The town was filled with snow, George continued his duties as told.
“What awful luck I have.” He muttered to himself as he marched along. “It has to be the coldest day of the year today!” He took a deep breath, and let it all out. His sigh was visible in the cold weather.
“There’s no point in complaining.” He told himself. “You’re a British soldier, you shouldn’t be complaining about anything.” With that thought in mind he straightened his posture, and marched off. Another cold breeze flew past him, and he tucked his hat down more towards his exposed face. From behind him, footsteps could be heard. He quickly turned his head to the sound of crunching snow. He saw a man the same red uniform as his, running as fast as he could. The soldier skidded in the snow towards George; it was his comrade, James.
“George! It’s terrible! There’s a riot going on down in the streets! Captain Preston wants as many soldiers as possible to aid him. I only just heard about it, we’d better get a move on!” He said as he tried to catch his breath. This alarmed George; he couldn’t help but think that John was a part of this riot. John was a good friend from back in England, but moved to the colonies as a young man with his family. Finally reunited after all these long years apart, as happy as they were, their views on the colonies were no longer the same. John was consumed with this new world patriotism. George knew he needed to get there before John got himself into trouble with the law; at least, any more trouble then he was in already.
George followed James into the streets of Boston, following the sounds of the yelling and screaming. They arrived in with a few other soldiers as about fifty American citizens threw stones and snow at a British sentinel. James, being one of the largest soldiers, went to his aide first.
“Stand down! Come on then, move along!” He shouted as he attempted to push the colonials back. Some of them withdrew, but most stayed and fought back, now throwing things at both the sentinel and James. George signaled for the other soldiers to help the two, but more Americans began to draw in and attack the soldiers.
“Stop it now this instant!” George shouted out after taking a snowball to the face. The shards of ice hidden in the snow made a gash across his face. The fight was becoming so intense that some of the other soldiers would start to knock the citizens down the the butts of their guns. George refused to partake in the violence, and continued to try and settle things verbally; they were unarmed citizens, the soldiers shouldn’t be harming anyone!
“Cease this at one-” George started, but then took a blow to the chest with a rock thrown by one of the towns people. The Captain was growing tired of this.
“That’s enough!” He called out. “Men, on my mark!” He commanded pointing towards the people. George knew that signal- the Captain was planning to open fire.
“Captain, are you mad? These people are unarmed!” George pleaded out. The snow and stones did hurt, but they were nothing compared to a gunshot.
“Don’t speak out of line, Collins! These blasted fools need to learn their place!” George looked down, holding back his tongue.
“George, you’ve already broken enough rules, you refuse an order now and it’ll be your head!” James whispered. He was right; George could not refuse. He had already pulled so many strings for John, he could not afford to earn another bad word against him.
“Ready!” The captain hollered out. George pulled out his rifle and aimed towards the colonials, praying to God that they would stop before anything got drastic.
“Aim!” Most of the Americans began to cry out in fear and began to flee, yet others refused to leave. They continued to throw ice and rocks and bellowed out “For Freedom!”
Move… What’s the matter with you? Leave! George thought as he began to look away. The soldiers were all lined up and aiming their guns, all their fingers on the triggers ready for the final word.
“FIRE!” All at once, everyone pulled their triggers, including George. Screams of pain and agony filled the winter air. George had caught a glimpse in the corner of his eye of the horrid sight, and he knew he was a part of it.
“He’s dead! They killed him!” A woman cried out. George couldn’t help but turn his head to the scream. The man standing exactly across from him was dead. Blood poured from the civilians chest as other colonials ran to his aide. It was no use, he was now a lifeless corpse, and there was nothing anyone could do.
“My God…” George said, watching the chaos. “What have I done?” His face grew pale as the citizens scurried around the injured, but out of all the wounded, he could only look at the one directly across from him. James was right next to him as he started to cringe.
“George, what’s wrong, George!?” He asked. George couldn’t stand it anymore, he didn’t know what else to do but run. He dropped his rifle and took off.
“George!” James called out after him. When the captain heard of this, he turned towards George as he ran into the distance.
“COLLINS!” He shouted, but George refused to turn around. He ran to the stream on the outskirts of town, and knelt beside the icing water. He looked at his reflection in the water that was still flowing. Tears were forming in his eyes, his face still bleeding from the fragmented ice, but he paid it no mind as he was sick to his stomach. He clutched his middle, thinking he was going to vomit. He knelt over, now on his hands and feet, choking on his own spit. Tears kept falling from his eyes and he, like the people in the town, cried out in agony.
It had been hours since he had been there, his face now as white as the snow he sat in. His fingers began to turn black from underneath his white gloves. Tears were now freezing on his face from being out so long, his scar beginning to blister. He knew he needed to leave, but he couldn’t pull himself together enough to care for his own well being. The only thing he could think about was the man in the blood stained snow.
“George!?” A voice called from in the distance. George thought he was imagining things, but heard his name again;
“George!” Through the drifting snow George could see a figure, but he couldn’t make it out. The sprinting figure got closer to the point he knew it was John.
“George!” John called out once more as he ran to his companions side, “For heavens sake, man, what are you doing out in the blistering cold?!” George looked at him with tears still rimming his eyes. Once John saw his friends devastated face, he immediately knelt beside him and put his hand on George’s shoulder.
“What happened?” He asked. George couldn’t utter a word at first, but John was patient. After letting out another cry, George finally spoke;
“I killed him… I killed him!” and once again dropped his head down and sobbed. John was shocked and appalled to hear this. He stammered back, pulling away from the British soldier. Killed who? What was going on? Why? Questions upon questions flooded the American’s head, but before he could speak, George began to lament aloud once more. All at once, the questions and rage stopped. As much as he loathed what he had just heard, George was still his friend. John took his scarf and wrapped it around George’s neck, placing his hand on his back.
“It’s… It’s going to be alright… Come now… Lets go home.”
©Stephanie Cusumano; Ariaera Art,Cosplay, & More/Elven Ariaera 2016