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Forgive Me - the Final Days of a Loyalist Spy
The year is 1670, Maryland, during the American Revolution. I, Timothy Kroington, 16, am a spy for the Loyalists, more commonly know as Tories.
My parents are very strong Tories, but they are very poor. They would do anything to prove their loyalty, so when the other Loyalists needed a spy, my parents happily volunteered me, their only son, for the job.
Ever since, I have been the Torie’s spy, their guinea pig, and their puppet. I have spied on many Patriots, or Whigs, sometimes my own friends. I have been beaten when I have refused to carry out an assignment, and I have escaped hanging twice because of my only Torie friend, George Cook. I know that, one day, my friend will not be there to save me, and I will be hanged by the Patriots for treason. That day is going to be my redemption for everything I have done. May the Lord rest my soul and forgive me for my sins.
It is November, snow glitters on the ground and all over Maryland. I walk hurriedly to my superior, Lieutenant Commodore Chalmers’ house to receive my orders. I noticed a family nearby weeping. They looked oddly familiar, but I can not remember who they remind me of, so I simply walk faster and tried to avoid them.
When I finally reach my superior’s house, my cheeks are ruddy from the cold and my teeth chattered. The cold winter sun glared down at me, reflecting off my straw colored hair, as if it knew why I was there.
When I reached the small rod iron gate, I carefully opened it and walked through. I closed it behind me and it squeaked closed. I walked up the gravel path to the brick mansion with windows like disapproving eyes. When I reached the giant oak doors, I raised the bronze knocker and let it fall with a hollow bang that seemed to resound in the shivering silence. I waited only a short while for the door to open and was not surprised when the face of an African maid appeared.
She let me in, looking disapproving at the state of my thin, threadbare clothes. She showed me where Master Chalmers was as we walked down the fine hall. The sound of our footfalls sounded like a funeral march on the wood floor, echoing in the empty air. We paused when we reached the door of his study which stood slightly ajar.
“Master Chalmers is inside,” she whispered. I walked through the door, my head bowed respectively, only to look up when he did not address me. I heard the door click close behind me, and only then did he look up from his work.
Master Chalmers was brisk, powerful man who wouldn’t hesitate to kill you if he heard you had betrayed him to the Whigs. He had dark brown eyes and black disheveled hair and beard. Everyone respected him, except a few of the Patriots, but that was normal. That was expected. It was protocol.
His eyes gazed right into mine, as if reading my mind. Or, I thought darkly, planning another way to blacken my soul.
“Hello, Timothy,” he greeted solemnly. I bowed my head once more.
“Hello, Master Chalmers,” I replied in a quiet, timid voice. He looked at me suspiciously and coldly. I tried my hardest not to whimper with fear, for that was why my heart thundered inside my chest. Could he hear it?
“Have you not heard the news?” he asked, again suspicious.
“N-No, sir; what news is there to hear?” I stammered.
“Stupid boy. You have not heard that George Cook died yesterday?” I looked up in shock and disbelief, forgetting to keep my head bowed. I felt as if my knees had been knocked out from under me, and I grasped the back of an ornate chair to keep my balance. In my mind’s eye, I briefly remembered the weeping family and dreaded realization chilled me to the bone.
“How did he die?” I gasped, my eyes filling with tears. I fought to keep my self-control as Chalmers’ voice boomed inside my empty mind.
“He was in Boston when the King’s Men fired in the streets. He was trying to run, the coward, but he was killed along with four Whigs,” Chalmers growled. “I want you to take his place. Go, now! You’re wasting time standing there, you clay-head.”
I did not need a second warning. I was out of the study as fast as a sparrow. I ran down the hall, ignoring the protests of the maid. I thrust open the oak doors and ran out into the November air. I kept going down the gravel path and did not even pause at the small gate. I jumped over it and kept running until I reached a small park with tall, forbidding, leafless trees.
I slowed down as I walked through the cold snow, and flopped down on a small bench underneath a brittle weeping willow. There, I let my tears flow, not even caring when the church bells rang for morning services. I did not leave that spot until my eyes were relieved of tears.
How dare they? How dare they kill a fellow Torie? My mind reeled with questions.
I remembered a time, not long ago, when my once-friend John had caught me spying on him. His face had been contorted in a mixture of fury, hatred, and betrayal, and that image was now staring back at me in my swollen eyelids. Then I had thought, ‘Why do you hate me so?’ Now I understand. In his eyes, I was a traitor. An unforgivable, two faced piece of scum. I had once thought myself lucky for having escaped death so many times, but now I can not see myself as lucky or even good. I have done wrong, I have sinned, I have betrayed my friends and many other, and now I despise myself absolutely.
There was only one thing to do. Brushing my tears away with a frozen hand, hardening my tortured mind into a mask of determination, I stood up as the conviction brought my heart to my feet and my stomach to do back flips. I had to turn myself in. I will be hanged, but there was nothing else I could do. At least I will be dead, and there will be one less traitor in the world.
I noticed John, the same John that had almost had me killed long ago, walking along the edge of the group coming out of the church. I walked over to him until we were side by side. I nudged him and he looked at me, hostility and hatred sparking in his gray eyes. He pulled me away from the group and pushed me against a nearby tree. I glared at him.
“Traitor,” he growled. He slapped me. I closed my eyes as the stinging pain mixed with the biting cold.
“I’m sorry for everything. Please,” I pleaded, opening my eyes, “turn me in. Please. I no longer want to be a spy or a Torie. I don’t even want to live. Please,” I wrung my hands beseechingly, “turn me in.”
No mercy appeared in those cold stony eyes. He turned me in to the Whigs promptly, and I was sentenced to death for treason before a Patriot judge. For the last couple days of my life, I ate nothing in the tiny cell I was imprisoned in. I simply prayed for mercy.
On December 2nd, I was hanged. It began to snow, and when I died, the last thing I remember was the snow. It settled in my straw colored hair, melted against my freckled cheeks, and clung to my thin lashes. I turned my face up into the snow, and whispered the final words of my life:
Then, there was nothing but darkness.