Exiled: A New Beginning

Prelude



It was on the beautiful, sunny Saturday of April 10th 1880, when they arrived. The weather was cool and a slight breeze from the ocean made it seem even chillier than it actually was. Twenty-eight of what had originally been forty-five, men stood on the beach watching the last boat return to the ship which was anchored a quarter mile off shore. All stood alone with the exception of the one couple hanging onto each other. All wore expressions of weariness and uncertainty. They had been told the island, although far from being fully charted, was considered relatively safe and more importantly, it had an ample supply of fresh water and game.

Situated not far from the men were some livestock and a number of large wooden crates filled with the supplies they had been assured were more than adequate for their survival. Crates filled with preserved food, basic farming implements, medicinal items, cooking utensils, tents, blankets, saws, axes and, how had the priest put it, ‘a means to their redemption from hell, if they so choose to follow it’.

They had also been told they should consider themselves fortunate indeed, as they were the first to benefit from the newly instated humanitarian statutes; laws that required them to be sent into exile for the rest of their natural lives rather than hanged, as was the previous sentence when convicted of perversion such as theirs. ‘Fortunate?’ many a man thought. ‘To be exiled for the crime of loving someone of their own gender. If this was fortunate, Lord help those less blessed than we are.’

List of Characters

Thomas Fields
Galen Deon Manara
Aiden Mackenzie Shea
Dr. Lakota Evans
Lt. Lawrence West
Walker Drummond
Raythe de Torgul
Quentin Bradley
Wayne Richard Bentley
Wesley Roy Bentley
Thadeo Beau Sawyer
Troy and Levi Harris
Spyke Ty Lambert
Yancey Devon Hayes
Brock Trenton Foxx
Samuel Boyd
Seth Ryan Edwards
Jordan Kyle Adams
Brodie Joel Baker
Nathan O’Sullivan
Gille Wheaton
Dallas Carter
Kelby Curtis
Hendrik Van Der Berg
Mitchell Wolfe
Preston Chadwick
Kevin McCaw

************


Thomas Fields

At the age of thirty-two, Thomas had been a sixth-generation landowner of the largest farm in the district. Thomas’ late father, William, had left the farm to Thomas and asked only that he keep on his sister and her ne’er-do-well husband, George Ryan. William had never wanted to see his beloved daughter living in the level of poverty which marriage to a man like Ryan could only provide. After they married, the two had been provided with a beautiful little cottage only a brief walk from the main house. This however, did not meet with the desires of the money-grubbing Ryan. He wanted the farm and house as his own and was determined to find a way to get his hands on them.

Thomas was not married and knew he never would be; his sexual orientation would never lead him to find a wife. He had always been drawn to his own gender but because of the stringent laws of their land, knew he had to hide this fact at all costs. He took a young lover in the person of Jacob Tyndel, a farm hand his father had hired more than a year before his death. Thomas and Jacob were deeply in love and they discretely shared a bed in Thomas’ ancestral home.

Six months after William’s death, George caught Thomas and Jacob in bed together. He took this as the opportunity he had been waiting for and called in the local ‘Perversion Police’. But with his hatred for his brother-in-law being so strong, he gathered together some other men of his own thinking and while they restrained Thomas, they lynched poor Jacob from a tree in the yard before police officers arrived. Since there had been great controversy about the passing of the new law that would have all homosexuals exiled rather than hanged, the officers turned a blind eye to the lynching and took Thomas into custody. It took less than a week for Thomas to be tried and convicted of the perversion of sodomy and acts against God and nature. He was stripped of all his land, which was then given over to his brother-in-law, and sentenced to be exiled with the first group of men who would be shipped out in a month’s time.

Now Thomas stood watching the great ship turn away from the island as reality sunk in. Here he was, with all these strangers on this island and expected to survive. He asked himself, as he had so many times in the last weeks, whether he really wanted to survive? But he knew that if for no other reason than the teachings of his father and the love of his Jacob, he would survive. There were lost, lonely and scared souls to be tended to; shelters to be erected; work to be done, and Thomas Fields was no stranger to hard work.

