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“Devious Seducer” In the words of Lieutenant Irving

Chapter Text

Tozer was more than hot under the collar about the last minute calling for them to board HMS Terror ( there were plans to stay overnight on HMS Erebus). Having to walk a mile or so in freezing temperatures was one thing, and then finding out they weren't getting no extra pay for putting their lives in danger, and what for? To be exposed to such dangers,Because a few say, sixty men couldn't handle a fucking polar bear? He had to laugh out loud, ears being flooded with his fellow peers joined laughter. He at least expected a glass of whisky (no matter how short in supply it was) and some sort of thanks from the captain, none of which came.

An unstirring silence lay over the ship that night, only a few whispers to be heard around the deathly cold room. The people on these ships were strange folks, eyes flashing violently around them, almost as if suffering from their own imagination, and being untrusting of their own crew members. He couldn't wait to be home, at last, to feel the dew-warm grass on the soles of his feet, he'd surely kiss the ground with all his might, thanking the blessing that was bestowed upon him, that life was most certainly sacred. To dance so gayly and freely through the meadows that surrounded the farmhouse of his parents, sunflowers sometimes blooming(so beautiful when they are bedecked in rain and when the plants are to die in the summer, the Lily's of the valleys would consume the land, pine trees spreading a enamour scent through the air, to which would bring his mind back to fond childhood memories), bright yellows of all different shades, illuminating the brick work house. He missed the ethereal wind that would brush through his shaggy brown locks, that encased his face, eyes glistening under the heating sun.

He seemed to find himself on the daily, escaping to his mind. Dreaming of anywhere but being trapped in the barrenness called the Antarctic. There was no pleasure here...or so he thought anyway, because most men, such as Lieutenant Irving were only concerned with watercolours or strenuous climbing exercises, and more than often he found the Lieutenant to be choking (more than anyone else) on the words of the holy bible, eyes frantically wavering as he talked of such things. He noticed the burning hatred between John and Mr Hickey, almost like an angel to come face to face with the devil. Lieutenant Irving was the holier-than-thou bible thumper, that this ship certainly didn't need.

This ships people seemed to be torn between either believing in god or believing in survival. The former was a measly belief, because Tozer himself could already foresee the coming future, and it was not a game of believing in the saviour of a fictional being, whom was depicted to sleep on clouds and drink wine from a fountain. However, he wasn't one to object if it got them to sleep at night.

A sing song had filled the nights air, Tozer standing to the side with his fellow friends (of which he had accumulated over the past months of being on H.M.S Terror, thankfully having enough wit to be able to gather more than a few words together). His eyes did not bare water, but the voices of the men were the most beautiful ones he'd lived to hear yet. The song reminded him of his mother, when she'd cradle his head in her lap and sing him to sleep (a fire roaring inside the hearth). And sometimes he still had to wonder to himself, how he got here, out in the middle of no where, the company not with his mother, but with unknown seamen.

And so that night, on his rounds of the ship, through the unbelievably narrowed corridors, he happened to stumble across Lieutenant Irving, who looked more insane with each appearance, more and more like Gods own heaven-sent son. His words came out in a harsh whisper, hair messily covering over his right eye, to which he jostled perfectly back into place. Ironic, since the man was definitely in no way such.

"Have you seen the Devious Seducer?"

Solomon could only furrow his eyebrow (He didn’t recall having read the book of Daniel), knowing nothing of this person, and he knew certainly that no one else did either. This man had lost his nut, cheeks flustering and burning up quickly, and that's when his eyes started to move around, head following in a comical sense. He knew he was looking for someone to bedevil.

"The Devious Seducer? I-I'm not sure I follow sir?"

The burning eyes were back on him, head shaking furiously as he pressed his pointer finger to his lips, tongue darting out to wet them. Tozer was taken a back by the mans physical state, feeling more than uncomfortable to be communicating with him. He would never understand Sir Johns decision to even have him as a Lieutenant, he was deemed unfit in Solomon's eyes.

"Mr Hickey, Cornelius. He is the devious seducer. Mr Gibson told me so, what that man forced upon him, threatening to exploit him if he denied giving pleasures." He said it as if everyone knew of such things that this so called  seducer was doing.

Tozer tilted his head slightly, the man opposite him stopped fidgeting, finally gathering himself, straightening down his jacket before being able to look Sol in the eyes, "Are you sure Mr Gibson ain't giving you a run for your money? I met this Cornelius guy just yesterday...he seemed normal to me, Sir ."

Mr Irving did not take a liking to these words, instead he yet again saw the hell raise in his eyes, fire burning brightly, "Normal, Mr Tozer, is a kitten playing with a ball of yarn....Normal, is children playing skip rope after a church sermon, he is nothing of the sorts."

Solomon was starting to feel uncomfortable now, a tight burning on his face of strong second hand embarrassment, calloused fingers raising to fiddle with his unbearable tight collar. The man had something wrong with him, a type of displeasure building up in him, that even God himself wouldn't approve of.

"I see. Mr Irving, ain't it time you ought to be retiring to your bedchamber? It's awfully late, and you'll need your sleep for tomorrow." The other man nodded, a small wave coming up in acknowledgment, swiping left before having it join back at its belonging side, his legs guiding him to the higher ranks sleeping quarters.

Tozer has to let out a breath of air as he heard the footsteps grow distant down the corridor and then stop all together, looking over his shoulder to make sure the bible basher was gone, and most definitely not still lurking around. At this moment, he wasn't sure if he could trust the maniacal man with anything.

The entire conversation made his mind start to wonder. There was evidently bad blood between the Lieutenant and the Caulker's mate, wether it be simply because of their view points of religion, or because of Mr Gibson's harmful doing, and what did Hickey do that was so bad for him to gain such a marking title? He knew he'd have to talk with Mr Hickey, inform him of the situation that he feared would dig a bigger hole than necessary. It would be stupid to say he expected such polar opposites to get along, because he didn't. It was like putting a fawn in a lions cage, and not expecting the latter to devour the former. And in this case Hickey seemed to be the fawn.

His mind could only wonder toward the words of Irving’s himself, preached in the early hours of the morning, as the sun casted a light over the marines, almost trying to warm them as they worked away:

 

"...Whatever Happens, It is the will of God."

Chapter Text

Tozer saw him in the early rising sun of the morning, light casting from its 8 o'clock shadow. His body cloaked in pure radiance, as he stood on the deck, arms crossed and laying on the wooden side railing, back facing Solomon, as he climbed the hatch, to where wind gladly greeted his face. The air was brisk, cheeks immediately flushing with the new feeling. He wondered how such a frail figured man could stand out here, watching sunrise, not a care in the world if a sudden breeze was to knock him right over. 

 

If anything this sight of Hickey made him slightly more comfortable. It was funny thought to him, that Lieutenant 'god loving' Irving was to be perceived in such a bad light and cramped hallways, spitting blasphemy on this man, whom stood so still, silent yet still breathing and to bathed in sunlight. His presence was godlike, so etiquette  in posture and possessing majesty. Almost as if this human being alone begged for admiration. He simply could not tear his eyes from this simpleton of a man, like a great spell had fallen over him.

 

A wave overcame him, that he saw himself drop to his knees for this man and do anything he commanded, anything at all, simply just to be near this man, to be able to be controlled and lead by this man. The man that he knew very little about. He didn't know what this feeling was, wether it be a warning or simply some blessing in disguise. He felt disturbed by the thought, as he knew he'd let this creature eat Mr Hickey, to save his own guts. Hell he'd risk anyone else's lives to save his own. 

 

His mind did wonder to if Lieutenant Irving was indeed correct with his predictions and knowledge of Mr Hickey. But he quickly rid those thoughts, flushing them away and to never be heard again. A man this relaxed could simply not be a danger at all. It told him everything he needed to know when his boots thumped against the wooden deck of the ship. The man did not stir, lax and at peace with the world. That told him a lot indeed. This man was unlike any other on this journey. 

 

Any other man would jump and curse, a glare shot in his direction, and he would never again turn his back for fear of being stabbed or thrown overboard. This man did not care, too lost in his thoughts to do so. Tozer was now filled with curiosity to approach this man, his legs done the walking for him, till his side was near enough pressed against the other mans.

 

The outstretched land before them was misted over by fog. He could understand the other mans wanting to be out here, where it was so peaceful and hardly a mouse stirred. It was a desolate sight indeed. It made him curious as to why Mr Hickey preferred to be so alone, perhaps an introvert or a lonely sailor. A cough sounded beside him, before his head changed to look over the much taller man, eyes peering into him with such authority.

 

This mans aura was starting to change with each passing moment. He could feel that familiar thought creeping up on him. That Cornelius was no man of god, nor of good willed intentions. It seemed almost stupid to single out one man out of the others, and so he had to think just what Hickey had done that Gibson felt he had to tell the 'lamb of god' about. 

 

"It's so beautiful out here, don't you agree sergeant?" 

 

It was a hushed voice,  surprisingly barely heard over the deathly silence that surrounded the men from all angles, Ears ringing from the white sound. His face was coated with a smile, chin poking out sharply and eyes wrinkling as he done so. Solomon didn't quite know how to reply to the question. He didn't agree, but at the same time he wanted the information out of Cornelius. He waited for a long moment before replying:

 

"I see nothing but outstretched barren land, Mr Hickey. There is nothing beautiful about it."

 

He gestured toward the land in front of them, hand falling back down beside him soon after, Hickey laughed out of his nose, head turning back to look out at what he had called so beautiful. He sighed as he took it all in, like a pair of love birds, however Mr Tozer knew the Antarctica had given no consent to such perverting eyes.

 

"Barren land, a million miles from England... It could take two years before we're found."

 

Tozer had to raise his eyebrow at this, what a weird thing to say. Like he'd just made a decision that they were stuck on the ice, with no where to go, that the crew would never make it back to England.

