|occhi_bella (occhi_bella) wrote in unknown_fandom,|
@ 2007-08-01 01:48:00
|Current music:||Bach Cantata 11|
|Entry tags:||fan fiction, sleepy hollow (movie)|
Title: Bad Timing
Fandom: Sleepy Hollow (movie)
Character/Pairing: Ichabod Crane
Prompt/Claim: sane/insane, first part of a multi-part story
Word Count: 1699
Warning/Spoilers: Not beta’d. No spoilers.
Disclaimer: Sleepy Hollow and its characters do not belong to me.
Note: The ‘Doctor’s Riot’ in New York was an actual event that occurred in 1788. I’ve embellished some of the details of the riot and added my own however for purposes of this little story.
The first time Ichabod Crane saw a dissected human corpse ‘in person’ was when he was sixteen years old.
With no intention whatsoever of returning he’d left behind his small home town in Connecticut. Weary of the superstitious, fearful citizens of that place and of his father the Reverend’s stern sermons and severe beatings and punishments, Ichabod longed to live in the city, where men were embracing new ideas and better, more humane ways of implementing them.
It took several weeks before he made it to the city, traveling day after day on foot until he collapsed from weariness, and eventually stowing away on a vessel that was traveling down the Hudson River, carrying crops from farms in the Hudson Valley to the city to be sold. He arrived in mid-April, in the evening.
Ichabod left home with almost no possessions save the clothes on his back and a few precious belongings that he took with him when he left home. A thaumatrope with an image of a flying cardinal on one side and an empty cage on the other, which his mother had given to him. A ring that she had given him, which he wore on his right index finger and never removed. And he had a bag with a change of clothes and, of course, his favorite books, which he couldn’t bear to leave behind.
Reading had been the one thing in life that he enjoyed. Possessed with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge he read anything he could get his hands on. Science, medicine and anatomy, law, philosophy and metaphysics were only some of the myriad subjects he read up on. He read William Shakespeare, Chaucer, Beowulf, Milton and many other great writers and poets. And among his favorites were Plato’s The Republic, Aristotle’s Dialogues On Justice, and Beccaria’s On Crimes and Punishments.
Famished and exhausted, he began to wander the streets in search of one of the work houses he’d read about, where he could at least earn a meal and a bed for the night. With a full belly and a decent night’s sleep his head would be clear and in the morning he could begin to formulate a plan to begin to earn a living in this great city.
Unfortunately for him, Young Ichabod arrived in New York on the very day that its citizens lost their minds. A riot erupted in full force and Ichabod unwittingly found himself in the midst of this insanity.
After turning the wrong corner he found himself in the path of a frenzied mob. For a split second he stood rooted, stunned. Many of the men carried torches and brickbats. Coming to his senses quickly, he gripped his bag tightly and turned to run in the opposite direction, away from the swarm of hundreds of people rushing toward him. But several men, powered by their outrage, overtook him. Before he knew it he was surrounded by a sea of bodies that pressed him in on all sides until he couldn’t free himself. He was carried away toward wherever the frantic mob was going.
Their destination was a large square building in the middle of the next block. There the mob began to split up. The terrified Ichabod, fearful for his person and his life, was trapped in the swarm, still unable to flee. His heart pounded in his ears and he felt weak and short of breath. His eyes darted around frantically as he searched for a method of escape, or at least a clue as to what was going on. He was so lost in confusion that he barely registered when groups of men moved to block each of the entrances to the building and screamed for the occupants, whom they were calling heathens and grave robbers, to come out. They wanted blood.
When no one emerged, the mob broke down the doors and stormed into the building. The sounds of glass being smashed and furniture being overturned could be heard from inside the building. Ichabod, who stood away from any of the entrances, took the opportunity to attempt to extract himself from the crowd. But many of the rioters had remained outside, no doubt patrolling the doorways in the event that the hated occupants would exit so they could accost them, which made it difficult for the young man to escape.
Having apparently destroyed everything in the building, the mob re-emerged, many of the men carrying what Ichabod discovered to be doctors’ operating tables. Upon one of them was a dissected human body. His dazed mind vaguely registered that this was a medical school and that the students were working with human corpses to learn anatomy and practice their surgical skills.
“We have the proof!” a voice boomed over the loud ruckus.
