(© Samuel Moulin Fotolia)
Patrick writes his last testament as the battle looms, on a scrappy bit of paper and with a stubby old pencil which he has found. He hopes to leave it somewhere for posterity. He doesn’t know if anyone will ever find it or even be bothered to read it…….
I don’t know if anyone will ever read this. I don’t even really know why I’m writing this at all. I suppose it’s so that I can tell something of my story, if anybody really wants to know or is interested. I don’t suppose I’ve really got much to say. Who am I anyway?
My name is Patrick Kynaston and I’m 35 years old. I’m from this place: Shropshire, that is – or what’s left of it! I was born here. And it looks like I’m going to die here as well. Me and all the others, cooped up in this old fort in North Shropshire which our Master, Lord Hodnet, rebuilt. We’re surrounded. The Ironsides have finally come here and are outside, laying siege. They’ll move in on us soon and we’ll all have to fight for our lives. Perhaps it’d be better if we just surrendered and let them do with us want they want, but our Lord and Master won’t let us. He’s too proud. He’s a Royalist through and through. He let the civilians go – all the women and children. A few days back, now. None of us know what happened to them. None of us want to think about it. We’re all just sitting here, like rats in a trap, awaiting our fate. Some of us are praying, whether it’s to God or something else. Others don’t care. Some would join them. I bet that stinking git Ellis would, given half a chance. How, in God’s name, did I ever end up here with him?
Sorry, you don’t even know me. Do you want to know me? Do you even care? I was a Police Officer once. I served with the local force. I had a girlfriend and a kid once, too. Then the End happened, the Collapse, and it all went. They’re no longer with me. Gone, in the plagues and famines. I suppose I’ll be joining them soon. Perhaps the sooner the better. The Sergeant says we should fight hard for our Lord and Master when they finally attack. But I can’t see why. I’ll fight for sure, but for myself. Nothing or nobody else. There’s no King or Country to fight for anymore, nothing really in fact, except survival.
I remember a poem I learnt about at school, by a soldier from my county who died in another war over a hundred years ago. That seems like a long time, it did so at the time I read it. But I know exactly how he felt now. ‘Anthem for a Doomed Youth’ I think it was called. I might not be that young anymore, but I know what it feels like to be ‘doomed’. That’s what we’re facing now. There’s no hope! Not anymore. I’ve survived this ten long years, through thick and thin, and its come to this. The end of the line. Finito. Caput.
I’m sorry if I’m depressing you reading this, if anybody ever reads this. If anybody cares, of course! This is who I am. This is where I’m at right now. I’m not a poet, like that soldier was. I can’t express my words in the same way he could. But I can write what I’m thinking right here and now. This is me – Patrick Kynaston. What you see is what you get.
Thankyou for reading this and listening to me, friend. I wish you well – and long life!
Patrick Kynaston (probably deceased).
Sometime in April (I think!) – ten years after the End….