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She'll come back for me tomorrow

Posted on Sat May 25th, 2013 @ 8:44pm by Sailor John Colton

Mission: Chapter 7: Going West

"Leave me ALONE!" the twelve-year old Daenelia had yelled, as she had pushed Colton over in the centre of the yard. The other kids had laughed at the boy as he had slipped and slid around in the mud.

"Why d'you have to do that 'Nelia?" he'd asked in his Old-Western accent. His green eyes were bulging.

"Because I don't love you and I never will!" Daenelia replied.

But John Colton couldn't help his feelings for Daenelia even if they weren't mutual. No matter how much punishment he took, he still followed her around like a lost puppy. Over their teenage years Daenelia learned to take advantage of this, and whenever things people's things disappeared or windows got broken Colton was always around to take the blame. With angry grown-ups around, all it took was a quivering of Daenelia's bottom lip and Colton would admit to things he wasn't even capable of.

When Daenelia was 17 she started trading goods up and down the river with a little rowboat that was remarkably like Colton's father's that had gone missing a year previously. Daenelia was happy to let Colton help her load the boat before each trip, and then Colton would watch her sail away. By day the boy would busy himself at the family ranch, and then at nights he'd sit at the riverbank and throw stones into the water, looking forward to 'Nelia's return. "She'll come back for me tomorrow" he'd tell himself.

One day she didn't come back at all.

Seven years later Daenelia ran into Colton again and nothing much had changed about him. He still looked far too young for his age even though he was just a year younger than her. Daenelia told Colton that she finally had her own skyship and was looking for loyal crewmates to stand by her side. Colton was overwhelmed with conflicting emotions. He'd never stopped loving Daenelia, who was even more beautiful than he remembered. But he'd found himself a peaceful and happy life at the ranch after she abandoned him. So with a heavy heart, Colton turned down Daenelia's offer.

One week later the Colton ranch burned to the ground in a mysterious accident and the family was left penniless. Fortunately, Daenelia was still in the area and managed to convince Colton to come with her. There would be riches in their future, Daenelia promised him, enough to rebuild the Colton ranch when he returned.

They set sail together in what Colton quickly learned was a pirate ship, something that Daenelia had forgotten to mention until they were in the air. Despite this, Colton became yet again desperate to make Daenelia happy and found himself doing whatever he was told. Sometimes Daenelia would sleep with him, out of pity more than anything else. He was handsome enough, with broad shoulders and a nice jawline, but he wasn't very good at pleasing her in any kind of way. But Daenelia needed loyalty and she was never going to find anyone as loyal as Colton.

Somehow his new life as a pirate had not affected him. John Colton had remained a boy even past his mid-twenties. He'd stuck with Daenelia through some desperate situations, and somehow kept both his innocence and his boyish good looks. The situations only got more desperate as time went on, with the captain promising her crew bigger and bigger payouts, and the raids becoming more and more dangerous. It all went to hell when Daenelia announced that the crew would rob an Old Western goods train, and then escape by sky. Even Colton had his doubts, but of course he was the first to be won over by the captain's charms.

Colton was also the only crew member that Daenelia left behind that night. The rail marshals had been aboard, as expected, but with them was an entire contingent of militia being transported across the country. The battle was a violent one and it wasn't long before Daenelia issued a retreat. The last Daenelia saw of Colton was a badly beaten boy being dragged by the arms along the rough sand.

"Help me 'Nelia!"

His green eyes were bulging, and this time captain had no reply for him.

When John Colton was half recovered, he was set to work in a manual labour camp for prisoners of the military. By day he'd be down in the dextrocite pit with a his legs chained together and a pick-axe in his hand. It was back-breaking work, but the pain and the sweat and the dirt meant that he had no time to think about Daenelia Bradley. At night Colton didn't have that luxury. Night after night he'd be in the corner of his dark stone cell, curled in a ball. "She'll come back for me tomorrow" he'd tell himself.

But she didn't come back at all, and one day he realised she'd left him.

She'd left him frustrated, and she'd left him broken. But once Colton had pulled himself together, he realised she'd left him with cunning.

She'd taught him when to get into trouble and when to stay out of sight.

She'd taught him how to kill a man, and how to then curb the remorse.

In the end, the same woman that put Colton in that hell hole had also given him the tools to make his own escape.

Colton fled from one backwater settlement to another, the law at his back, but happy to not have Daenelia Bradley ahead of him.


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