Augustus Fitton and the Campy Adventure Story
Augustus Fitton was roused by the feeling of something peculiar crawling up the side of his face. He knew what it was immediately, but his brain refused to formulate the word needed to express it; his thoughts were too hazy to understand. He opened his eyes, and a prickle of alarm shook his entire body.
An old weathered hand was grasping Augustuss cheek, letting go of him as soon as the owner of the hand heard him yelp and shrink away.
While the hand pulled back, the owner of it leaned forward, revealing himself to be an elderly man with bloodshot eyes and a wispy white beard. Augustus opened his mouth to speak, but the old man next to him gave him no chance. Aye, he said, staring down at Augustus. You do not look how I imagined ye to be.
Augustus dragged himself away from the old man, a sour taste coating the inside of his mouth, forcing himself to sit up.
He brought his head up off the floor, only to find himself collapsing back onto it, his heart pounding frantically away in his chest as he shut his eyes and gritted his teeth together. His hair was slicked to the back of his head, and a puddle of blood spilled out onto the floor from behind it some sticky, some feeling as though it had been there for ages. Beside him, the old man continued to ramble.
This is the husband of Lydia Devereux? A mere twig of a man…?
Once he opened his eyes again, Augustus found himself staring face-to-face with a ceiling of hardwood planks, dripping saltwater onto his forehead. A few drops made their way into his eyes, but they did not sting nearly as bad as the back of his head. Groaning, Augustus tried to sit up once more, this time with success, although he found himself feeling lightheaded.
As he glanced around his surroundings, doing everything in his power to avoid making eye contact with the disheveled old man next to him, he slowly realized that everything around him was completely unfamiliar. The feeling of the floor, the strange old man, even the candlestick illuminating the room was as new to his eyes as ever. But what sold it for Augustus were the iron bars acting as a wall in front of him, rooted deep into the floor and ceiling.
Panic overcame him immediately, sending chills down his spine, choking him with his own breath. Augustus checked the room again, desperately, calling out to the open air. Where is Lydia? He asks the question again, growing distraught. Where is she?
The old man answered without looking at him. We are out in the middle of the sea, lad, he said, barely above a whisper. Where is that Lydia of yours…? As he trails off, the old man throws back his head and laughs. She aint here, boy! Its just you and me now.
Just you and me
The words swirled through his head like a tempest. Just you and me; no Lydia in sight. The drops of saltwater falling onto him brought Augustus out of his mind, tossing him back into reality. He feverishly checked the room again the cell, he thought to himself, only to find his hands were bound together, and the old mans were not, although his wrists appeared red and blistered. Just glancing at them sent chills down his spine. W-Where the hell am I? Augustus sputtered, struggling to keep himself upright. His body felt so heavy
The old man stared directly back at Augustus and cackled. Do you not listen, boy? He jeered. We are adrift in the Mediterranean, heading for the lands of the Caribbean. That is, at least, what I have gathered through the walls. Captain Lancaster is not one for talking. The old man pauses, bringing his hand to his chin, flashing Augustus a grin full of decaying teeth. I used to work for the bastard, you know
Augustus zoned out as the old man began to trail off once more, his thoughts adrift alongside him. Within the whirlwind of racing questions and frantic ideas, a few things still werent adding up. O-Okay Im on a boat. Im behind bars. The only thing that makes sense is that I got kidnapped But why? And why the Caribbean? And where the hell is Lydia?
I tried to steal from him once, the old man rambled on, but they shoulda just told me it was as good as milking a pigeon
That does not matter! Augustus cried. He tried to wrench his wrists out of their restraints, but they only dug further into his skin. He winced, biting down on his lip, ignoring his heart threatening to burst from his chest. I-I just, I need to
Quit your whining! The old man suddenly lurched forward and threw his hand over Augustuss mouth. He tried to bite the elderly man to get him to move away, but it made no difference; the man wouldnt budge. Lie still, lad, he warned, narrowing his eyes. Close your eyes. Go back to bellyaching on the floor. You died on the trip here.
Augustuss eyes widened as the old man threw him back, landing on his side, as limp as a bag of potatoes. He shut his eyes upon impact, feeling like his brain was rattling around in his skull, yet he refused to open them as he heard footsteps descending from the deck, growing louder with each fleeting second. Augustus forced himself to grow rigid, lying dead on his stomach as the footsteps finally came to a stop before him.
A strong, pervasive voice rang out mere inches in front of him, spreading over the cell like a tidal wave, despite its lack in volume; the voices commanding tone made up for it. Augustuss stomach tightened upon hearing it, and the strange mans shrewd laughter alongside it just made him feel nauseous. He attempted to stay as limp as possible with the ship rocking back and forth, grinding his teeth together.
Phillip was all the voice said at first, as the old man found the need to cut him off and start a conversation of his own ideals.
Aye, Captain Lancaster! the old man Phillip? he wondered said, and Augustus could hear a sharp exhale from the other side of the room following it. What brings ye down here?
Shut your mouth, the voice of Captain Lancaster replied. I am not here to engage with the likes of you. Qui
What do you mean, Captain? the elderly man interrupts again. What have I ever done to offend your honor?
There was a long pause following his question. Augustus did not dare move his head off the floor to steal a glance at the captain; instead he pictured him staring down the old man with narrowed eyes, flared nostrils, clenched fists. You are a thief and a liar, the voice hissed. You tried to turn me in whilst working beneath me, you cretin.
I do not recall that the strange man said.
You knocked up my sister, the voice of the captain replied with an edge prominent within it.
Ahh, the old man began, that I recall. She was lovely. Very lovely indeed.
Shut. Your. Mouth. The voice sputtered, and the old man cackled in response. Once the captain regained his composure as far as Augustus could tell he continued. How fares the boy?
Augustus shuddered, but he forced himself to remain still to the best of his ability. He heard the old man scoot closer to him, felt the man rub his hands up and down his body, and gritted his teeth together to keep from fighting back. Hmmm, the old man thought aloud. I am not sure. The lad has not moved but an inch since you brought him to me, and I cannot feel his heart.
Augustus felt a pair of eyes lock onto him, digging deep into his soul. He squeezed his eyes shut tighter and held his breath. What a shame, the voice said flatly. Augustus was not sure whether to take it as disappointed or simply unbothered perhaps even unconvinced. Yet, I can work with that. Come forth, now. Read this for me, cretin. Tell me if it would melt even the stoniest of hearts, such as yours.
The pair exchanged something, a piece of paper if Augustus had to guess, judging from how it crinkled as it was passed along. The elderly man paused for a while as he read, and the cell grew silent, other than the sound of the brackish waves crashing against the ship. Aye, Lancaster, the old man spoke at last, Ye really outdid yerself with this. Lydia will love it.
Without a word, only grumbling to himself, the captain took back the paper and stomped away. Once the footsteps faded, Augustus brought his head up from off the floor, breathing quickly. He turned his head to the strange man, only to find the man already staring back at him. He bit his lip. What was that you read? he asked.
Alas, I am unsure, the old man said. I cannot read.