 

"And what makes you say such a thing?”

 

The other man said nothing, he could only stare off into the far distance, almost like he didn't even hear the other man talk. This sent shivers tingling down Solomon's spine, the uncomfortableness starting to settle in. It was nothing like the feeling he got from Lieutenant Irving. 

 

"I had a talk with Lieutenant Irving last night..." he shifted from one foot to the other, "he told me about you. He told me how you're a 'Devious Seducer'. Would I be correct to say you are so?"

 

A laugh came from Hickey, his head dropped between his shoulders. His eyes wrinkled unbelievably more. Tozer on the understand didn't understand where this man thought it was so funny. He did understand that if he was to be found so, he'd be met with law.

 

"Sergeant...I don't mean to be rude, but I don't understand how this is any of your business."

 

Solomon turns to him slowly, looking him up and down with no more than a unlining of disgust, "It's my business Mr Hickey, because I have to put up with your boyish bullshit. You and Lieutenant Irving, running around like headless men, accusing one another of ridiculous accusations."

 

That smile stilled remained. That was what tipped Tozer off the most. How could this man stand here and act like the accusations were nothing, that he wouldn't get in trouble if found guilty of homosexuality and seduction. He yet again had nothing to say to Solomon.

 

"What have you got to smile about, Mr Hickey?"

 

"What haven't I got to smile about, Sergeant? Maybe you should ask yourself that question."

 

His voice was dripping with saltiness, sarcasm following in its footsteps. He knew this conversation was becoming more confrontational with each passing second.

 

"Mr Hickey, I take pride in knowing that you will be dealt with when the time comes. I know just like myself, that many other men would gladly push you into the mouth of that creature, if it meant their lives were to be saved."

 

He saw the lump in the smaller mans throat being swallowed, knowing fully well that these other men would do so. With no hesitation these men would sacrifice the smirking buffoon.

 

"And what makes these men any more important than me?"

 

He had to really highlight the Petty in ‘Petty officer’, arguing about the stupid things like it mattered out here.

 

Tozer turned to face him fully, having put up with enough foolishness for the morning(but not for the day), "Maybe you should ask yourself that question, Mr Hickey." 

 

It felt sweet in a way to give this man a taste of his own medicine. Cornelius would now know not to turn his back to Tozer, nor to answer back. His dominance had been inserted into the other mans brain...or so he had thought. He should have known better than to think this caulker was afraid of him. He had something the men would call 'Small mans syndrome.' Like they hate the taller men because they're so small.

 

"Don't you wonder to yourself why you stick out like a sore thumb, Mr Hickey?"

 

"I ain't done no wrong. I have never done no wrong." It was Tozer's turn to laugh now, out of excitement, because he knew he was finally able to break through Cornelius's defence system.

 

"Then why is Lieutenant Irving persisting to me, that you have?" A scowl overcame the younger mans face, blue eyes piercing through Tozer skin, but he ignore the feeling, instead pushing to get to the bottom of the pit.

 

"Lieutenant Irving is a lonely man. And Lonely men make up little stories. It is a normal habit, however I would wish he'd stop using my name in vain."

 

A smirk overcame Solomon's lips, plastered on clearly to Cornelius to see. If only he could hear himself and how absolutely foolish it all sounded, "Is Mr Gibson also an old man?" 

 

"Mr Gibson...what does he have anything to do with this?" He had him cornered now, he'd have to answer truthfully, there was no other way out of this, because both him and Hickey knew that Mr Irving will spill like a can of beans if asked.

 

"Lieutenant Irving told me just what you've been doing to Mr Gibson...or well, not all of it...but your going to tell me that, aren't you Mr Hickey?"

 

"I don't know what you're talking about."

 

"Don't be stupid Mr Hickey, you know damn well what I'm talking about. But you don't understand, that if you don't want to tell me, I can simply go to Lieutenant Irving...I can go to Mr Gibson and I'm more than certain they'd gladly tell me." 

 

He stepped away from the wooden side board, eyes finally being able to open completely without creasing. His right hand came up to block the rising sun before he started talking, "Mr Gibson....he doesn't know what he wants, he's a good lad sure...he just get scared sometimes. I know he means no harm, but it ruins my reputation with everyone else. Like I've told you before Sergeant...I ain't done nothing wrong."

 

Tozer slowly nodded, shrugging his shoulders, "I understand Mr Hickey...and I'm sure Lieutenant Irving will as well. We are separated here, from the evils of the world, Mr Hickey...we make the best of what we got. It seems to me, you've done just that...but you've become greedy in doing so. Just remember, there are eyes here to watch, where there may not have been at home."

 

It was Hickeys turn to watch him, eyes trailing up his body, cheeks flushed with the cold. He watched the taller and more dominant man descend down the stairs, gracefully and with sheer beauty. Hickey had to laugh to himself once alone, thinking to himself just how truly appealing the other man was. He thought to himself how, yes the other man was more overpowering and Cornelius in himself was recessive compared to rankings, but how easily he could turn that all around. He could get what he wanted, well he would anyway, he'd just have to remember not to mess it up like he did with Mr Gibson. 

 

He shook his head, making his way toward the stairs into which he'd drop to the commotion room. That's another thing he had to deal with...Billy.

Chapter Text

"You Have nothing to be afraid of..."

 

Those were the words that haunted Dr. Goodsir like a nightmare. He just wanted the boy to be at peace, but he seemed upmost disturbed in his last passing moments alive, tossing and turning in his sleep before letting out a hoarse shout. He felt like he'd betrayed the boy, lied to him when he was dying and he knew it too. He'd never know his mother nor his father...he felt a sadness overcome him when those words left the younger boys mouth, what a terrible thing.

 

"Then...then there will be the angels"

 

He'd died in the late hours of the night, or well it would be more accurate of him to say the early hours of the morning. Dr Stanley was stiff when told so, and cared very little about the smaller boys frightened state. He was more concerned with reading, mumbling words about getting sleep before the sun was to come up. A solemn look came over Dr Stanley's face that night, so strong that Dr Goodsir found it hard to even look the man in his darkening eyes. He was uncaring for the passing of the boy and was more than persistent on hacking him to pieces to find the cause of death. 

 

Henry knew he could not go against the wishes of Sir John, nor his superior, however he wished to not have to be the one to do the dissecting. So he placed a sheet over the face of David, wanting the dead body to still have dignity. It disturbed Goodsir a great amount, as he thought life and death to be precious and sacred things. He believed bodies should go to the grave undisturbed and completely at rest, and they are to stay like that in the afterlife as well.

 

England had seemed to have ignored those points completely, hiring body snatchers to do the dirty work. They payed them a fair amount for each one, experimenting in the operating theatre for medical students. Goodsir felt a hatred boil up in him as he dug through Young's body, some blood jumping out to splash across his apron. This boy had no dignity left. His poor soul was to descend from this earth to watch as they hacked away at his own lifeless body.

 

"D-David? What is it?"

 

"Run,Run, Run. He wants us to run!"

 

The words just kept playing over and over again in his mind, like a plague, surrounding every good memory he'd ever had, ever possessed. He would never recover from the images that had been burned into his brain.

 

And what made this worse was remembering the promise he made to David, about returning the ring to his sister so she could sell it off for money. His brows had furrowed at such a request, but understood later in time. The only thing that truly baffled him now was how he was to get it back to his sister, if the boat was lodged in ice. He thinks that now it would have been a good idea to have a pet pigeon on board... whether it would come back or not was undecided.

 

"I'll ask the cook for some grease,or I have an oil of castors...."

 

It was too late...the men had gone out earlier this morning, Mr Hickey, Sergeant Tozer, Manson and Hendricks, at duty call of Sir John to bury the boy, as an act of mercy. It was only when Sir Franklin was making his speech did Dr Goodsir gasp and feel his fingers, wondering to himself if he'd at any point put it on himself for safe keeping. They were bare. 

 

It was too late now, Sir John would never turn the ship around just for a ring. It wasn't as if the boy was a Captain, or even a second, a Lieutenant was just wavering in the line. He was a member of the crew, who kept to themselves. Goodsir was upset by it deeply, as De Stanley could only blankly stare past him, as if he was bored by the mere sight of men and the vast ocean.

 

In a way, he wished to be just like Dr Stanley, never surprised and never happy. It was make life easier in a way, if he was straight to the point. Maybe Dr Goodsir's cheery attitude was the only thing keeping men the slightest bit happy. 

 

And so the thought of David's ring had made its way to the back of his mind, however still lurking around the corner, coming back at his loneliness moments to haunt him forevermore. He had to slap himself for being so stupid and forgetting about grabbing some grease from the kitchen or even the oil of casters that he had placed on his medical shelf.

 

Any hope he'd once had to find it was gone...mostly, he still got a glimmer of hope that someone had noticed when burying the body and decided to take it into their hands. But that thought was quickly scored off his mind, especially after he asked everyone.

 

Until he was scraping the bowels of the HMS Terror, men passing him and pushing him to the side, like there wasn't enough room for two men to pass by one another. The crew had taken a certain dislike to the fragile man, not caring if he was to die anytime soon, as he was only an assistant surgeon on this ship. 

 

Henry thought it to be better than a crew member, as he never took a liking to anything that involved a massive amount of labour. That's why medicine was his job and not plunging into freezing waters to unblock a propeller. He had to congratulate some of the men of course, for their bravery, especially Mr Collins, whom had taken the plunge under command of Sir John.

 

"Dr Goodsir, what is your business down here?”

 

Henry turned at the voice behind him, jumping lightly, heeled shoes echoing around the wooden ship. He didn't expect to be scared by such a gentle voice, but at the same time, he didn't expect to be surprised by anything at all down here.

