A shot sounded from somewhere close by. The Redcoats that had been sent by the British, for enforcement of the laws, heard the sound and reacted as they were trained to. They fired back. Nobody knew who made that first shot; all they know is it set off a tragic event that is now known as the Boston Massacre. But one person does know who made the first shot, who pulled the trigger, for whatever reason, and caused all those innocent people to die. And that person is me…
*~* -- Time Skip -- *~*
It all started the day the Redcoats arrived and were positioned all around the town of Boston on October 1, 1768. That day was the day I heard of the group known as the Sons of Liberty, and I joined them. The organization was led by two people, Sam Adams and John Hancock. There were had occasional meetings in which everyone would complain about how the Redcoats should not be here, and about how Great Britain has gotten out of hand and we needed to stop them.
The whole reason the Sons of Liberty was formed was because of the Revenue Acts of 1767. This was a law that put taxes on imported and exported goods, such as: glass, paper, paint, tea, and many other items. All of the colonists of Boston found these taxes absolutely ridiculous. The taxes were unfair, and unneeded. While most of the colonists responded by burning effigies, Sam Adams and John Hancock went a step up and formed the Sons of Liberty. In the Sons of Liberty, we were developing our own plan on getting the Redcoats out and the taxes repealed. We simply had to wait for the right time to set our plan in motion.
Every other day, the Sons of Liberty would come together at different places in the evening, because most of the members had a wife and children to attend to. For the first few weeks, we tossed around ideas that could possibly take the Redcoats out and take the taxes away. Most of the ideas weren’t very good, such as Joshua’s idea of just getting a gun, hiding behind something and shooting the Redcoats in the head. Very blunt, and very stupid; though it’s not like anybody believed he was that smart to begin with. Other ideas were all about talking and making peace. You’d think people would have learned by now; if it didn’t work before, why on earth would it work now.
On my way home from these meetings, I would pick up flowers for my wife Abigail, since the town flower shop was around the corner of my house, and the flowers themselves were only a few cents. When I did get home, my wife would greet me with a smile and tell me that dinner was ready. She would ask how work was and about my overall day, though she knew nothing of my meetings with the Sons of Liberty. I knew she wouldn’t approve, since she is one of those people that never raises her voice and tries to resolve all problems with a simple talk on the matter, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her. At least, that’s what I believed.
However, my wife wasn’t the only one who would greet me at the door. A loud crash would be heard from the stairs and a high pitched voice would scream, ”Daaaaaddy!” My little Ruth would run up to me, jump up and put her arms around my neck as I spun her around in a tight hug. Abigail would laugh, and then go to the dining room to put her new flowers in the glass vase I got her for her last birthday. Ruth was a beautiful little 4 year old girl, with long, spiraled, light brown hair; a mixture of Abigail’s long blonde hair and my dark brown curls. Ruth also had piercing green eyes, just like Abigail. Ruth was basically the center of our world. She meant everything to us, and we would protect her at all costs.
Time went by, and the Sons of Liberty began to formulate their plan. Sam Adams and John Hancock had taken turns writing down what was said in each meeting, and the booklet, they put all of the lists in, had become huge. Many ideas were announced, but only one would be used, and that decision was up to the two people who had started the group. They had been looking over the lists of ideas and putting a few of them together to get their current idea which was to scare the Redcoats out of Boston, by using a gun to start a fake rebellion.
Obviously, nobody volunteered to be the one who would shoot to scare the Redcoats. Everybody was scared. So, to get somebody to do it, the group made an agreement. Each person would put his own name into Sam Adam’s hat and John Hancock would pull the names out, one by one. The two leaders of the group did not have to put their names in because they were the ones who came up with the idea. Each name that was pulled out of the hat would be considered “safe”, and the leaders would go until only one name was left.
So the pulling of names from the hat began. With Sam Adams holding the hat over John Hancock’s head, one name after the other was pulled out and declared safe by John Hancock. The first names to be called were James and Crispus. Then it continued to the last few names; Stephan, William, Samuel G, Joshua, Thomas, Samuel M, and Patrick. My body was filled with a sense of dread… my name had not been called. I was the one that had to fire the gun to scare the troops. If I was caught, I would be the one to take the blame. There would be no accomplices — I would be all alone.
*~* -- Time Skip -- *~*
Today, March 5, 1770, is the day that the plan will go into effect. The Sons of Liberty have taken months to figure out the exact procedure and we’d even practiced how it would happen. Well… I practiced it, not with a real gun though. That would attract too much attention, and we were trying to lay low. Of course, just being part of the Sons of Liberty gave us some attention, because we made it known quite clear that we did not want the Redcoats here, and we wanted them gone immediately.
The plan went a little like this: All of the children of the members would be having a snowball fight with each other, and then they would turn on the Redcoats and throw tightly-packed, gravel-filled snowballs. Afterwards, we figured the Redcoats, who are easily annoyed, would start yelling at the children but wouldn’t shoot at them, because they are only children. Then other members of the group would walk by and pretend to not know what was going on, only that their children were being yelled at by the Redcoats, and the parents would start yelling back.
Some of the people would walk up and stand directly up to the soldiers, and start yelling and pointing back at their children and questioning what they were thinking by yelling at the small children. While this would be going on, I would be hiding in the dense forest behind the big group, waiting for my cue. Once I was given my cue, I would point the gun up at the sky and fire a shot to scare the Redcoats. We then assumed the soldiers would scatter and run to one of their British ships and head home, or something like that.
