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  1. #1
    Forks of Stones River

    Forks of Stones River

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 8th May 2008, 07:21 PM


    Private thread. No one post please without permission.

    May, 1862

    The wind rushed through her hair as 12-year-old Madelyn Carter urged her horse to go faster. She loved the feel of the wind in her face and she gave a shout of joy as she slowed down near the lake. Her older brother, James, caught up with her and said with a laugh, “Well, Maddie, I see that you’ve been enjoying your birthday present.” Maddie looked up at James and grinned. “It’s the best present ever, James!” James laughed again and reached over to ruffle Maddie’s hair. “Come on. We should start heading back. I still need to finish getting things together you know.” The smile left Maddie’s face in an instant as she looked up at her older brother. “Do you really have to leave, James? I don’t want anything to happen to you…” James smiled slightly at his little sister and said, “It’s an honor to be able to fight, Maddie. Anyway, the war should be over soon. I’ll be home for your next birthday, alright?” Maddie didn’t answer, so James dismounted and walked over to his sister’s horse. “Madelyn Elizabeth Carter, I promise you that I will be home for your next birthday, alright?” Maddie only stared down at her brother for a few moments and then slowly nodded. “Alright, James,” she finally said softly. James smiled at her and said, “That’s my girl. Now come on. Let’s get home.” With that said, James remounted and then the brother and sister turned and headed for home.

    Within a few days, Maddie stood next to her parents as she watched her beloved big brother head off to join the Union Army. She held fast to the promise that she would see him again within a year, but she couldn’t help the tears that slowly rolled down her cheeks. Without a word to her parents, Maddie stepped off of the porch and ran around to the barn, to the comfort of her horse. Maddie’s parents just watched her run off, and then Daniel turned to his wife and said, “James is a strong lad. He’ll be just fine.” Jenny just continued to look in the direction her son had gone and said softly, “He’s only 18. He shouldn’t have to fight.”

    ----

    Thomas just stood at the gate, staring out across the countryside. The war had been going on for just over a year now, and Thomas couldn’t wait to be able to fight for himself. His older brother had joined the Confederate Army shortly after the war had started, but Thomas had been too young at the time to join as well. Smiling to himself, he realized that in just a few days time he would be able to take his place among the brave soldiers of the Confederate Army. He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t hear his mother come up behind him. “Thomas? Come on inside. There are still a few more things that need to be done.” Thomas turned around and smiled at his mother, his face shining with the excitement of going off to war and possibly seeing his brother again! “I think I have just about everything done, Mother. I should actually head off to the encampment.” His mother smiled sadly and then hugged her boy close. “Just come back to me alive, Thomas. I couldn’t bear it if I lost both of my sons to this war.” Ben returned the hug and said, “I’ll come back, Mother. I promise.” With that said, he headed back to the house and grabbed his bag and said goodbye to his father before heading out to the road, toward the waiting Confederate Army. His mother just watched him leave with tears in her eyes, just wondering if she would ever see either of her sons again in this world.

    July, 1863

    “…It’s been more than a year since I left to join the Union Army. I honestly thought that this war would be over by then, but evidently, I was wrong. Mother, Father, please tell Maddie how sorry I am to have missed her birthday. I will do all I can to be at home next year. I pray to God every night that this war will be over soon so that I can return home and be a proper older brother to her. Love, James.”James looked up from the piece of parchment he was writing on as artillery fire sounded somewhere nearby. Quickly folding and sealing the parchment, he wrote his home address onto it and then quickly bade the post rider to deliver it as soon as possible. The rider nodded and then quickly galloped away as James turned and headed back toward Cemetery Ridge, where the Union soldiers were encamped. Once he returned to his unit, he sank down next to his pack and pulled out another sheet of parchment and started to write a letter to Madelyn. She’s probably sore at me for missing her birthday…especially after I promised her that I would be home! James thought forlornly as he stared down at the parchment.

    It had been battle after battle since James had left his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. His family actually lived in the countryside on the outskirts of the city, but he still said that he lived in Boston. James looked up as artillery fire started again. It would only be a matter of time until his division was called to the front lines to join in the battle. Oh God, let me survive this war. I just want to return to my family safe and sound… James prayed silently. The sun was nearing the horizon and it was getting darker out. Setting the parchment down, James curled up next to his pack in an attempt to get some sleep despite the fact that the sounds of artillery still sounded every so often.

    ----

    Things were pretty much the same for Thomas. In the past year, he had written several letters home, but hadn’t received very many due to the fact that he was almost constantly on the move. Now, he was sitting in his encampment on Seminary Ridge, just staring out across the meadow toward Cemetery Ridge where the Union soldiers were camped. As it got darker, he could see the small light of campfires from the Union soldiers as well as feel the heat from the campfires behind his back. Tearing his gaze away from the opposite ridge, Thomas turned to get some dinner before his comrades ate it all. Once they were done with their supper, the soldiers turned in for the night to try to get some sleep.

    None of the soldiers in both camps got much sleep though since the artillery started up again before dawn on the morning of July 3. The fighting was intense and finally ceased sometime around mid-morning, only to pick up again in a few hours. The stench of death was everywhere around Gettysburg and a lot of the soldiers ended up retching due to the smell. Thomas looked out from his spot in line, waiting for the command to charge. He fidgeted slightly with anticipation and when the order came, he ran toward Cemetery Ridge, hoping to dislodge some of the Union soldiers from their spots. As he ran, he suddenly felt something tear across his arm and the force of it sent him spinning to the ground. Clutching his arm, he stayed down in the hope that the enemy would think him to be dead. His plan seemed to work and after a little while, Thomas shakily got to his feet and headed back toward his camp. Going straight to the medic, Thomas sat down as the medic cut away the sleeve of his uniform and peered at the wound.

    “You’re lucky. It’s just a flesh wound. You’ll be just fine.” The medic told Thomas as he bandaged it up. Thomas nodded and said, “Thank you Doctor. I’m glad to hear that it isn’t more serious.” By the time his arm was bandaged, it was late afternoon and the battle was over. Looking out toward the enemy, Thomas saw with a sinking feeling that the Union had won this battle. His faith in the Confederacy was slowly being eaten away as he realized just how many of his comrades had died on that field.

    ----

    James was terrified. There was no other way to put it. When the Confederates attacked, his division was called to fight and they joined the front lines. Some of the Confederates got close enough to force them to fight hand-to-hand a few times as well. At one point, some of the Union soldiers went over the wall to meet the Confederates in hand-to-hand combat, and James was one of those soldiers. As he neared the Confederates, yelling the entire way, he suddenly felt something rip into his chest and arms. He managed to take a few more steps before his knees buckled and he fell to the ground. Seering pain was all he knew at the moment, and he just stared up at the sky.

    ----

    The battle was over. The Union won, and Thomas didn’t know how to feel about that. Maybe they were right and the Confederacy was wrong, but Thomas just didn’t know. Walking about the battlefield that evening, searching for any survivors, he was dismayed at all of the blue and gray uniforms that dotted the meadow. They’re no different from us… he realized as he just looked around. Not paying attention to where he was going, he nearly tripped over a young Union soldier. Looking down, Thomas felt pity for this young soldier, who seemed to be about his same age. Suddenly it looked like the soldiers eyelids fluttered and Thomas knelt down, only to gasp in shock at the fact that he was still alive.

    “Thomas? Did you find a survivor?” one of Thomas’ comrades called out. Thomas looked up and said, “Yes, I did. He’s wounded badly, but still alive.” The Confederate ran over to Thomas and exclaimed, “A Union! He’ll make a wonderful prisoner once he’s all better.” He then ran off in search of the medic who would be able to take care of the Union soldier. Thomas watched his comrade run off and then returned his attention to the soldier in front of him. He gently reached down felt for a pulse. It was faint, but Thomas could feel the pulsing under his fingers. The soldier’s eyes fluttered open and he focused on Thomas’ face and then took in the uniform.

    “A…a Confed…Confederate,” the soldier said weakly. Thomas shushed him and said, “Don’t talk. We’re getting a medic for you now.” Not heeding Thomas’ command, the soldier slowly reached up and into a pocket, pulling out a folded sheet of parchment. “My…sister. Get this to…to my sister. Tell her that…that I’m sorry. Tell her that…that James said he was…was sorry.” The pain hit James again at the moment, and his hand fell to the ground, still holding the parchment. It was the last thing he knew and his world blackened. With shaking hands, Thomas picked up the parchment and looked at the name written on the front. “Madelyn Carter. Boston, Massachusetts.” He read softly before putting the parchment into his pocket. The medic would be arriving soon, but Thomas didn’t know what fate would befall this young Union soldier.



    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 8th May 2008, 11:42 PM
    "Summer, 1866

    It has been over a year since the war ended. Almost three years since we last heard from James. An officer from the Union Army came to our house in about September, 1863 saying that James was killed in the Battle of Gettysburg, but I refuse to believe it. I just know in my heart that James is still alive, but no one believes me, and just about everyone, even my parents, believe that I'm harbouring grief for far too long. They just don't understand it, and I long ago gave up trying to explain what my heart was trying to tell me. I can only write what I believe here, where I'm certain that no one but me will ever read this..."

    Putting down her pencil, Maddie re-read what she just wrote into her diary and then closed the book and replaced it into its hiding spot. Even though she believed that James was still alive, she couldn't help but feel a little bitter about that fact that he had missed her last three birthdays, not to mention all of the other holidays. Christmas just never felt like Christmas without James at the table with them. Frowning slightly, Maddie stood up and headed downstairs. Finding her mother in the kitchen, Maddie sat down at the table and just watched her mother work for a few moments. Sensing someone behind her, Jenny turned and smiled at her daughter.

    "Why the long face, Maddie?" Jenny asked with a smile. Maddie just looked at her mother and said, "I miss James, Mama. I just KNOW that he's still alive somewhere waiting for me to come find him." Jenny gave an exasperated sigh and set down the bread dough she had been kneading. "Madelyn Elizabeth Carter..." Maddie inwardly winced at the use of her full name. "...how many times do we have to tell you that James is not coming back? You heard it straight from the officer! James is dead, Madelyn. You won't see him again until you get to heaven." Maddie just sat there silently. She knew how futile it would be to argue, so she just remained silent. After a few moments, she stood up and headed for the front door. "I'm going to go ride. I'll be back in time for supper." she said softly before leaving. Jenny sighed and then returned to her work, muttering about the foolishness of harbouring grief for that long.

    Once outside, Maddie headed straight for the barn, trying to avoid her father since she knew that she would only get the same reaction from him that she got from her mother. She successfully was able to get into the barn without her father noticing and then went to the safety of her horse's stall. For a few moments, she just stroked her horse's nose, remembering when she had gotten the mare...it had been a present from James for her twelfth birthday, and she would never forget it. Wrapping her arms around her mare's neck, Maddie rested her cheek against the horse's neck and cried softly. Where are you, James? Why haven't you tried to come home? Why haven't you let us know that you're still alive? Maddie thought as she just let the tears flow.

