The Death of a Friend – An excerpt from “The Dark Tides”

I can honestly say I never really thought about death or dying until I started writing my novels. I’ve experienced death before, both my grapndparents as well as friends and shipmates, but not in that way. Even as a Sailor, deployed in harm’s way, it rarely crossed my mind because I always felt “if it happened, it happened.” Yet, when writing my novels and having to kill off characters that I created, I couldn’t help but break down and cry as I typed those pages. I couldn’t just kill characters on a whim, even for the sake of the story. I breathed life into them, with every stroke of the heyboard, and it was difficult for me to actually have to do it. This is just one of those examples from “The Dark Tides.”

The inspiration behind the character, the "real" Lt. Charles C. Taylor, USN, Flight Leader for Flight 19 that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle on Dec. 5, 1945.

The inspiration behind the character, the “real” Lt. Charles C. Taylor, USN, Flight Leader for Flight 19 that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle on Dec. 5, 1945.

Bryan could sense the sadness. The normally cheerful and sassy women were somber and tearful. He was quickly directed to Madam Sonjay’s personal room where Sir Charles had been taken too.

Charles lay in a large bed, covered in heavy quilts. His bandages were soaked with blood as Madam Sonjay sat next to him, dabbing his head with a cool compress while giving him sips of good Elvish wine. Like the girls in the brothel, Madam Sonjay was sad and upset but she tried not to show it. Her fancy dress was covered in blood as the Gil-Gamesh surmised she was the one who tended to his wounds.

When Madam Sonjay saw Bryan, she kissed Charles on the forehead before leaving his side. “I’m sorry milord, I did the best I could, but without a proper doctor I’m afraid that my best won’t save him,” she told Bryan, her eyes tearing up as she broke down and cried. “I tried everything I could to keep him alive until you got here, I just wish …” Madam Sonjay stopped as she became inconsolable. Bryan tried to comfort her in her grief.

“It’s alright Minerva, it’s not your fault,” Bryan told her. “Thank you.” He gave her a kiss on the forehead before walking over as he sat down next to Charles. Charles coughed as he opened his eyes and glanced at Bryan.

“You took your time getting here,” he joked. “How’s the little stray doing?”

“She’s fine, sends her best,” Bryan said as he leaned in to Charles. “I wish I had gotten here sooner though, it must have been a helluva fight.”

“Those Brood … They’re big and ugly, but stronger and smarter than regular goblins, if that’s even possible,” Charles sputtered. “You need to be prepared when you meet them.”

“I will, don’t worry about that right now,” Bryan reassured him. “You can help me put together a strategy once you get back on your feet.”

Charles coughed again, a little bit of blood trickled out of his mouth. Bryan wiped it away. “Don’t bullshit me Chief. You and I both know I’m not going to make it.” Bryan sat silent, trying to contain his emotion. “Don’t feel bad Bryan, I’ve had a good life …” Charles added. “I’ve lived a lot longer than most expected. It’s just my time.”

Bryan clasped Charles by the hand. “No, it’s not …” he cried through the tears. “I still have so much more to learn from you.”

“You don’t need me to teach you anything more Gil-Gamesh. You’re more than ready to survive whatever Avalon throws at you. Besides,” Charles said as he gasped for air. “I want to see my parents … My family again. Now, I finally … finally … can …”

With his last breath, Charles Taylor died … A Naval Aviator and a Knight of Avalon. Everyone in the room bowed their heads in silent prayer. Some of the girls broke out in tears. Bryan let go of his friend and folded his hands across his chest before he reached up and closed his eyes.

He stood silent, alone in his thoughts. When he turned to the others, they looked to him for guidance and comfort. Bryan couldn’t find the right thing to say as the words escaped him.


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