Thomas turned to survey the rag-tag grouping. Already he could pick out the men among them who would lead; their faces grim with determination, and the men among them who would need leadership; those faces lined with anxiety and fear. He picked up the two carpet-bags containing the only personal belongings he had been permitted to bring and was starting to walk towards a couple of men who were attempting to pry open a crate, when he spotted a lone figure glancing out from behind a tree.

Galen Deon Manara

Galen stood off to one side, partially hidden by the tree he was hanging onto. Even wearing the thick handmade sweater his grandmother had knit him, he still shivered. He was frightened and already homesick. ‘Better not go there,’ he thought. ‘I have to learn to consider this my home now, as much as I’d prefer not to. Not the nicest beginning to a new year in my life.’

The third child and second son of a well-known wine-producing family, Galen had grown up in a loving home periodically overflowing with up to four generations at a time. His paternal grandparents, his parents, his older brother, sister-in-law and sister still lived there. As a youngster he had spent many happy days playing with his siblings in the vineyard he had come to love and care for in his teens. He had been frail as a toddler; plagued with ear infections, bouts of croup, and various allergies. As a result, he had always been nurtured, carefully watched-over, and fondly referred to as the ‘runt’ of the family. Now, only his small stature and a loss of hearing in his left ear remained along with the ability to read lips; a talent he had unconsciously developed during those earlier years of illness, and still took for granted.

Two years past, Galen had told his family of his thoughts and feeling towards his own gender. Although none of them had rejected him, most had expressed their sorrow at the life before him. Several weeks ago, a disgruntled employee had reported overhearing a conversation between Galen and his parents on this very subject. Due to the ‘witch-hunt’ mentality of the community, the legal authorities were quick to arrest, charge, convict and sentence anyone even rumored to have homosexual tendencies. Even though Galen had never been sexually involved with another man, neither his family’s influence nor his tender age of still being a couple months shy of his eighteenth birthday, was enough to prevent him from being tried and eventually ending up where he presently found himself.

Galen stood and watched the ship slowly turn towards the horizon, not that he’d miss it. He had suffered greatly from seasickness throughout the entire voyage. He glanced down at the satchel at his feet and the guitar carefully wrapped in goatskin leaning against it, before turning to look around at the other men who had been abandoned here with him. Most, if not all, were older than he was and all seemed to be in some degree of shock. He hoped his limited skills could be put to use here and enable him to pull his own weight. Looking over the array of faces, he wondered who would take charge of the situation. He saw a man glance his way and silently pleaded for the stranger to offer assistance, knowing he would never be able to approach anyone himself.

Aiden Mackenzie Shea

Aiden’s clear blue eyes took in the large group of men surrounding him. ‘Now are we no a motley crew!’ He sadly smiled and shook his head. Six feet-five inches tall, he stood with his feet apart, hands on his hips and lifted his face skyward to breathe deeply of the fresh sea air, appreciating the slight breeze that lifted the dark blond hair off his shoulders and stirred the hem of his kilt. He headed over to the pile of crates that supposedly contained all they would need to survive. ‘Aye, but for how long?’ he wondered.

He was thirty-two years of age and a master cabinetmaker by trade. He was more than grateful for having been allowed to bring his chisels, planers, joiners and other tools necessary to do whatever would be needed in the building of new homes and furnishing them. ‘Should keep me busy for a long time to come,’ he sighed in resignation to his plight and that of the others.

Aiden accepted that he would never learn how he and Tyrone’s relationship had been discovered or by whom. They had been so diligent, or so they thought. Aiden still mourned the loss of his companion. Although they had not been in love with each other, their friendship had temporarily fulfilled a need within them both. Having taken his own life, Tyrone had not had to withstand the trauma of going to trial, or of being sentenced to permanent exile and shipped from his home and the life he knew. ‘Thank God me poor Mam, may she rest in peace, is no longer around to worry o’er me fate,’ Aiden thought as he picked up the crowbar and set about opening one of the crates.