 

"Oh, Lieutenant Irving, I joined the men on the travel over to this ship, we were bringing Lady Silence back and I wanted to accompany her. I’m here because Of Mr Young’s possessions...you don't happen to know if the members of the party who buried Mr young come back with anything?" 

 

Mr Irving could only quirk his eyebrow, finding it odd that the assistant surgeon would be concerned with such things, especially with a simple crew member. However at the same time he found it oddly heartwarming that he was the only man to care.

 

"Not to my knowledge Mr Goodsir...I can run it by Sergeant Tozer later this afternoon, if you'd like me to?" 

 

He guessed it would have to do, as Henry never knew when he May be needed by any members of HMS Terror, or by the captain for that matter.

 

"Yes, I guess that would be just fine."

 

It lapsed into an awkward silence, the only sound being of the bustling men, whom were lifting things to be transported to the deck. He really should be getting back now, as he got that dreaded feeling in his stomach that Dr McDonald was looking for his assistance.

 

"Yes well...I shall have a talk with Sergeant Tozer...about the whereabouts of the boys possessions." 

 

A nod of Lieutenants head was sent his way and the doctor barely managed a smile, before he tried to scatter off, however a small mumbled of words came from his side, to which he found Mr Manson standing there, eyes large and cheeks were insanely hollowed. His under eyes were a pinky purple, his skin being a deadly white.

 

"Dr Goodsir...if it may help, I was there to bury David. We never saw no ring, not when the casket door came undone. Mr Hickey May know something about it, he was the one to fix the lid back on it."

 

Lieutenant Irving looked at Dr Goodsir from the corner of his eyes, probably trying to tell him something that he didn't know. Henry didn't know whether to trust Mr Hickey with telling him the truth or not, preferring to wait until Lieutenant Irving went and had a discussion with Sergeant Tozer.

 

"Yes...uhh thanks Manson for your help. It is greatly appreciated."

 

Manson shook his head, as if he had more to say and indeed he did, when he lifted his left hand, gesturing to the third finger on where normally a wedding ring would be placed.

 

"That's not all, Lieutenant Irving...I overheard today, between Mr Gibson and Mr Hickey, it was hushed and I-I didn't get all of it, but I saw Mr Hickey lift something out of his pocket. It was shiny, cause the dim light reflected off of it. He gave it to Mr Gibson, who said very little in return, and then he was off. I didn't say nothin', cause I didn't think nothin' at the time. But now, I'm almost certain it was a ring. I thought it was quite absurd, because why would a working man have a ring? I'd never of seen a man with one on this ship, and I didn’t know where he’d get one from.”

 

Manson kept looking around them, probably looking out for Mr Hickey, afraid he might overhear. His accent was thick and his words were shortened. A now raise suspicion had grown between Lieutenant Irving, Dr Goodsir and Mr Manson. 

 

However, the connection was massively made for Lieutenant Irving, as he remember the day he saw them together. Why would he be giving Gibson a ring? It seemed strange and just uncomfortable for all three men. Irving knew There was something missing from the puzzle, and he wanted the events told to him straight by Sergeant Tozer, not by the fumbling anxiety filled boy.

 

"Thank you, again Manson...I shall take your findings into consideration. You May leave now..." 

 

The young boy nodded, seemingly happy with getting that off his chest, relying on Goodsir and Irving to do the right thing and have the man pay the consequences, for in a way grave robbing a dead body. 

 

-

 

“They see the cannon flash from the position camp, and then they mark how long after it the sound arrives, like when you shout down a cave and wait for the echo. They found that the light will travel faster, but less so when it’s colder. Something like that anyway I’ve heard.” He stopped clipping at the other mans nails, turning to look at the deep gash that formed on the top of his forehead, “Do you hear the noise down ‘ere ?” He coughed knowing he wasn’t going to get a reply and continued talking to the motionless figure, “Do you remember that guy on the Prince regent? Remember, the one they used to call the ‘six pounder’? What do you think he’s doing with himself now? If I had a guess he’d be a rent boy.’ 

 

Tozer laughed to himself, stopping when he heard the sound of footsteps growing closer. The curtain of which cut off the two men was slid open and in walked Lieutenant Irving, whom looked yet again flustered as always, like a boy running down a corridor to get to class. Tozer placed a sheet of cloth over the gaping wound, as so Lieutenant Irving wouldn’t see that he was tending to a severely unconscious man

 

"Sergeant Tozer, May we perhaps exchange words?"

 

He delayed a response for a minute, eyes meeting with John’s before he adverted his gaze over his shoulder, to where his friend lay. Lieutenant Irving’s eyes followed with his, gasping lightly as he noticed they in fact were not alone, due to seeing the ‘sleeping’ crew member.

 

“Oh, Excuse me, I thought you were by yourself, Sergeant.”

 

"Mr Hutchinson was just resting. We best leave him to do so, he’s had a rough night. I was just seeing him to sleep.”

 

The opposite man nodded, leading him around to his quarters, opening the door, in to which they both managed to fit (after a good two minutes of adjusting their positions as to not be standing on top of one another, Irving having to tell Tozer multiple times he was standing on his foot). 

 

"I had a talk with Dr Goodsir today, on his trip to here. He was enquiring on the subject of Mr David Young." Tozer nodded him on, "He wanted to know if you'd seen a ring on him or Collected any personal possessions off the body."

 

Tozer searches his mind but nothing came to surface. He didn't remember anything sticking out to him, he was more put off by the dead body that he saw when the casket door came off.

 

"No sir, not to my knowledge, I wasn't really concerned with searching his body, in fact I didn't want anything to do with it, that's why I sent Mr Hickey to the duty of fixing the casket back up."

 

He saw a flicker of something in Lieutenant Irving's eyes and knew immediately that this had something to do with Mr Hickey, most definitely. He didn't know whether to sigh from  anger or to sigh with defeat. The man was slippery and certainly persistent on getting what he wanted.

 

"Manson told Dr Goodsir and I about what he heard this morning between Mr Gibson and Mr Hickey...There was an exchange of a ring supposedly."

 

Tozer's eyes widened slightly, thinking back to burial and how unbelievably persistent Mr Hickey was with fixing the Casket door back on. He thought it to be strange as he hardly knew the boy.

 

"We buried him only a few days ago...As we were lowering him down, the casket lid came undone. We should've just left it and filled the hole back in, but I told Mr Hickey to do so, go and fix the lid back...he was more eager than anyone else would be to do so...he went beyond the call of duty. He clambered down...and we waited and waited for him to resurface, I told him, I shouted at him that it wasn't needed, we'd just fill the hole back in, but no reply came. I thought nothing of it at the time, because sometimes voices can get blown by the wind. I told Manson to go get him...and he came back up...I didn't think he'd steal the boys ring."

 

He watched as Lieutenant Irving nodded, his head falling between his shoulders to stare at the ground. He was at a lost with this man. He seemed like a bag of trouble. It was one thing to have relations with another man, but to steal off of a dead man, was disgusting and cowardly. He didn't know how to reply, now that he'd heard it from Sergeant Tozer it all seemed to be hitting him like a tonne of bricks. He didn't know if he should tell Captain Crozier or any other Lieutenant, or if it should simply be kept between Sergeant Tozer and himself. He'd simply inform Dr Goodsir that he suspected Mr Hickey had something to do with the disappearance of the ring, but to put strain on the fact that he is to not mention his knowledge to Mr Gibson nor Cornelius. 

 

So he simply dismissed Sergeant Tozer with a nod of his head and shut the door behind him, eyes flickering to the cross that hung above his bed frame, shutting and mumbling words in prayer:

 

God Be with me now...”

Chapter Text

"Everyone is so amazed that he's hanging in there like that...it makes sense, he's a royal marine. Now what in the bloody hell do people think that means? No man, no man here but us knows what that means. We did not ask to be here, do we go on about it? No we don't. There is no bonus pay for us, yet we're expected to go and battle that creature on the bloody ice, in the middle of no where, first in line and the first cut down. It's disgraceful if you ask me, that a bunch of men can't handle a bloody bear, and so real men like William, are left to be brain-dead."

 

The conversation filled the ears of Tozer's fellow Royal Marines, eyes staring down at the table as they thought about the horrible fate William had come to meet. His head was slashed open, brain exposed to the air, and the surgeons were now working on him. 

 

None of the men wanted to tell Tozer that they didn't expect him to pull through, and if so not for very long. They couldn't bare to do it, because it was like telling a child that their beloved puppy had died. There was that special bond that Solomon and William had, that no one could take away from them.

 

This conversation was communicated in a low, yet harsh, whisper, backs turned inward, so that the men in the same room wouldn't hear any of it. However it wasn't kept that way, as on the other bench perched Hickey, side turned to Tozer and his peers, ear throbbing with the overload of hatred the royal marine had for command right now.

 

Hickey had to smirk to himself, the man was finally tipped off with how the commanders were dealing with their men and the problems they had succumbed to. The Sergeant was finally understanding that it was Everyman for themselves out here. 

 

That worked perfectly for Hickey, as now with Tozer's false belief in the commanding officers, he'd have no where to turn to but Cornelius. He'd start to believe his every-word, by the end of it he'd have Tozer in his knees begging for Hickeys guidance.

 

"When the commanders fail...We as the people will teach them what's right."

 

He thought back to his first ever encounter with Tozer, disagreements with formed into hatred, and with every passing glance there was betrayal in Tozer eyes. There was no trust there, no even a scrap of it and Hickey could only blame Irving for being such a tattletale.

 

However Hickey was going to change it one way or another. The commanders were taking everything they could out of the men, using them before they died off. Hickey was not blind to such things, he'd seen it before in Queen and country. 

 

He had to be thankful to Gibson, because without him, he'd have no knowledge to the commanders next move. That was one thing that Gibson was useful for, and he'd milk the living days out of Billy, until he was dried up, so that he could always be one step ahead of command.

