“Stop, Jamie, stop!” Jessamine laughed as her brother chased her across the deck. Hollis Clarke watched his youngest daughter run to another daughter, seeking refuge from Jamie’s tickling fingers. Rhymie, the sixteen year old of the Clarke clan, shielded her baby sister between the large folds of her skirts and the railing.
Jamie’s mind reeled a thousand knots a minute, always hopping from one thing to another. Honestly, Hollis Clarke didn’t know what he would do with his son, so easily distracted as he tended to be. The little sisters of Jamie, however, loved the erratic actions of their fun brother. One moment he was chasing Jessamine, and the next he had scooped Rhymie into a dance, twirling her windward.
As Jamie and Rhymie jigged along the planks, avoiding ropes and sailors, Mrs. Clarke enticed her other children to strike up some music. It was not unusual for the Clarke clan to dance and sing, causing happy disruptions throughout the day. It was all very Von Trapp Family. Hollis Clarke, a Welsh Methodist minister was quite proud of his Greek wife, six sons, four daughters, and their resilience in the face of great change in their lives. Hollis Clarke was moving his family from Wales to the new nation of The States of America. A family of twelve had to cross the Atlantic Ocean and live new lives in Virginia. But, they had each other, and that was all they needed, so all went willingly and with smiles on their faces.
“Look, sister!” Jamie stopped spinning Rhymie around. He deposited her at the port side of their ship.
Rhymie, breathless, stared out across the ocean. The waves sparkled in the blaring sun, but on the horizon, a shadow of their future became visible. A town sat among the waves, just the size of a fingernail. Church Creek, a small fishing town right on the east coast.
“Are you not excited?” Jamie smiled, while squinting at the far off town.
He had that a look about him, one of curiosity and anticipation. No burden weighted Jamie’s shoulders. His blue eyes were clear as the sky above them, and his face smooth with youth. The same went for Rhymie. She was a girl of sixteen, not the eldest daughter, and she was beautiful with her dark brown hair and nearly golden brown eyes all inherited from her Greek mother. Rhymie Clarke had little to no responsibility or expectations.
“I cannot wait to land on that shore,” Rhymie readily admitted. Her eyes practically ablaze with enthusiasm.
“We shall have many adventures.” Jamie promised.
“And Mother will yell at you for not being a responsible or ambitious young man,” Rhymi mimicked her mother’s tones.
“And I will ignore it all.” Jamie grinned. Just because he felt no burdens, did not mean he lacked them. As a man, and the second son, he would inherit close to nothing from his parents and would therefor have to learn a trade. But trades were boring and allowed for little fun.
Rhymie promised, “It will be great.”
Waves splashed against the hull of the ship, spraying salt water all over Rhymie and her brother. Rhymie gasped and laughed, feeling the cold water on her face only to be evaporated by the bright sun. Happiness consumed her, filled her veins, and soaked anticipation into her bones. Her carefree future drew closer, details becoming more easily visible.
Rhymie had no idea what sorrow felt like, or how seamlessly joy could be cut out of one’s life. She never saw the ship flying the English flag coming. She didn’t register the uneasiness of the captain, or the shouts of crew members as ropes from this stranger ship were cast to their deck.
But she did hear the screams of her family and the scatter of cockroaches. The shrieks shot through her with a bitter taste of confusion and horror, wiping out all traces of merriment. She would never know happiness for many years to come. The sounds of her father weeping, her mother dying, her siblings silent, would haunt her for the rest of her life.
Hey, folks! I’m going to be setting this up kind of like a tv show with episodes and seasons. My hope is to post something at least once a week. Now, I used to love writing. I did it all the time, but then life happened, and long story short- I haven’t written in about a year and a half. I’m a bit rusty. So I am asking you, if you want to or feel compelled to, if you can give me some feedback? Did I misspell something? Is a thing totally historically inaccurate? I welcome all constructive criticism and look forward to it. Note to potential editors: I’m not aiming to be historically accurate. This book isn’t mean to be 100% factually correct or serious. It’s a funny book with horror and some heart wrenching sorrow. That’s the goal at least.
Thank you for reading!