Dr. Lakota Evans

Lakota turned his back on the sea and the departing ship. He had lost everything; his home, his friends, and his practice. After all these years of traveling afield for his clandestine rendezvous, someone had finally spotted him in an intimate setting with another man. Upon his return home, he had been apprehended as he stepped off the train.

In the land of his birth, he would not have been rejected for his sexual orientation. There, it was having a white father that had him grow up an outcast. In the land he had chosen to call home, his being of mixed parentage had not posed too much of a problem but his preference for men had resulted in his being exiled. But the one thing they could never take from him was what he was. Short of rendering his hands useless, they could never change the fact that he was one of the world’s leading surgeons and an extremely knowledgeable herbalist.

The good doctor looked around at the others who had been stranded with him here on this island. This place would become his new home, these men his new friends and patients. He would care for them.

Lt. Lawrence West

Larry was a career military man. He lived and breathed the military way of life. Anyone who met him would understand this in a second. Larry was six feet tall and his eyes were so blue, they sparkled like finely cut sapphires. He had short dark hair that was military standard and it about drove him crazy when from time to time he was on manoeuvres and couldn’t get it cut.

There was only one area in his life where he didn’t live within the military code of conduct. Larry liked men, and what got him in trouble was his infatuation with the first officer of the ship he last served on. One night an unexpected problem arose on board. The Captain’s cabin boy burst into the stateroom and found the First Officer and Larry in a very compromising position. Of course, the cabin boy felt it was his duty to report the incident. Before Larry knew it, he was being hauled before a court martial tribunal where he was found guilty of conduct unsuitable for a marine officer. He was sentenced to a life of exile. The First Officer was the son of a very prominent politician, so his role in the ‘forbidden act’ was swept under the rug so to speak.

It was well known that a certain ship had been commandeered to take men who had the same inclination as Lt. West, to a remote Island. As luck would have it, or bad luck depending on how you looked at it, the ship was docked at the same port of call that Larry’s was. The Commanders of the two ships were old friends, so Larry was transported aboard the second ship without going through the normal channels. He was given just enough time to pack his belongings. Besides his clothing, Larry took along the only other thing of importance to him; his journal that held his deepest thoughts and emotions. It was his best friend and he never went anywhere without it. He had a feeling he would really need this companion where he was going.

On the ship Larry adjusted well. After all, he was a marine and they were used to making rapid changes. Once he settled in, he did what he did best; he closely observed his surroundings and the men nearby. His eyes kept coming back to a large man, who in his own right had a military-like manner to him. He discreetly asked who this man was, and learned he was of Scottish descent and worked with wood.

As the ship approached the island, Larry was the first to volunteer with the unloading. It was his nature to be at the forefront of things but not in an overbearing way. His take-charge attitude gave others a feeling of security, not hostility.

Walker Drummond

“Admittedly it doesn’t look ideal but then again, it could have been much worse,” Walker muttered emotionlessly. He had long ago resigned himself to it being just a matter of time before his preference for men was discovered, trusting his bitch of a sister-in-law to make sure of that. Fortunately, he did not have to bear the responsibility of someone else being arrested and exiled with him. “My profession will not be of any use here, but my other interests should come in very handy.” He smiled for the first time in a long while, picked up his suitcases and slowly approached the group of men busily engaged in opening crates


Raythe de Torgul

Raythe stood away from the others and surveyed them. He didn’t even bother to watch the boat as it was pulled back aboard the ship that had delivered them here. He had been on and off ships for most of his life, but it was the men here with him who concerned him most. The wind tossed his waist length hair across his face and he impatiently pushed it back. He thought he saw a few of the men glancing at him suspiciously, but chose to ignore them. It wasn’t the first time people had looked at him oddly for his long hair, almost feminine features and obviously mixed heritage.

He knew his mother had been of the Cherokee tribe and his coloring came from her, but she had died in a brothel when he was a child. He knew he didn’t really have any skills that would be helpful here. Well, except maybe one and that it would be far from the first time he had made his way either lying on his back or up on his knees, depending on the customer. He had spent many a month on a ship as the local relief, since women were considered unlucky. He just hoped that these men wouldn’t be rough like the last ones had been.

