Out of hate, turmoil and confusion is born a will to succeed, a will to conquer. Having been torn down, time and time again one eventually gets to the point where they give up. Then the only way is up. Myles was at the point of giving up all hope when his life was changed by a single good deed and the love of a man that he had once helped.
Little did he know that he would become the patriarch of a new dynasty. Little did Myles know that he would be the patriarch of the Kaylock Family empire. Little did he know that people around the world would call him ‘The Marquis’ purely out of respect. Little did he know his family would become one of the most powerful in the world.
* * * * * * * * * *
It all started when Myles’ world was thrown a curve ball and he found himself fighting for what he believed. England lay in turmoil at the time, it was 1916 and most of its men were away fighting in the trenches on foreign shores. Fighting for the lives of those they loved back home in Blighty. Willingly facing, day after day, the maws of hell bearing down on them.
The young men at home were, for the first time, facing having to report to the authorities to enlist in the armed forces. The war was running out of men and the government in their wisdom bought in conscription for everyone between the ages of eighteen and forty-one. ‘Your Country Needs You!’ Posters were appearing everywhere, but with the way men were falling even conscription left the question of just how long England could stand against hell itself and win . This war had already cost them millions of men’s lives. What cost could England take before it fell?
The toll on young lives took a horrific turn with the battle of the Somme where no family in the land was left unscathed. Villages and towns across England and the world saw mothers, wives and families mourn the millions of men and boys that the devil killed. One should point out that it was not only the English boys, but it was Germany and its mothers that wept for the loss of youth as well.
Yet even with this massive toll, there were some that were forced to stay at home in “RESERVED” occupations. Many claimed that these men were the lucky ones as they worked in areas that the country needed to continue; mining and farming being examples. Yet these men tried to fight with their friends and were turned away because their profession was exempt.
When the boys went to answer the call, they were examined and tested to make sure that they were healthy, which was basically making sure they were over five foot three inches for the army. The boys at the start were safe until they were nineteen and then they were sent to the front, but by the time conscription started the age had changed to eighteen year and six months. It was not unusual for lads to pray that they were all healthy, so that they could all watch the others back and support their friends in what became known as ‘Pals Battalions’.
The boys that Billy Baden grew up with all went to Leeds to sign up together being promised that they could serve in the Prince of Wales’s Own pals battalion and proudly wear the khaki uniform of the crown. Boys that escaped the pit to work in an office, or a shop, or a factory were all called up and yet Billy Baden was the only one that was denied entry into the army. The lads all argued that they’d not go without him, but it was too late, they’d all enlisted.
They said he was lucky as he was a team leader, a gaffer in a reserved occupation, yet he yearned to escape and serve with his mates instead of the insidious mistress that held on to him. It wasn’t that though that stopped him from being enlisted… Reserved occupation be damned! The recruitment officer told him after all of the tests the only reason Billy wasn’t sent to the front with his mates was because of his nickname “Short Arse”, he was only five foot one inch. It took some time for Billy to accept that he was being left behind.
People thought that Billy would not get through it when his mates were among the first to go over the top of the trenches in the battle of the Somme. In one day, the nine mates he went to sign up with, all nine families had a visitor to tell them that their son had died. Billy fell to his knees and sobbed as he watched house after house receive the news.
One by one his mates were gone and he cried like a baby as his son Tommy clung to him trying to get him to come in from the rain to Lizzy who was waiting for them. Eventually Tommy ran to Maggy for help and she got her husband to carry the man inside as he was almost catatonic in shock knowing that all of his mates were dead.
As he carried Billy, Maggy looked at Lizzy and Tommy, “You two come with me Billy needs the sort of help that we can’t give to him.” The cheerful Billy never returned, from that day he was a shadow of himself.
When you look at it, Billy’s mates had to crawled through trenches and over no man’s land under barbed wire trying to move forever forward to escape the maws of hell. Guns and bombs exploding all around … Billy stayed at home, but with the others who were exempt, went down into the maws of hell every day. Working the mine, moving the pit face forever forward by hacking out the bowels of hell and collecting the black gold that the insidious mistress gave up.
Billy often thought as he was crawling in the two foot space that one small movement of the walls around him and he’d be crushed. Day after day he hacked out the belly of the earth and thought he was trying to reach France to avenge his friends. Yes, they were safer than the ones on the front line, but a pit is a canny mistress and terror lies only just around the corner.
* * * * * * * * * *
Reserved occupation, be damned!
Many felt you were lucky if you were exempt, but truth be known you wanted to out! You wanted to be out there fighting with your mates. Billy had been a miner all of his life and he hated every bloody minute of it. Crawling along a road no higher than two foot? Crawling, forever in the dark with only the lamp on his helmet or a Davy by his side.
