The Personal Journal of Nicholas King
My Ruined Past...
21st October 1766 was the day i was born; the day i first set foot into this world. It was the day i first opened my eyes to see my mother grinning happily down at me; tears filling her eyes. I slowly grew up happily; not knowing the real dangers that lurk in the shadows of Britain. I grew up in a small town called Colchester, in good old Britain. I was a good boy. I always listened to what my parents had to say and always did as I was told. I was a guiltless and ingenuous child, who came from an affluent family of three. That all changed the night my mother was ruthlessly murdered right before my eyes.
No, my mother was not murdered by just anyone in particular; she was murdered by my own wretched FATHER! I would have never thought my father to be that sort of man. I always knew there was something different about him every night he came home from his stressful job. My father would always come home drunk to the limits very late at night every night. And in the morning. i would find a bruise under my mother's eye and a bloody lip. Every time I asked her about it, she would always respond with a kind smile and a pat on my head, telling me she's okay. Knowing the honest woman she was, i believed her. Not knowing that behind those twinkling dark brown orbs were emotions filled with fear and concern.
That night I was awoken from my slumber because of a terrible nightmare I had. Being the child I am, i couldn't fall back asleep without the presence of my mother with me. I crept down the small hallway, hoping not to make any loud noises, towards my parent's bedroom. To my disappointment, no one was there. 'Weird' I thought, 'I wonder where they could be?'
I was instantly snapped out of my train of thoughts from a loud sound of shattering glass and a scream. "Mother?" I called out. I quickly ran to the kitchen only to find my drunken father with a bloody, shattered wine bottle and. . .a corpse; my dead mother's corpse. My whole world was shattered. As if snapped out of a trance, my father looked at me with crazed eyes and looked back at the corpse, realizing what he had done; he had killed his own lover in front of his own dear son. He came towards me. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?" he screamed. My body shook and my legs were frozen. When I could move again, I didn't hesitate, I RAN. I ran as fast and as far as I could, knowing that behind me was a madman of a murderer. And that murderer was my revolting FATHER, who killed my one and only mother. I was scarred for life.
9 Years Later - 13th May 1787
I grew up, I'm now a full grown man. I am no longer that weak little boy 9 years ago. I am a strong man with handsome features. But i was not just any man, I was a criminal. I stole food and money from people, I break into houses and I get chased by the police. It is what I have been for the past few years. I decided that I can no longer line on the streets of Britain and stay as a beggar. I had to make a move. So my choice was to become a thief. I've had a hard time trying to find paper and something to write with. And once I did, I started writing this. It's been years after my mother died. I never saw my father either since that night I ran away. And I don't plan on seeing him. I stood behind a barrel. hiding from the eyes of spectators, with my old friend Christopher. We've been working together for 4 years and stole food and money together. We hid and waited for the sheriff and his men to arrive. We needed their horses for our journey and the horses other men had were either sick or too old. The police always had the best horses. So we decided to take those no matter the risks.
When we were finally about to give up on waiting, we heard the clops of a few horses and the voices of about 3 to 4 men. 'Finally!" I thought. Once they stepped into the bar, we were going to make a run for it and take the horses in quick and fast movements. On the count of 3; 1. . .The men get off the horse; 2. . .They are walking towards the bar, nearing the door; 3! We jumped from our hiding positions and sprinted to the horses just as the police men stepped into the bar. We jumped on one each and made a run for it; hearing the faint shouts of men behind us. "We did it!" Christopher laughed. I smiled triumphantly. When we thought we were far enough, we stopped at a river stream and hopped off our saddles. We took a long drink before filling our bottles and having a small snack; feeding our new horses too. We were interrupted by the sound of rustling leaves. We froze.
