Shackles A short Historical Fiction

March 31, 2017
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Slim watched as a rebel soldier shooting a cannon was ripped in half as a huge cannonball came hurling from the British marching forward in relentless numbers. The Continental Army had already mowed down 2 lines of British soldiers. They just kept coming. Soon Slim lost everything he was thinking. Just a soldier shoot reload, shoot reload, shoot reload. Something terrible had occurred. He had no more gunpowder. The British seizing this chance marched forward towards opponents who could no longer fire back. Too many rebel soldiers were killed defending Bunker Hill. Slim was never good with names, but on the spot he wishes he could have asked all who died their names so he could remember them-BANG! A grapeshot had hit him in the leg and he could no longer retreat back. Not that it mattered; the Rebels had already surrendered.

           “Enlistment for the army” Slim remembered when he heard what had happened” He left his home, his family all behind. Treason was cried from Tories. Patriotism cried by rebels. None of it really mattered. Slim just needed money. Having a farm was not enough to support his family so he left his son in charge. Soon after he found himself here.

     His time serving in the army was short lived, Very short lived. Was too much to take in and time would fly slowly bye as Slim sat there in prison. Slop served on lucky days; nothing at all on regular days. Sympathisers were rare as is and leftovers were all that were managed. Slim heard of battles in the war, and messengers or informants were quite commonplace among the many days of prison life. Not that it mattered. The surgeons in the prison who were arrested as well had managed to save his life. Somehow they had managed by amputating his leg as an oversized boil had appeared and it had swollen up to be bigger than a man's hand. For once he remembered the name of a solider, up until now he would just call the army soldiers he met the continental army's soldiers. He wasn't wrong he just believed he would not know the soldiers for long. He didn't care and he was only in the army to be payed and live his life after that. For all things considered planning ahead simply took too much time and made Slim miss the present. The name of the soldier was Belkin. He was the guy who offered to many soldiers who were caught that he was planning an escape.
     In truth it was a ploy. There were too many prisoners and as soon as the plan began; Belkin and the others were caught at gunpoint and sentenced to hang 2 weeks later. News of this event was harshly received and cut off any plan to escape for a while. Roughly 6 months had passed from the time Slim had been captured to the time he spent at Bunker hill. Talk of escape began again even after the example made of Belkin and others following him. “We must escape.”. Many voices urged over and over.
      Half the remaining rebels had died from disease and malnutrition. It was a wonder Slim hadn't caught the smallpox yet. Soon Slim began to ponder when and how he would die here, surely there would be no escape.
      Another sympathizer this time by the name of Liz came by. This would change Slims fate. No longer was he sentenced to rot in the prison. He had found a way out of the prison he was in was at the same time he learned of the location of the prison from a messenger. It was in Long Island. He had no idea where the first prison was located but atleast now a location was in mind.
  Tim a guard on duty began to ponder. There was no doubt in his mind the British were going to win. A distaste for war was why he was here. It was easier said than done to go out into the field and try to shoot and kill or be killed. He held the keys along with 2 other guards. Discussions were short most times so there was little entertainment, this time though it was different. News had arrived that the rebels had won a battle in the war. They had marched through Montreal and the British army was forced to retreat from the area. “Tim, wake up.”

     “What is it?” sleeping on the job. It was noon and time had flown. Growing accustomed to the boring days of sitting and watching the prison. Soon the queen's birthday was to come up and there was to be celebrations. The British had recently captured Long Island after long consideration of whether to attack the rebels encamped at The Battery. Many British officials had come here. Soon the day at the prison would be over and The guards would have to leave. Weirdly enough sympathizers would come once a week. It was becoming common place to let them into the prison and sit back down.

