captain tory part 2
August 11th 1879
Mrs. Riel sighed in fulfilment. The children of her orphanage were an extremely rowdy bunch yet today she finally managed to calm them down. All children were the same after all. When she was younger, she had her notorious younger brothers listening attentively to her at the mention of Peter Pan. So, she told the children stories of the boy who never grew up, hoping for the same effect. The only boy who seemed dissatisfied with the stories was nine- year old James, who despised having the same name as the evil pirate in the story.
She counted the children who were happily swinging on the trees, the children caught up in their game of tag, and the ones who simply chatted with one and another. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty... She stopped counting. One of the children was missing, and based on the calamity of the bunch, she realized that James was missing from the playground. She hesitated in leaving the children unattended but figuring that there were other adults around, she rushed off down the path in search of James, hoping all would be well.
Meanwhile, James was relieving his stress in the park. Not only did he despise himself for having the same name as Captain Hook from the story Mrs. Riel had told, but it also reminded him of the parents who had left him due to their debts. What if he grew up to be like them? James did not want to be burdened with such pains. The only solution to his problem would be to never grow up. Alas, since the age of two, he had realized that all children would grow up sooner or later. He grumbled in frustration and took a seat on a bench. To his left, there sat a sea captain. He was dressed in a navy blue trench coat and a brown beard with much resemblance to a bear’s fur covered his chin in a most uncombed way. The warm weather and the trench coat made the man quite suspicious indeed and little dared to actually glance at him at before walking away quickly afterwards. However, James had been far too caught up in his own little dilemma to notice the eccentric man that sat on the bench beside him. Perhaps if he did, the following conversation would have never happened.
“Stupid Peter Pan,” he cursed under his breath, “how dare he not grow up and leave the rest of us to suffer!” He then raised his voice an octave higher and said, “Remember James, he is not real. You can’t be mad at an imaginary character.”
The man beside him had been listening intently to the young soliloquist beside him and simply gaped in shock the whole time but couldn’t resist not talking anymore.
“Imaginary character? James? Who and what art thou?” he spitted out in aghast.
Now an ordinary boy would have been much in fright from a stranger saying such but as James himself was impulsive, he was only slightly drawn back at the man’s reaction. James came out of his trance and awoke to the sudden outburst of the man.
He had managed to regain his composure and asked, “Captain? Come again? I do not understand. If you really despise the name James, like I presently do, you may also call me Matthew.”
“Well dear lad, I must ask for your forgiveness then. Your name had me thinking that you were a past acquaintance of mine. This place we are in is very confusing to me. Why, a few months ago, I had no beard like so! And look at me now! Time whizzes by so fast here! “
“Where do you come from captain?” he asked curiously
“Ah,” he sighed, “the place is now unreachable for an old chap like me. Oh, and please call me captain Tory.”
James nodded and spreading his arms out wide he said, “Then that place must be very far, like here to the Sahara Desert no?
“Something like that. Now, what were you saying about Peter Pan?”
“It does not matter anymore, he is not real.”
“And what makes you think so, Matthew?” he questioned in a voice with much authority.
“I have never met him. And it is impossible to fly.”
“Have you been to the Sahara Desert lad?”
James shook his head and the man smiled amusingly.
“Well then, how do you know the Sahara Desert is real? Just because you haven’t seen him, doesn’t make him an imaginary character.”
James was a child with much intellect and knew that he had been defeated. Out of the blue, a growl like thunder was heard. James looked to Captain Tory petrified. Much to his relief, Captain Tory smiled sheepishly and admitted it was nothing more than his stomach asking for food. Just at that moment, Mrs. Riel appeared with her head in a daze. She spotted James sitting on the bench and rushed to him as fast as her legs could take her and wrapped him up in a hug.
“James, promise me you’ll never run off like that again! You had me worried sick!” she cried in relief.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Riel. I was mad at myself and needed a little quiet time. But after talking to this man I felt much better. You too can call me by my middle name, Matthew, from now on. This man is quite hungry though. Is he allowed to eat with us tonight? “
Mrs. Riel glanced hesitantly at the man. His expression was now unreadable and he simply gazed back at Mrs. Riel. Despite that, Mrs. Riel was a woman with much sympathy and kindness and offered her hospitality to the captain.
Captain Tory looked at her sadly and said, “Do you really not recall who I am?”
She shook her head confusingly and motioned for him and James to follow her back to the orphanage. James heartedly agreed where as Captain Tory trudged along behind, keeping his distance, but staring at them with a pain-stricken face that no words could have described. One could say it was of loneliness but none could affirm it.