We turned around quickly to hear the loud bang of a gun fire. "CHRISTOPHER!" I exclaimed. Thump; Christopher's body fell limp to the ground. With trembling hands, i hopelessly tried to stop the blood. "Don't. . .don't die on me, Christ." My voice trembled with every word. With no strength left to speak, Christopher just smiled at me; blood dripping from the corners of his mouth. "Grab that young man." One of the men ordered. Before i could protest, i was pulled back by two pairs of arms and both of my hands were immediately chained. Not a step, two rifles were aimed towards me. "Don't move." One of them commanded."We've got one of them. Let's move on." The Sheriff instructed. "Sir, what about the blonde fellow we shot?" a soldier asked.
"Leave him. There isn't much time left for him now." He said without remorse. All i knew next was that i was being pulled away by my chains along with the policemen; slowly getting dragged away from my dying fellow. Every step that i took, every jingle my chains made, i could see my dear friend in the distance slowly closing his eyes. . .forever.
20th May 1787
I was awoken from my slumber by a banging on my cell door. "Lunch time!" a hairy man, preferably the cook, shouted. A plate, of what i assumed was food, was pushed under my dirty cell door and stopped in front of me. I took one look at my plate of food and thought, 'The cook either didn't know how to cook or he did not cook at all'. I had to eat to survive, so i didn't care what he put on the plate anymore. When i felt as if i had enough, I pushed my plate aside and rendered it for the man in the cell alongside my own. "Thank you, my lad!" he whispered in appreciation; gobbling up the remaining food. I forced a fake smile. 'This was going to be a long journey' I thought, 'Hopefully not too long.' the cells were utterly disgusting and highly unhygienic. Every day there was a foul smell coming from every cell on this miserable ship.
It's been at least a week ago that we left Potsmouth. Since then, i haven't has a single all-nighter, for the sea won't give us a break. They should at least clean the cells every once in a while. The ship's so filthy it created diseases. Moth of the men and children have already perished in just a matter of days. I leaned against the wall. my chains clinking together, and wiped the sweat beans off my forehead. It was always so hot and humid in here that anyone could pass out from dehydration. There was barely any space for all of us. The ship seemed big, but the deck surely isn't big enough. I scratched through my dark hair; feeling the familiar parasites crawling on my scalp. I scanned the decks; looking over the many rats that occupied the decks with us. Suddenly, an extremely foul smell hit my nose. I looked to my right to see the body who was once a man, but now a rotting corpse. I couldn't take it any further; i disgorged.
2nd June 1787
This is the 5th time I've been let out of my cell and onto the deck of the ship. I breathed in deeply the slightly smoky air and slowly let it out. I dusted off the filth off my old clothes; failing miserably. But I didn't care; not anymore. My feelings have died long ago; after the second person i cared most died in front of my eyes. All of the prisoners were let out to take a breather or to expel feces from their bodies. I apologize for my rudeness, but yes, I am one of those people. We were almost nearing our destination as I scanned the scene around me to find the land that the soldiers name Santa Cruz, Tenerife.
3rd June 1787
We have arrived at our destination. All of us were chained by our hands and feet; each one of us standing behind the other. If i'm not wrong, there were about 85 constables and 20 commanders on our ship, about 150 male convicts and 15 children convicts. One by one, a man in a neat and clean uniform came up to each convict, handing a small bowl of water and food. It was finally my turn. The man shoved the food and water into my hands, spilling most of it onto the ground. "Hurry up and eat up!" he spat at me. When he turned away from me, I quickly wiped my face with my dirty sleeve and devoured my food. This was what I had to experience every day. Most of the soldiers hated us; it was obvious. Every now and then, I would peak through a pole in the wall to see men carrying dead corpses and those dead corpses were casted off the ship and into the sea. I missed being the little boy I used to be before my mother died. I missed my mother; I missed her embrace.