    ----

    Benjamin Lancaster was sitting on the fence that surrounded their small corral, just waiting for his sister. "Come on, Abby! You know that we promised that we'd go riding with Maddie this afternoon!" His mother came to the door of their house and called, "Ben! Where are you two going?" Turning his gaze toward the house, Ben jumped off of the fence and strode over to the house, saying, "Abby and I promised to go riding with Maddie. We both have all of our chores done. Is it alright?" His mother smiled and nodded before saying, "Of course it is. Just let me pack an afternoon snack for you all and then go on and have fun." Ben grinned and said, "Thanks Mama." He then returned to his perch on the fence as he waited for his little sister to appear.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 9th May 2008, 02:22 PM
    Thomas stood on the front porch, staring out across the plantation with his arms resting on the railing. Everything had changed since the War had ended and he had returned home; things around his home were quiet now- too quiet. The glory of war was not all that he had thought it would be, indeed it had been was much worse than he and his childhood friends had made it out to be in their make-believe games.

    Just a few weeks after heading out to the battle field as part of the Confederate Army, he had crossed paths with his brother Robert. It had been a bitter sweet reunion as several hours later, a skirmish had taken place and Robert was killed in the line of duty; the duty he had of protecting his family and everything he held close, something Thomas hadn't understood until that moment.

    He had sobbed over his brother's lifeless body until his commander came and dragged him to his feet, informing him that he had to carry on what his brother had left behind. The letter he had sent to his mother to inform her of her oldest son's death had broken her heart and she was never the same again.

    "Thomas?"

    His mother's quiet voice had shattered his current thought process and he turned to face her, "Yes?" he asked, blinking.

    "We're having company tonight," his mother informed him, wringing her fingers in an almost nervous state.

    He stared. She hadn't wanted to have company ever since Robert had died, morphing almost into a recluse, eating dinner in silence, and retiring to bed early every night. He wondered what the sudden change was about.

    "Well... put on a clean shirt," she said before heading back into the house.

    Thomas sighed, the shirt he was wearing wasn't dirty. He pushed away from the railing and went into the house, tromping up the stairs and wondering what sort of company to be expecting. He opened the door to his room and went over to the dresser to find a clean shirt anyway, rummaging through several stained white shirts to find a darker grey one. He stopped short in his search when he caught site of his old uniform buried underneath of his clothes. Looking behind him to make sure his mother wasn't anywhere around, he pulled the worn cloth out from underneath of the pile.

    Something inside the one pockets crackled softly as he unfolded the jacket and he frowned. He stuck two fingers down inside the pocket and retrieved a piece of paper. Puzzled, he turned it over and his eyes widened briefly. It was a long forgotten envelope that had been given to him by the young Union soldier he had found, bloodied out on the battlefield.

    "Madelyn Carter. Boston, Massachusetts," he murmured to himself, fingering the wrinkled note.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 9th May 2008, 04:15 PM
    After a few moment's of just crying into her horse's neck, Maddie sniffed and took a deep breath before stepping away. "Sorry about that, Shadow." Maddie said softly as she stroked her mare's nose. Wiping her eyes with the back of her hand, Maddie took another deep breath and then went to get Shadow's tack. Carefully carrying it back to the stall, Maddie saddled her horse and soon she was leading the mare out of the stall and into the barnyard. Daniel looked up from his work, and noticed that Maddie had been crying, but figured that it had something to do with James, so he didn't mention it. "Where are you off to?" he asked, coming to lean against the fence. Maddie didn't answer right away and said after a few moments, "Ben, Abby, and I are going to ride for a while. I'll be back in time for supper." Daniel nodded and said, "Okay then. Just stay safe, Maddie." Maddie nodded and then mounted and headed off toward Ben and Abby's house.

    Once she arrived, she saw Ben sitting on the fence and angled toward him. "Hey Ben. Where's Abby?" Maddie asked, looking around for her friend. Ben's gaze was still on the house as he replied, "Probably still in the house. ABBY! Come on, Maddie's here and waiting for us!" He finally turned his gaze toward Maddie and noticed her red and puffy eyes. "You alright, Maddie?" he asked with concern, wondering if she had gotten hurt somehow. Maddie looked down and said, "I'm fine, Ben." Ben reached out and grabbed Shadow's bridle and gently pulled the horse, and thus Maddie, closer. "Maddie, look at me. I know when something's wrong, and something is definitely wrong. What is it?"

    Maddie was loathe to answer, but she finally sighed and said, "Just remembering, I guess. I KNOW that James isn't dead, Ben. My heart is telling me that he's still alive." Ben released the bridle with a sigh and said, "Don't start this again, Maddie. You've known for almost three years that James is dead. The officer came and told you himself! Why can't you just let go of the past and allow James to rest in peace?"

    Maddie looked away and was about to answer when a clatter came from the house, essentially breaking off the conversation where it was. Ben hopped off of the fence and ran toward the house. "Mama? Abby? Everything alright in there?" His mother appeared in the doorway and smiled, saying, "Yes, Ben. Everything's fine. Just knocked over a chair is all." She handed Ben three sacks with some snacks for everyone in them, waved to Maddie, and then disappeared back into the house. Ben just stood there bewildered for a few moments and then called out, "Abby! Come ON already!"
    ...to the topTop



  2. #2
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 9th May 2008, 06:02 PM
    Abby tripped out through the front door and glared playfully at her brother. "I heard you the first time," she said and stuck her tongue out at him. She hurried down the stairs, glad her skirts were shorter than her mother's since she enjoyed running and riding more than walking with a lady-like air.

    "Hi, Maddie!" she greeted her friend cheerfully, ignoring the saddened expression for the moment since her brother was around. She turned to look at Ben, "Well? Are we going riding or not?" she said, crossing her arms and tapping her foot in mock impatience on the ground.
    _______________________________________

    Thomas sat on the bed and stared at the note in his hand, letting his eyes follow the curves of the handwriting. He had let himself forget what the young northerner had begged him to do, genuinely not ever expecting to do it, but now that the note was in his hand again he felt suddenly guilty.

    He wondered how it had managed to stay in his pocket all this time and still manage to be whole. He flipped it over, looking at the flap of the envelope, wondering if it would be a sin to read what was inside.

    "Thomas?" his mother called up the stairs.

    Thomas quickly slid the note underneath his pillows and grabbed the clean shirt that was next to him. "Yes, Mother?" he called back, quickly changing shirts before she came up the stairs to check on him.

    "They'll be here soon," she said, "Are you almost ready?"

    He ducked in front of the mirror and used his fingers to brush his hair neatly into place. "Almost," he replied.

    "Well, hurry up."

    Thomas looked back at the pillows, the thought of the undelivered note residing there making him squirm slightly. He would decide what to do with it after dinner, he thought with a decisive nod.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 9th May 2008, 06:23 PM
    Maddie smiled at her friends and said, "Hey Abby." She then looked toward Ben and echoed Abby's question, "Well Ben? Are we? Or do I have to go off on my own?" Ben raised an eyebrow at the girls and walked toward them. "Well...if it wasn't for Miss Slowpoke here, we would've been out in the countryside already!" He stuck his tongue out at his sister and then tossed one of the sacks he was holding to Abby and handed another one to Maddie so that he wouldn't accidentally spook Shadow. Ben carried the last sack with him into the barn, and soon Maddie could hear him banging things around. She shook her head slightly and raised an eyebrow as she looked toward the barn doors. It's a wonder that he doesn't spook the horses with all the noise he's making... she thought with a slight smile. Maddie then looked down at the sack she was holding and opened it to see what Mrs. Lancaster had packed for them.

    Maddie had closed the sack after seeing what was inside, and was softly humming to herself when Ben's voice suddenly came from the barn. "Abby!" Ben yelled from the barn. "I'll saddle your horse for you! Why don't you try to talk some sense into Maddie. She's started up with that nonsense about James again." Maddie just looked in shock at the barn doors as tears welled up in her eyes again. She blushed as she looked down and squeezed her eyes shut in an attempt to keep the tears where they belonged...in her eyes. I shouldn't have said anything... Maybe I should've just stayed in my room today... Maddie thought as she considered just heading back home instead of spending the afternoon with her friends.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 9th May 2008, 06:52 PM
    Abby's mouth dropped open and she was about ready to start a heated argument with her brother to defend her friend, but then an idea came to her. She closed her mouth and smirked.

    "You mean the nonsense about him being dead? Yes, I quite agree, Ben. Maddie, you mustn't talk such nonsense about your brother," she said, bobbing her head up and down with a solemn expression on her round face. She looked up at Maddie and grinned, wondering what Ben had to say about that.
    __________________________________________________ ___

    Thomas sat at the dinner table, bored out of his mind. How his mother had managed to invite the Jamison family over for supper, he would never know. An aristocratic family who looked as stiff as they acted, the Jamison's main priority was to make 'acquaintances' with other families who were in the same league as themselves. Fredrick Jamison owned one of the biggest plantation in Raleigh and had suffered one of the biggest losses after the War had ended. They had been acquainted with Thomas' parents long before the War was even whispered about and Thomas had never liked them then either; always sticking their noses in other people's business where it didn't belong. His father used to say that one day, their noses would end up being stuck somewhere that they didn't belong.

    Thomas tried to pay attention to the conversation but found his mind wandering to the letter upstairs, hidden under his pillow. He poked his fork at the vegetables on his plate, wondering if he could excuse himself and get upstairs fast enough to evade any questions.

    "You need to find this boy a wife," Rubella Jamison said suddenly, jerking a very startled Thomas out of his thought and almost causing him to flip a piece of broccoli onto the floor with his fork.

    His mother smiled politely, "He'll find one when he's ready," she answered, still flushing slightly from the comment.

    "Honestly, he's almost what- 24?"

    "22," Thomas corrected, taking a much needed drink of water. He refrained from saying what he was really thinking and hoped she would do the same.

    Rubella sniffed and clucked her tongue in a disapproving manner. "Much too old," she said, shaking her head. "Why, you're still living at home! With your mother! You should be out making a living and supporting her," she said, waving her fork around in swirling gestures of superiority.

    Thomas set his glass back down with more of a clatter than he had meant to make. He spoke up before his mother could intervene, "This is my home. As I am the only son remaining thus, the house is rightfully mine. I take care of this plantation on my own and support my mother," he said coldly.

    "Not much to take care of if you ask me," Fredrick chimed in with his gravelly voice, whilst spearing a piece of meat.

    "I didn't," Thomas replied. He dropped his napkin down on the table and quickly got up from the table without excusing himself, making his way back up the stairs to his room and shutting the door behind him.

    "Well," Rubella sniffed. Fredrick just grunted and continued eating.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 9th May 2008, 07:14 PM
    Maddie had kept her eyes shut in an attempt to keep the tears from falling, so she didn't see Abby's grin, only heard what she said, and it was enough to almost cause her to fall off of Shadow. Wondering how her friend could betray her like that, Maddie's eyes flew open and she looked over at Abby...only to see Abby grinning at her. Confusion settled over Maddie as she tried to process what Abby had said. Suddenly it clicked in her mind and a smile slowly spread across her features. Stifling a giggle, Maddie said, "Oh I agree with you, Abby. The nonsense about James being dead is just that. Nonsense. And I would never say such nonsense about my brother." Maddie then dissolved into giggles, which effectively eliminated any bad feelings she had been harbouring.

    Ben only growled in reply and started to search for something. Picking up the bag of chicken feed, he walked to the entrance of the barn and remained in the shadows as he threw the bag of feed at the girls. The bag landed at their feet, and feed flew everywhere. Soon the chickens were flocking to the girls, and Maddie was having a deuce of a time keeping Shadow calm with so many squawking chickens underfoot. "Woah, Shadow! You're okay girl. They can't hurt you." Maddie crooned to her horse, gently stroking and patting her neck in an attempt to keep the mare calm. "Nice way to act your age, BENJAMIN." Maddie called into the barn, where she was certain she could hear laughter.