He admonished himself once again for calling for help. Rape or not, it was still wrong to lay with a man, and since the men in question had connections, it was easy to twist the truth and only the long-haired youth had ended up taking the blame. Oh well, that was life and he would do whatever it took to survive.

Quentin Bradley

Quentin glanced around the sea of strange faces. Having had little opportunity to converse with others on the ship, none were overly familiar. The only thing they had in common with each other was their sexual orientation. Another time, another place would in all likelihood have never found them together. What at the time had taken place so painstakingly slow; now seemed to have happened in a fast-changing kaleidoscope of disjointed events.

‘How did I ever managed to find myself here?’ he wondered as he unconsciously rubbed at his right wrist in an effort to eradicate the dull ache plaguing him. Like many others, his detention and the trial followed by the sea voyage all formed a blur on the edge of his mind as he stood there on the beach wondering, ‘Is this really the more humane way for the authorities to have accomplished their goal to remove us from society?’

Wayne Richard Bentley &  Wesley Roy Bentley

The twins stood close together, for once drawing support from one another. They had not been so physically close in a long while, each preferring to go their separate paths with their own particular group of friends. How had they ended up here? Their brains were numb with shock. It seemed as if one day they had been the toasts of the town, the spoiled and pampered sons of one of the richest men in the city; the next they had been exiled and branded as sexual perverts.

“Oh boy, I imagine this made big news,” Wayne muttered wryly. “What great publicity! Only this time we will not benefit from it, will we?”

Wesley glared at him and hissed. “How can they do this? Don’t they know who we are?”

“Who gives a damn?” Wayne answered bitterly. “Homosexuals are not tolerated in our world. Haven’t you learned that yet, thickhead?”

Wayne was born twenty-two years ago, twelve minutes earlier than his twin brother, Wesley. They had shown remarkable singing talents from a young age, and with their aristocratic good looks along with their father’s wealth and backing, they had become celebrated public figures in the polite world. They were recognized everywhere they went. Being identical twins gave them an added advantage and it always caused a stir when they both appeared together in public. People often stared from one to the other, marveling at the charm and charisma exuding from the stunning pair.

Behind closed doors, it was a different matter. Their temperaments varied greatly and they had very different tastes in music, friends and food. As a result, they frequently argued and fought. 

“Where is this god-forsaken place?” Wesley whispered as he looked around the beach.

“Home, brother,” Wayne replied harshly. “Get used to it!” he advised without a trace of humor in his voice.

Thadeo Beau Sawyer

Thad stood quietly coming to grips with the need to bid farewell to his past. While most of it wouldn’t be missed, there were some precious memories he’d always hold dear. Gone was the small business his father had bequeathed to him. The sign on the front of the shop had read Bathhouse and Barber, but behind its’ closed doors lived the secrets of private clientele who regularly visited the establishment in order to enjoy the special services Thad provided there. That is, until that fateful evening when a grievous error on his part had resulted in his arrest and subsequent exile.

Thad glanced down at the satchel by his feet. It held all his paltry belongings: bits and pieces he had been allowed to salvage. He sardonically smiled at the memory of the guard’s expression when the man, after breaking down the door, first set eyes on the demolished room. Thad had methodically destroyed all he could not take with him, not wanting others to have what he could not. ‘They’re lucky I didn’t burn the place to the ground!’ he thought.

Troy & Levi Harris


Troy compressed his lips as he glanced at the young man next to him, remembering what had brought them to this pass. He had been Levi’s tutor for almost four years. It was somewhat less than a full year since they had realized just what kind of feelings they had for each other. Troy knew exactly what the penalty was for loving someone other than a female, but he was almost thirty and was willing to accept those consequences. At the time, Levi had been barely more than a lad of nineteen and Troy regretted that his love for his student had pulled him away from the life of luxury he was accustomed to.

Levi looked up at the older man as if reading his thoughts. “Don’t blame yourself, Troy. I knew what I was getting into.”