 

He was starting to run out of people to use, Billy was going to shrivel up soon enough, and Manson and Hartwell were no longer talking to him, if anything very little. They were done with, he could no longer have a hold over them.  

 

So the only man he could think of was Sergeant Tozer, who he knew would prove to be a challenge, a 'bloody royal marine'. He was trained in smartness and a guider, he'd surely see through a thin sheet of lies. Hickey would need to bring him on, find a way to 'seduce' him into control. 

 

He could have easily done the same to Lieutenant Irving, but the man would have crumbled under the lies and betrayal, that surely Mr Hickey would be hung for the Devious seduction of a Lieutenant. Gibson almost once got him in that situation, however if he was to play his cards right, Tozer wouldn't say a word to the commanders.

 

Hickey knew that Tozer was nothing like Dr Goodsir, and with a harder push and much more Intelligence used, he'd have the Sergeant bowing to him in no time.

 

Footsteps sounded against the wooden floor of the boat. They echoed around the seemingly empty corridor, Mr Hickeys eyes looking warily around, invade Lieutenant Irving was watching with Gods eyes. There was no sign of him, as the rhythmic beat of his hardwearing shoes stopped before the ladder, which descended into the bowel of the ship.

 

That's where William lay. He knew because Sergeant Tozer spent most of his time down there, talking to him, Cornelius had heard most of the conversations, and could tell that William meant a lot to Tozer. More than just a measly friend, or as Hickey would call it, more than just someone you'd use and thrown away.

 

He could hear William, the sound of his blood rushing heavily and the moans of pain that pierced through his body day in and day out. Cornelius couldn't hold himself back, especially not when he knew there was a deformed man just under where he slept. He wanted to see the man, to know for himself how Tozer was so intrigued with this man.

 

His boots made their way down the stairs, a lantern lighting his way, the fear of this man behind just behind him, making him jerk and spin on his heel. He shook his head, laughing to himself as he made his way down the dark corridor. He had to make sure he was quiet, couldn't let anyone know he was down in bowels of the ship, Abandoning his duties, nor for Tozer's knowledge.

 

Upon rounding the corner, he came face to face with the curtained door, lantern lifted up to follow his hand, to which he tugged the curtain back to the other end.

 

The smell of rotting flesh hit him quick and he covered his nose with the sleeve of his coat. It was a stench so unbelievably strong it made his stomach churn. This man could not seriously still be alive and if so, would die sooner rather than later. 

 

He made his way over to the bed, sleeve falling from his nose, back to his side again. There he lay, gash covered by cloth, which Cornelius had removed, to poke around lightly with his pointer finger. 

 

"What have they done to you, Willy?"

 

His eyes flickered down to the opposite mans affixed ones, shut with red wax, letter sealing wax. And these were so called Surgeons? What were they waiting for? His head to magically connect back together?

 

He placed the lantern on the bedside table, hands coming out to cup the other mans face. This wasn't William anymore...it was Billy, and oh god how that sight sent a tingle down his spine. It warmed his cheeks and chest. Was he foreseeing the future, or simply a hallucinating mad man.

 

"Does it hurt, Willy?"

 

His finger came back to prod at the wound, digging in to his brain, far enough to produce a flow of blood. Cornelius them retreated his finger, holding it up to view before licking up the length of his calloused pointer finger. 

 

It tasted sour and he immediately spat into his jacket sleeve, a red glob peaking from his full pink lips. Hickey had to declare that so far, Gibson's blood seemed to be a preferred choice, a smile tickling his lips as he recalled the many times he bit the taller mans shoulder, resulting in the drawing of blood.

 

"Can you hear the ghosts then? Like Manson can?"

 

He never hear the footsteps getting closer, until he felt a strong hand curl deathly tight on his wrist. It made his jerk his hand away from the offender, turning to view him completely.

 

"And what do you think you're doing down 'ere, Mr Hickey?"

 

A smile overcame the smaller mans face, eyes wrinkling and chin jutting out. He expected the anger filled reaction of course, he was touching Tozer's 'property', when he wasn't supposed to be doing so.

 

"I heard a noise, thought he'd be waking or something. I wanted to come check."

 

Tozer let ahold of the grip he had on Hickeys wrist, watching to make sure he didn't lay his filthy paws on William ever again.

 

"That should be none of your concern, Mr Hickey. You should be tending to your duties, not bothering yourself with a hurt man, you leave that to me."

 

Hickey let out of laugh again, biting his lips as he realised it might have sounded cheeky. His head was titled to the side, eyes focusing on Sergeant Tozer's facial expressions. He never seen such a blaze of fire and hatred like he did in this mans eyes.

 

"Isn't that Dr Goodsir's job? Or well Dr Stanley's job?"

 

Tozer balled his hands into fists, trying his hardest to keep his calm in front of William. He'd had enough of this sinful man that was before him. He should have believed Lieutenant Irving.

 

"What do you want, Mr Hickey?" 

 

"Over the past few days, I've come to realise Sergeant, that me and you are very alike. We both detest the commanding officers of these ships. Don't think I 'aven't realised, 'aven't heard your little rant last night. I'm not saying I object, Sergeant, In fact, I completely agree..."

 

"What are you getting at?"

 

"I guess what I'm saying, Sergeant is, if you join me, Mr Gibson, Mr Des Voeux, Manson, just to name a few, we'll be able to overpower command, get what we deserve out of it."

 

"What are you, some kind of preacher, Mr Hickey?"

 

"Close...but I'll leave that to Lieutenant Irving, he does it best."

 

He was teasing him now, he wanted to be lashed at and called all sorts of names. He was winding Tozer up until he bursted with hatred.

 

"You want me to join your little, Mutiny? Is that what you're getting at, Mr Hickey?"

 

The young man nodded, a shit eating grin peeling at his face. It was sickening for Tozer, for this man to have the nerves to violate William and then ask him to join his little Mutiny.

 

"Indeed. I mean, it'd make sense wouldn't it? Excuse me for jumping the gun, Sergeant Tozer, but William ain't going to live to see sunrise, and after he passes...what are you going to do with yourself? We'll be forced to walk out of these ships, out into nowhere, where we're free. You don't want to be held under command by Captain Crozier and his idiot of a second, Captain Fitzjames, do you?"

 

Tozer lashes for his throat, thumb digging harshly in to his Adam's apple, his nail cutting through the skin due to force. He was going to throttle him, strangle him until he was begging for air. Pleading for it, down on his hands and knees. 

 

He slammed His head against the wooden walls of the room, knocking the lantern off the table in turn, the light rolling under the bed that William lay on. Hickeys hands came up to grasp at the powerfully strong arm that held him captive. 

 

There was surprisingly very little struggle on Hickeys side, just that ever sticking smirk, and some type of list in his eyes. It irritated Tozer further, dragging Hickey over until his knee connected with the bedside table, the sheer force nearly dragging both of them down.

 

Solomon could simply not let him get away with what he'd said about William. That he was going to die. He didn't understand why this man was so convinced that Tozer was going to join his Mutiny full of fools and dumbos alike.

 

"Let me tell you one thing, Mr Hickey! I ain't no bloody fool, I thought you would have learnt that by now. You can fool Mr Gibson all you want, but you won't pull anything over me, do you understand?"

 

Hickeys face was flustered with lack of air, purple starting to crawl up his neck, Veins popping out in an attempt to cool his body down from overheating. 

 

Tozer threw him to the side, kneeling down beside him on the ground and grabbing his collar, "Get out of my sight, before I do anymore harm."

 

-

 

They carried William to the Carnival on a stretcher, Dr McDonald insisting that they wrap a bandage around his wound, fear of it getting infected by the air from outside. That was fair enough and him and his fellow Royal Marines gladly done. 

 

"Keep him away from liquids and solids, unless being fed. We mustn't risk it getting inside wounds."

 

The night was spend away from the dancing and singing drunks, one of which surprisingly enough was Lieutenant Irving, dressed simply as an angle and singing what seemed to be some christian melody, his words slurred slightly as he made several failed attempts at trying to dance and appear as if he still had control over his own physical actions, but he wasn't pulling anything over Solomon anytime soon.

 

"Should we risk feeding him, or wait for Doctor McDonald to do so?"

 

"Hamstead is the place to ruralise, ritituralize, Extramuralize..."

 

"Keep him upright and he should be fine. The wounds are covered, so the chances are little."

 

Tozer wanted William to be looked after, treated properly, so he didn't see the harm in Hutchins wanting to feed him. The man beside him scoffed, drinking down the glass of gin that was placed in front of him.

 

"Yeah Edward, you klutz! And why are we so far away from everyone else?"

 

"I don't want to make a spectacle out of William, his pain isn't their amusement."

 

That was partly true. He just didn't want to risk the chance of running into Mr Hickey, not for quite some time anyway. He knew he stepped out of line, but he didn't feel as though he could apologise to the devilish man anytime soon. The shorter man gave him the shivers, even when he talked Tozer wanted to attack him.

 

He knew he couldn't think like that, but it irked him when Cornelius had intentionally said William wasn't going to live. Who would say that to someone? 

 

"Gently Edward, massage his neck so the food will make its way down to his stomach."

 

He fixed his paper crown above his head, turning to watch as Hutchins spoon fed William, hand massaging gently at his neck, watching as the man swallowed. He was on the road to recovery, Tozer knew it. He was going to survive and soon he was going to wake up and be okay. Solomon smiled as he watched William swallow all by himself, Edward still helping to ease it down.

 

As long as William was Alive, everything would be fine...

 

"Men! The captain wishes to speak."

 

His stomach sunk heavily. Something wasn't right, or well something wasn't going to be right very soon. He had a dreaded feeling about what the captain had to say, and on top of that, he didn't trust anyone enough to just leave William, especially not if Hickey was walking around freely.