    Ben emerged from the barn a few moments later leading two horses and just grinned at Maddie as he handed the reins to one of the horses to Abby. "What? Can't take a joke, MADELYN?" Ben taunted. Maddie only rolled her eyes and then turned and started for the road. "Come on, Abby. Maybe we should leave your pesky brother at home." Ben had already mounted and was approaching Maddie. "I don't think so. Either I go with you or neither of you go. And don't think that I wouldn't stop you. All it would take is one word to your father, and then you would be prohibited from going." Maddie only sent a mock glare at Ben and then shifted her gaze toward Abby. "Is he always this much of a jerk?" she asked teasingly, since she knew that he was only looking out for them.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 9th May 2008, 07:38 PM
    Abby had also dissolved into giggles with her friend, which quickly turned into screeching as the chicken feed flew into the air, only adding to poor Shadow's confusion when the screeching chickens came along to go with the screeching Abby.

    Abby brushed the feed out of her hair and frowned at her brother, taking the reigns haughtily from Ben's grip.

    "No, sometimes he's much worse," she replied to Maddie and mounted her own horse with great dignity, pointing her nose in the air and sniffing indignantly.

    "I think we should leave him behind, we can just tell your father that Ben was being a great big bully and we had to get away from him," she said, sticking her tongue out at her brother and then proceeding to pout teasingly.
    __________________________________________________ __

    Thomas flopped down on his bed, removing the letter from it's hideaway and tucking the pillow under his chin. He stared at the address for awhile once more and finally knew what he had to do. He would take the letter to Madelyn Carter of Boston, Massachusetts just like the young soldier had wanted him to do. Even if the War was over, he could still do something noble for the family- whether it was his own or the Carter's.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 10th May 2008, 01:59 AM
    "Oh yeah? And what do you think Papa would say when I tell him just why I'm not with my 15 year old sister?" Ben countered, as he looked over at Abby with a raised eyebrow. "Sorry little sister, but you're stuck with me. Besides, you need a big, strong man to be there to protect you." Ben finished, puffing out his chest. Maddie laughed and then pretended to look around. "Do you see any big, strong men around here, Abby? All I see is scrawny Ben." She then dissolved into giggles once more as Ben rolled his eyes. "I'll get you for that, Maddie." he said with mock seriousness, as the mischievous twinkle in his eye gave away the fact that he was teasing.

    ----

    "Two and a half years. That's the best estimate I have as to how long I've been in this hellhole controlled by the Confederates. The medics who cared for me were shocked that I even lasted this long due to the injuries I sustained at Gettysburg. Do they even care for us? Or are they just waiting for us to die so that they can go on with their lives?" James stopped writing as a man near him started to cough. It was like that day in and day out. Men were getting sick, and no one seemed to care about it. James licked his lips in an attempt to get some moisture on them, but he was plagued by a neverending thirst that only got worse due to the fact that water could be seen and heard just outside of their prison. Trying to quell the shaking of his hand, James returned to the entry he was making in his journal.

    "Is the war even over? If so, are we too heavily guarded (or are we kept a secret too well?) to be rescued? Does anyone even know where we are located or are they just assuming us to be dead? There are just too many unanswered questions for my mind to go through, and the fact that I am constantly hungry and thirsty isn't helping any. The Confederates barely give us enough to eat and drink, but there's nothing we can do about it, even though there's a river surrounding us. If any of us take even one step past the set boundary, we're shot. It happened on the day I arrived. One poor soul got so thirsty, that it overcame his desire to live, and he went running for the river. Next thing we knew, a shot rang out, and he was no longer with us. I continue to pray to God each night for deliverance. I don't know how much longer I can last..."

    James stopped writing because his hands were shaking too badly. Replacing the journal with his meager belongings, James lay down with his uniform jacket and journal under his head, and just stared up through the trees to what could be seen of the sky. His thoughts wandered to his family, and he wondered how they were holding up, especially Maddie. Maddie's 15 now, I think. She's growing up and I'm not there to watch over her... James thought with despair. Do they even know I'm still alive? Or have they taken me for dead long ago? James sighed softly and closed his eyes as he tried to get unpleasant thoughts from his mind. One thought in particular kept on nagging him though... That Confederate soldier who helped me at Gettysburg... I gave him a letter to deliver to my sister. Did he deliver it, or did he just disregard it? James frowned slightly as this thought ran through his mind, refusing to go away.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 10th May 2008, 08:15 PM
    Abby let out a very unladylike guffaw and doubled over in laughter at Ben�s attempt at a mature and manly posture. She could have sworn that her horse sighed in annoyance at the childish behavior taking place around him. She sat up straight and jutted out her chin in defiance, her eyes twinkling though with mischief.

    �Just big strong horses, no big strong men,� she answered Maddie with a grin at Ben, and then suddenly spurred her horse forward without waiting for anyone.
    __________________________________________________ ________

    Thomas crept back downstairs after the Jamison�s had gone home. He hoped that he hadn�t greatly offended his mother with his callus attitude towards her guests. He thought about what he was going to tell her about his decision to leave for the North as he took a chunk of bread out of the basket on the kitchen counter.

    To travel so far away from home just to deliver a letter that was overdue by about three years was ridiculous, even to him, but it was just something that he felt he had to do. The solider wasn�t even dead, he remembered as he chewed on his snack, thoughtfully. He was being held in a prison, though Thomas didn�t know which one or where it was; the younger Northerner was still alive the last he knew and that was all he knew.

    He wondered if that should be something he included telling the Carter family along with delivering the note. Although, the solider could be dead by now and it would be cruel to give them false hope after they had been told their son was killed, and had believed it for over two years now.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 11th May 2008, 02:02 PM
    Maddie quickly followed Abby while Ben just stood there for a few moments in shock, just watching the girls disappear. Suddenly it dawned on him that the girls were LEAVING him behind, and he quickly ran for his horse and mounted before taking off after the girls. "Hey! Wait for me!" he called as he tried to catch up. Maddie only laughed and then suddenly shifted directions and headed across unfarmed fields, heading for the countryside. "C'mon, Abby!" she called to her friend, knowing that Ben would automatically follow them wherever they went.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 11th May 2008, 07:03 PM
    Abby looked behind her, smirking at how far behind Ben was but knew he would catch up soon. She change directions with Maddie and then spurred her horse into a fast canter, leaning forward on its neck with the wind rustling through her hair. "Come on, slow poke," she hollered behind her shoulder at her brother. She rode up next to Maddie, giggling, and grinned at her friend.

    After a moment, her grin softened slightly. "I believe you, Maddie. About James," she said, pulling on the reigns to slow her horse back down to a trot.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 11th May 2008, 07:12 PM
    Maddie looked over at Abby and smiled. "Thanks Abby. I think you're the only one who believes me... Everyone else is convinced that James is dead...but if he were, I'd feel it in my heart." she said softly. Ben grumbled when the girls changed directions, but continued to follow them nonetheless. After a few minutes, he finally caught up with them and then started to scold them. "You two know better than to leave me behind! Abby, you know that Papa doesn't want you going off by yourself anywhere because it's too dangerous!" He then continued to scold them for a few moments longer.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 11th May 2008, 08:04 PM
    Abby smiled at Maddie in return, and then rolled her eyes as she turned to look at Ben. "You could see me the whole time I was up here. Besides, if you weren't so slow, you could have been riding with us," she said and then stuck her tongue out at her brother. Something in the fields made her horse sneeze and she lurched sideways for a moment before regaining her balance and then frowned at the animal, wondering if it had done that on purpose.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 12th May 2008, 12:00 AM
    "I was not slow!" Ben retorted. "You two just galloped off without waiting for me!" When Abby suddenly lurched to the side, Ben rode up close to his sister and asked, "You alright, Abby?" Maddie was just looking around the countryside and then asked, "So where should we go? We have until supper to just wander around." Ben only shrugged in reply, not sure where they should go.
    ...to the topTop



  3. #3
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 12th May 2008, 06:30 PM
    "Cantering," Abby said with a definite nod of her head, staring hard at her brother. "Because, of course, galloping could be dangerous, Benjamin," she said, using his full name. "You wouldn't want me to get hurt now, would you?" she asked with a smirk, and then spurred her horse to move forward again without waiting for an answer.

    She looked over at Maddie and grinned, chirping out an, "I'm fine!" along with a giggle. She looked at the long stretch of land in front of her and squinted slightly in the just starting to set sunlight. "I think we should ride that way for a bit," she suggested, pointing out towards her left.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 12th May 2008, 06:36 PM
    Maddie laughed and followed after Abby. The nice thing about summer is that it stayed light out later, so she was allowed to stay out later as well. Ben followed along, grumbling to himself. "We can't stay out too much longer, Abby!" he called to his sister. "You know how Mama and Papa get if we stay out after dark!" Maddie glanced back at Ben and said, "Oh don't be such a worrywart, Ben. We'll get back before it's dark out!" Ben only raised an eyebrow at Maddie and continued grumbling to himself about the impossibility of girls.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 13th May 2008, 02:09 PM
    Abby sighed and rolled her eyes at her brother’s worrying insistence; not responding, but just letting Maddie handle him since she seemed to have more patience than Abby. Ben’s pessimism was starting to grate on Abby's nerves and she gave her horse a good nudge in the sides to get him going once more. The animal obliged, heading forward again, but only going at a retained speed almost as if he knew all the rules that Abby seemed to be ignoring.

    Once they were a good bit ahead of Ben, Abby looked over at Maddie, studying her friend with pursed lips. “Maddie? Do you think James remembers your birthday every year?” she asked suddenly.

    ~ Anderson Plantation – The Next Day ~

    Thomas stood next to his bed, packing his knapsack with various items he would need for his trip. He had spoken to his mother the previous night about the soldier, the letter, and the request the soldier had made of him to deliver the letter to Madelyn Carter. She didn’t understand why he would do something so ridiculous and, quite frankly, he didn’t understand it completely himself.

    “I just have to, Mama,” he had said simply with a shrug.

    She had only looked at him with a confused expression, clasping her hands in front of her. “Why? What do you think you will gain from this- this quest?” she asked, stressing the last word as if it were a completely mental idea.

    Thomas pressed his lips together in thought and sat down at the table. “Do you remember when you got the letter saying that Robert was dead?” he asked quietly.

    A look of pain flickered across her eyes. “Yes,” she whispered.

    “What if someone came to our door right this moment, telling us that Robert was still alive, still holding onto hope that we would find him?” he said, looking up at his mother. “Wouldn’t that mean more to us than anything in the world?” he asked.

    She simply nodded, understanding a little better.

    Thomas had reached out and taken her hand in his. “That’s why I have to go,” he said softly.Now, Thomas took the letter from his desk, followed the lines of the handwriting once more before slipping it carefully into the inside pocket of his bag. Once he had packed a few extra changes of clothing and some money to get him through his travels, he tromped down the stairs with his bag slung around his shoulder.

    His mother stood at the bottom of the staircase, a package in her hand. She smiled a bit, but he could tell she was sad and even scared to let him go. “I packed you some food,” she informed him, holding out the parcel in her hand to him.

