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The Breakout: The Life of a Prisoner

August 5, 1776


    “Get in there, you ungrateful thief!”, exclaimed the British soldiers.They threw me inside a dark, unpleasant bathroom. They walked away, laughing hysterically. The floor was wet and the stench was strong. The British threw me in the bathroom as a punishment for the day. “How did I even end up in this mess?”, I asked myself. About two days ago, I was at the local market for some seeds and food for my live stock. “That would be 11 shillings, sir”, said the seller. I looked inside my pocket and it turned out I only had 5 shillings. There was a cold silence between the two of us. But in an instant, I decided to dash away with my groceries.


“Get that thief!”, shouted the seller. The British soldiers were after me and so many things were popping in my mind. “What am I doing, what am I doing?”, I asked myself, panicking. I could see my way out ‘til I ran into another soldier. “Halt! You're coming with me, young lad!”, exclaimed the British soldier. I was tossed and tortured on the way to the deadly prison ship anchored in Wallabout Bay. Coming back to present day, I then heard the door behind me open…

 

August 7, 1776


    Two days ago, I think that day I was probably the most startled I had ever been. I was staring at the door when someone appeared in view. It was another prisoner who was accompanied by the British. “We think you got yourself a little cleaning pal, you filthy animal!”, chuckled the two soldiers. The door slammed behind the prisoner and I. “The name’s David; David Bradbury”, he introduced himself. His hair was long, so was his facial hair, he was very skinny and lanky. I wiped my hands on my pants and reached my hand out to greet. “My name is Francis Bond.” We shook hands and we began to scrub the bathroom floor. “So how’d you end up in this ship?” asked David. “Two days ago, I was caught. I was attempting to buy groceries without actually paying for them. .” I answered. ‘Looks like we’re stuck in the same situation!”, David added. “About a month ago, I was at our local market ‘til I was caught red handed.” What seemed like a lifetime later, the British soldiers came for us and threw us both back inside the crowded houl of the ship.

 

August 8, 1776


    The crowded houl was filled with other prisoners; from young teenagers to old, cranky men. This was an absolute nightmare. Everyone was crammed against one another with no space to move; not even space to move a single finger! I looked desperately around to find a way to break free. I looked at the British and they were too engaged into their conversation. Then, I spotted an exit.“Jackpot!”, I said to myself in relief. I used all my strength to get out. With every bit of energy I had, I pushed and shoved. I made it out! My palms were sweaty but all I cared about at the moment was that I was able to stretch. I thought all was swell until a British soldier spotted and approached me. “Well, look what I found myself; a hop-o-my-thumb!”, exclaimed the prisoner. This man was indeed a giant and really hairy. He began to inspect me and my clothes. I got really irritated and I had to do the unexpected. I turned around, my fist meeting his face, and that’s when I realized he was on the ground. To me, this man looked like a drunkard just laying there, unconscious. The British soldiers sent all prisoners back to their places. There was a spot in the ship that was provided for me, David and five others.

 

August 11, 1776


The cells in the prison ship are repulsive. It is hard to breathe peacefully because the air isn’t clean and it’s impossible to rest because the beds are crooked. Today, one of of the prisoners in my cell woke up with splinters on their back. It was our supper time and we all patiently waited for our meal. We received our bowls. But what I saw inside it made me want to hurl. I set the bowl aside and refused to eat. Other prisoners behind me desperately took it. “I might as well starve for the day.”, I remarked. Just then, a British soldier stood in front of me. “I am looking for a Francis Bond…”, he asked. “That shall be me”, I replied . In his hand was a note. The soldier handed it to me. Once I saw by who it was from, I started to shed tears. The note was from my beautiful wife and two  children and it read:


Dear Francis,
    Once I heard what happened to you, my heart broke into a million pieces. Only our Creator knows why and how you got into that “death trap.” Your family misses your presence and your joyful personality.
    You have no idea how much we pray for your good health and mental state to the Lord. I know you are a robust man and you will make it through. May God protect you at all costs. 
                    Yours Truly,
                        ~The Bond Family

 

August 15, 1776


Everyone in the ship was awfully worried. Just yesterday, smallpox started to go through the ship like wild fire. There were three victims yesterday and five new ones today. “Do you feel good, Francis? I notice you seem a little pale”, remarked David. God knows why I do. I don’t know if it’s because I feel sad not seeing my family or the symptoms of smallpox are trying to take over my body. “You need some rest,” suggested David. I layed on the floor and closed my eyes.


After a long nap, my eyes shot open and I sat there, cold sweat trickling down my forehead. I looked out the window of the ship and it was pitch black outside. I felt my forehead and it turns out I had a burning fever. My back ached like I just carried my whole farm on my back; it was an intense pain. “Are you good?”, asked David from behind me. “I won’t lie; I feel like I can die any moment now.” I said, weakly. David covered his hands with a piece of cloth from his clothes and inspected my arms. “Francis! Your arms look like they were just bitten and wrapped by a poisonous snake! To me, unfortunately, it looks like you have smallpox,” remarked David. All I could think of at the moment is if I would see my family ever again. Before we knew it, the sun started to rise up, touching the sea.

 

August 21, 1776


    Yesterday, I was merry... delighted... pleased! I don’t know how to thank David. It so happened that David found a way to help me get rid of the smallpox that took over my good health. God knows how he did it. I was truly unconscious when he went through  the process. All I remember was waking up with no pain, no rashes, no fever. A shot of energy went through me and I sprung up. “Although I am recovering from the deadly disease, there is no way I could thank you for all you have done for me, brother!”, I exclaimed. “I have splendid news, pal,” added David. He showed me a poster. “General George Washington is coming here to exchange for new soldiers willing to fight in the Battle of Long Island. We could do this together! What are your thoughts?”, asked David.

 

August 25, 1776


    “Alrighty, folks. I, George Washington, am willing to bring new soldiers to fight for our independence. You must be robust, strong, brave, confident, independent.” He inspected the line of prisoners until we both met eyes. “Francis? Francis Bond?” Washington exclaimed. “Yes, it is I” I added. “Your father; we were wonderful friends way back in time. I am willing to get you out of this prison to fight with me. Accept the invitation and you will be free. Of course, the camps are not the best. But I am telling you, it will be worth it,” Washington said. I reached out my hand, “You can count on me, General.”

    And there he goes, young Francis Bond, in the battle fields. Unfortunately, the battle of Long Island was not an American victory, but then there went about twenty more battles to fight in. Francis did end up seeing his family in the end, seeing his two children grown up. Then they lived merrily ever after!

FIN






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