untied the dinghy and eased himself in. By propping himself against the stern, he managed to get himself into a sitting position and was able to use the oar with his good right arm. It was getting dark.

Inexorably, the little boat inched away from the jetty, carried more by the current than his weak efforts at rowing. Col slumped in the well of his escape craft, amid rotting fish heads, as intense pain wracked his body. He gently floated away from the carnage, slipping in and out of delirium. Shielded by the darkness, he floated past the guards patrolling the shoreline, searching for survivors, he could hear them giving instructions, laughing.

Any movement caused severe stabs of pain as the splintered ends of his shattered clavicle scraped against flesh, blood vessels and nerve ends in his shoulder. He vomited, until there was nothing left in his stomach, then curled up in agony as each succeeding wave of nausea that brought up nothing but bitter bile and phlegm. Please God, just let me fall asleep.  Let me die.

He floated all that night and into the next day. When he awoke he was startled to find the boat drifting off the southwest coast of Grenada, in grave danger of being swept out to sea. With his good arm he managed to use the oar, and made landfall at night on a deserted beach at Pointe Salines. He had no idea what time or even what day it was. All he knew was that had to keep out of sight. They'd be searching for him, and others. Every time he closed his eyes, visions from the Fort jolted him back to reality. Through the haze of pain he tried to focus on his options. He couldn't go back to St George's: too risky.  Where else? Dad’s hideaway! Over the years, his father had literally with his own hands built a small cottage, a glorified shack really, but it was on a small secluded beach just across from Calvigney Island, accessible only by boat. Ever the sailor, Jack Crawfurd loved nothing more than spending a few days at his hideaway as he called it, until he ran out of food and rum and had to return to civilization. Even most of Jack’s friends didn't even know where it was. But Col did.

For the next three days he lived under cover, hiding by day and moving by night.  It was obvious that something major was taking place. During the days the only traffic on the roads were the green, Russian-made Niva jeeps used by the Army, and at night there was no movement or sound whatsoever. He had for the most part kept out of sight, the only people who saw him were two other fugitives like himself, only too happy to go their own way in the dead of night. By the second night he was starving. He tried breaking into a village store but the owner heard him and raised the alarm. For once he was glad for the dusk-to-dawn curfew as he made his escape. Every house in Grenada has some kind of food tree in its back yard, and Col survived mainly on green bananas and occasional raw eggs stolen from chicken coops. After initially satisfying his hunger, this only increased his nausea. 

By the third night he was nearing the limits of his endurance. He’d stolen a sheet off a clothes line and torn it into a makeshift sling, tied tightly to his chest to immobilize his left arm, but it still hurt like hell every time he made the slightest movement, forcing him to adopt a crab-like stooping gait favouring his delicate left side. It didn’t work; he was in constant agony.

But on the third day, something strange happened. All that day while he was holed up in a disused “joupa” or farmer’s temporary shack, he heard the scream of jets overhead and the crashing of bombs not far away, he felt the earth shake with the explosions. What the hell’s going on? Just before dawn on the fourth day, he reached his father’s hideaway: sanctuary. He approached slowly, barely able to walk. He tried the front door: locked. Unusual? He tried to call out to his father, but all he managed was a hoarse whisper. He shuffled over to the back porch.

Col stood on his father’s back porch, dazed. His left shoulder was on fire, he could only hobble, and the entire upper half of his body was caked in blood from the gash above his eye. But he’d beaten them; he’d gotten away from the bastards. They didn't get him. And now he was here, sanctuary.

But wait, something’s wrong....

Last edited by New Historian (Nov 30, 2018 2:10 pm)


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