    “Don’t eat it all in one sitting,” she added.

    Thomas took the package and placed it securely in his knapsack. “Thank you, Mother,” he said, smiling. The two of them went outside to the barn and were silent as he saddled and bridled his horse. When he had finished he turned to her and was not surprised to see tears streaming down his mother’s cheeks.

    He sighed. “I’ll be fine,” he said, pulling her small frame into his arms.

    “You better be,” she said, her hand gripping his shirt sleeve.

    He pulled back and looked down into her face. “I promise. I’ll come back in one piece,” he said seriously and then added a slight smile. He kissed her forehead before mounting his horse, gripping the reins tightly, and then rode off into the rising sunlight, wondering what he was getting himself into.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th May 2008, 05:28 PM
    Maddie was quiet for a few moments before quietly saying, "I hope so, Abby. Every year, I hold a little celebration on James' birthday, but I have to keep it private. The first year I even suggested it, Mama got so upset that Papa told me to never suggest it again." Tears came to her eyes and she reached up to wipe them away. "You can't tell anyone, Abby. Not even Ben. Ben would probably just laugh and say it's foolishness..." She looked around and noticed that it was visibly starting to get darker. "We should head back now. I promised Mama and Papa that I would be home for supper, and I'd rather not they forbid me to leave the house because I came home late." She turned Shadow around and started to head back toward the road. Ben saw Maddie turn and start back, and he called out, "Hey Maddie, did you manage to talk some sense into Abby?" Maddie only stuck her tongue out at Ben and said, "YOU'RE the one who needs to find some sense." Ben only shook his head and turned back as well.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 14th May 2008, 04:56 PM
    Abby smiled. "I won't tell anyone, Maddie. I promise," she said quietly. They rode silently along for awhile until Maddie pointed out that it was growing too dark to remain outside and would almost certainly be time for dinner soon. Abby nodded in silent agreement and turned her horse around to follow Maddie.

    When they reached the place where Ben was, Abby glared darkly at her brother over his comment about Maddie's sense but didn't say anything; she simply ignored it, concluding that all teenage boys were just plain ridiculous. "Come on, Benjamin. Mama will be worried if we miss dinner," she said, nudging her horse forward again while sounding very un-Abby-like.

    "I'll see you tomorrow, Maddie," she said, smiling at her friend. There was, however, a certain hint of mischievousness behind that smile that only Maddie would be able to see.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th May 2008, 05:31 PM
    Ben looked at Abby closely, wondering what his sister was up to. "You alright, Abby? Since when are you worried about being late for supper?" Maddie laughed slightly and said, "Yeah. Have a good night, Abby, Ben." She then nudged her horse into a trot and headed down the road toward home. Once she arrived, she quickly untacked her horse and brushed Shadow before returning her to her stall. "Sleep well, Shadow. I'll see you in the morning." Maddie whispered, stroking Shadow's nose for a few moments before heading into the house. She was just in time for supper, and helped her mother with a few last minute things before sitting down with her parents.

    Once supper was finished, Maddie helped clean up and then headed upstairs to her room, wanting to just spend some time alone. Pulling out her diary from its hiding place, Maddie sat down at her desk and just started to write. Her diary was one of the only places she could pour out her feelings about James, and this was one of those nights when she just felt like she had to get it all out.

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 15th May 2008, 09:53 AM
    Abby waved at Maddie’s retreating figure and just grinned at Ben before taking off at an enormously quick pace back towards their home. When she arrived, she dismounted and immediately started to remove the riding equipment from her horse (who seriously needs a name, the poor animal). She undid the buckled straps holding the saddle in place and hefted it off of the horses back with a grunt – without waiting for Ben. He had a habit of doing everything for her that he thought was the least bit difficult; but she was not one of those weak little girls who needed their brothers to do everything for them.

    After she had hung the saddle back in its place, she undid the bridle and hung that back up, too. Grabbing a brush from the stall, she smoothed out the horses hair. She was quite pleased with herself when she was finished, and looked over at her brother with a smirk – still not speaking to him– and tossed her hair over her shoulder before skipping up to the house to wash up for supper.

    She had an idea forming in her mind and could not wait until tomorrow to tell it to Maddie. And if things went as they usually did between the two friends, Maddie would be thinking the exact same thing.

    ~ The Road – Later That Evening ~

    Thomas had been riding all day; stopping on occasion to dismount and walk when he felt that his horse had enough of carrying a heavy human for awhile. Now he was tired and quite sore from sitting upright in a saddle all day. The sun had gone down behind the trees several hours ago and the glow that it was casting upwards had turned the sky into a glorious red, pink, and orange blur.

    Twinkling lights in the distance informed him he would be approaching a town soon, much to his relief. He had slept on his share of hard ground before and would have done so tonight without a fuss, but he was more inclined to sleep on mattress if it was available. He nudged the animal beneath him to ride just a hair faster and watched as the light grew closer with a slight grin.

    When Thomas reached the town, he had no trouble finding an inn and even less trouble getting a room; although he did have to pay extra for boarding his horse. He went up the stairs to the room he had been instructed to stay in and kicked off his boots. Stuffing his knapsack underneath the pillow, he almost immediately fell asleep.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 18th May 2008, 02:28 PM
    After a little while of writing, Maddie finally set down her pencil and replaced her diary into its hiding spot and got ready for bed. She had just climbed into bed when her parents poked their heads into her room to wish her a goodnight. "Sleep well, Maddie." her father said with a smile. Maddie nodded and said, "I will. Thanks Papa. Goodnight." With the goodnights said, her parents shut the door and then continued on to their own room. Maddie sighed softly and then looked out the window near her bed at the moon. Goodnight, James. Wherever you are... She thought as she drifted off to sleep. That night, Maddie had the strangest of dreams...

    ----

    Maddie awoke with a start in the middle of a forest. Looking around in confusion, she said softly to herself, "Where am I? I didn't think there were any forests close to home..." All of a sudden, a strange voice with a southern lilt said from just behind her, "Have you forgotten already? We've left the North weeks ago. We're heading for the Deep South." Maddie jumped and whirled around to face the stranger. She saw Abby and Ben sleeping nearby, and was still confused as to where she was. "The Deep South? Why are we heading there?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

    The Southern stranger only looked at her silently for a few moments and then said, "Have you forgotten already? We're going to go rescue your brother from imprisonment." That proclamation shocked Maddie, and she felt like someone had just punched her in the stomach. "James... He's alive?" she asked breathlessly. The stranger only nodded and then went back to his preparations.


    ----

    Maddie had been about to say something else to the stranger in her dream when gentle shaking roused her. "Maddie, it's time to get up." her mother said. Maddie opened her eyes and looked up at her mother. "Okay...I'll be down in a few minutes." Jenny nodded and then left Maddie's room, shutting the door behind her. Maddie's mind was whirling around the dream she had as she quickly got dressed and then rushed downstairs and outside to do her chores. She now knew what she had to do, and she was anxious to be able to do it. I've got to talk to Abby! She'd know how we could manage it...

    ----

    Ben woke up early and quickly got dressed before heading off to do his chores. Before he went downstairs, though, he stopped by Abby's room and persistently knocked on the door. "Time to wake up, Abby! It's a new day, and the chores are calling your name!"

    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 18th May 2008, 07:41 PM
    Thomas woke up early the next morning, puzzled for a moment as to where he was, and then felt the stiffness in his neck from the pack he had stuffed under his pillow the night before and remembered. He sat up quickly, looking around the small room and blinking away the remainder of sleep from his eyes.

    Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he walked over to the window and pulled the curtain back slightly. The sun was just rising over the trees and he figured he would have a few hours of cool temperatures before his ride became uncomfortably warm, to say the least.

    He went back over to the bed, sat down, and pulled his boots back on. He grabbed his knapsack out from under the pillow. Since he actually hadn't slept under the covers, he had no need to make the bed before he left the room.

    Thomas reached the stable and after he and his horse had had some breakfast from the package his mother had packed him, he saddled and bridled the animal and then they were off once more.
    ~ The Lancaster Farm - Next Day ~

    Abby groaned and grabbed her pillow, pulling it over her head, when she heard Ben's voice and incessant knocking on her door, hoping it would stop and she could go back to sleep.

    It didn't.

    "Oh, shut up!" she hollered and flung the pillow at the door wishing it had hit the offender on the other side. Crawling out of bed, hair in tangles, she yanked the door open, grumbling incoherent mutterings at no one in particular. She shoved past her brother and went down the stairs to the breakfast table.

    Abby was not a morning person, and Ben knew it. She sat down at the table with a thump, still pouting, and poured herself a glass of milk.
    ...to the topTop



  4. #4
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 18th May 2008, 08:05 PM
    Ben followed Abby downstairs and sat down across from her. "Morning Abbs. Sleep well?" he asked, hiding a grin at his pouting sister.

    ----

    Maddie quickly went and gathered the eggs before heading back inside for breakfast. After eating a quick breakfast, Maddie went back outside to work on the rest of her chores. She was just about finished when Jenny came to the door and called out, "Maddie! I have a request for you." Maddie brushed her hair out of her face with her forearm and then said, "Yes, Mama?" Jenny smiled at Maddie and said, "I want you to go to the mercantile in town to sell the eggs. I also need you to pick up a few things." Maddie nodded her assent and went to splash some water on her face and saddle Shadow while her mother wrote out a list. Maddie returned a few moments later and her mother handed her the basket of eggs and the list along with a few coins. "Ride slowly now, Maddie. I don't want you to drop or accidentally break anything."

    Maddie nodded and then went to her saddled horse and mounted before picking the basket off of the fencepost she had set it on. "I'll be back in a little bit, Mama." she said as she trotted off toward the road and then headed for Boston. They were only a couple of miles outside of town, so she figured that it wouldn't take her too long to get there.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 18th May 2008, 08:13 PM
    Abby's eyes widened and she nearly choked on her milk as she heard Ben's use of the nickname she absolutely hated. She glared at him and set her glass back on the table and then delicately began poking at her eggs, acting though she wasn't going to retaliate. "Yes, I did..." she answered politely, watching as he sat down on the opposite side of the table.

    She wondered why Ben hadn't been smart enough to at least flee from the room after calling her 'Abbs' and instead had sat down right in front of her, giving her perfect aim for some on-the-spot revenge.

    A sudden clod of egg splattered across the table and landed on the side of Ben's face as Abby continued eating quietly, all the while looking very innocent.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 18th May 2008, 08:20 PM
    "Hey!" Ben exclaimed, wiping the egg off of his face and glaring at his sister. "Mama! Did you see that?" Ben demanded, looking over at his mother. His mother ((who really needs a name...)) only looked at Ben and said, "Sorry, Ben. It's too early to keep tabs on you two right now." Ben only humphed and leaned back at his chair, glaring daggers at Abby and wondering just how he could get back at her. After a few moments, he sat back up and quickly finished his breakfast. "May I be excused?" he asked, looking over at his parents. At their nod, Ben stood up and took his plate into the kitchen before heading outside. "See you later Abbs." he said, using the nickname intentionally. He quickly fled out the door before Abby could retaliate.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 19th May 2008, 10:33 AM
    Abby let out a little screech and was about ready to fling her bacon at the quickly retreating form of her brother, but was stopped by a stern look from her mother. She stuck out her bottom lip in yet another pout and plopped back down her chair, nibbling on the weapon she had been intending to throw.