     Liz had left early with leftovers from yesterday. If her husband knew she would never know the end of it. She quickly routed through the city and came across the prison carrying a hefty burden and ideas. Great things were to come of the days to pass. A huge number of people had been working on digging a hole through the ground and up into the prison from the uninhabited side of the island. The only reason Liz was going to the prison at all was to inform the rebels on current events. On duty guards were lax and would sit around the prison checking once a day for any rebels who had died of starvation, dehydration, or illness.“ Alright you may go through to the prison”, surprisingly no guards this time tried to look through the leftovers brought. Depending on the guard there would be some who would investigate the food, taking anything that looked remotely delicious. Reminiscing about past events was one way to pass time until the next time Liz could come down here. Soon she would go back home and repeat this for another week.

     Slim heard of a chance to escape. This plan seemed, better than any other attempts possible for now. He wondered though just how long was that hole and when did the digging begin. It was no secret that a safe place to dig a hole like that right under the British army's nose would be miles away. At the very least a couple of miles. Thinking about it a lot one would only question why something like that was worth it. Sounding too good to be true. Additionally canoes had been prepared to row right to shore on the opposite side. A week or so time. Rational thinking had long since left the thoughts of all the prisoners in this cage of a prison. Too many people were located in one place at once, and while Slim began to do the one thing he could do to entertain himself(Harken back to older days when he was still fighting for freedom). Time passed and soon a week later a peculiar spot popped up through the floor. It again seemed too good to be true. Some of the stronger willed soldiers ran right to the man who had popped out of the hole. “ I don't care anymore just get me and my fellow soldiers out of here.”

  “All in due time”  The man led people group by group through the tunnel. Other splinters of the tunnel were also built heading to other large cells. After an hour had passed Slim wondered what had happened. Him and all the other prisoners had gone into the hole and had been greeted by nothing but darkness. Slim was surprised when a group of people behind him and his group were gaining on them. Panic ensued in the jumbled space of the tunnel and some men in back trampled each other trying to get to the front to run. The tunnel was narrow and could barely fit two people standing side by side. Sadly enough Slim and his group had let the very sick go first and in Slims head that was to be the very downfall he now faced. Strangely though the figures stopped, talked and did not open fire with musket balls on Slim’s group. Soon they caught up and the men in the back informed just as they had of seeing a faint light of what the group right there said. They had said that they were just filling in the holes with dirt so as to make it look like the rebels disappeared and were poofed out of thin air. Different feelings washed down Slims spine in this embarrassing moment. An uncountable amount of time had passed when Slim and his group reached the surface of the entire tunnel. Slim never knew what a long journey it was along Long Islands uninhabited area. No creatures stirred and Slim had with all the other prisoners, escaped.

     Daylight had been reached and soon Slim was rowing a small boat across a huge river. Wonder filled him as he gazed around. He supposed he may join the continental army again, and live life right there. Then there was the matter of his family and farm. He had the utmost hope that they were okay. Slim saw life again, and had been out like miracle. Untouched and perfectly healthy.

     2 months have passed. Liz had just been prosecuted and found guilty of treason. Being careless was nothing short of the death penalty, but this time it was simply anyone who went to the prison who was not a soldier. Cruelly but with the intention of ridding Long Island of rebel spies. It did not matter. Re thinking all that had happened Liz had been arrested under suspicion of helping the rebels who had vanished escape from the prison. Denzel Freeman a slave had spotted her and informed her husband of the matter. Liz had not been close enough with the three slaves the Freeman's owned and as such was dragged through the mud by one of them in the end. All so that he could get on better terms with the British. When her husband had learned he was furious citing “ How, why would you do that. It is if you were planning on dragging our name through the dirt and and holding it up for all to see this failure!” In the end Denzel ran a week later and reported this to the british. Needless to say when John found him the punishments he would have endured by now are too many to name.

He may have not been the best but John was a good husband to Liz, and he as she believed would join her when he went to heaven. Surely someday they would be reunited. The judge had already sentenced 6 to hang on suspicion of helping the rebels escape. Soon Liz was faced with that fate as well and was ready. The day came when she was sentenced to hang and she chose a quote from a great rebel to show her defiance of this fate. “ If I have one regret, it is that i only have but one life with to die for my country.” No one knew what she meant, but after her speech was done she was kicked off the bucket she was standing on and the rope broke her neck with a sickening crack.

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