White wood, when it burns, is a story all into its self…flacid orange-like tongues of flame coat across the glaze… I watched the wood bubble and spit, burning in a fury. Fighting the fire. Yet, burning all the same.
The bravest of the American’s resistence, the survivors, had been rounded up and stripped to the bone. They had been charged with keeping the bonfire stoked. Their own clothes used as kindling. I laughed, along with the others, while they ran to and fro, between sections of the Whitehouse still not burning, wildly gathering chairs, curtains and, well, whatever they could safely carry! It was refreshing to see that mankind hadn’t yet lost its sense of humour.
General Ross arrived as the flames licked the lawns and we were forced to pull back the artilery. I noticed an egg-shape man juttering beside him on horse back. I noticed his arm slip beneath his rain cloak and produce a hip flask. I noticed that he noticed me, noticing him.
He tipped his flask; I tipped my hat.
The men let out a great cheer as a naked prisoner slipped and was covered by his load. Arms full of curtain. He scurried and flapped like a rat in a sock. The men only seemed to find this funnier, that was until General Ross stuck his sword through the struggling mass of draped fabric. The laughter soon died. Only person I could hear still laughing was Claric…
Ross withdrew his blade, inspecting it in the fire light. ‘Did I give ye all instruction to capture a few wee clowns and have a fucking giggle?’ He wiped his blade on the curtains still covering the dead, naked, american prisoner.
None spoke up.
‘Nobody? Marines, you were brought here to finish the job quickly. The fighting is not over yet. That pig-fucking Napoleon must be stopped. We set sail at mid-day tomorrow. And put that fucking fire out!’
One or two “yes sir!” Echoed through the killing fields. I scratched my head. This isn’t how I remembered a victorious celebratory. Where was the wine? Where were the whores?
The remaining prisoners were slain quickly. I approached the fire and reached deep. The most efficient way of killing a fire is at the base. I crinkled my nose as I whiffed my own odour. Piss hissed as it soothed against the burning white-hot wood.
A marine stepped up beside me and followed my lead, except, I noticed, his piss scattered widly across the fringes. That’s never going to put out a fire!
‘They don’t say much about you,’ said the marine.
I’d finished pissing a while back but I left myself hanging. Truth is, I quite liked feeling the heat on my cock.
Several seconds of silence passed. He was still in full flow. I think I saw him look toward my man parts.
‘They say that they had to dig you out of a serious undercover operation-‘
I laughed, I had to, it was funny how close to the truth that statement was. ‘You could say that.’
‘I don’t usually lend rumour much credit, but the way you dealt with those Yanks up at that gate…shit, you’ve the devil in you, You know? He finished his piss and tucked up immediately.
I stayed where I was. ‘Again, that’s one way of saying it.’
The marine turned to walk away.
I stopped him with a non-specific grunt. He turned, eyebrows high, expectantly so. So I asked him, cock still out, still directed toward the fire. ‘That fella, the one Ross just mentioned…that Napoleon chap, I think he said?’
The marine looked like he’d missed a trick or something. ‘Yes…? Napoleon, what about him?’
‘Well,’ I began, voice lowered. ‘Who the fuck is he?’
The marine cracked up laughing. I frowned, which only made him laugh more. I turned back toward the flame just about to tuck myself back in when another marine pulled up on my other side, eyes darting low toward me. I left it where it was and looked him in the eye. He startled and looked down quickly, piss spurting in short, nervous bursts.
‘Napoleon,’ I hissed. The marine looked up at me. ‘What do you know about him?’
The marine stopped pissing all together. I looked down, he looked down. We both looked up together, eyes met.
‘Tell me everything…’ I threatened.