Troy only smiled. Well, nothing could be changed now. He looked around at the other men on the beach, most of them still in shock, and was determined they would make it. He owed at least that much to Levi.

“Let us get away from the water, love. The last thing we need is either of us to become ill. I don’t know what type of medical supplies they have provided for us.”

Levi smiled and shrugged his shoulders. “It won’t be so bad as long as we’re sick together.”

Troy let out a little chuckle. At least he knew his love’s spirit was far from broken.

Spyke Ty Lambert

‘This does not look good!’ Spyke thought as he threw himself down on the beach and stared out at the empty horizon. ‘Alright, I’ll admit it’s slightly better than jail but by how much? What the hell am I supposed to do here? I’m a house-boy for god’s sake; at least that’s what the fat bastard called me until he caught me with one of his drinking buddies. And just kicking me out wasn’t good enough; the son-of-a-bitch had to turn me in. Oh shit, maybe with a little luck a huge wave will roll in and wash me out to sea. Then again, I’d never be that fuckin’ lucky.’

Yancey Devon Hayes

‘Thank God we’re finally here!’ Yancey groaned. He had thought the voyage would never end. Obviously he’d have never made a sailor. Nope, nursing was his profession and he was damn good at it. He had graduated at the top of his class from the only male nursing school in existence. It had been established almost fifteen years ago and he felt privileged to have been a student there. He had loved his work at the hospital and had loved caring for people. His patients had been his whole world until one had been caught in the act of making sexual advances to him. When the incident was brought up to the head nurse, the patient’s word proved better than his own. During the discussion, his sexual preference was brought into question and he had been arrested.

“I only hope there is a doctor among us,” Yancey whispered prayerfully as he looked over the men gathered about. “Although I’ll try my best, I don’t know if I can take care of the medical needs of all these men on my own.”

Brock Trenton Foxx

Brock stood tall at six feet-four inches, with two hundred and twenty pounds of solid muscle. With feet apart and hands on hips, he was uncaring of the picture he presented. He was dressed from head to foot in buckskin, his long black hair scraggly and blowing in the breeze. The large, formidable-looking man scratched at his unkempt beard as his gray eyes slowly scanned the surrounding area. ‘Serves me right for asking a stupid question,’ he thought, silently laughing at himself. ‘At least I’m no longer incarcerated in a filthy cell or on that god-forsaken ship!’

He had only wanted to pay a visit to an old friend whom he hadn’t seen in over a year. How was he to know that Jeremy’s cabin was being watched? Half an hour after his arrival, several law-officers had barged into the cabin surprising Jeremy, Brock and the other two gentlemen present. A fight had ensued with Jeremy being killed, his other two guests escaping and Brock being arrested. Asked if he was a homosexual too, Brock had glared down at the senior officer and answered honestly before sneering, “And just what do you intend to do about it, Shorty?” In retrospect, not the wisest query he’d ever made. His only satisfaction was in it taking six men to defeat him. He smiled when he thought of how worse for wear the men in uniform were by the time they managed to subdue him and place him in custody.

He turned and determinedly walked towards the wooded area behind him. Within minutes, he lost sight of the beach.

Samuel Boyd

Samuel’s hooded brown eyes had stared out at sea as the last boat slowly moved towards the waiting ship, and reluctantly accepted that this was now his home. A gentle man, he had lived a rather solitary life, having chosen to stay on his father’s small claim and scratch a meagre living panning for gold as opposed to travelling and seeking his fortune. An avid reader, he believed his few books to be a safe refuge. He had deep secrets which he kept close to his heart and shared with no one. Most times he suppressed those feelings but he knew what he wanted. He had at first questioned why his sexual preferences developed as they did, but eventually became resigned to the fact that it was just meant to be.

It had been a moment of sheer loneliness that led Samuel to offer work to a down-on-his-luck passer-by in exchange for room and board. They had become friends and he had enjoyed the male companionship, which was a new sensation in his lonely life. But they were just friends, nothing more. 