 

So he stood from where he could keep an eye on William, fearing that perhaps the worst could happen and then he'd be the one to save Him. And just like all feelings, most become a reality, the truth that no one expects. They say your stomach starts to hurt when you can sense something bad is going to happen. 

 

He watched as the doctor lit himself up like a bonfire, emotionless as he watched through dead eyes, unconcerning for the other men.  They thought that was all, that a man had only committed suicide. Thought he was just insane, funny too because he was a doctor. 

 

It wasn't until they opened up the way to the kitchen, did flames whip out, licking wildly at everything around them, wood burning fiercely. It wasn't going to be long before the fire would consume the Carnival and also the men. The panic would set in and they'd crush one enough, not caring as they wanted to get out alive.

 

Tozer's sense were filled with frenzied men, screaming out to one another, trampling on top of one another. Solomon hauled William up by his under arms, dragging him across the snowed ground, barging into men who were yelling to be let out. 

 

That feeling in his stomach returned. Dread and fear made his head spin and he thought of one thing, if he couldn't get out alive, he'd get William out alive. He had to get him out, had to both get out alive. He promised him, promised him they'd make it back to the streets of London together, back to travel the seas of another world together. He made a promise he couldn't dare to break. He wouldn't dare hurt William.

 

"William, we'll make it to the Antarctic together, and we'll survive....the women will come calling..."

 

"NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! GET OFF HIM, GET OFF HIM YOU BASTARD! YOU’RE CRUSHING HIM, GET OFF, GET OFF!" 

 

His head was bleeding profusely, the men's trampling didn't help. He pushed people away, screaming in such horror as he watched the life drain from his only friends face. The boy he'd grown up with, sailed the seas with, was dead. Dead by these men's hands. Dead because the surgeons couldn't help him. Dead because the commanders didn't care. 

 

He pushed the men to the side, flipping William over and watched as they continued to stand on him. He was dead. Gone from this earth. Tozer felt tears pricking at his eyes. He didn't want him to leave. Didn't want him to leave so alone and afraid and hurt. He didn't die peacefully, didn't have any dignity when he died. He died in pain.

 

Solomon couldn't help but think about Hickeys words. How he'd spoken the truth, but hadn't even played a part in it. He should have listen, should have trusted Hickey, should have believed in everything he had to say. Then he would have refused to go with William. He wouldn't have died so horribly. He would've gone out like a lightbulb, happily dimming to rest with nothing but the voice of a dear friend to lull him to sleep.

 

A cry of pain sounded as the tent burnt to the ground. He had to leave William there, he couldn't drag him out, it was too late. He weeped until the sun came up, watching as the bodies were dragged out, laid side by side. He cradled Williams burnt face in his hands, crying the same thing over and over again, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry....'

 

"You'll always be there with me, Solomon? Us together, for always?"

 

"Of course I will Willy, us two together, never apart..."

 

"Not even when we die?"

 

"Not even when we die...."

Chapter Text

Solomon has never seen a knife cut so sharply before, right through the flesh with a clean slice, and the head came off, wound pouring with blood, which flowed out to stain the cream stones. He was ruthless, tongue daringly darting out to lick a stripe up the knife, which was gripped tightly in his right hand (Knuckles unbelievably white, skin straining and tearing with the ever tightening grip), revealing a reflection of Cornelius and Tozer just over his shoulder. 

 

No one could hear them out in the vastness of the land, stretching more than a thousand miles away from England. He would be wrong to say he felt completely at ease, knowing that his younger brother was waiting patiently on his return, which Tozer was now more than certain would never come.

 

They'd walked out, abandoned the ships and left for England. A secret Mutiny that Hickey had promised him would happen, was formed. Gibson was heavily gullible, Hickey only telling him what he wanted to hear and as long as Billy was happy, then Cornelius was as well.

 

He wiped the blood on his marine jacket, kissing it before placing it safely in his jacket pocket, buttoning it up. It felt weird to say he trusted this man, whom just a few months ago, tipped him off beyond belief. 

 

He felt oddly safe with Hickey, like a child to a mother, he was following his every move. He felt obedient, obeying his every command and following his set rules. Soon enough, Tozer was certain they'd split from the others, left to fend for themselves against that beast. They'd take it down with one foul swoop and behead the creature.

 

Sooner or later their 'once commanders' would need to kneel down to them, kiss their toes and worship them like the hero's they are. No one would simply kill a powerful bear for Queen and country, Tozer was doing it to protect Cornelius from the pain this creature could possibly cause him. 

 

"Ain't they going to notice the dogs gone?"

 

Hickey turned to him from his hunkering state, a wicked grin peeling at his cracked and chapped lips. He laughed lightly at the worry that was apparent in the mans face.

 

"It broke its leg, Solomon, we done what we had to, spare the dogs dignity by putting it outta it's misery." 

 

Tozer slowly nodded, eyes searching all around incase someone from the camp had been watching them. He didn't need to understand Hickeys reasoning and he wouldn't question him for killing the dog, after all Hickey knew best. 

 

Gibson didn't think the same as Tozer did, rather ticked off by the time the two had been spending together. Solomon tried not to take such notice to his attitude toward the two of them, but it was hard when his attitude was filled with jealousy. Hickey had told him of Gibson's sourness, growing ever more after Cornelius had broken off any form of relationship with Gibson.

 

"That's what we'll tell Lieutenant Hodson anyway. He'll believe it, and he'll have to join us, because he knows the commanders don't give a rats ass about us. I'm not complaining though, soon this Mutiny will set off, no one will command us but ourselves."

 

Tozer smiled and nodded, Hickey stepping away from the dogs body, wiping the wet blood from his lips. How Tozer longed to kiss his lips, feel the soft tissue on his own, to explore the inside of his mouth with his warm tongue. He could have Hickey if he wanted to, vice versa, and what could Gibson object to it. He couldn't.

 

Would it make Gibson mad for him to know that Hickey belonged to Tozer, and Tozer belonged to Hickey. To know that the love that Hickey once had for Gibson, was now all for Solomon. 

 

"And what of Lieutenant Irving, if he is to hear of these things?"

 

It was a short question, but complex in itself. It was a question that they'd both been thinking, Tozer being the only one who could actually force it out. Lieutenant Irving had been sniffing around lately, growing suspicious of the closeness of the Caulker Mate and Sergeant.

 

“Don’t be worrying, I’ll deal with him.”

 

"One day, I hope to be just like my big brother...he's in the Royal Marines..."

 

Tozer cocked his gun, left eye shutting instinctively, pointer finger on the trigger.  He'd heard movement just from in front of him. The mist was blocking view of the landscape, and he was suddenly left alone, to fend for himself.

 

It's breath was hot on his neck, bold enough to shake his shaggy hair. It's breath stank of rotting flesh, invading his senses was this horrific beast. Cornelius had ran away. He wasn't anywhere in sight.

 

He was alone. 

 

His pointer finger clicked down on the trigger, a loud blast sounding around him. He had heard the seventh trumpet calling, the angles stood there, above the steps as they lead to heaven. He saw God. Dressed in the whitest robes, skin white as light. The angels sounded the trumpets again, and he saw the devil, on the steps toward hell. They were calling for him, fingers curling and voices powerful.

 

"And what did you see in the Artic....?"

 

He heard a growl in his ear, spit falling to gather in the hollow of this collarbone. His shirt was stained with blood. Did he kill the creature? Was it dead? He'd done it...he had killed the creature. 

 

"I saw the world Johnny..."

 

He saw William on the steps next, beside God, dressed in white and so ethereal like. His wound was still open, but with a touch, it was concealed. Tozer gasped, stepping back. What was he seeing? Was he hallucinating? He feared he was, and so no longer wanted to see such things. He was afraid of it.

 

The trumpet was sounded again, this time much louder than before, the noise piercing his ears, making them bleed with the frequency. He covered them, but that did not help. His ears beating like drums, screaming like whistles. What was happening to him? Was he dying? 

 

He screamed out in agony, tumbling to the ground as he watched William descend the stairs. It was growing unbearably loud the closer he got, white robes flowing longer than any dress Solomon had ever seen.

 

"I'm sorry William, so sorry, so so sorry!" He was crying now, right hand held out to shield him from the glowing light that was William. 

 

Then the noise stopped. White noise surrounding him, and everything seemed to disappear. The angels were gone, William was gone, God was gone along with the devil. The only person that was with him now, was Cornelius.

 

He watched as he slit open the dogs belly, hands covered in blood as he removed the intestine, hands digging deeper to remove the liver, throwing the things to the side. The creature was nothing but meat, skin and bones. Now, as he watched Hickey cut the leg of the dog off and the stomach and place them in the bag they'd brought, he felt slightly sick to see the sorry sight.

 

"We should be getting back soon, they'll be wondering where we are."

 

The smaller man stood up, hands being wiped clean by his naval coat. Tozer thought to himself, how he'd never dirty such a thing, especially not his royal marine jacket. He remembers being given it, a pat on the back and a well done was said to him. He'd never felt such pleasure and happiness in his entire life. 

 

"Are you afraid of what Lieutenant Irving will say, if he finds we're gone?"

 

Tozer shook his head, watching as Hickey kicked the poor dog over the side of the stony hill, it's deflated body rolling only a few inches before lying miserably on the bottom.

 

"No...of what Gibson will say."

 

Cornelius shook his head, buttoning up his coat, making his way over to Solomon while doing so. 

 

"How many times do I need to tell you, Solomon. Gibson is no longer of my concern....he shouldn't be of yours either."

 

-

 

"We best keep our talk low, you never know who's listening in."

 

Hickey didn't understand why Lieutenant Hodson was so tense, not like he was going to pull a knife on him or anything. He wouldn't do that to Hodson, as he'd never done anything bad to Cornelius.