    The idea from the previous night suddenly resurfaced in her mind and she wondered about going to see Maddie or if Maddie would come to see her first. No matter. She would finish her chores first and then go to see Maddie if she hadn�t come yet � and without Ben too.

    ~*~

    Thomas had only been riding for a few hours when the sun reached its full height in the sky and began blazing down on him. �I should�ve at least waited until the fall before doing something this crazy,� he grumbled to himself.

    He tugged the reins slightly to the left so that they would at least be partially in the shade of the few trees that were scattered here and there.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th May 2008, 10:59 AM
    Ben heard Abby's screech and laughed quietly as he made his way out to the barn. After a few moments, he started to whistle to himself as he worked on his chores.

    ----

    It was early afternoon by the time Maddie got back from town with the things aher mother needed. "Mama! I'm back!" she called out as she slid off of Shadow with the basket and headed toward the house. Jenny looked over the items and then nodded as Maddie handed her the change. "May I go over to Abby's? I'm finished with my chores already." Jenny nodded and said, "Yes, you may. Just be back by supper, as usual." Maddie smiled and said, "I will, Mama." She grabbed a quick snack and then left the house, remounted Shadow, and headed for the Lancaster farm.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 19th May 2008, 03:14 PM
    Abby hurriedly finished her breakfast and then ran outside to do her chores. She ducked inside of the chicken coop before Ben could see her and grabbed the basket of the wall to gather the eggs in. The chicken coop was Abby and Maddie's almost-secret hideout where they could talk about anything with each other. Ben hated the chickens and the chickens hated him so the issue of privacy had worked out well in the end for the girls.

    The girl clucked her tongue at the chickens and deftly removed the eggs from underneath the brooding birds, as she worked out the plan in her mind. She hoped Maddie would agree to it, and had a feeling she would- if only they could get past Ben without him catching on...

    ~*~

    Thomas dismounted and took the canteen from the saddle bag, drinking deeply and relishing how good the cold water felt as it ran down his throat. He poured some of the water from the canteen into his hand for the horse to lick at and grinned slightly. The young man wondered about the Carter family as he tied the animal's lead to one of the tree branches and then sat down, leaning against the trunk.

    Had they forgotten about their son as he almost had about the letter? What if this journey just ended up making things worse for them by bringing it? Yet, somehow, Thomas knew this was the right thing to do. It felt as though something were pulling him in the direction of Boston to find Madelyn and give her the note; something stronger than just guilt for not doing it in the first place.

    Thomas tilted his hat down over his eyes to block the suns rays from his face and soon afterwards, fell asleep.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th May 2008, 03:37 PM
    Maddie rode onto the Lancaster farm and then looked around. She could hear Ben whistling in the barn, and she quickly dismounted, looped her reins over a fencepost and then snuck into the chicken coop where she was almost certain she would find Abby. "Abby?" she called quietly, not wanting to startle the chickens.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 19th May 2008, 04:45 PM
    Abby grinned when she heard Maddie come into the chicken coop and set the basket back down on the shelf, carefully so as not to break any of the eggs. "Hi, Maddie!" she exclaimed, not caring if she startled the chickens. Wiping her hands on her apron, she sat down in the pile of straw and pointed to the spot next to her for Maddie to sit at.

    "Are you up for a trip?" she asked with a grin, mischief glinting in her eyes.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th May 2008, 05:27 PM
    "Oh? What did you have in mind?" Maddie asked, sitting down next to Abby. "That's actually what I came over here to talk to you about... I had this weird dream last night, Abby, and after that, I can honestly say that I know that James is alive!"

    ----

    Ben thought he had heard a horse come into the yard, and poked his head out of the barn only to see Maddie's horse tied to a fencepost. He had an idea of where the girls were, and he inched toward the chicken coop, trying to see if he could hear anything without having those beastly chickens notice him.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 19th May 2008, 06:29 PM
    Abby smiled, "Of course he is-" she started, and then frowned, hearing something outside. She put a finger to her lips and crept over to one of the broken slats of the chicken coop wall. A grin spread across her face and she looked over at Maddie and raised her eyebrows, silently moving over to where the great old mother hen, Henrieta was sleeping. The girl picked up the sleeping chicken and then carefully pulled the door to the coop open. With a squawk she tossed the bird out the door in Ben's general direction and then slammed the door back shut, listening for Henrieta's enraged screeching and then giggled as she heard the flapping that came with it.

    "Now, as I was saying, of course James is alive," Abby said, settling back down into the straw next to Maddie. She folded her hands and rested her forearms on her knees. "We just have to go find him," she said quietly, leaning forward so only Maddie would be able to hear her.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th May 2008, 06:37 PM
    Maddie had stifled a giggle when Abby threw the hen out of the coop and then said, "That's what my idea was as well, Abby! I should tell you about my dream..."

    Ben was trying to listen in on what the girls were saying when all of a sudden an enraged, squawking chicken came flying at him. Giving a squeal of surprise, Ben fell onto his rear and started to scramble back as the chicken continued to squawk indignantly, trying to peck at him. "ABBS! GET THIS CHICKEN OFF OF ME!" he yelled toward the chicken coop, no longer caring if the girls knew that he was there.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 19th May 2008, 06:57 PM
    Abby just ignored Ben's frantic squawkings, thinking that he sounded rather like the squawking chicken and that maybe he and Henrieta would make a good match after all. That thought make her smirk all the more and she stifled a snort with her hand. Regaining her composure quickly, she nodded and pulled her hand away from her mouth with a calm and curious expression. "Please do," she said to Maddie, eager to hear what her dream had been about. Perhaps it would them with their plan to rescue James.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th May 2008, 07:02 PM
    "ABBY!" Ben yelled. "You get control of this chicken or I'm going to tell Mama and Papa that you THREW her at me!" He finally got to his feet and ran to the barn, slamming the door shut. Maddie only laughed at Ben's antics and then leaned close to Abby so that she could tell her about the dream she had.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 19th May 2008, 07:13 PM
    "Oh, he is such a baby," Abby grumbled and scrambled to her feet. Quickly, she opened the door and easily snatched the angry chicken up in her arms, sticking her tongue out in the direction of the barn where her older brother resided in hiding from a bird that he was ten times bigger than.

    Abby went back inside the chicken coop, slamming the door shut behind her yet again. She placed Henrieta back in her nest where the hen immediately calmed down, settling down in the straw and resuming her slumber that she had previously been interrupted from. Plopping back down on the floor, Abby pulled her knees up to her chest and looked expectantly at Maddie to tell her about the dream.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th May 2008, 07:20 PM
    Maddie laughed and said, "He really is afraid of chickens, isn't he?" After a few moments, she leaned forward and started to quietly tell Abby about the dream she had last night. She kept her voice low in case Ben decided to try to brave the chicken coop again.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 19th May 2008, 07:57 PM
    Abby rested her chin in her hands, her elbows on her knees now. "Did he have a name? What did he look like?" she asked. She was prepared to ask several more questions about the young southerner in Maddie's dream; she wasn't superstitious but maybe this was some kind of sign that their plan to go find James wasn't just a crazy idea.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th May 2008, 08:00 PM
    "If he did...then he didn't say what it was. I only know that he was a southerner because of his accent." Maddie said, trying to remember all of the details from the dream. "As to what he looks like..." Maddie started to describe what he looked like to Abby. ((insert Thomas' description here ))
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 20th May 2008, 08:01 PM
    Abby pursed her lips in thought, and steepled her pointer fingers, tapping them against her pursed lips. After a moment she said, "He sounds nice." She smoothed her skirt out, playing with the ends of it with her fingers. "Any idea where you were at?" she asked Maddie, tilting her head to one side slightly as she thought about what to do next. If this place was genuinely real, maybe they could use it as a guide as to where to find James. Now Abby was determined to find him, not just for Maddie, but for some reason she couldn't determine.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 21st May 2008, 01:43 AM
    Maddie shook her head and said, "Somewhere in the forest. The Southern stranger said that we were headed for the Deep South though... Maybe that's where James is being held?" A wishful look crossed over Maddie's face as she thought of her brother. It had been almost 3 years since James went missing, and she missed having her older brother around. An ache started in her heart, and her eyes started to tear up as memories came unbidden to her mind.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 21st May 2008, 04:58 PM
    Abby's eyes suddenly sparkled with excitement at the mention of the deep south. She had never been there before. In fact, she had never been out of the north at all. This adventure was sounding more appealing every minute. She sat up on her knees, putting her hands forward on the floor and grinned at Maddie. "We should go find out," she whispered. Scooting closer, she sat up straight, still on her knees, and took Maddie by the shoulders.

    "James is still alive out there somewhere, in the Deep South or somewhere else. You know it and I believe you. And I think it's your responsibility to go bring him home." Abby stopped, taking in a breath and opening her mouth as if to continue, but she paused and chewed on the inside of her cheek with determination. "You're my best friend, Maddie, and I wanna help you do that," she said finally in a softer tone with an added firm nod.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 28th May 2008, 03:58 PM
    Maddie smiled at Abby and said, "Thanks, Abby. I'm glad that at least someone believes me. It's getting discouraging when just about everyone around me is convinced that James is dead." Ben peeked out from the barn and when he saw that there were no chickens in sight, he left the barn and snuck toward the chicken coop again, wanting to know what the girls were talking about.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 28th May 2008, 07:45 PM
    ~ The Road - Later That Evening ~

    Thomas felt his heart rate quicken at the sight of more cities and even a harbor. He had reached the North at last. Only a few more miles and he would be in Boston. At last, he was getting extremely tired of riding this infernal animal. Now all he needed to do was find out where the Carters lived. It shouldn't be too hard, he thought. Besides, how many families with the name "Carter" could actually be in Boston?
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 28th May 2008, 08:21 PM
    "Abby, you done with all of your chores? If so, we should go for a ride!" Maddie exclaimed with a grin. "Think we could get away without your brother knowing?" Before Abby had the chance to answer, Ben yelled out, forgetting that the girls were in a chicken coop, "I don't think so, Madelyn! You two aren't going ANYWHERE without me!"
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 29th May 2008, 02:32 PM
    Abby nodded at Maddie. "Yeah, the chicken coop was last on my list," she said, standing up. "Maybe he's still afraid of a little old hen-" she started, hoping they would be able to get away before Ben came squawking back over to them. Too late. Here he came, and he looked about as red and unhappy as Henrieta had earlier.

    Abby sighed, deftly undoing the latch that held in the old crotchety rooster and quickly stepped back to let him loose. The huge bird, with the huge beak, and disposition to match went flying out of the coop towards Ben, seriously peeved at having another male anywhere near his coop.

    Abby snickered and grabbed Maddie by the hand, quickly pulling her friend towards the barn so they could saddle their horses while Ben was, needless to say, extremely preoccupied.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 29th May 2008, 07:29 PM
    At the sight of the rooster flying straight for him, Ben scrambled backward, screaming like a little girl. "Abby! Get this bird away from me!" he yelled, not realizing that Abby and Maddie had already disappeared into the barn. Once inside the barn, Maddie looked over at Abby and said, "The nice thing about me riding over here is that Shadow is already saddled. I'll help you though." Together, the two girls quickly got Abby's horse ((who needs a name )) saddled and they left the property while Ben was still occupied with the rooster. Looking over at Abby, Maddie asked, "So where should we head?"
    ...to the topTop



  5. #5
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 30th May 2008, 08:08 PM
    Abby giggled suddenly and then clamped a hand over her mouth as she and Maddie scurried past the frantic Ben. When they reached the barn, she helped Maddie saddle Treasure, ((her horse who now has a name)) and then quickly climbed on.