Unknown to him, it was his remoteness that had people questioning his relationship with his new companion. Those were hard times and many had little to do except gossip. Men inclined to hunt out those they considered social misfits had set a trap and Samuel found himself facing this unexpected new start in life. He figured he had two choices; moan about the injustice of his life or survive. He decided here and now to try a different approach in order to be part of this budding community, starting with no more hiding as there was no longer a need to do so. Taking a deep breath, he stepped forward to offer what help he could.

Seth Ryan Edwards & Jordan Kyle Adams

“So, kid, what do you think of the place?” Seth asked sarcastically, not really giving a damn.

“A little too soon to tell,” Jordan quietly answered, shyly glancing around.

“Well, I told your ma I’d keep an eye on you and as far as I’m concerned I’ve done my duty, so you’re on your own from here on out.” Seth shook his head and rolled his eyes in disgust. He’d been stuck with this tattered-looking, uncouth creature for over a month now. Certainly hadn’t helped his image as a polished man-about-town. The only redeeming characteristic the kid had was in being quiet and staying out of his way.

Jordan’s knuckles turned white as he tightened his grip on the cloth bag containing his other change of clothing. That and what he had on his back was all he owned as he had only been given room and board along with a few coins a month in exchange for the kitchen duties he performed in the whorehouse where his mother worked. His heart squeezed as he wondered what would become of her as she aged and her prospects for earning a living dwindled. He wished Seth hadn’t mentioned her. Jordan had succeeded in putting her out of his mind until now.

“I’m sure you’ll find someone here willing to give you the time of day,” Seth sneered, regaining the younger man’s attention. “In the meantime, keep an eye on my belongings until I find out what I am supposed to do with them.” He indicated his two fair-size suitcases, plus a smaller one and a sealed box before heading down the beach to where a larger group of men had begun to gather. He became totally oblivious to the forlorn, frightened young man he’d left behind.

Jordan fought back tears. It was the other man’s fault he was here in the first place. Jordan had been infatuated with the smooth-talking gambler in the nice clothes and as a result had been easily coerced into the man’s bed, where they had been found and arrested. Although Jordan had no friends, he didn’t have any enemies either. Unfortunately, Seth hadn’t lacked for the latter.

Brodie Joel Baker

Brodie’s heart went out to the man who was looking totally lost. He figured Jordan to be close to his own age. Standing nearby, he had been privy to the conversation and the callous attitude displayed by Seth.

‘As if anyone here would need any more cruelty,’ Brodie scoffed in disgust.

Shaking his head, he made a quick decision. A few steps brought him to Jordan’s side and Brodie softly requested some assistance. “Ah, I was wondering if you’d be able to give me a hand. I could really use some help moving these bags of books to higher ground.”

He smiled when overly bright eyes turned his way and a head full of brown curls vigorously nodded.

“I was a librarian in my past life,” Brodie said lightly. “I may have overdone it when they told me to help myself to a few of the old books stored in the basement of the library.”

Nathan O’Sullivan

Nathan O’Sullivan held his face up to the sky, closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. He felt the tension in his body drain away as the warmth of the sun kissed his face. Maybe things here wouldn’t be as bad as he feared if he kept an open mind. They certainly couldn’t be much worse than the past year.

After spending several difficult, time-consuming years building up a substantial clientele, his business partner had suddenly turned on him. Jealous, Bruce had decided the quickest way to have the company all to himself was to dispose of Nathan and he accomplished that by first turning him in and then testifying against him. Nathan smiled at the thought of the unpleasant surprise Bruce would be in for. The business would never belong to his ex-partner, as Nathan’s uncle owned what had always been thought of as Nathan’s fifty-one percent.

He opened his eyes and glanced around at the people milling about the beach. Some were dressed reasonably well, others not as well, and two or three in desperate need of even the essentials. He smiled and bent to run his fingers lightly across the top of the steamer trunk by his side; the contents having been provided by his uncle. A designer of men’s clothing and a tailor by trade, Nathan would now apply his talents to providing serviceable apparel for these men he’d be spending the rest of his life with.