Right now, we were already on step three, and I was waiting for my cue. One of the dumbest things that could be a cue, Joshua would yell out, “You’re all just a bunch’a lazy hooligans!” My body was shaking with fear; I was scared about what would happen if I did get caught. I would have to say I acted alone, and I would either be killed or put in jail, my family left to fend for themselves. Without me, they would have no money to support themselves. They would starve, without a shelter, wondering why I made them suffer by doing this incredibly stupid stunt. I didn’t want my family to think I had abandoned them by doing this; I couldn’t get caught. I just couldn’t…
Joshua’s loud voice echoed through the yelling and cursing, catching my attention. I had missed part of it, but I got the last part just fine. “Bunch’a lazy hooligans!” That was my cue. I lifted the gun that was given to me and fired towards the very top of the overhanging tree, while making sure to aim away from it. I didn’t want the sound of bark being shot to give me away. I nervously looked back at the scene that was occurring, closed my eyes, and pulled the trigger.
For a second, everything went in slow motion. Then I looked back to where everybody was, and saw that the shot had indeed startled the Redcoats, but not the way our group had hoped. My mind slowly processed that the soldiers quickly loaded their guns and fired at the crowd. My wife, who was now in the crowd, was distracted when Ruth started running towards our neighbor’s son, trying to excitedly tell him about her day, and Abigail ran towards Ruth, trying to get her away from the armed Redcoats. I ran out of the forest and straight towards the group of people; everybody was too distracted to notice where I had come from. The Redcoats fired, and when it was over, I began to relax, seeing that Abigail and Ruth were still standing. Then I saw them slowly start to fall over, the blood catching a glint of sunlight, and I realized what had happened. The Redcoats had shot randomly, and one of them had shot my wife and daughter. My heart slowly began to fall apart, piece by piece. Then anger slowly started to take its place - they had shot my family…
Then I felt something else tugging the strings of my heart. No… it wasn’t the Redcoats who had taken away my family, the ones I loved. It was me. I was the one who pulled the trigger. I was the one who had gotten my family and friends killed. It was all on me.
*~* -- Time Skip -- *~*
Over the next few days, many things happened. Though I hardly paid attention to what was going on because I felt numb and depressed, I continued to go through my usual routine, with motion, but without emotion. I got up, made myself breakfast, ate it, then went to work. After that I would walk home, stop by the flower shop, pick up my wife’s usual flower, and put it in her new vase, out in the town’s cemetery. I also got my baby girl, Ruth, a flower and set it over the lump in the ground that was called her grave. She died at the age of 7. But I did not cry, for I could no longer give myself that comfort. I did not deserve to give myself comfort through tears, I would only stare blankly at everything and everyone, wishing that it had been me to die, instead of my family. They would have at least had a chance of survival then.
The Sons of Liberty looked at me remorsefully, knowing how I felt, and they felt badly for me. But I didn’t want their remorse or pity. I only wanted my little girl back in my arms, and my wife back at my side, where they belonged and deserved to be. Not everyone cared, such as Joshua, but simply patted me on the back and congratulated me on getting the plan accomplished without getting caught.
Yes. The Sons of Liberty’s plan had worked. The British were completely embarrassed about their troops shooting innocent civilians, and called them home. But at what cost? Was it really worth it? I know I didn’t think so, but most of the members did. This is why I refused to go to the group anymore, not that Sam Adams or John Hancock cared. Those two only cared that their plan was a success, the Redcoats were out, and the taxes were repealed. Some people asked why I stopped going, most didn’t bother, but I didn’t really care either way.
By the third day, I was sick of everything. I was sick of people coming up to me with their pity. People paying “respects” to the dead they never really knew or cared about. People who lost their loved ones also, and “knew how I felt.” But they didn’t. Nobody did. My family was dead, and it was all my fault. Where as those people who came up to me could just go home to the rest of their family, I had nobody left. My parents died years ago, and so did Abigail’s. Now that Abigail and Ruth were dead, I was simply a lifeless body, walking around and doing my daily routine.
By the fourth day, I couldn’t take it anymore. Everything crashed down on me… I felt as if I was suffocating. No matter what I did or where I went, I couldn’t breathe. There was no air, and I felt as if I was drowning with nobody there to save me. I was alone, drowning in my own misery. The weight of guilt finally crushed down on me, and I ran. I ran to where it had all begun. Towards the forest and towards the gun I had dropped in that terrible time. I wanted to end the pain, end the misery, and finally get peace in this forsaken place I called home. And my mind only came to one solution. My hand shakily reached down towards the gun, and I lifted it up, pointing it at the place that hurt the most, my heart.
Everybody knew it was coming. Nobody expected Jacob to be able to live the way he was. He was an empty shell, ever since he had done what he did for the Sons of Liberty. Some people in the group felt badly because he was so full of life before. Others never really cared to begin with. All of them agreed that Jacob wasn’t going to make it, but none of them bothered to do anything about it. It wasn’t their problem…
The group agreed that it was something that should not be passed down to our sons and daughters. Not a story that should be told down the line of our families, but something that should remain forgotten. So the group agreed that the Martin family would be taken out of any and all official documents. The number of people killed went down from ten, to eight. No little girl was killed, no women were killed, only men. And Jacob Martin would cease to exist, never being spoken of again. Their tombstones were removed, and only the lump in the ground proved that they had indeed existed…