 

"Very well..."

 

His voice was shaky, like he was scared of the two men that sat with him, which Solomon didn't understand. Him as a Lieutenant was afraid of a royal marine and a petty officer? 

 

"What was it that happened to Morfin last night?"

 

The older man adjusted himself, shifting in his seat. His body language was stiff and unsettled, keeping himself to himself.

 

"He was in too much pain. He became desperate-"

 

"Because he was ill..." Tozer shrugged, Hickeys eyes looking to meet his. Solomon understand Morfin was Ill, he just wanted to know if it was something serious, so when this Mutiny would come about, the problem could be easily solved, "Ill how, Lieutenant Hodson?"

 

"It was scurvy...I suppose." He shrugged. This bastard didn't have a fucking clue what he died of, either that or he didn't want to tell. Cornelius could only shake his head, jaw hard as he tried not to make this encounter with Hodson any more awkward than it was already, "Many men have been showing signs of Scurvy-"

 

"It ain't Scurvy."

 

"Dr Goodsir said-"

 

"Dr Goodsirs lying to you....lying to all of us. He knows it ain't scurvy. He doesn't know what it is" Hickeys eyes met Solomon's, sharing the look of, 'Jesus, what else has he been lying to everyone about', " As is the Captain. And not only about this. What has so terribly happened to Morfin, is happing to us right now. And they know it, our commanding officers know it. It's those tins...it won't stop until we say out with the tins. But we can't just say that, it's the only food we have. I bet they've put something in them, to make us weak, make us feel weird, it's been building up in our body. It'll soon take over."

 

Hodson scoffed, holding his body closer to himself, "And how do we know this? How can you be certain of such an accusation?"

 

It was silent, the outside noise filling in to the tent, before Solomon spoke up, saving Mr Hickey's hide, "Someone from Erebus, overheard a conversation that Mr Goodsir was havin'. He was telling Doctor McDonald and Peddie, something of the sorts at the Carnival." Tozer looked at Lieutenant Hodson in confusion, shoulders raising, "Yet...no one bothered to tell you?"

 

Hodson sighed, a tighter grip forming on his hat, before speaking again, "But if that's true...what can we do about it? Surely that informations for Captain Croziers ears only."

 

"Don't be stupid, we have just as much right to know as he does. We're the people who will drive this expedition back to shore, not them. Men are smarter than ever now, we need to survive and of command ain’t helping toward it, we’ll find another way around it.”

 

"We have nothing else to eat...the tins are the only thing we have...Captain Crozier himself is eating them for gods sake!"

 

Hickey played with his knife, twisting it into the mat he sat on, watching as it dipped inward, "We're starting to move south now. There'll be animals there, fresh animals to eat."

 

"We'll then what is the matter, Mr Hickey? We will get away from these tins, to fresh meat."

 

"Well...say there's animals there, we catch one of them, lucky enough we'll get three, or even four. It'll get us off these tins. But, it's not only that, that we have to worry about...it's what'll happen once we have that meat..."

 

Hickey hinted with his head for Solomon to give Lieutenant Hodson the ages, watching as it was thrown to his feet. The older man opened it, cautiously, still considering that Cornelius Hickey was sitting opposite him.

 

"Who's this? Who's this man?" Hickey looked down at his knife, shaking his head, "well? Answer me, who is this man?"

 

"It ain't no man, Mr Hodson....but it did belong to one."

 

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

 

It was now Hickeys turn to scoff, shaking his head, "Just listen to me. You know, just like Sergeant Tozer and I, that with this much meat, we could have a good feast. Right now, all three of us together. With this food, we won't go hungry for days. No more stomach pains, no more thoughts about eating the leather of our boots." Hickey furrowed his brows, "We could have this meat to us...or we could stick to Croziers plan. We have to divide this meat between the men, like Jesus feeding the thousands. Only not. There wouldn't be enough to go around, is what I'm getting at, Mr Hodson. There wouldn't be enough to fill any man at the table. Now, even if we do come across more animals, more than this, even with the help of this lands people, we would agree that those numbers are not proper. There would be men we could not feed, and who doesn't want to be fed? His plan failed from the very beginning."

 

Hodson closed his eyes and Hickey looked over at Solomon, a small smirk covering his lips and a wink being thrown his way. Solomon managed a weak smile back.

 

"God blind me. You didn't do right, Mr Hickey. This dog was for our own safety against this creature."

 

Hickeys smirk quickly faded, Tozer swallowing heavily before grabbing at his gun, ready to go when the command was given.

 

"It was no use, it broke its front leg on the rocks, came tumbling down the hill at a brave rate. Do you not understand? I found it. And I done what anyone else would do, I gone and put it out of its misery. I'm not asking you to believe it, but it's what happened, Mr Hodson."

 

"Then what are you asking of me? What do you want from me? A man like me?"

 

"Do you think one day, I'll be able to become a Marine, just like you Solly?"

 

"You know that the day will come. Us men will have to fend for ourselves. We need a leader, someone who understands we have needs, urges, which have been suppressed. You'll lead us, we'll follow your commands. Mr Hodson, we do what we have to do to survive, even if it doesn't conform to the law. You let me be your Lieutenant, in this new ordeal, and we'll get out together."

 

Tozer left the tent, he felt oddly sick being in that tent, eyes blurring as he wandered around, boots clamping down against the stones, until he bumped in to someone, hands coming to grasp the mans face, a mop of hair consuming his hands.

 

"See, you lie down with a dog, and you'll get sick."

Chapter Text

The sun had previously warmed his back, cold air now rattling his bones, chilling him to the core. The sun had disappeared now, replaced by the moon and it's silver light. Everyone could feel it, the temperature changing, fear gathering heavily in their stomachs as they were forced to climb the hill, to where they could see the further darkening horizon. 

 

Most of them have been unwillingly chained up after being knocked out. Cornelius knew that if anyone had found out about his plan to commit himself fully to this beast, to dominate it like a master, they'd have ran away. He couldn't have Tozer getting scared and doing just that.

 

Tozer didn't know how to feel, betrayed. To be chained up with the other men like some dog, felt degrading. He thought Cornelius cared about him, or wanted to at least, that he'd show mercy upon Solomon and have him be placed at a safe distance from the attempt to seduce this creature.

 

His back hurt, his shoulders, his legs, his feet, his whole body ached from over working. He wished to be anywhere but here, back in that bloody ship, when William was still alive, and he'd tell him what to do, and what not to do. 

 

He couldn't help but feel the burn of betrayal against William and John. Little John, the person he loved and cared for the most in this sickening work, he'd never get to see him again, or hold him again, to tell him stories of his travels. 

 

He was going to die out here, painfully, his last thoughts of Johns face, the dimples that glowed as he laughed along with Solomon. His brother. A tear slipped down his dirty face, splashing upon one of the creamy beach stones. Everything that was at home for him, his mother, his father, he'd never get to see them again. They're never get to see him again.

 

His eyes began to well up, giving the boat one last heave up the hill, before collapsing helplessly to the floor. He wasn't even useful for this, for anything anymore. Solomon wanted to be home, at the fire where his mother was, where she'd cradle his head, kiss him goodnight.

 

He missed her so much. He missed her voice, her tales, her loving manners. He'd never had the time to tell her how grateful he was for her existence, instead travelling off on the prince regent, William following in tow.

 

The last time they'd talked, it had been in argument. That's when he signed up for the Franklin expedition, thinking nothing of the fact that he may never get to see her again. Never get to see his little brother ever again. 

 

He knew John would come looking for him, but what he might find would upset him. To know his brother became disturbed and ate his own species. That his brother was being controlled and played with, by a devious Seducer. Maybe he'd find his body, and then would he want to become a royal marine?

 

"Are you going back to Artic again, Solly?"

 

He was only ten years of age, tears threatening to spill out of his eyes as he held his side, not wanting to let him go, begging as Solomon boarded the ship, his little brother shouting for him to come back, snotty nose staining his jacket. 

 

The stain was still there, tear stains of his little brother. He should have listened to him, never letting him go or leaving him again. He'd done both of those things, and now what was John to think of him?

 

"Soon men, soon you'll see!"

 

Tozer braced his exhausted body against the side of the wooden boat, feeling his head swim with emotion. It was too much, the dreaded feeling of knowing one is to die is sickening. He didn't understand what badness he'd done to deserve this injustice, this end of life.

 

"You'll see Solomon...something so beautiful."

 

He highly doubted that, sick making its way up his throat, as he emptied the contents of his stomach upon the white washed stones. The moonlight Shawn upon the men, like a death wish for them to forever remember.

 

What made him so ill was how mentally insane Cornelius was to make this decision, to tie up these men, men who just wanted to be free and at home, to do the dirty work of killing this beast. Solomon shouldn't have ever trusted Hickey, should have never left the camp where it was safer than here. He should have died with William.

 

He should have been crushed a long with William. Then they'd die together, like they were supposed to, and now William was watching from heaven, watching as Tozer failed so miserably to follow leadership.

 

At the beginning the was only one Captain. Sir John Franklin. Now, there seemed too many to count. He couldn't even look Crozier in the eyes. He felt disgusted at himself for turning his back to such a caring commander, especially after everything he'd been through.

 

He couldn't believe he'd been so blind. He should have listened to Lieutenant Irving, and now he was dead because of Cornelius. He should have been hung, the both of them, covered from head to toe in shame and the pain they've added to these men.

 

Men died because of them. Innocent men. That made his stomach turn even further, throwing up again, watching as blood heaved up, clumps upon clumps of it, his head resting limply against his blood soaked arm.

 

"I can feel it...it's coming men."