Gille Wheaton

Gille clutched his satchel tightly as he surveyed the men he’d been abandoned with. His boots were split at the soles and his battered case which held his meager belongings was tied up with twine. Life had not been kind to Gille. Born the son of immigrant farm workers, his father had died in a farming accident when Gille was only ten and his mother a mere two years later from pneumonia. The lad had survived by his wits, taking whatever odd jobs he could find over the last ten years.

At the ripe age of twenty-two; cold, hungry and desperate, he had attempted to sell himself for a meal. He had thought he had picked his target carefully. After all, hadn’t the man actually smiled at him?  But as was his predictable misfortune, he had chosen to offer his sexual services to the police chief. He was charged with perversion and sent to this god-forsaken place, but not before the lawman had taken his pleasure from Gille. Of course the police chief had laughed off Gille’s accusation that the man had sexually used him.

What Gille did not know, was just how tempted the Chief had been to keep him. When he had spied Gille on the street, he had wanted him. Gille had no realization of his own beauty; his pale blond hair and clear blue eyes only accentuated his handsome features. At five-foot-eight with a lithe build, he turned heads wherever he went. It was a hard struggle, but in the end the Chief decided to stay on the right side of the law and Gille found himself on board a ship.

So here he was, alone as usual with little hope in his heart. For a few moments he contemplated curling up and dying, but if Gille was nothing else, he was a survivor. A naturally optimistic temperament and the command of youth made him stand a little taller. He stomped across the beach, feeling the sand seeping into his boots and determination filling his soul.

Dallas Carter

Dallas looked around and suddered. Aside from the clothes on his back, he had only a small bag dangling from one hand that contained all his worldly goods, paltry as they were. He was a city boy and all this nature left him cold. His black hair was medium length and needed a cut; his blue eyes cold as he studied his fellow exiles. None of them attracted him as a potential lover or even as a quick tryst. But then again, maybe none of them would find him attractive either. He was in truth, a bisexual. His female lover had walked in on him with another man and understandably, had become very irate. Unfortunately, she had also considered it her duty to report them and two days later he found himself aboard the ship.

‘What had she thought?’ Dallas wondered for the hundredth time. ‘That she was my one and only?’ he snorted cynically. ‘I always have a least two people in my life.’

Dallas had just turned nineteen and had packed a world of living into those few years. His mother had left him and his father when Dallas was ten. His father had kicked him out at fourteen when his sexual preferences became apparent and from then on he’d carved out a life on the streets. He’d walked the edge of petty crime; anything from muggings, break-ins, or pick-pocketing, and when things got really tight, prostitution with women only. He had along the way, become addicted to morphine and although he had rationed out what little amount he had on him when arrested, he’d used the last of it two days ago but had been successful in stealing a couple of vials while on board the ship.

He glanced furtively around, weighing his chances of finding an additional supply from amongst those crates. Hopefully there would be enough that people wouldn’t realize if a few vials went missing. He wasn’t overly optimistic. He shrugged; withdrawal wasn’t fun but he’d done it before. It was a miracle he hadn’t been more deeply involved with the law. It was ironic that his sexual preference had been his downfall. He wondered how he’d manage here without women, as all the men around him were homosexuals. He wasn’t though. He just liked men now and again for a change, but never, that is almost never, bottomed. He was always the one in control, or so he thought.

He saw a movement out the corner of his eye and nervously moved closer to the group of men who seemed to be taking control. 

Kelby Curtis

Although not quite twenty-three, Kelby was unsure if he should be terrified or relieved at having arrived here safely. He had been shocked when his own father had turned him in to the authorities after discovering him in the arms of another man.

Kelby had been training to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a banker, but planned to keep that information to himself as he had never felt an interest in the profession, even though he did have an aptitude for numbers. Being a lover of books and studying, he had always secretly aspired to become a researcher, writer and someday a professor. He sadly accepted that this dream if his was one more thing never meant to be.

