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Seven years before, Hayes and Lumpy were sailing aboard a Norwegian barge. They found a castaway who had been adrift for days after his ship wrecked on a mysterious island. He spoke of a hundred foot tall wall built to keep out a monstrous creature. The next morning, they found that the man had stuck a knife in his heart.
One year before the events of the 2005 film, Hayes was steering the Venture in the rough waters off of Baffin Island while on an expedition with Carl Denham to find a mythical orca named Killer. Englehorn called for Hayes to lay anchor off the shore, and Denham went to look for Eskimo, so Hayes was put in charge of his landing party. Hayes and the sailors were content to remain on the rocks around their boat while Denham's crew went to film. However, shouts soon brought Hayes to attention, and he grabbed his rifle, but it turned out to simply be an excited cameraman over finding a herd of leopard seals. Hayes went up to investigate, and revealed to Denham that the baby seals he wanted in the foreground were surrounded by the females, and the hugely aggressive bulls, which put Herb the cameraman in immediate danger. They tried to signal him back, but to no avail. Denham attempted to move in to get him, but Hayes was forced to inform the oblivious filmmaker of the incredibly aggressive and dangerous disposition of the males. Herb began to run away, and Hayes took a position on some high rocks and shot down at the seals until they dispersed, and the crew ran to him, and Hayes ordered some medical supplies and a stretcher. He began wrapping the wound to stop the man's doomed leg's bleeding, and he was taken to ship's medic Billy Clarke. Englehorn had Hayes set a course for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the rest was done. Hayes and Denham were outside the room when the doctor came out of the operation. They and the Captain went in to see him, and Herb thanked Hayes for saving his life.
Before Hayes was a sailor, he had fought in the trenches of World War I with the 369th infantry, otherwise known as the Harlem Hell-Fighters, at the insistence of his father and grandfather that after each war, the racial divide closed a little more. He and his platoon saw the most active combat of any U.S. soldiers, but were not recognized when they returned home. However, the French government awarded them the "Croix de Geurre". Unfortunately for Hayes, when he returned home, he was met with more bigotry and violence than when he had left, and so he went to sea to prevent himself from killing his principal tormentor, and dying to a lynch mob. While at sea, Hayes took the orphan Jimmy under his wing, and took it upon himself to act as the boy's tutor, and had him work out of an old school workbook. Hayes wanted Jimmy to be able to escape his life at sea with an education, and tried to get that point through to the boy, who wanted nothing more than to stay at sea with Hayes. At one point Jimmy borrowed a copy of Heart of Darkness from the library, under the impression that its subject matter of "adventures on a tramp steamer" would be "Just like" he and Hayes' time at sea. Hayes, who had read the book, certainly hoped it would not be. One night after setting sail with Carl Denham's film crew, Hayes noticed that the Captain had changed their heading to take them out of the known shipping lanes. Fearing what might come next, Hayes approached Englehorn, demanding to know where they were going, and when the captain dodged the question, he asked if he considered however much he had been paid was worth the safety of the crew. Hayes was frustrated, and still respected Englehorn, but he knew that even honorable men could make mistakes. However, as the journey progressed, Hayes and Lumpy realized their true destination, and confronted Denham in the mess hall, warning him of a sailor the two had found seven years beforehand, half-drowned and raving mad, who told of a fog-covered island with a wall built to keep out the god "Kong". Denham dismissed their worries, and the ship sailed on until Hayes received a message from the bank, informing the Captain that Denham's check was not being honored, and Englehorn began to turn the ship around. However, Hayes discovered that the compass was acting up, and when Englehorn told him to navigate with the stars, he reported that there were no stars, just before Jimmy called out that he could see a wall. Englehorn then took the wheel from Hayes to try and escape the rocks, but despite their efforts to maneuver out, the ship struck a reef and ripped a hole in the hull. Hayes went to the engine room to help repair the tear, but Jimmy came down to tell him and Englehorn that Denham had gone ashore. Englehorn was unconcerned, and the three continued to discuss repairs until they heard two screams from the shore: one from Ann, and one from the jungle. Hayes, the Captain, and a few other sailors went ashore and rescued the crew, and returned to the ship to lighten the load.
As Hayes steered away from the rocks, Jack Driscoll revealed that Ann Darrow had been kidnapped, and Hayes began overseeing preparations to go ashore, and gained respect for Jack, who was joining despite his meek and scrawny physique. He arrived on the second boat with ammunition and other supplies to find that Darrow was gone beyond the wall. Driscoll tried to pry up the bamboo blocking their path, but Hayes stepped in and shot the poles to splinters before deciding to trust the writer with a tommy gun. While preparing sailors for the rescue mission, Hayes objected to Jimmy's joining them, only to be persuaded by Jimmy's experience with a rifle. He refused his joining all the same, and lead the group into the jungle, with only Driscoll ahead of him, with Lumpy and Choy close behind. However, the moans from the darkness soon overcame the crew and they shot wildly into the bush. Hayes called for them to cease fire, and lit a flare, which illuminated the corpse of a dinosaur. However, Jack heard Ann scream, and ran ahead, leaving the rest to run after him, landing them in a boneyard, where Hayes rallied the sailors' dwindling spirits before counting heads and discovering that Jimmy had tagged along. He was hesitant to give the boy a gun, but eventually allowed it before the crew moved on. As they walked, Jimmy enthusiastically informed Jack of Hayes' military achievements, which Hayes quickly hushed. He eventually assured Jack that they would get Darrow back alive or dead. However, while resting in a steep and narrow valley, a group of Hunter lizards started a Brontosaurus stampede, which claimed the lives of four men, and would have gotten more if not for Hayes' sharpshooting. All the same the experience proved too traumatic for most, and Lumpy lead a movement to return to the ship before it left, but gave up when Choy refused to abandon hope. Hayes determined which way Kong had gone, and the crew built rafts to float across the swamp. Unfortunately, they were attacked by a Piranhadon halfway through. Despite Hayes' warnings, Denham destroyed their raft in an attempt to slay the beast, and Hayes rescued Jimmy from the water, and when they reached the other shore, the survivors continued with Hayes in the lead. At one point, a beast with hooked feet attacked him, and Jimmy shot it and Hayes tried to make sure he did not get overconfident, but Jimmy misread it as lack of confidence in him, making Hayes feel bad. As he continued, he eventually lost the trail, but told no-one for fear they would try to turn back. Instead, he navigated based on the mountain to which Kong was headed. He eventually picked the trail back up just before coming to a great chasm bridged by a log. He immedeately began to cross with the rest following him until he saw two eyes watching from a cave on the other side. He went to investigate before ordering everyone back as Kong emerged. The beast picked him up as he shouted for Jimmy and the others to back away as he calmly fired a single shot at Kong before being thrown and hitting the far wall of the crevice with a crunch. Jack soon observed his body at the bottom of the pit.
Hayes sailed aboard the Venture to the mythic Skull Island, where the ship hit some rocks in the night. The next morning, Hayes gave a damage report to Captain Englehorn before they were forced to go ashore to rescue filmmaker Carl Denham from the hostile natives. While lightening the ship, They discovered that the natives had kidnapped the actress Ann Darrow, and a rescue party was launched. However, Englehorn gave them one day before they would leave without them. While stopping to examine a gargantuan footprint, the party came in the path of a Brontosaurus stampede, which they narrowly escaped. However, while crossing a fallen log bridging a chasm, they were approached by the monstrous Kong, who smacked Hayes off the bridge. He fell to his death in the chasm below.
Hayes and Jack Driscoll in King Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World.
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