A tinge of dizziness circled Ichabod’s head and the world went far away around him. The harsh shouting of overlapping voices surrounded him, the words incomprehensible to him. His eyes seemed to wander without purpose, seeing the flicker of torch lights, unfamiliar faces contorted in anger and fear, men swinging sticks, silver buttons set in a black coat. Hands grabbed him by the shoulders and his eyes rolled up to focus on the man that they belonged to. He wore a black uniform with silver buttons.
“Go home, lad.” The man’s voice penetrated the thunderous noise around him. “You have no place being mixed up in this madness.”
Ichabod’s knees turned to rubber and he crumpled, fainting into the man’s arms.
He was slumped in a chair when he awoke, in what appeared to be an office of some sort. Panicked, he sat up quickly and glanced around, taking in his surroundings. The room was fairly small, with a wooden desk covered with papers and a wooden chair behind it. Sconces hung on the walls, lighting the room well.
Somewhere outside of this room he could hear the jangling of heavy keys and the clanging of metal. Shouts still emanated from the streets and Ichabod recalled the riot that he’d unfortunately encountered. He closed his eyes and sank back in the chair, remembering the man in the uniform, the sight of the body, the frenzy of the mob.
Approaching footsteps caused him to stir and he opened his eyes in time to see the man in the black uniform enter the room. Dark brown tousled hair was peppered with grey. He was quite tall and fairly slim. His thin, weathered face was kind in appearance, despite the lines of worry and the shadows in the grey eyes that had seen too much. He carried a loaf of bread and a sack of apples.
“You look like you haven’t eaten in days.”
“I…haven’t,” Ichabod answered hesitantly, his attention focused on his rumbling stomach once more.
The man cleared some space on the edge of the desk and set the food down, then he gestured for Ichabod to move his chair forward and help himself.
“Thank you,” he murmured before digging in.
“How old are you?”
“I’m Constable Jackson,” the man introduced himself as he watched Ichabod eat hungrily. “Where are you from, lad?”
“Connecticut,” he answered between bites. “I just arrived here…”
“Left home to seek your fortune, I gather. What were you doing in the middle of that fiasco?”
“I didn’t intend to be…I-I was looking for a place where I could work for food and a bed. I turned a corner and got swept up in that crowd…”
“Hmm. I see.”
“My bag…” Ichabod exclaimed suddenly, glancing around him in panic as it dawned on him that it must have been lost in the shuffle.
“I brought your bag, too.” He pointed to the floor behind the chair where he sat, then regarded Ichabod with amusement. “It weighs more than you do. What have you got in there?”
“Books?” Constable Jackson repeated incredulously. He began to chuckle lightly. “You would have been better off packing food.”
Ichabod regarded him with dark intense eyes, at a loss for words.
“What happened…out there? Was that a medical school?”
“Yes. They use bodies for their anatomy studies. Unfortunately on this night, a man discovered that his wife’s grave had been desecrated and her body removed from its coffin. Whoever did it never bothered to rebury the empty coffin. So, this man and his friends assumed that interns from the hospital dug it up because they needed a corpse to work with. They managed to rile up an army. We’ll need an army to stop them.”
“The doctors…were they hurt?”
“Most of them escaped through the rear windows, but one of the physicians and three students remained behind to protect the specimens, unsuccessfully. I, and several of my fellow constables, managed to push back some of the mob and get the four men safely away. They’re staying in the jail cells until this passes.”
“Oh.” The thought of the doctors staying in jail took him aback somewhat. “You brought me here…”
“It occurred to me that you would be spooked if you woke up and found yourself in a jail cell.”
Ichabod swallowed nervously at the thought. “Yes.”
“The riot has moved from this area, up to Columbia College. The mayor is rallying the military to stop it.”
They sat in thoughtful silence for a short time. Ichabod reflected on what Constable Jackson had told him. It was perfectly understandable for medical students to use actual corpses to study anatomy and practice surgery. He was surprised to find that even here in New York people were suspicious of that sort of thing. In Europe they had already put this widely into practice.
“So, you can read,” the constable remarked, interrupting his thoughts.
“Yes, of course…”
“There’s a book and print shop nearby that’s hiring. I’m sure they would be happy to get a young man like you who’s eager to work. Especially one who can read. I’ll write the address down for you if you’re interested.”
He offered a silent prayer of thanks to the power that had put him in the path of this kind constable. His luck was taking a turn for the better.
“I certainly am interested. Thank you, sir.”