 

Solomon never actually thought he'd make it this far. Never thought he'd survive. God had given him so many chances to turn his life around, to stop going against command...he didn't listen. He'd made a mistake about leadership...they weren't misleading anyone, they weren't treating the men as if they were dogs. They were trying to get everyone out alive.

 

The wind made a sad noise as it surrounded the men, a cry for help, to turn and run. Solomon was chained up, he couldn't run if he wanted to.

 

"Fire a shot, Pilkington do it now."

 

It was going to come and kill them all, like he'd seen in the hallucination. He would die, a soulless body floating around the Antarctic, trapped forever with his bad deeds, constantly circling him, reliving his last few days, never being able to change.

 

The noise was loud, irritating Solomon's ears, hands being too weak to come up and cover his ears. It pierced the silence that filled the air, a signal for the animal to come closer. Tears slid down his face as he thought about John. The presentation he made at the May fair, sheet of ivory paper in his hands, the largest smile on his face, when he read the words.

 

"Here, Terror!"

 

He so pompously stood a top the boat, smile tickling his cracked lips. These men were misled, not knowing any better in their state. Insane men. Unhealthy men, doing anything to survive, thinking Cornelius was going to offer them that.

 

Solomon propped back up against the boat, hands on his knees as he stared at his reflection in the pool of blood. He had betrayed himself, disappointed himself. 

 

He'd never been shown any affection from girl, or any attention for that matter. He was a normal man, walking down the streets of his home town. He was a carpenter by trade, following in his fathers footsteps, taking over the trade for the family after his passing. He was the bread winner for his family. Not anymore he wasn't. He was a sad, disgusting and terrified man in the middle of nowhere. Strip him naked and he'll have nothing, no dignity, no love, no happiness, no respect for himself.

 

"Where was he last seen?"

 

Solomon's head started to pound again as he saw the face of his mother before him, eyebrows furrowed as her dainty fingers reached out to stroke his face.

 

"My dearest darling, what has happened to you...?"

 

He hiccuped, rough and bloody hands stretching in front of him, to hold her close to him and whisper of his sorrow. She always cared, always listened to him and what he had to say. What would she do once she found he was dead, gone from this world, just like his father?

 

"Two miles south, he seemed to have a weak left side by the looks of it..."

 

She disappeared before his eyes, face in horror. She was gone. Forever, and that was the last time he'd ever see her. He tugged harshly on his chains, pushing off the boat, trying to break the chain with his might, but to no avail.

 

"LET ME OFF THIS CHAIN!" He stared Hickey in the eyes. This was not the man he'd got to known. This man was something else. His eyes had turned an icy blue, piercing into the skin of Solomon.

 

"It's sick...sick from what it's eaten, Mr Hickey."

 

Cornelius didn't pay any attention to Tozer's attempts to rid himself of the tight chains, rather listening to the guidance from Captain Crozier. He found it rather funny. Cornelius didn't like command and he didn't want to follow it, but yet he listened to the man he hated the most.

 

"CORNELIUS!"

 

He hunkered down, starting off in front of them. That's where the beast would come from. The boat was facing south, they'd have time to see it coming and brave themselves to attack it.

 

"Dis-moi ce que tu manges....je te dirai ce que tu es."

 

He thought about praying, he actually thought about it. Who would he even pray to? There was no god there to care for him, probably no William either. If he was to know what Solomon had become, would he answer with care, or would he answer with hatred.

 

"You are despicable, Solomon...."

 

"One more time Mr Hodson, in English."

 

That smirk has reappeared again. Full of glory and pumped with ego. John had told him not to get close to men like that, they scared him. They scared Solomon too.

 

"Tell me what you eat...and I shall tell you what you are..."

 

Hickey laughed smugly, tongue darting out to wet his dry and seriously cracked lips. His voice was full of pride and cheek.

 

"I detect a double meaning there, Mr Hodson!"

 

Mr Hodson didn't care what Cornelius could detect, instead continuing to whisper to himself in broken French. Solomon's mind floated to a memory of once meeting the most beautiful, ethereal French girl, a smile like a thousand kisses and a cheer that no one from England could ever accomplish. She was truly amazing, but...she didn't think Solomon was of the sorts.

 

"If we don't meet the creature soon. We will set up a signal fire on this hill, try to get it here as fast as possible."

 

Cornelius jumped to reassure his men, but Tozer didn't care for a word he had to say. It was like venom. One lie after another, after another and another. He couldn't give these men what he had promised. Couldn't give them the freedom that they so desperately craved.

 

"Now, it may not have its senses about, it may need our help to find us..."

 

What did it fucking matter? Here these men were, head to toe in rags. A few months ago these men were dressed respectfully, treated with respect and love. Who'd known that a few months ago, they'd be standing here, chained up, waiting for death to come, signalling death.

 

"Have we invited it here then, to give it a royal death?"

 

Royal death? By what means was this a royal death. Look at yourselves. You're not men of royalty, you're slaves, in-salved men, who have been brainwashed and told what to believe. By a petty officer.  

 

"If it's Ill, we should put every shot we have in it's god damn head...it won't take much to kill it, by all means." He looked up at Hickey, "come on, now, while it's weak."

 

"I have a different plan."

 

Solomon grit his teeth, "Well maybe it's time, that you told us what this 'plan' is...or were you planning to keep that from your men?"

 

Cornelius didn't budge at the comment, staring forward into the distance as one other man answered for him,"This creature has everything we need...meat and fur. We can make coats out of it, for all of us, have a feasting for a month without going starving. We'll make it back to London! We'll survive and live to tell about it.."

 

"You think we're going back, Hendricks? No...."

 

"Then where else are we hoping to go? Look around us Cornelius, there's nothing here....just an eerie barrenness that follows for hundreds of miles!"

 

A panic overcame the smaller mans face, his strong and powerful persona faltering heavily as his eyes no longer held a glint of happiness, "I can't go back...I won't go back...We won't go back."

 

Silence followed after that statement, as Tozer felt the need yet again to throw up, instead coughing into his sleeve. Nothing but blood soaked into his dirt stained shirt. 

 

Then an awful gurgling sound came from the other side of the boat, a heck load of blood rushing out. Solomon's mind could only run with theories on why they were starting to throw blood up. This was not a coincidence between them all. Solomon simply didn't throw up blood because he was nervous and scared for his life...nor did this man. There was something else to it, but what? Was it poison? It seemed highly unlikely. Was it what they'd been eating? Were their bodies not used to it? No...surely they would have been throwing blood up all those other times as well.

 

"A man called Cornelius Hickey, had told me this expedition was for a year in the polar seas...and then we'd be out the other side." Solomon slowly raises his head, eyes locking with those of Croziers, whom could only stare at him with the same intensity, "He had told me, that these ships plan was to stop at the so called, Sandwich Islands, and we, the crew, were going to dry out in the sun. I thought to myself, another side of the world? A year is nothing in a humans life. So...I stabbed him...left him in a canal somewhere...and instead of him, it's me that here."

 

Solomon could only place his head in his hands, mind practically on fire. He trusted his life in the hands of a murderer. A criminal. Crozier lay back against the rock, hand lying against his stomach.

 

"You could have just joined up, like every other man..."

 

Cornelius ignored him, a smirk playing on his foul lips, the lips of a liar, "I was going to show you my heels when I got to those islands. I was going to start over, start a-new." He laughed, head falling down, before he lifted it back up to look out into the distance, "I saw the drawings of the ships in the newspapers...Oahu...Maui...they sound so nice. But no one daren't tell me I'd be out here, freezing to death, for three fucking years, did they? I know how to survive out here, anyway, so fuck London, I ain't going back, there's no home there for me. I'm only going forward." He lifted his arms up, knife in hand, "So call it with me now boys, come on now, all together!"

 

No one even cared to look at him. No one wanted to. He was a liar, he was a cheat, a fraud. A dirty little lying rat. He was the rats that spread the plague through the innocent. These men that had died, died with no dignity...no love and no respect. They died not knowing that the real Cornelius Hickey wasn't like this...that the real Cornelius Hickey was dead in a fucking canal, abandoned, while his poor mother wondered where he was. Another innocent man to be placed on the chopping board. It made Solomon think...why would god allow such a thing to happen?

 

"Is William going with you, Solly...?"

 

"God bless our native land, may heaven's protecting hand..."

 

"Why...?"

 

"Still Guard our shores, May peace her power extend...."

 

"I want to know that you're safe...."

 

"Foe... COME ON MEN! THIS HAS TO CARRY, COME ON, SING IT LOUDLY!"

 

These men were not cut for this. No man was. We were not built for a war, nor a flood of hatred. We were built to protect our families, our homes, ourselves. We were not built to be machine men. We were not built to kill one another. We were built to stand with one another, to protect one another, to love one another. Not to destroy one another.

 

"God bless our native land..." they barely sung, they simply mumbled, Solomon could only watch. How could his life crumble to easily under the hands of one man. One man done this...he done all of this. 

 

It's so pathetic...he's so pathetic. To trust a man, with his life. To trust this man especially with his life. The only people he used to trust were William, John and his mother. The only people who'd never done him any wrong. Never belittled him, never betrayed him...never forced him to do anything.

 

"WE'RE HERE, BUGGER VICTORIA, WE'RE HERE! BUGGER NELSON! BUGGER JESUS! BUGGER JOSEPH AND MARY! BUGGER THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY! NONE EVEN WANTED NOTHING FROM ME!" He laughed, eyes creasing with pure joy. It made Solomon sick to the stomach. This man was feeding off of other men's sadness, and he loved it!

 

"Oh shit, It's here, it's fucking here!" There was panic in the men's voices and action, making Solomon jump to his feet, bracing against the wooden cracked boat, trying to hardest not to faint from the rush of blood.

 

"Hand me your glass, Magnus, come on!"