Kelby strived not to dwell on thoughts of his loss. Instead he stepped forward to pitch in and do his part, even though he was unsure of what exactly he could do or even if he had the strength to be of much help to anyone.

Hendrik Van Der Berg

‘God, but it feels good to have solid land under my feet again,’ Hendrik thought with a loud groan. ‘Fifteen days on that filthy ship was fourteen and a half too many!’

Hendrik was a land-lover, not a seaman. He loved the scent of horses, cattle and the range; not fish, damp dark places and salt water. At the age of twenty-six, he had been contented with his life as the right-hand man to the ranch foreman. He and Eric had thought they had the camp to themselves that night, but such was not the case and their carelessness had lead to their arrest. A suspicious accident aboard ship had resulted in Eric’s death. Hendrik still did not believe his lover had fallen overboard.

Resigning himself to making the best of a bad situation, Hendrik pushed his Stetson back on his forehead and picked up his saddlebags and scruffy valise. He slowly sauntered towards the two young men who seemed bent on moving as many personal items as possible from the beach area to higher ground.

Mitchell Wolfe

Mitchell stared out at the horizon for several long minutes even though the ship was no longer visible. He sighed gratefully as his coffee-colored eyes filled and he gave a silent prayer of thanks. While some may consider their exile not much better than prison, he experienced a strange exhilarating sense of freedom. A son of former slaves, his perception of his present situation differed greatly from those with a different background. He felt a sense of peace being here amongst his fellowmen, as an equal and having shared the same dark secrets.

Several weeks ago, he and his life-partner had acted imprudently and it had led to their seizure and imprisonment. Mitchell still questioned the validity of the story that Byron had committed suicide. He had mourned Byron’s death during the entire journey and knew he would do so for some time to come. 

Deeply breathing in the salty sea air, Mitchell stooped to pick up the well-worn leather bag at his feet, turned and with head held high, made his way over to the group of men gathered around the crates. He was only twenty-eight years old, at the prime of his life. He would make this work. His knowledge of carpentry would be very much in demand here and it was here that life for him would finally begin.

Preston Chadwick

Preston dropped his suitcase on the ground. Tied to the side of it were a large ax and a long, doubled-handed saw. He gazed around his new home and nodded in satisfaction at what he saw. He had suffered his way through his trial and sentencing, saying little in his own defense, perfectly aware that nothing he said would have vindicated him. Although he would dearly miss a couple of really good friends, at least he’d left no loved-ones behind, having long ago lost the last of his family members. Here he would do what he excelled at; cut down trees to provide lumber for the living quarters that would be needed.

Kevin McCaw

Kevin loved nature. He was the oldest son of a couple who had left everything they had known in England to settle in New Zealand. His first memory was sleeping under canvas while their house was being built. His second was watching his father build a cradle for one of his brothers. By the age of six, he was setting snares to catch rabbits, wood pigeons and possums to supplement the family meals. Visits to town were rare and avoided at all costs until at age twelve when he was shipped off to boarding school.

The only thing that had made being so far away from home bearable to Kevin was the still new-fangled sport of rugby at which he excelled. He was horribly homesick and what made it worse, he slowly realized his feelings for the other boys went deeper than mate-ship. He covered up the sensations by joining in the bawdy jokes and whisperings about girls in town. His family was very proud when he was selected in the Rugby Union team that was going to tour the country. After a hugely successful circuit, Kevin decided to travel some more before returning home. It was during this time that the deeply suppressed feelings re-emerged and despite the risks, he started to explore the lifestyle. He was arrested during a raid at a suspected gentlemen’s club and sentenced along with several other men to a life of exile.

Kevin had short blond hair which had a distressing tendency to curl. He devoutly hoped someone had packed scissors as the one case on the ground next to him carried only the basic items he needed to make travelling easy.

He silently pledged to himself to work hard with the others as they all made a new life for themselves. Moving towards the group gathering around some of the larger crates, he nodded his head to acknowledge several of them. Maybe, if good fortune smiled on him, he’d someday even find himself a partner.

************


This concludes the introductions, but their story is only now beginning.

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