    "So where should we head?" Maddie asked.

    Abby looked up at the sky and squinted, "South!" she chirped with a grin and looked back at her friend.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 30th May 2008, 11:39 PM
    Maddie laughed and said, "South it is! C'mon, Shadow, let's go faster!" She urged her horse into a canter. "So how long do you think we can avoid Ben?" Maddie asked Abby with a laugh.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 30th May 2008, 11:39 PM
    Maddie laughed and said, "South it is! C'mon, Shadow, let's go faster!" She urged her horse into a canter. "So how long do you think we can avoid Ben?" Maddie asked Abby with a laugh.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 10th June 2008, 07:39 PM
    Thomas had finally made it to Boston and was feeling rather proud of himself for making it this far, except for the fact that he still didn't have an address for the Carters. He was unsure of how much longer he could stand the heat, when he saw two girls come riding up. Maybe they could help him, he thought.

    "Excuse me," he called out.

    Abby laughed, "Probably an hour or two," she answered Maddie and then looked over to where the voice had come from. It was a young man- with a southern accent.

    "Yes?" she asked with a slight frown.

    "Do you by any chance know where the Carter family lives?"
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 10th June 2008, 08:13 PM
    "Why do you want to know?" Maddie asked curiously, feeling a strange sense of familiarity with this young man. It's almost as if I've seen him before... Maddie thought as she looked over at the young man. She let her thoughts wander, and she finally recalled the dream she had had, and she covered a gasp of surprise with a cough.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 11th June 2008, 07:36 PM
    Abby looked over at Maddie with a frown of curiosity and waited for the Southerner's answer. She tightened her grip on the reins of her horse to hold him steady while her friend conversed with the young man and wondered also why he wanted to know where the Carters lived.

    Thomas hesitated, scratching the back of his neck. "Well, I've got a, um... delivery for them," he replied quickly. He wondered why this girl looked so surprised to see him.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 11th June 2008, 07:51 PM
    "If I may be so bold to ask, to whom is the delivery?" Maddie asked politely. She glanced over at Abby and raised an eyebrow as if she were saying, I'll explain later.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 11th June 2008, 08:09 PM
    Thomas was confused now, were all Northern girls this nosy? "Madelyn Carter," he answered bluntly. "Do you know where they live?" he asked again.

    Abby just sat by and watched the conversation with mild amusement.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 11th June 2008, 08:11 PM
    Maddie was stunned. In a way she had guessed that the delivery would be for her, but she didn't actually expect it. "I'm Madelyn Carter." she said softly. She just looked at the young Southerner for a few moments, taking notice of his apparent age and guessed that he had fought in the war. "Do...do you have news about my brother?" she asked breathlessly, her heart pounding in her chest.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 11th June 2008, 08:19 PM
    Thomas blinked. Well, no wonder she was nosy. He turned quickly in the saddle, rummaging around in his knapsack. Snagging the letter between two fingers, he pulled it out and held it out to her. "I think I might," he answered, hoping this would be worth the trip.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 11th June 2008, 08:35 PM
    Maddie took the letter with trembling hands and just looked at it for a few moments. She recognized James' handwriting and traced it for a few moments before opening the letter.

    "My dearest Maddie,

    Hopefully this letter will get to you soon. I'm sorry that I missed your birthday, but I promise that I will make it up to you as soon as I am able. As I am writing this, I'm sitting in Gettysburg, Penn. So close to home, yet so far as well. Stay strong, Maddie. Know that I will be coming home to you as soon as I am able. Give my love to Mama and Papa.

    Your loving brother,
    James"


    Tears came to Maddie's eyes as she read the letter and she held it close to her, as if she could feel her brother's arms around her. "He's alive. I just KNOW that James is alive!" she said, trying to keep the tears from falling. Looking over at the Southerner, she asked, "Please...you must've at least met my brother. Do you know where James is?"
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 12th June 2008, 02:22 PM
    Thomas wasn't the best with crying girls. He swallowed and nodded, "Yes, I met your brother- well, sort of," he backtracked. "He was wounded in one of the battles and I found him," he explained. He then wondered if that was a bad thing to say in front of the girl who already quite upset. To avoid more tears, he backtracked again, "I, uh, don't really know what happened to him after that... they took him to a holding cell to recuperate and then I left the next day," he finished with a slight shrug.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 12th June 2008, 02:31 PM
    "So you don't know where he is..." Maddie said with a soft sigh. She turned slightly and faced toward home. "Maybe everyone's right. Maybe James IS dead..." she said softly.
    Posted by qwertykate88 (Member #201529) on 25th June 2008, 12:32 PM
    Abby huffed and gave Thomas a glare that could have burned right through his cotton shirt. She turned to look at Maddie with a determined expression. "Madelyn Carter. We did not come all the way out here just so some cotton-headed Southerner could dash all your hopes on the ground like some old pottery piece," she said, whipping her head back around to fix Thomas with another glare.

    Thomas grimaced and scratched the back of his head at the awkwardness of the whole situation. He was not exactly sure what to do with one weeping girl and certainly not sure about the other smoldering girl. He opened his mouth to say something when Abby cut him off.

    "Do you have any idea where James is?" she asked shortly.

    He nodded and opened his mouth to answer when Abby cut him off, again, with a huff. "Well why didn't you just say so to begin with?"

    Thomas decided there was no point in arguing. "He's in a prison called The Forks. In Alabama. That's the last I heard about him," he explained.

    Abby's eyes sparkled brightly with enthusiasm. "There you go, Maddie," she chirped, bouncing up and down in her saddle. Anyone watching could have sworn that Treasure the horse grimaced and even rolled his eyes at the exuberant girl sitting, and now bouncing, on his back.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 25th June 2008, 07:59 PM
    Hope entered Maddie's eyes again as she turned to look at Thomas. "How long ago did you last hear about him?" she asked, trying not to get her hopes up too much in case they were dashed against the rocks again.

    ----

    Ben finally got away from that rooster and started searching for Abby and Maddie. Seeing that both of their horses were gone, Ben groaned and started to saddle his own horse to go looking for them. If I can't find Abby...I'm done for... Ben thought as he cinched the saddle tight. Mounting, he left the farm and headed down the road in search of his wayward sister and her wayward friend.

    ----

    "We were allowed out of our prison today for a short while to bathe in a shallow pool off of the river. Oh the joy at being able to splash cold water over our parched skin! This was also the first time that we have been able to satiate our thirst. Despite all of this, we were still surrounded by guards, watched every moment against escape."

    James paused in his writing and looked up. The men seemed to be in better spirits now that they had a chance to get cleaned up and get something to drink. One of the men called over a greeting to James and James smiled in return and nodded a greeting back before returning to his journal.

    "The other men in this prison with me seem to be in better spirits today as well. Who would've thought that just being able to satiate our thirst and get cleaned up would feel so good? It shows us just how much we take for granted at home..."

    The man who had called a greeting came over and sat down next to James. Looking curiously at the journal, he asked, "What are you up to young'un?" James looked over at the older man and said, "Just writing. I don't really know why I'm keeping a journal...I guess it helps me feel closer to my family."

    "You lose people in the war, son?" the man asked softly. James shook his head and said, "No sir. But I'm afraid that my family believes me to be lost... I wish there was some way I could get a message to them to let them know I'm still alive... I'm James by the way." The older man smiled and said, "Pleased to meet ya, James. Name's Mathias. How does writin' in a journal help keep ya close to ya family?" James laughed slightly and said, "My little sister always kept a diary. So I guess by keeping a journal of my own, it helps me to feel closer to her. We've also always had a special bond. I'm hoping that she still thinks I'm alive."

    Mathias smiled and said, "Now listen here, son. Just remember that anything's possible when ya have God on ya side. Understand me, boy?" James smiled and said, "Yes sir. Thanks. I needed to hear that." Mathias laughed and said, "It was my pleasure son. If we ever get out of here, you should look me up sometime. My holding is just a few miles north of Boston." James looked up in surprise and said, "If we ever get out of here, we can go home TOGETHER. My family's farm is a couple of miles south of Boston." Mathias grinned this time and said, "Well...that just shows you that God is in charge of things here son." With a wave goodbye, Mathias stood up and walked over to another group of men to offer them some encouragement as well.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 12th September 2008, 08:12 PM
    Caught chicken that was wandering in the woods, thought it strange but took advantage of my good fortune.

    Cooked said chicken and ate it, thought it tough and somewhat stringy but satisfying.

    Went into a town to ask for directions, thought it rude how so many people disregarded me.

    Was attacked by imbecilic brats with rocks, thought their parents should have raised them better . . . then remembered they were Yanks.

    Didn’t

    A drop of sweat ran down the hunched over young man’s face and fell onto the paper, smudging the cramped, spidery handwriting. Instead of starting over, he simply crumpled the paper into a small, white ball and tossed it away, watching impassively as it bounced once and then rolled off into the trees. Sighing, the young man ran his hands wearily over his gaunt face before standing abruptly, pocketing the pen he had used to write.

    Grabbing the ratty sack beside him that contained his meager belongings, he shouldered it and walked into the trees. Pushing back the branches that flapped stubbornly in the way, he paid no heed as some of the twigs tugged at his hair in protest to being shoved aside in such an abrupt manner. His thin lips were set in a straight line as he pressed doggedly forward, determined to actually arrive in a place different from the place he started from.

    He had been walking in circles for some time. Having not paid much attention on the marches to his surroundings (being too weary to notice much of anything), he had proceeded to get himself lost as soon as he had left the Confederate army. Barely surviving on natural berries and the sparse wild game, he had told himself long ago that he would never steal from anyone, no matter how desperate his situation got. This pride caused him much grief, but he stood firm to his standard, never wavering lest he fall into temptation.

    After several hours of wandering and appearing to make progress, he stopped by a slowly moving brook in order to take a respite and fill his canteen. The air was still around him and he could hear a bird in the distance, twittering lively without a care in the world. He wished he were that bird, cheerfully oblivious to the turmoil in the world around it. With a sigh he knelt, scooping up a handful of the clear, clean water and splashing it on his face in order to wash away some of the dirt and grime.

    Reclining near the water, he leaned forward to peer down at his reflection. Reaching up a thin hand, he pushed his limp dark curls back with slender fingers, the knuckles more prominent than usual. The grim face that stared up at him bore little resemblance to the young man he was used to seeing in mirrors and other such reflective surfaces. It was a gaunt, pale face with cold eyes that gleamed an intense forest green. For a moment, just a moment, the surface of the brook rippled and the reflection changed to one that looked familiar. There he was, the cavalier, handsome Southern prince whom ladies adored and men envied. However the cheerful memories of those days caused the young man to scowl, breaking the allusion sharply and changing it back to the sallow shadow of the boy he used to be.

    Growling in annoyance at the rise of the unbidden memories, he stood, shouldering his sack once more and swinging the canteen at his side. Suddenly he stiffened as voices carried through the trees on his right. Narrowing his eyes suspiciously, he turned and made his way toward them, wondering what sort of travelers would venture into these wild woods.

