Last chapter people! YAY! Thanks for reviewing!
Chapter 8: Curse this Wretched Blue
Tolhurst looked around the deck. A jury mast had been rigged on the prize and the damages were being put to rights aboard Sparrow. He looked over at the prize and thought about when he had last seen Ashby. It had been an intense argument, as Ashby held the same sentiments that Veretennikoff did. They had argued about it on the forecastle and after threatening Ashby with being sent over in leg irons, Tolhurst had won out.
It was at this point that Veretennikoff came on deck for the first time since the fight. "Mr Tolhurst. What are you doing here?"
"Watching Zeus sail away, sir." Tolhurst knew he was in deep trouble now.
"But you're supposed to be commanding her." He stood there for a few moments, opening and shutting his mouth. "Who is over there?"
"Sam Ashby, sir."
"Tolly!" He groped for several seconds to find the right words and finding none, he disappeared down the companion ladder with a stream of expletives pouring from his mouth.
Tolhurst leaned on the quarterdeck rail and stared out at the ocean. There were still things to do, but others could handle them.
The colonel came and stood beside him and after a while said, "That was fairly done, Xavier."
Tolhurst did not reply he did not trust himself to. The pain was getting worse. It felt as though something was trying to rip away his insides piece by piece but was ripping huge chunks and still finding more.
The colonel, unaware of Tolhurst's private battle, asked, "So, how have you been doing these past eleven years?" Once again, Tolhurst did not reply and the colonel said, "Don't want to talk at the moment? I understand."
Tolhurst had taken off his coat and was staring out to sea again with it in his hand, pressed up against the wound so that no one would see the blood.
The colonel did not see the blood stain on his shirt and did not seem to want to give up, so he said, "It's beautiful isn't it Xavier. The blue sky, the blue sea. Makes you think…"
Tolhurst held up his coat and, cutting the colonel off, cried, "Curse this wretched blue!" Then he fell to the deck.
The colonel dropped to his knees beside his son and said in a desperate voice, "Xavier. What do you mean?" Getting no reply, he yelled for the surgeon and then turned back to Tolhurst. "Xavier! Did you mean the sky… the sea…" he saw the coat in Tolhurst's hand, "the coat? Xavier! Speak to me!" he was now sobbing with desperation.
He realised with a shock, when he looked into Tolhurst's cold grey eyes that the light had died from them. That beneath his bronze skin, Tolhurst's pallor was that of chalk. He also realised that his son was very cold.
Lathopolous was here now and, leaning over Tolhurst, said, "He's gone, I'm afraid."
But the colonel did not hear him. All he could hear was his son's voice cracked and broken and at that moment he knew that no matter what happened to him, if he went blind and deaf, he would always see his son lying dead on the deck, would always hear those words.
Curse this wretched blue.
What an enigmatic end. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.