 

The wind was hitting them harder now, Solomon could feel it, like a hit of ice against ones hot body.  The end was nigh. He could feel it, could feel death creeping up to him. He wondered would he feel any pain? Would he be damned to hell? Would he be sent to live an eternity burning for his sins? Would god accept him if he repented his sins? 

 

He begged for forgiveness, eyes squeezing shut as he begged and begged. He never thought it would come to this, never thought it would come this far. A man...warned of a devious Seducer by a man of god, didn't take heed. He walked willingly down that pathway. He accepted it. Lieutenant Irving was right all along. 

 

Lieutenant Irving. Solomon should have told them what Cornelius had done. Given the man some dignity and all due respect. He died in sadness and pain. But for that man, there will be an afterlife, of happiness. A happiness he deserved. A happiness Solomon also deserved.

 

The tuunbaq was hot on their tails, running straight for them. It didn't exactly show any signs of being wounded, and it most certainly didn't have a weak left side. 

 

"Are we going to kill it or what?"

 

They were afraid, just as new born babies. These men weren't fighting for liberty, they didn't even know what their liberty was. They'd die not thinking of what they've done to protect themselves, to protect their country to protect the others around them, they'd die afraid, scared, begging and pleading for their 'mummy's'. 

 

"Let it come, Mr Des Voeux, unless you want to miss?"

 

There was excitement in his voice, this was nothing for him. He wanted power and would do anything for it, even if it meant destroying men to get to it. He lifted his own glass, shakily, closing one eye to look through it. 

 

"Open yourself to courage, men."

 

These men were afraid. And afraid man doesn't open himself to courage, he doesn't have any courage. There is a fear in Everyman, it is instinct. You either learn to suppress it and become a fool in doing so, opening yourself to danger, or you learn to live with it.

 

"What if we're not the hero's of this story?"

 

Solomon used to want to protect Cornelius at all costs...he couldn't now, couldn't bring himself to do so. There was a sharp pain in his heart, making him lightly grab it. It hurt it legs, his arms, his head, his entire body, he couldn't breath.

 

"It'll go after those who run first."

 

It was getting closer, closer with each aching heartbeat. He looked up at the start filled sky, mumbling a payer to god. He didn't want to die. He couldn’t die here anyway, couldn’t leave his brother and mother to fend for themselves, couldn’t die knowing all these things.

 

I’d like to sign up for the Royal Marines, please...”

 

"Every story you've been told about the holy throne of Britain...has a good lot of shine on it, don't it? But I bet you men have never saw in Shoreditch the breath of God in the air. Never has a man met someone with his soul taken out. Men...there was holy things before us."

 

He saw his little brother before him, a gash across his left cheek, like a knife cut, but not as deep. That fucking Anders kid had hurt him again, and Solomon couldn't be there for him. He was crying as he stood there, desperation in his eyes. John was hurt, and Solomon couldn’t help make it better. 

 

"Magnus, Mr Des Voeux, come forward with the others, stagger your positions on the line.

 

They were right to hide away, like children. That's all these men were in the end. Frightened children. But Tozer wasn't going to stand here with Crozier, to fend for himself alone, he was going to kill all the bastards, have them killed. He wasn't going to be the only one to die a slave to Cornelius, he wasn't going to be chained up, able to run no where, if they could. 

 

"When it comes over the top, it will have its head low, so anticipate that with your aim, men." 

 

He was taking over control, showing Hickey he wasn't a wash over, he was a strong man, like his mother had always told him. The boy that had thrown up let out a horse cry, toppling over to the ground, crying out in pain.

 

That thought replayed in his mind. It was something they ate, but what did they eat? He couldn't even remember. Did they find an animal to devour? No. They'd ate Dr Goodsir...a fucking doctor.

 

"Our Empire is not the only Empire. We see that now, today."

 

Solomon turned to Des Voeux, his face was frightened, horrified, a deathly pale. The light of the moon Shawn off it, making him look corpse-like.

 

"If you run, You will die! If you miss, we'll die!" His, Hodson's and Croziers life was on the line, to a bunch of petty officers, to men who didn't know how to fire a fucking gun, probably had never seen a gun until now. But there was Tommy. An innocent man, just trying to do the right thing. Being forced into this predicament . He'd do as Solomon said, he was scared and he knew it, "Tommy, give me the gun. I'm the best bloody shot we got here!

 

Mr Hoar made a run for it, looking back as he ran. What a fucking fool, a fucking fool. Didn't he just hear what Crozier had to say, and if Tommy handed his gun to Solomon, they'd all be fine, they'd survive this mess. They'd make it back to England, back to their mothers, if they just fucking listened to him. Where was his respect? 

 

"There's nothing that way, Mr Hoar!" It was said in a sing song voice, teasingly and So childishly. Tommy just continue to stare at him through the viewfinder on his gun. Crozier nodded at him to do so, but Tommy was frightened, like all of the men, he couldn't stop shaking.

 

 

Tommy pointed the gun at Cornelius, catching him unaware as the insane man stared through the glass. He was going to do it, they were going to survive, if he just pulled the trigger quicker.

 

It echoed around the surrounding area, Tommy falling heavily back against the beach rocks, head cracking and splitting against the sheer force of the impact of when he collided against the stones.

 

"I'm so sorry Tom, oh god!"

 

"It's here now, before me!" His gun was cocked and he braved it against his shoulder, visibly shaking from fear.

 

"Hold it, Private, hold it god dammit!"

 

There it was in its fully glory, fur shining a dull white in the pale moon light. Such a horrific creature, with a body as such and a face too human like to be one of God's creations. It let out a shrill noise, the breath of it visible in the night. It stood taller than any man and wider than any ship he'd ever seen.

 

Solomon's eyes met Crozier's and they nodded, Hodson pulling at the front, then all of them following in suit. It shifted the boat, but the chains were relentless, making Cornelius fall backwards into the boat, head colliding with the wooden floor.

 

"Run the chain back, run it back!"

 

The four men restarted, Hodson running ahead to the body of Tommy, grabbing for the keys, there was sheer panic, men running for their lives, while this beast chased after them. 

 

It was chaos. An apocalyptic chaos. Tommy was dead, Diggle was now dead, having ran and being devoured by the creature, all while Hodson picked for the keys, Solomon and Captain Crozier taking shelter beside the boat, which was out of view of the creature.

 

"Hurry up Hodson, COME ON!"

 

"Be still god dammit, be still, don't move, unless you want to fucking die!" He shuffled toward Hodson in his side, whom was still grabbing for the keys. 

 

"Stop moving now, Hodson!"

 

He was lifted into the air, body thrown from side to side like a child with a rag doll. He was gone, the sounding of a sickening crunch telling them so. Solomon's head started to spin, as he found it hard to believe if this was real or just a dream. It was too much, this simply couldn't be reality.

 

Solomon and Crozier pulled back on the chain, watching as the other man ran, digging himself under the boat, Tuunbaq running furiously after it with such horsepower, a man shouldn't be able to out run. 

 

Tuunbaq rocked the boat, furious with the escapee. Solomon let his head rest back up against the wooden boat, Crozier laying beside him. They had to keep quiet now, they couldn't make any noise. Well, that was the plan, but he was ripped from under the boat, harsh screams rolling through the air.

 

Solomon and Crozier were ripped from their hidden spot, being exposed completely to the monster, but keeping up their act of being dead.

 

"Magnus come and see, don't be afraid."

 

Solomon stood up, the creature now too occupied to care or notice that Tozer had found the keys to their chains, "there!" He wasted no time in undoing his chains, shaking as he missed the keyhole every time. He kept his attention on where the animal was, figuring how much time he had to kill it, and where would be the best place. 

 

The neck. It'd bleed out from there the easiest. "Captain!",Crozier threw him Tommy's gun, and Solomon threw him the keys, nodding swiftly before catching the gun in his left hands, swapping it to his right, bracing it against his shoulder, "thanks."

 

Solomon walked up to it, gun trembling in his hands, eye searching through the viewfinder, he had to do this, go through with it. If not for himself but for William, this fucking animal done the damage and now it was going to pay. Once he got close enough, it turned to face him, away from the body of Magnus. It let out one of the loudest and most animalistic noises he’d ever heard, his body being thrown into the air, projected across the barren outstretched land, to where he roughly collided on the beach stones. He couldn’t tell if he’d been physically damaged, or it was the cold air on his head.

 

He could hear nothing but a ringing in his ears, a dizzy and blurred vision taking over his normally clear one. So this is what death was like? a seemingly silent killer. He had managed to roll his head around, watching upside down as Cornelius held something in his hand, blood dripping from his mouth. 

 

"One day, I hope to be just like my big brother...he’s in the Royal Marines...”

 

And he watched as Cornelius was ripped apart, face contorted in horror. Hickey hadn't survived, but if Solomon could manage to make it to his feet, he would have a chance to outrun it. He would be a survivor, living to tell the story.

 

He stumbled to his feet, hands balancing against the ground as he ran off, into the distance, the barrenness welcoming him its opening arms and a chilling air against his face.   He never thought he'd survive. Of all people, he made it out. And he was going to make it back to England, he was going to make it back to John and His mother and say screw the fucking Royal Marines, you never gave a shit when we needed you most, when we were out there starving to death, freezing to the core, we never once were rescued by your men, we were out there to fend for ourselves.

 

And he would tell them that, to their faces, as he spat so ruthlessly. He was not going to fight for these machine men, with machine brains, but for his family, for his home, for his land, for his right to freedom, but never again would he fight for Queen and country. What even was queen and country? It was nothing to him anymore. And he was going to tell those pompous assholes, to their fucking faces. He was the only man to survive, they'd have to believe him. Have to take his word for it. He'd be left to live his own life, and they'd never get him back in the artic ever again, how fucking dare they if they suggest such things. Fuck them, and fuck the queen!