    He stopped in the shadow of the trees when he came upon them, silently observing the two girls on horseback and the man speaking to them. With a frown he noticed that the girls spoke with accursed Yankee accents. The man however, had the familiar lilt of a Southern gentleman. Baffled as to why a fellow Rebel would converse with young women of the enemy side, his arms hung limply at his sides and he stepped back in order to get away before they noticed him.

    Unfortunately the heel of his boot pressed down on a dry twig, snapping it sharply in two. He flinched as the loud noise seemed to echo throughout the forest. Gritting his teeth, he wondered if they would notice him now or if he could still get away if he moved swiftly.
    ...to the topTop



  6. #6
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 12th September 2008, 11:49 PM
    Thomas only shook his head and said, "I'm sorry, but I don't remember how long ago. It was only recently that I found that letter that your brother had given me." Maddie's shoulders slumped slightly and said, "Oh. Well, I guess that the letter is better than nothing. I still have hope that he's alive." Abby only smiled at Maddie encouragingly, remaining quiet for once. Maddie was about to continue when the twig loudly snapped in two, and she turned toward the noise. Dismounting, she walked toward the trees and called out, "Hello? Who's there?"

    ----

    Ben knew he was getting closer to Maddie and Abby when he started to hear voices from down the road. He was about to urge his mount into a faster pace when the twig snapped and decided against it. Slowing to a walk and finally stopping altogether, Ben dismounted and tied his horse to a tree before continuing on foot. Coming up behind the gaunt young man, Ben said harshly, "Who are you and what do you want?"

    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 12:07 AM
    The young man suddenly found himself being interrogated on all sides. Scowling, he turned to look at Ben scornfully before turning to Maddie, his expression smoothing out to one more placid. Not having a hat to tip at her, he instead gave a sweeping bow in her direction. He had not forgotten his gentleman upbringing which taught him to always be polite to a lady, no matter what side of the line she was on.

    "I am sorry to have interrupted," he said, his smooth, pleasent Southern accent contrasted greatly with his rather unimpressive appearance. "I was only passing through." He really did not want to speak at all (he rarely did if he could help it) but being cornered did something to a person. Either they clammed up and never said a word, or they blabbered on like idiots. It would be rude to not say anything, but he did not want to babble either.

    He turned to leave as quickly as he could, but had forgotten about Ben who now stood in his way. His upbringing had spoken nothing about how to treat a male enemy, and so he decided he would treat the Yank as a loyal Confederate soldier would: with contempt.

    "Excuse me, sir," he said, putting special emphasis on "sir" which, with his accent, came out sounding more like "sah." "But I believe you are standing in my way."

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 12:20 AM
    Ben grit his teeth and tried to be as polite as possible to the Confederate. "You never answered my question, either. Who are you?" Maddie had circled around until she was standing next to Ben and just gazed upon the Confederate silently for a few minutes. "Perhaps we could help you in some way?" she asked, taking in his appearance. "You look to be my brother's height, perhaps I could offer you a change of clothes and a warm meal?"

    Ben only looked askance at Maddie before grasping her elbow and pulling her away. "Are you sure about this Maddie?" he hissed softly. Maddie yanked her elbow away and nodded. "Of course I'm sure. He looks like he needs the help, and I'm not one to differentiate between North and South. We're all the same, Benjamin, and you know that." Stepping around Ben, she turned toward the Confederate again and waited for his response to her offer as Ben just stood there looking chagrined.

    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 12:41 AM
    The young man looked between Maddie and Ben, wondering if he could trust them. The sound of potential warm food and clothes made him take a small step forward, but he shrunk back once the two began to argue together. He shifted uncomfortably from side to side and continued to glance over his shoulder at the trees that could be his escape to freedom . . . and other week of wandering in the middle of no man's land.

    Clearing his throat slightly, he decided he could take advantage of their hospitality, if only just for one night. He supposed he should gather his strength anyway if he was to continue on down to Georgia. Frowning in Ben's direction, he spoke to Maddie in a quiet voice.

    "Thank you."

    Those were the only words he said, but he assumed she would take that as consent. He glanced surrepitiously at Ben's horse, wondering why all the Yanks recieved the fine animals and supplies while the Rebels had to steal, borrow, and scavange for most of their supplies on the march. He turned his dark green eyes onto the girl and the faintest flicker of a grateful smile crossed his thin lips, before the seemingly permanent frown set in once more. The limp curls on his forehead flopped forward as he turned his gaze to the ground before him.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 12:54 AM
    Maddie smiled and then led the way back to her horse. Re-mounting, she looked over at Thomas and said, "You're welcome to come as well to get a warm meal." Thomas nodded and said, "Thank you." Looking over at the Confederate, Thomas also said, "You can ride double with me if you want." Turning, she headed back down the road toward her home while Ben followed on his horse. "Let's go home, Abby." he hissed to his sister. "Mama needs some help with things anyway." Abby only frowned at her brother and then nodded in agreement. "Oh alright. I'll see you later, Maddie." she said as she and Ben turned off at their home.

    Maddie waved goodbye to her friends and continued on. Once arriving at her family's farm, she left her horse in the barn as Thomas followed and did the same. Maddie then led the way inside where her father was sitting at the table. Looking up as Maddie entered, he said, "Who're your friends, Maddie? They look like Rebs to me." Maddie frowned at her father and said, "The war's over, Papa. And they're need need of some food and a change of clothes. I offered them both." Daniel only continued to frown, but nodded his assent. He wasn't the type of man to turn down someone in need, even if they were Rebels. "Stew's over the fire."

    Maddie turned to Thomas and the Confederate and said, "Have a seat." She then pulled out two bowls and cups and served the men some hot stew and some water. Excusing herself, she headed upstairs and paused in front of James' closed door for a few moments before swallowing past a lump in her throat and pushing open the door. Memories assailed her as soon as she stepped into the room, and she couldn't do anything but stand there for a few moments. Finally, sighing softly, she walked over to his wardrobe and pulled open the doors and gazed upon the contents for a few moments before pulling out some trousers and a shirt. Shutting the door as she left, she headed back downstairs and set the clothes onto the table next to the stranger.

    "Here you go. It's the best I can offer, and James won't miss them anytime soon." Daniel only frowned at the mention of his son and stood up, muttering, "I've got some work to do." before disappearing out the back door. Maddie got herself a cup of water and then sat down at the table as well, unsure of what to say next.

    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 01:03 AM
    The young man was silent throughout the entire trip. He agreed to ride behind Thomas only because it was faster than walking. He took in the farm at a glance and stared at the girl's father impassively as the man spoke. He was used to such talk from Yanks.

    Sitting down somewhat stiffly in the chair provided for him, he took the food and water with a nod of thanks, pausing briefly before beginning to eat. Even though his stomach pains only grew louder as he began, he managed to keep his manners neat and tidy, just like his mother taught him. He did not speak or even glance at his fellow Confederate. He did not recognize the other young man and supposed they had been in separate units. Therefore he shared no common interest with the man as of yet and sincerely planned to keep it that way.

    He was almost done with the meal when Maddie returned (having eaten quickly still even with the good manners) and had just finished wiping his mouth when she set the clothes down beside him. He picked them up carefully and looked them over, wondering at the make. Although they were not the silk and fine wool that he wore when home at the plantation, he had worn his battered uniform for so long they felt fit to serve a king.

    Placing the items of clothing on his lap, he nodded to Maddie, his gaunt face still impassive.

    "I thank you for your hospitality," he said politely, although still distant, as if he was unsure he could trust her. And he was unsure, although now he held her in a somewhat better light. He had not shown it, but her words to her father had made something inside of him twinge slightly. He was not used to such kindness in the North.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 01:17 AM
    "If you want to change, feel free to use the storeroom." Maddie told the Confederate, motioning toward the door next to the hearth. She had noticed him looking over the clothes and she said quietly, "I know that it's probably not what you're used to, but they're clean and dry." Thomas had quickly finished his meal, glad for a hot meal for a change instead of the travel food he had eaten during his journey. When he was done, he leaned back in his chair and sighed softly, his thoughts traveling home. Maddie was suddenly unsure on what to say next and instead shifted her gaze down to her water.

    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 01:30 AM
    The young man stood quickly, nodding again as he went and entered the storeroom. Shutting the door behind him, he quickly got changed into the newly provided clothes.

    The girl had been correct, they were clean and dry, and felt like heaven against his grimy skin. He grimaced at the state of his appearance and supposed he had better wash up before he left. Taking a deep breath, he ran his bony fingers through his hair and tried not to feel uncomfortable as he exited the room to join the others at the table. He stood there uncertainly for a moment. The clothes fit his height well, but hung limply on his thin frame. He walked over to his former chair and sat, folding his hands in his lap.

    He looked at Maddie now, taking in her appearance. She appeared to be a young girl, only around fifteen or sixteen he would suppose, yet she seemed more mature than the young ladies of his town. After a moment he realized he was staring and quickly turned his gaze upon the small fire burning in the hearth. He did not attempt to break the silence but simply frowned slightly, wondering now that he had time to think, if the girl's family was not just helping him and the other young Confederate with an devious intent in mind.

    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 01:44 AM
    Maddie looked up when the Rebel returned from the storeroom and her heart caught in her throat. Change the hair and eye color and she could've sworn that she was looking at James again. "Excuse me for a moment." she said, feeling like she was about to burst into tears again. Stepping out of the kitchen, she walked over to the endtable and picked up a picture that was sitting there and just looked at it still in view of those in the kitchen. Where are you, James? she thought, her lower lip trembling slightly. I miss you want you to come home...
    ...to the topTop



  7. #7
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 01:53 AM
    The young man sighed when his hostess left the room abruptly. He wondered if his silence had offended her. He considered for a brief moment about going after her, but knew that would be much too forward of him. Instead, glancing over at the young man beside him, he ventured to break the heavy silence with a quiet question.

    "You're a Johnny Reb," he said, glancing at the doorway. "Yet you are here in Massachusetts. Should you not be home in the South?" His companion did not look as he did, having gone without much food and supplies for some time.

    His bony fingers drummed nervously on the table, his entire body getting antsy simply being in a Yankee home, eating Yankee food, and wearing Yankee clothing. He knew it was necessary if he wanted to get home, but he despised most help anyway.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 02:01 AM
    "I was." Thomas replied, looking over at the Reb. "But I then came across a letter that a Yankee gave me after Gettysburg to give to his sister. I had made a promise and I had to keep it." By this time, Maddie had gotten herself composed and returned to the kitchen, still holding James' picture. "Sorry about that..." she said softly. "Can I get either of you anything else?" Thomas only shook his head in response.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 02:13 AM
    The young man leaned back in his seat, considering the Rebel's words. He glanced up at the girl when she entered the room, standing automatically as was custom when a woman entered a room. His eyes flickered from the photograph in her hand to her face. Instantly he could tell she was upset about something and gathered that she was the sister the Yankee had spoken about to the fellow Rebel after Gettysburg.

    Clasping his hands behind his back, he attempted to give the girl a friendly smile, but it turned out more tightly than he would have liked.

    "Your name, fair madam," he said smoothly. "That I may repay you for your kindness when I reach my destination."