He was a miner and his father had been a miner, like his father before him. Ever since he left school at the age of fourteen, he’d been down the pit. Why? Oh why couldn’t he get a bloody break! He’d started working with his da, but when he was killed in the last mining accident Billy became the Gaffer of his own team on the pit face.
He was just twenty-seven. Thirteen fucking years down the pit and still he couldn’t escape even now. Now his mates had all been killed, he thought that he was damned to forever crawl along that black road of his mistress.
* * * * * * * * * *
To Billy, his team started with the light of his life, Lizzy Pullman. They’d been sweethearts since they were playing on the streets as nippers. When the time was right, she walked down the aisle dressed in white to be at his side in life and became Lizzy Baden. Within the year a second member of the team was born.
Thomas or little Tommy Baden, who was now a boisterous lad of six and it didn’t matter to anyone that she had been expecting when they got married. It happened so often that no one took any notice of it. It was just not talked about.
Piswell was a village that grew up from need, because there was a mine, because there was a mine there were miners that needed housing. The Lord of the land built some cottages years ago when the mine was young, now the village had grown up around the mine as more and more workers moved into the area.
Everywhere you went the lord of the land had rail lines scarring the land and making it hard for the young ones to be able to get to and from school safely. Making it even harder to escape the pit when you were old enough. The very name of the place showed what Lord Edgar Vimbaston thought of it. Piss well!
To get from one end of the village to the other, you have to cross at least seven busy rail lines. Busy as they shunted trucks full of coal and its by-products to and from the mine. Many an accident had happened when kids thought that they had time to get across, only for the trucks to be shunted further along and knock them over and injure them. Broken bones and injured kids looked bad, so now there was specific crossings to protect the workers…if they used the crossings that is.
West Riding of Yorkshire was all coal no matter where you went and people that lived there were connected to it in some way. Women might not have been able to work on the coal face like they used to fifty year ago, but many certainly worked on the surface and the associated plants that worked the by-products of the mine. The area was renowned for accidents, because of the type of coal and the gas that it contained.
* * * * * * * * * *
Lizzy, Tommy’s Mother had never been one to work for the Lord and his pit. You see Lizzy was a trained seamstress. Trained by her grandmother in the art of sewing and dress making. Grandmother having had to fend for herself and feed eight kids when Lizzy’s grandfather had been killed by the mistress of the black gold.
After Lizzy and Billy married, she took in mending and then made her name making dresses for the ladies of the area. Her reputation went before her and people used to come from far away to get their clothes made by Lizzy Baden. Ladies from outside the area travelled to the village specifically to have Lizzy as their dressmaker. Soon she had quite a clientele that would come to her for new dresses every season.
Billy turned over the front room to the sewing and Lizzy soon was earning as much, if not more than he was; so, they started planning on his leaving the mine. As she became more and more in demand, he and his friends built a large outdoor factory area connecting it to the house, so that the sewing could expand. Lizzy was able to run the business as her mother nursed Tommy, but while he was sleeping her mother was also a seamstress. They soon had quite a business and it was all down to the small start that Grandma had made.
By the time 1914 came and the war took over the land she had several girls working for her sewing and making dresses for ladies; dresses that she herself had designed. In addition, ladies would bring their dresses to Lizzy for washing and cleaning. Her team washed, mended and pressed and starched the dresses; possibly adding a few new features, a frill here, a bow there just to give the impression that the dress was new that season. The ladies thus helped the war effort by cutting back.
Lizzy had always taken in alterations for those that could only afford second hand or for the kids who got the hand me downs from their older brothers and sisters. With the war, they found that many families bought to them their husband or son’s uniforms for mending and cleaning when they were home on leave.
Feeling the need to do their part she turned over part of the factory to mending and making things for the soldiers. The local authorities approached her about working for them and soon she was making men’s shirts for the war. She refused though to turn over the whole factory and continued with the lady’s dress making and her designs as well.
By 1916 there was word that some of the children from London needed to be evacuated for their safety. Knowing that they had space in Tommy’s bedroom and a spare bed for the second child that never came they volunteered to take in a child. The mass evacuation never happened, though the authorities billeted a young boy called Myles in early 1917 with them. All they were told was that Myles’ family lived in London and worked for the war office. As such, because the staff had been let go in the house where they lived, Myles was being sent away, so that he was with someone that could look after him.
Many wondered why Billy and Lizzy never had any more children. In his case there was strong friendships with the men from the pit that Billy often was found in the fields screaming for the man he was with to bugger him and be quick about it. Even on the face of the mine it was not unknown for the men to have a little fun down a turning that was no longer worked.
* * * * * * * * * *
When Myles was due to arrive in Piswell, Billy was given the weekend off by the mine, so that he could help settle the boy. They waited at the station for ages and when he failed to arrive by the time the last train pulled away the three of them walked the two miles back to their cottage wondering what the hell had happened. Tired and hungry as they walked up the road, they could see a car sitting outside of their cottage with a chauffeur at the wheel.