5th July 1787
The great heat suffocates us all. The storm we go through most of the nights beat upon us like ice and stone. Sleeping in a wet blanket and aching muscles isn't one of the best feelings any man has felt. The fleas were getting to me and it's getting harder and harder for me to write this journal without it getting ripped to shreds or confiscated. I wanted this precious journal to be safe, until the day I die. I wanted the person to read this; I wanted the person to see what I've been through my whole life. No, I don't want pity; I want to be known. I want to be known for the boy who ran away at the age of 10 and was alone for almost 10 years. And now, I've been caught for my sins and living on this filthy, good-for-nothing ship. Every now and then we were told to clean our cells and mop the decks. I wasn't used to this. I'm growing weaker and weaker by the day because of the lack of food I received everyday.
I felt sick to the pit of my stomach every time a man or child perished due to the filthiness of the ship. There probably won't be anymore convicts left by the time we arrive to our final destination.
15th September 1787
"Wake up! Wake up!" a soldier demanded. All of the men groaned from the lack of sleep. It was like this every morning. We were told to expel our wastes, drink water and eat some snacks as soon as the sun rose. "Land Ahoy!" the captain hollered. The captain's voice alerted us all and the crewmen ceased their tasks and ran towards the ships railings. To their utter surprise, they were welcomes by the Viceroy of Brazil, Rio De Janeiro. We all alighted the ship in our cuffs and chains. We were allowed to explore the foreign land on the condition we would bring back some rations and usable resources.
Night came very fast indeed, and soon, we were back on the sea.
20th November 1787
Table Mountains neared us as we came closer to our next destination, Cape Town. We were told to, once again, alight the ship to help with particular tasks. "You will all help with the restocking of animals!" the commander instructed. "Yes, sir!" we all responded in unison. We did as we were told; or we would be severely punished by the captain's men. By the end of the day, the Sirius (our ship), was completely filled with different varieties of animals. Sleep was hard to find; as the sounds of the animals filled my ear, reminding me of the farm I lived on when I was just a boy.
1st January 1788
We have arrived on the lands of Van Dieman's Land. The weather was scorching hot and the land was quite dry. It seemed as if there was no or little population. The commander informed us that we would start labor first thing tomorrow morning. The following day came in a flash, as the ship has suffered much upon arriving here. I watched as a few men were shipped for slacking off and being lazy; like they were told not to be. "Get back to work!" a man with a whip spat. "Yes, sir" We all responded monotonously. For weeks, we worked until the ship looked good as new; ready to sail the seas once again.
26th January 1788
"Sir, we have arrived! We have arrived at our last destination!" a crewman hollered. I awoke with aching muscles and groaned; rubbing my tired, bloodshot eyes. We were given a quick meal and bathroom break before we were all aligned in a straight line; cuffed and chained from head to toe. 'So this must be where i shall stay for the rest of my life?' I asked mentally. We stepped off the monstrous ship and onto the grassy land of Botany Bay. I looked up into the clear sky and let out a huge breath of air. This must be it; I finally feel at peace.
4th June 1788
I wiped the sweat beans that escapes from my skin as I laid down the last brick for the afternoon. Every since we all arrived here, we were put to work the next day; working for the constables to build a new colony for them. I promised myself I would never involve myself in any crime again.
26th August 1789
I am very proud to say that I am now a very successful man indeed. I'm currently employed in a carpentry association. Due to the hard labor I had experienced over the last few years, I have learned a lot. I thought I was going to finally give up on my freedom when one day, I was finally set free on the condition that i never be involved in any crimes ever again. When i was released, i worked hard and with determination every single day to transform myself into a completely different man. And I did. To be honest, I never thought life could be this satisfying after what happened in the past. I am now forever in gratitude for the first fleet. It has transformed me into the strong man I am today.
My dear mother and Christopher, I hope you are proud of me.
Note: Heyyy guys :) sorry i haven't been updating in a while :( A lot of school related stuff. . . Anyways, i hope you enjoyed this journal i wrote when i was in grade 9 :) The character 'Nicholas King' is made up but the story is related to the convicts in Britain on the First Fleet to Botany Bay :)
Anyways, I'll try to update as soon as possible! Bye! xx