Robert Ramsay. Yes, that was the name scribbled over the old dilapidated diary. The name did strike a chord somewhere. But I just couldn’t place where.
I was born and brought up here, in Baypark. A small, almost forgotten, seaside town bristling with fishing boats, untidy inns and seamen who lived for rum, doubloons and the occasional winch. My father owned a small supply shop by the main pier. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the 25 odd years of my life. But that was it; it was time for me to move on. To another, possibly bigger, city with better opportunities to settle down.
I did not have much to carry. But I didn’t want to leave any useful stuff behind either. I decided to comb down my house from top to bottom. That’s what took me to the old, unused attic. And what I found there was what changed my life forever.
It was more of a scratch pad than a diary, dusty and crumbling, with the name Robert Ramsay scrawled across the cover.
Now for a moment I will ask leave to remove my own insignificant personality and to describe the events mentioned in that scratch pad as through the eyes of Mr. Ramsay.
I still remember the first time I set foot in this town. A bustling energetic and rich fishing town it was. How I wished that things were back to the way they were then! “What happened?”, you ask?
Well, bombs kill; chemical weapons wipe out entire nations. But death can seem timid when you’re able to turn a peaceful mob into a dangerous monster. That’s what they did. They used a far deadlier weapon.
The group was known locally as the Moran Creek Marauders. Moran Creek was a deserted corner of the town where even the bravest feared to tread. The Marauders would every now and then announce their presence. It could be anything, a robbery, a hold up, but when they’re at it, you just know it’s them. This time though, it was nothing like ever before.
It happened quietly and quickly. Their formula was simple and effective. “A World without women”. Yes, they targeted the women of the town. The women of the town were either abducted and taken to Moran Creek or killed. Never before was terrorism so effective and innovative. The aftermath proved this right.
The people were enthusiastic to begin with, organizing search parties and other ways of getting to their wives, daughters and mothers. As effort after effort seemed to fail, this enthusiasm turned into frustration, angst and fury. Fury they decided to vent out on their fellow men.
There was no loving touch, no caring words, no more motherly love. Never before had I seen a group of human beings so lost in their agony. It was as if every human body was an incomplete painting. A colorless painting. That subtlety, that vibrancy, which only a woman can bring, was lost. Men turned into monsters. Cars and carriages were set on fire. Gunfire and fighting erupted everywhere. The terrorists had won. Rather than destroy the city, they made the people themselves do it. A true masterstroke.
I could not just stand and watch as this beautiful city was coming apart. I summoned courage and set off for Moran Creek, hiding with the shadows and moving with the wind. Every step I took put my life in greater jeopardy. I took refuge behind a broken well. Before I knew it, my tiredness took over and I drifted off to sleep.
I felt a certain stiffness as I woke, I realized that I was tied up and staring into the barrel of a shotgun. I was held captive. By a rather peculiar creature. He was about 5 feet tall, heavily bearded with gleaming, scary eyes.
“Where are they?”, he asked in a hoarse whisper
“Who?”, I managed to mumble
“The women you monsters took away”
A feeling of relief flooded over me. He was not one of them. In fact he was an ally. A brave ally looking for his kith and kin. With great difficulty, I managed to convince him that we were on the same side. Now we were two, with a mammoth task on our hands. We came across a huge towering fortress which dispelled all doubts as to where the captives were held. Needless to say, we were vastly outnumbered.
Dear reader, I dearly wish to give you a detailed account of what happened there. But I fear for my life, so I have to make haste. It was a great adventure, but we did get past them. We did accomplish our mission, but to tell you the truth I played but a small hand in the task. My bearded friend was the one who fought with unrelenting courage. The last sight I had of my friend, I would never forget. I was hit on the head and groggily moving towards total loss of consciousness. That’s when my blurry vision showed it to me.
The coarse whisper gave way to a melodious voice, the grisly beard and raggedness gave way to a lithe and slender body with the softest of skins. My courageous friend was not at all a ‘he’, but the most courageous ‘she’ I have ever seen. She saved my life and took me to health and safety. And then, disappeared into obscurity. All she left for me to remember her was a tattered old photo of hers. Day in and day out I will search, till my last day I’ll search.
Dear Lord, send her to me again, as you sent your angel to me once.
P.S. This is the last time anyone would know me as Robert Ramsay. I fear too much to continue using my real identity.
As I flipped the page, scraps of paper flew out. There were, in place of one, three photos. One was that of a smart looking young man with a military air about him. It was signed Robert. The second was a highly obscured wedding photo. I recognized the groom as Robert. The bride’s face was blurred. However, to help me, there was another photo of hers. She was pretty, her features sharp and well formed.
This was the brave woman who saved Baypark.