One Foggy Night
by Jamie

It was a foggy night. Archie Kennedy couldn't sleep. Heathers had just called a duel on a man by the name of Robert Farris. Cleveland was going to be Heathers second in the duel. Since Horatio had left the Indefatigable, Archie had grown close to Heathers and Cleveland. It was not a close friendship, but, Archie did care for the welfare of the two men. Maybe that is why Heathers getting into a duel troubled Archie.
That and it reminded him of when Horatio was to fight a duel with Simpson. Archie and Clayton tried talking Horatio out of the duel. Archie pleaded with Clayton to do something to stop Horatio. Clayton stopped Horatio and took his place in the duel. Archie would always remember Clayton's words to him, "Someone has to stand up to Jack Simpson. I failed in protecting you, I won't make the same mistake with Horatio. I will stop Simpson. I will make sure that he will hurt no one ever again!"
Too bad that Clayton lost the duel and with it, his life. That duel taught Archie that duels are useless and deadly ways to solve an argument. Heathers was at the same duel between Clayton and Simpson, but yet, he did not get the message that Archie had. Heathers told Archie that Farris tried to ruin his image. Nonsense, Archie thought. He had lived through a million insulting remarks and never called anyone out on them.
Archie decided that the sea air would clear his mind and lull him back to sleep. He got out of bed and walk up on deck. Along the way, he stopped by Heathers cabin. Heathers was sleeping like a baby. How could he do that? Did not he know that tomorrow might be his last day alive? Archie shook his head and walked on.
The deck was quiet and peaceful. Archie saw Helm Boy at his station, but no one else. It was then that Archie heard a voice he had not heard in years.
"Looking for anyone in particular?" The male voice asked.
"No," Archie replied to the voice as he turned around. He saw no one there. Archie looked over at Helm Boy, but knew it was not his voice he heard.
Archie cried out, "Is anybody there?"
"I have been watching you, Archie, " the voice said.
Archie felt a cold wind blow through his hair and shivered. Maybe he should go back down below. Being up this late was making him hear things.
"Don't worry about Heathers. Nothing will happen to him," the voice calmly told Archie.
Archie turned around in a circle and spoke to the air. "How do you know? Who--What are you?" he asked.
"I am right here, Archie. You know all that worrying is not good for your health."
Archie turned to see a ghostly figure in front of him. "Clayton? I thought you were . . ."
"Dead? Yes, I am. I am a spirit. When a duel is called, it is my job to visit the duelists. I am amazed how much this Farris fellow looks like Heathers. It is almost like they are the same man," Clayton told Archie.
"So, why are you talking to me?"
"Can't I talk to my old friend? You seem to be more concerned for Heathers welfare then he is about himself."
"Someone has to watch out for him."
"Why would you care? You are not the having the duel."
"Death and dying always bother me. It is wrong."
"I know duels are stupid. I am here to . . ."
"Stop the duel? Is that why you were sent?"
"If I stopped the duel, both men would feel no honor. I am just going to move the pistol a little. No one will be seriously hurt. I will make it seem as if Heathers wins," Clayton said with a sly smile.
"You said you have been watching me. Where, when, how?"
"I have been watching both you and Horatio. Congratulations on becoming a Lieutenant. I hear that Horatio has been made a Commander. It makes me glad I made the right decision and took his place in the duel."
"Even if it means an eternity of purgatory?"
"Horatio and you have a lot of work to be done. As for me, maybe my time on earth was spent to wait for the award of afterlife."
"I get to help people and make a difference. The way I never did in life. I was always such a coward."
"You were never a coward to me, old friend. You tried to stand up for me. I will be forever grateful."
"Thank you for that. I will have to leave you now. I am afraid they only give me a little bit of visible time. Take care of yourself, Archie. Keep that kind heart of yours,"
Clayton said with sincerity.
"Wait, I have so many things to ask you!" Archie called out to the air. Alas, Clayton was gone.
"I am not leaving you, Archie," a voice said to him. It was Master Bowles. He put a reassuring hand on Archie's shoulder, which made Archie jump.
"Bowles? When did you get here?" Archie asked him.
"Just now, it is time for my watch. What are you doing up so late, if I may so ask?" Bowles asked Archie.
"I couldn't sleep."
"Captain is upset at Heathers and I see you are most likely upset, too."
"And you, sir?"
"I don't like it. Captain told me that if Heathers makes it through the duel, that he wants to see him."
"Oh, Heathers will survive," Archie said with certainty in his voice.
"How do you know?" Bowles asked.
"I can't release my source, but you can believe me on this," Archie told Bowles as he smiled broadly, showing his chipmunk-like cheeks.
Clayton was true to his word. Heathers came through the duel without a scratch and Robert Farris had his arm grazed by the bullet. No one was hurt badly.

The End
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