Fairbanks Island – Day 3

I have to admit something, this is not the first draft I’m working on, but it might as well be because I’m approaching it with a fresh mind. The first stages of writing is always messy, in my case. I jump from ideas to ideas and often lose my way before I struggle to find my way back. I have tried different ways to remedy this, but it seems that’s just how I write. It’s suppose to be chaotic until you find your way and I think the story is starting to settle in my mind. In any case, here’s part of chapter 2, unedited: You can keep track of my progress HERE.

The last day came and he stood at the entrance, uniform and all, with bag and gun on his back. His parents stared sadly at him, yet smiling. They mustered everything they had to keep a straight face, he knew. Their hugs lasted long, as if they didn’t want to let go, his mother wouldn’t let go but was forced to as his father prodded her loose. They waved goodbye and he felt their gaze on his back as he disappeared down the hill. The neighbourhood overlooked the docks, not the same docks he would be shipped away, but a smaller one he remembered often visiting as a child. His father would always take him there, chat and buy the latest catch. He would run off and play with the sailors kids who had to work with their fathers but found break whenever His father visited. They liked him for that and sometimes he wondered if that was all they liked about him. They were different than him, he knew already at that age, talking in a different manner than him. He tried to emulate them, be more like them because they were so free and fearless. If he emulated them, perhaps he would be fearless too? Banks shook his head, knowing he was already insecure at that age, but it would change now, he promised. There were no other soldiers waiting for the buss that would take him down the coast, about 50 miles. Most had already been shipped off, nobody from here was going where he was, wherever it is. He had strange glances at him as he waited, trying to look the part of a soldier. A few kids gawked at his gun and he considered showing it to them, but despite the fact that it would be improper and that their parents would surely disapprove, he didn’t want children to idolise weapons. He held it on his back because he had to. It was not loaded, of course, they weren’t allowed to carry ammunition and it was the way he liked it.

The buss came and he placed himself at the front, like he used to. He enjoyed watching the scenery as they drove and perhaps chat with the driver, if he was up for it. This one wasn’t and he kept quiet, letting the bumping and the swaying lull him into an imaginary world in his mind. He almost fell asleep, but the driver pushed the breaks hard as he almost ran over somebody on the road and jerked him to his senses. The driver yelled at the pedestrian and the pedestrian scurried like a frightened rabbit, raising his fist once he was out of harms way. Banks chuckled, even the war could not change day to day life here, it seemed, and he was glad for it. A couple of minutes later he got off. It was a busy port with a lot of people bustling. Large ships lay docked, as well as smaller fishing boats. Crates of different kinds were rushed and stacked, hauled onto the deck of the massive ships. He was taken in by all the activity and had a hard time finding where he was supposed to go. He followed the shore line and scanned the ships until he saw green amongst the blue and white dressed sailors. Banks could see from a distance that it was a scruffy man with a large beard, but he wore the uniform along with the officers cap. He held a piece of paper and was peering as if looking for somebody. As Banks approached, he noticed him. Banks felt his gaze draw him in and he hurried towards him. “Name,” the scruffy officer said.

“It’s Banks, Fair Banks, sir.”

The officer scanned the paper and ticket off his name. “You’re late,” he said and gestured to go onboard.

“Sorry, sir,” Banks said and hurried up the ramp. The ramp swayed at his weight and he was glad to stand on deck. A sailor reached out and took his bag and left the gun on his shoulder. He would have to carry it still. As he found his bearings, he looked around. There were many on dock, leaning against the railing or the haul, some where in groups, others were alone in their own thoughts, gazing, or snoozing. Banks corrected the gun strap over his shoulder and walked awkwardly around. He wondered if anyone else from his regiment had taken on the same mission? As he walked along the length of the boat, finding nobody, he ended up on the front. He stood and watched the sea as the boat cast away. The weather was clear and the ocean calm. It would be a short, pleasant trip and he smiled, taking it as a good sign for the mission to come. As he stood and watched, in a distant mind, somebody stood beside him. He didn’t notice him at first and he almost jumped in surprise as he noticed. He looked like a stern young man, frowning and squinting his eyes, as if he tried to emulate a weathered sailor that had too many bad memories to ever smile. Banks turned his gaze away, finding it awkward to just leave. “Fine weather we are having,” he said.

“Is it?” The man said and looked to the clouds. “I suppose it is…”

Banks felt uncomfortable near him and backed away. There sure were some strange people onboard. Banks was afraid to talk to anyone else after that and decided to go below deck. On the first step, he heard his name calling. “Banks! Banks! Over here.”

Banks looked around the dim room (…)

© Christopher Stamfors

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