Hi, everyone! Thanks for coming and at least taking the time to check out this story. It's my first King Kong story, the first of many I hope. And I own nothing. It's very depressing. Although, I wish I owned Englehorn and Jimmy 'cos I just love them....anyway, please review and enjoy!
Regret and Recovery
Englehorn stood in the shadows of the cargo hold, the end of his lit cigarette the only thing giving his position away. He stared at the beast, lost in thought. This was what he had risked everything for? His life, his crew, his ship, all for this monstrous creature now residing in a cage? No, it was the money first. The promise of money was why half his crew and his first mate were lost on that goddamn island. Angrily, Englehorn threw down his cigarette and ground it into the floor with the heel of his boot.
As he reached for another cigarette, his fingers brushed cool metal. He pulled his dog tags out of his shirt and looked at them critically in the dim light. His name, Thomas Friedrich Englehorn, was neatly engraved above his serial number from the war. They were there so he could be identified if he lay dead on the battlefield, yet all he could think of were the men unknown to the world that lay on the sinking island. Hayes, Lumpy, Choy, the lot of them, he couldn't get them nor the island out of his mind. Dropping the tags, he spit out a curse, and then suddenly noticed he was not alone.
He noticed Ann sitting next to the cage on a pile of now empty chloroform crates. She stroked the unconscious Kong's fur lovingly, singing a soft lullaby. Englehorn couldn't understand it. That thing had tried to kill them all, including her, and yet there she was. Shaking his head, he watched for a few moments more before deciding, a bit reluctantly, that he was needed above decks.
He could probably walk right past Ann, going completely unnoticed, for the girl walked around in a haze nowadays, not even paying attention to Jack. Of course, that was not the reason stopping him from ascending the stairs. Carl, since the capture of Kong, had become much cockier, if that was even possible. The failed filmmaker now only talked of the millions he would make as he paraded Kong in front of the world. He'd offered everyone a part in the exposition, even Englehorn, but the German captain just wanted his two-thousand dollars and Denham off his ship. The man had already caused him enough trouble. A part of him felt ashamed of hiding away from the annoying American, but the other part rationalized his irritation.
Sighing, he moved toward the exit, preparing himself for Denham's incessant bragging and scheming, but stopped when he heard a muffled sob. Englehorn looked to Ann; however, although her eyes were red-rimmed, the only sound coming from her was her soft singing. The captain looked around, listening for the sound again, and this time the sob came from the far back of the cargo bay.
Englehorn made his way carefully through the tight maze of cages, which had grown even tighter due to their latest catch. Back in the shadows, the noise grew louder. Finally, at one of the larger cages, he found the source of the quiet sobs.
Jimmy was curled up in a cage, much like Hayes must have found him, except now, after four years on the Venture, he'd grown almost too big for the wooden cage. The young sailor huddled in a corner, still a bit damp from the sea, holding his right arm stiffly in his lap and clutching Hayes's navy cap to himself with his left hand.
Jimmy jumped and whipped his head around when he heard his skipper's voice. Hastily, he wiped his eyes with the heel of his palm and attempted to get to his feet; however the size of the cage and the state of his right arm hindered him, and he fell back against the cage. A guilty, fearful look passed over his face and he swallowed before speaking.
"Sorry, captain. I'll get back on deck."
Jimmy started past the captain, but Englehorn grabbed his collar and pulled him back, not letting the boy go without some information. Jimmy had been curiously absent, but Englehorn found it no great surprise that Jimmy had been spending his time in the back cages.
"How long have you been down here, Jimmy?"
Jimmy looked down, fiddling with the brim of the cap. He may have served on the Venture for several years; however, he still couldn't pinpoint the captain's moods, and he was unsure as to how Englehorn would react to the answer.
"Since we shoved off," he mumbled.
"Ah." Englehorn looked the lad up and down. Lines of tears interrupted the grime caking Jimmy's face, and he kept his right arm immobile and close to his body. The ship swayed suddenly and one of the lighter cages fell from its perch, squarely knocking Jimmy in the arm. He unsuccessfully tried to hide a grimace.
"It's nothing, captain. Honest. I can still work—"
"Let me see it," interrupted Englehorn.
Nervously, Jimmy rolled up his sleeve and held out his arm for the captain to examine. A large bruise decorated his forearm, accompanied by a slight dip in the forearm, and Jimmy winced when Englehorn applied pressure.
"It's broken," he determined. "You should have had someone look at this."
Jimmy nodded dumbly, muttering something incomprehensible and sniffling softly. The captain mentally kicked himself. Hayes always saw to Jimmy. Without the first mate the boys seemed lost and more like the boy he should be. Not really sure what to do, he decided to help the boy out as he couldn't have an injured crew member, not when there was so much work to be done.
He gripped Jimmy's wrist and looked seriously at the boy.
"This is going to hurt," he warned.
Jimmy nodded and, biting his lip, he gripped on of the cages, his knuckles turning white. With one swift, sharp movement, Englehorn pulled the end of Jimmy's arm, realigning the bone. Jimmy yelped and tears of pain welled up in his eyes. Seemingly unconcerned, Englehorn broke off a piece of wood from one of the cages, grabbed a shabby length of cloth, and began to splint Jimmy's arm.
When he'd finished, he stepped back, unsure of what to do next. He'd never been good at sentimental moments. Jimmy gingerly touched the makeshift bandage, wincing slightly. He looked back at the captain gratefulness replacing the sadness for a moment.
Tears still lined his eyes, a product of the pain and the losses. Feeling sorry for the lad, Englehorn scooped up the navy hat and placed it on the boy's messy blonde hair. Then clapping a hand on the boy's shoulder, he steered him to the stairs.
"Let's find some way for you to earn your keep, Jimmy."