Facts Of Life

All was not quiet on the western front, in fact, the western side of the island had always had raucous seamen spilling in and out. Hubertus paid extra attention to such things as he walked down the road. Strange, he thought, that such simple facts of life should be given such attention, should one know that one might never experience them again. The sounds faded to nothingness as Hubertus and his company took a sharp right turn. He payed such attention to the smallest things, that even after living in the colony for years he found new items open for pondering. Down the main road, they took another right turn. Strolling past the bakery, Hubertus glanced at Master Dawkins, the baker’s apprentice, who glanced at him, then glanced away quickly. It was as if Dawkins felt sorry for him.

They were well into the agrarian districts of the isle by now, passing the cocoa and spice plantations. Even the slaves would not return his gaze, or the plantation managers. Down the track still, they passed Mr. Keating, the rich gentlemen rumoured to own half of the entire island. Hubertus went to tip his hat, forgetting about the iron manacles secured firmly around his wrists, he mused at this cruel fact of life. Mr. Keating did not even look at him. Down the road, further still, a spectacular view of the fort was waiting for him. One could see the crystal clear Caribbean waters beyond, behind the glorious colours of the British Empire. Hubertus had only ventured this far once in his entire life, a fact of life.

Upon arrival at the ramparts his escorts’ weapons gleamed under the sun, in brilliant contrast with the ceremonial splendour of their red uniforms. Again, Hubertus would think of such frivolous things though he had spent a lifetime in familiarity with them. Once inside the guardsmen seated Hubertus in a dank room. The pungent smell of mildew emanated from the wet dungeon walls. A chaplain was sent in, Hubertus didn’t know him, nor did he listen to his advice, but again pondered the trivial facts of life, such as why men of the cloth wore white collar pieces. After a lengthy lecture, Hubertus was marched out to the courtyard. He surveyed the crowd, and again pondered the facts of life, why did they bother having a drummer to mark this occasion?

Upon stepping up to the gallows Hubertus wondered why the hangman wore a black hood, and pondered the other trifling facts of life after looking at the crowd. A gentle drum roll echoed off the balustrades whilst a bald official listed crimes of egregious nature that Hubertus had committed against the crown. The rope was gruffly pulled over his head, two sharp drumbeats were followed by silence. Such sinister facts of life, all was quiet on the western front.

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