'Ships

Chapter 1

Midshipman Alexander Scott awoke with a start in a cold sweat form the same repeated nightmare that haunts his every hour, awake or asleep. Breathing heavy, he shook his head in an attempt to clear it and jumped out of his hammock to put on his affects. His coat and boots, still water-logged from the hurricane that pasted earlier, lie underneath his hammock.

Still a bit unnerved he made his way to the upper deck of the ship, giving a small glance over his shoulder to see if he disturbed any shipman's sleep. Seeing he hadn't he continued on his way.

When he was out of the cramped lower deck he breathed in the cool night air. Looking out at the horizon, he could just make out the pale light blue color of dawn.

Looking around the topside every thing was quiet and peaceful. And two night watchmen, standing their guard. Mr. Hastings, the morning watchmen, at the stern and Mr. Mitchell ,he believed it was, standing at the larboard bow.

The boy was the ships night watchmen why hasn't he been relieved, yet. Alexander wondered and tried to recall who was on morning watch for today.

Remembering, he made mental note to later address the fellow personally, but, Alexander saw the boy slightly sway on his feet and watched as his head nodded twice. The boy had to be going on eleven hours without sleep.

So since Alexander was wide-awake and was already on deck he decided to make himself useful. He approached the sleepy watchmen, who jumped and let out a loud surprised gasp, when Alexander cleared his throat to receive the man's attention.

Hearing the encounter, the starboard stern watchman looked over his shoulder than rolled his eyes, muttering, "He always gets the new ones."

Not expecting to scare the young seaman or the reaction, it made Alexander jump as well. It reminded him of his nightmare, the sound of his last final gasp of life.

He took a deep breath to steady himself. "Sorry, Mr. Mitchell I didn't mean to startle you." he managed to keep his voice steady.

The sailor came to his senses, he snapped a salute, "No, I'm sorry, sir, I didn't see you come up. I there anything I may do for you, sir." The sailor seemed nervous, for Alexander was seen as cold, intolerant for any sort of insubordination, and since he just scared the hell out of the midshipman and he was taking another man's watch duty.

"Everything peaceful?" Alexander glanced at him. Then he looked out to the sea, taking deep comforting breaths of the salty air with half closed eyes. The rocking of the ship soothing him as she glided though the dark uneven sea. He suppressed a sigh of relief and contentment.

"Yes, sir." Mr. Mitchell said as formal he could muster. Stiffening slightly when the young midshipman looked at him from his perferal vision, his ocean blue eyes seemed troubled and not the anger that he expected.

'His eyes do match the seas color.' Mr. Mitchell thought as he saw midshipman's eyes. Then he noticed how the midshipman looked several shades paler and was breathing heavier.

"Clear waters?" Alexander asked with another sideways glance at the man, who seemed to be staring him down. This not making Alexander any more comfortable, but in a way he was used to it and by now expected it.

"Yes, sir, but, excuse me, sir, are you well, for you look slightly pale and chafe." The watchman eyed the midshipman, who was rarely ever stricken ill. Then looked down and shifted form one foot to the other, when Alexander focused his ocean colored gaze on the sailor.

Indeed, he was still shaken from the nightmare and the scare, but he had to appear indifferent and being outside in the open air really helped calm his nerves.

"Yes, I'm quite well, thank you. I'll take over the watch. You go below and obtain some much deserved sleep before you drop from exhaustion." Alexander looked the man in the eyes and offered a small smile, which seemed to startle Mr. Mitchell more, for it was unusual for this midshipman to be showing outward emotion as such.

"Thank you', sir." The man saluted, again, and departed to the lower deck, not looking back.

"And Mr. Mitchell." Alexander called, "Next time do only your watch shift."

"Aye, sir." He saluted once again an continued down to the sleeping quarters.

Alexander smiled and quietly chuckled to himself as he watched the sailor disappear below deck. Then composing himself he gazed back out at the sea and lightening horizon.

He continued staring out as the shy turned lighter blue then to a purple, then a yellow-orange hue.