It was Lord Vimbaston’s car. As they walked up the path to the cottage the car door opened and a voice shouted “Billy Baden, we do not like to be kept waiting! We now wonder if the boy is safe with your family.”
Billy was so mad that that he was almost spitting blood! “No neither do we like waiting and we’ve stood in that bloody cold train station all fucking day waiting for the lad. At least you could’ve contacted us and told us he was coming by bloody car.”
The boy got out the car, “Mother you said you’d sent word we’d arrive by car.”
“Son be quiet, they are below people like us.”
Billy looked at the car and then at the boy. “Get back in the car lad. There is no room for the likes of you here. Didn’t you hear her? We’re below people like you, so we can’t be fucking bothered to help you out.”
Tommy ran up, “Nay da he needs us to get him away from them monsters. She sounds like a reet bitch!” Tommy smiled and held out his hand, “Names, Tommy Baden. Do I have to curtsy or something sir?”
“Names Myles Kaylock and no tha bloody doesn’t.”
The family turned and headed to the cottage ignoring the people in the car. Getting out of the car Lord Vimbaston the owner of the mine and Lady Vimbaston his daughter in law looked at them, “Billy Baden you do know that I could sack you from the pit. How dare you boy talk about Lady Vimbaston like that?”
Billy turned and looked at them, “Aye sir I do, and if tha does that all the men in this ‘ere fucking village ‘ill leave with me. Then you can bloody well go down there tha sen and git the coal.”
The old man flinched knowing he couldn’t intimidate this man. “Master Myles has had to be moved from London because of his parents being involved with the war. We expect houses of nobility and palaces like that to be targeted if there is an invasion. As we own these cottages, we would like to accept your offer of taking Master Myles in to live with your family.”
“Grandpa shut the fuck up, ya pompous twat!” Myles smiled, “My name’s Myles. I need a place to kip as I hate living wi’ Granddad, he’s such a cock!” The family were finding it hard to keep a straight face. “We’ve never got on as he’s a pompous twat. Mother ‘ill send money for my keep. If’n you’ll let me live here and go to school with Tommy. If’n she doesn’t, then tell me and the newspapers will love my call to them… are you listening mother? Please do not test me!”
Tommy was laughing as his mother smiled and nodded, “Follow me Master Myles and bring your stuff, or should I carry it for you my Lord?” he curtsied.
“Bugger that! I can lift m’ own stuff.” Both his mother and grandfather looked shocked at how Myles fitted in. “Bye mother, sort it all out for me or else you know what will happen!”
Billy looked at the two grown ups, “Guess you need to come in and go through what you and the war office want.”
“I’m sorry but Lord…”
Billy glared at the chauffeur, “Lord Edgar Kaylock, Marquis of bloody Vimbaston can get his head out of his fucking arse and sort things out for his grandson or he can be the one to bloody well look after the lad.” He said the man’s name as he knew that he only ever went by Lord Vimbaston, being the type of man that he was.
“Now you see here…”
Myles had been listening and whipped round and glared at the people at the car. “Grandpa, if you ever loved anyone other than yourself get your head out of your arse as the man just said or I swear that I will disappear and you’ll never bloody find me.”
At that the chauffeur grabbed Myles’ arm and yanked him towards the car. As he did, Billy got a good right hook to the jaw of the chauffeur which caused him to land on his arse in some horse shit that was on the road. Tommy pushed Myles behind him automatically determined to protect the boy and other boys and men were now coming closer, so they could help if needed, but they knew both Billy and Tommy were the best scrappers in the village. “I have just been given guardianship of this boy and if you ever touch a child like that again you will have to answer for it to the men of this village…
“Look around, all of the men on this street are watching you. They work in your mine sir, but they work for me! Every one of them is willing to protect this boy from you, because they know what a fucking bastard you are. Now send your fucking money to my solicitor that the war office contacted or not I couldn’t care less, but piss off and be gone… The boys had enough of you and your so-called love.”
That night as a thank you Myles handed Lizzy a little box. Inside it there was a gold chain and on the chain was a miniature gold Davy Lamp as well. Lizzy looked at him, “Myles it is beautiful, but I can’t accept it.”
“Yes, you can, Da’ is in the mine most of the day and if’n you wear that you’ll always remember him and keep him close.”
Billy looked at it. “It is mighty fine Lizzy.”
“Aye, well if you insist Myles. I’ll always wear it next to my heart.”
That’s all for now folks ... Chapter 2 will follow soon. I'll continue to try to get at least one chapter posted per week as promised...
Let me have your comments and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org ... All suggestions considered.
Though I have read through the chapters many times since they were written, an editor never goes adrift, please let me know if you are interested.