They were all on high alert, of course, and had been since Cliff Watch North had been under attack. So chilling to hear. He’d heard of war from his grandfather, his father. Even read about it a bit when he was learning his letters. He never thought he’d ever come to a time in his life when it actually occurred. Eighteen of their ships lost at Cliff Watch North, last report. It seemed impossible.
But not a thing to see from the Bourken Rock Isles, and Aleck’s shift was drawing to a close. He heard his relief shift draw the boat up on the shore below the tower. He sighed with relief. It seemed Cliff Watch North was keeping the North well-contained.
Aleck heard Danwick’s boots on the bottom of the Bourken Rock Tower stairwell, and stared through his scope into the twilight all about the horizon again, expecting to put it away and greet Danwick when he climbed into the room.
And so he did, he slid the scope together and started to place it in his vest pocket.
But something – instinct, perhaps – urged him to pull out the scope again and peer into the twilight one last time.
What… was… that….
Aleck focused carefully on a speck due north.
A speck that moved further in toward the Isle….
He stared as hard as he could.
It was a bloody fucking warship. Enormous!
“Bloody hell!” he yelled and procedures he’d only trained for raced through his mind. Where was the bloody torch!
“Aleck?” asked Danwick, who had just emerged.
Aleck yelled, “Ring the bell! They’re coming for us! Cliff Watch Central is under attack!” He lit the torch so that the Cliff Watch Central’s Tower would see.
The oil in the torch finally flared up and Aleck heard the enormous bell jarring behind him. He peered through the scope at Cliff Watch Central’s Tower. “Come on, come on, come on, wake up over there….”
Finally! Cliff Watch Central’s Tower flared up with flame to alert the Navy, the Army, and the residents. Distantly, other Cliff Watch Towers would soon flare up with the message, and reports would be sent to and from by land. He let out an enormous breath. Aleck’s job was complete.