    He hoped he did not scare her off with this request, seeing as he was a dirty, grim-faced Confederate soldier in her house with her father absent and only another stranger for company.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 02:23 AM
    "My name is Madelyn, but everyone calls me Maddie." Maddie said with a soft smile. "And there's no need to repay me. I'm happy to help in any way." Especially when you remind me so much of my brother...
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 02:37 AM
    This time the young man's smile was more genuine although it still seemed slightly forced, as it it hurt him to attempt such an expression. As much as he was doing his best to keep his heart stone cold against the Yanks, this little one was somehow twisting her way into him and softening that stone. He knew he had to get out of there soon before his defenses collapsed completely. They had already surprised him for weakening this far.

    "You may call me Jasper," he said, tilting his dark head forward in a slight bow. His bony fingers interlaced themselves behind his back and he gripped his hands together tightly, putting more effort into that one gesture than necessary. However the front of his form still displayed the polite and charming (although rather sickly and pale in appearance) young man he was trying to come across as.

    "I'm afraid I must insist you let me repay you, however," he pressed. "My mother, God rest her soul, would possibly disown me if I did not." His lips twitched slightly.

    He said "God rest her soul" out of habit, and not because he thought God would actually give his mother's soul rest. Of course he hoped He would, but after years in the hell called war, he had begun to seriously question his faith in God. It was hard to believe in a deity when one's fellow comrades fell to the earth right before one's eyes, never to rise again.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 02:47 AM
    Maddie only nodded and said, as she set the picture down onto the table. "If you insist. But at the moment, the only payment I want is my brother back." she said softly.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 02:58 AM
    "In that case I shall assist you."

    Jasper spoke before the words had processed through his mind. Once they were out he realized his mistake but it was too late now for him to retract them. Inwardly he groaned but he masked his irritation by picking up the picture on the table and studying it closely. The face did not look familiar, other than the faint resemblance young Madelyn bore with her brother. Frowning slightly, he appeared to be thoughtful while inside a battle was waging.

    He did not want to help the Yankees in any way, yet now he was bound by his word. Curse his words! They had not been released with his consent. However he knew he must abide by them, if only to keep from soil the name of Southern gentlemen. Slowly he turned and held the picture out to the girl.

    "And then, and only then, shall we call it even," he added, figuring he might as well go the whole way now that he had trapped himself in it.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 03:03 AM
    Maddie took the picture and just looked down at it, smiling slightly to herself. "Thank you, Jasper." she said softly. "I appreciate your help." Now to just convince Mama and Papa to let me go... Looking up at Thomas and Jasper, she asked, "Will you need a place to stay tonight?" Thomas nodded and then waited for Jasper's reply.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 03:17 AM
    Jasper glanced outside, seeing that it was still several hours before the day turned to dusk. He hesitated, hating to stay any longer than he had to. However he knew that if he spent one more night on rocky soil, he would probably resort to sleeping while he stood.

    He nodded slowly, having used up his words now and going back to his almost sullen silence. However his expression was not morose like usually was on his wan face, and for once he actually looked almost as he did before the war; the attractive, dashing young man making his way forward unconsciously, albeit hesitantly.

    Wondering vaguely if he would be made to sleep in the barn (and figuring that would be better than nothing), he paused, thinking of something that a man of his age should have thought long before now.

    "If your father agrees, of course," he amended hastily, not wanting to appear as one of those Rebels who took advantage of young Yankee girls. He was sometimes appalled at the way his fellow Confederates ruined their reputation by doing wicked deeds.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 03:25 AM
    Daniel came in at that moment and overheard what Jasper said. "If I agree to what?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. Maddie turned to look at her father and said, "Papa, Thomas and Jasper need a place to stay tonight. Otherwise they'll be forced to sleep outside again." Daniel frowned slightly, but his expression softened after a few moments as he walked over to his daughter. "You're just like how James used to be." he murmured softly. Maddie bristled slightly at her father's use of the past tense, but didn't say anything.

    Daniel just looked at Thomas and Jasper for a few moments before coming to a decision. "If you two don't mind sharing a room, you may use James' room for as long as you need a place to stay." he said with a slight smile.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 03:35 AM
    Jasper's jaw immediately clenched out of habit as soon as Daniel entered the room. Yankee girls he would treat politely; Yankee men, however, did not deserve such treatment. Not in Jasper's eyes. He straightened until he stood tall at his five foot, eleven inch frame. It was not as impressive as it would have been if Jasper's lean yet muscular build had been present. As it was, the thin, sickly looking young man barely appeared able to stand, let alone hold his own in a fight.

    Thankfully there was no need to fight. Startled once more by the hospitality of these Yanks, Jasper nodded dumbly in reply to Daniel's offer. He shifted uneasily from foot to foot, feeling desperately like he needed a warm bath. Embarrassed to ask for one, however, he decided he would just wait to see what the man said next, if anything. He supposed he could always find a river or lake to jump into near twilight if it came down to that.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 09:43 AM
    Maddie took in Jasper's shifting and then asked, "Is there anything else I can get for you, Jasper?" Daniel headed back outside to hitch up the wagon and then poked his head back inside, "Maddie, I need to go into the city to get some more feed. Your mother is over at the Lancasters if you need anything." Maddie nodded and then turned to look at Jasper again to see if he would reply.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 10:03 AM
    A warm flush rose up into Jasper's cheeks, something he was not used to. Stiffening slightly when Daniel poked his head in, he waited until he could hear him no more before turning back to Maddie. He cleared his throat nervously.

    "A warm bath, if you please miss," he said, somewhat sheepishly. "But if that is too much trouble, I can content myself with a dip in a pond."

    His lips twitched once more into a rather grim smile, completely opposite of what he was striving for. In the end he decided to just give up looking pleasent. His manners would stay the same, yes, but he was tired of attempt to appear nice while he spoke to her. It was very taxing, and not at all something he wanted to get used to. As it was, the smiles seemed to be growing easier. This was not good.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 10:27 AM
    Maddie smiled at Jasper and said, "Of course. I'll be right back." She disappeared for a few moments to prepare the bath for Jasper and then returned. "This way." she said as she retraced her steps to where she had prepared the bath.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 10:48 AM
    Jasper followed Madelyn apprehensively, very unsure about the appropriateness of the situation. If it had been the woman of the house, he might not have been as bashful. But seeing as his hostess was a young girl, that put nearly everything in a different light.

    "Thank you," he murmured when he saw the tub seated in the middle of the floor. He took a small step forward, but then turned to give Madelyn a pointed look.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 11:05 AM
    Maddie had paused in the doorway and allowed Jasper to come through. "Everything you need is right there." she said, motioning toward the table next to the tub. Maddie had shut the door softly on her way out as soon as Jasper was inside, and returned to the kitchen to finish preparing the midday meal.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 11:15 AM
    Jasper was relieved to see that instead of Madelyn, he was giving a pointed look at a door. Of course this made him feel rather foolish, but he preferred that to the alternative. He got undressed quickly and entered the tub, grabbing the soap on the way in.

    He did not mean to stay long, but the warm water soothed his aching muscle and bones and he found himself staying until the water began to grow cold. Then he quickly washed and go out, drying himself with the towel provided before getting dressed back into the clean clothes of this James fellow. Ruffling his now clean locks with his hand, he exited the room and silently made his way back to the kitchen in bare feet, having left his boots just inside the door of the other room along with his filthy uniform.

    Standing uncertainly in the doorway, Jasper looked in at Madelyn and Thomas. He looked much better now that he was clean, and his gaunt face did not look as pinched now that he had something to eat. His tossled head of loose curls gave him the appearance of a younger boy, and he stood straighter now that he had not grime and dirt of his journey to weigh down his pride.

    He did not clear his throat or make any noise to betray his presence, simply stood there, staring at the back of Madelyn's head.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 11:29 AM
    Maddie had her sleeves rolled up and was pounding on some bread dough when Jasper returned. Shaping the dough into a loaf of bread, she put it into the oven to bake. Reaching up, she pushed a stray lock of hair out of her face, leaving a smudge of flour on her face as she turned. She started slightly when she saw Jasper standing there and said, "Oh! I didn't know you were standing there. Feel better?"
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 11:48 AM
    Jasper nodded silently, resisting the urge to smile as his eyes traveled to the smudge of flour on her cheek. Pursing his lips tightly, he stepped a couple steps farther into the room before stopping once more, wondering what kind of parents she had to leave their daughter alone in the house with two strange men. Either they thought she was mature enough to handle the situation, or they were simply foolish. As it was, he was willing to go with the latter option.

    He looked around questioningly, unconsciously comparing this small, crude kitchen to the large, bustling and much more sophisticated (comparatively) one of his mansion on the plantation. He knew better than to ask why the slaves did not do the cooking, knowing that Madelyn most likely did not have any slaves, being a Yank and all. He looked down at her slender hands, covered in flour, and thought they would be much better served preparing tea at a social gathering, or playing croquet at parties. She did not deserve to work so hard, he thought.

    "In the South, the daughter of the master of the house does not confine herself to such meager duties around the house," he offered after a long moment, unable to keep himself from speaking up after all this time studying her.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 06:53 PM
    Maddie smiled slightly and said, "Usually my mother is the one to do the cooking, but ever since my brother left, I've had to help out more than I usually do." She sighed softly as she gazed upon Jasper, still feeling like she was looking at her brother. Maddie was about to say something else when the door opened and Jenny walked into the main room. Pausing in the entryway to the kitchen, she took in the scene and then scowled at Maddie and motioned for her to follow as Jenny headed upstairs.

    Frowning slightly, she told Jasper and Thomas that she would be right back and then followed her mother upstairs. "Madelyn Carter, just WHAT are two Rebels doing in my kitchen?" she asked with a disapproving frown as she removed her bonnet and set it down on the bed. She looked at her daughter with her hands on her hips and when Maddie failed to answer quick enough, she demanded, "Well? Just WHAT are two Rebels doing in my kitchen?!" Maddie only looked at her mother for a few moments and then said, "They're people just like us, Mama. Jasper was in need of some warm food and Thomas had a message for me."

    Jenny only laughed and said, "They're Rebels, Madelyn. They don't DESERVE our help! And why would a Rebel have a message for you?" Maddie shook her head and said, "He knew James, Mama. He had a message for me from James. I've told you before that James is alive, and I just KNOW that it's true! Anyway, Papa said it was alright if they stayed here tonight." Jenny couldn't help herself and reached out and slapped Maddie. "I've told you before to not speak of James! Your brother is DEAD and he is NEVER coming back! Why can't you just get that through your head?!" Jenny hissed out angrily.

    Maddie only looked at her mother with tears in her eyes and just shook her head as she backed away. "You're wrong. James is alive, I just know that he is. I just KNOW it." Before her mother could react, Maddie had turned and fled down the hall to her room. Grabbing her journal and pencil, she ran back downstairs and past Thomas and Jasper out the back door, trying to keep from crying but failing. She stopped under the tree just past the barn and just sat there in the shade, crying.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 13th September 2008, 07:24 PM
    Jasper's head jerked up when he thought he heard raised voices in the direction Madelyn and her mother had gone. He gnawed on his bottom lip for a moment, wondering if the argument was his fault. Somehow he felt that it was. He would have despised the Yankee pride, except he knew full well how prideful his own people were. Running his hand through his still damp curls, he thought to himself that he needed to get a haircut soon as the loose locks fell down his forehead and the back of his neck.

    He glanced sidelong at Thomas, wondering if he should attempt conversation. After all they were on the same side, right? He was just wondering what he would say first when Madelyn came racing through, looking very distressed. He frowned darkly as he watched her leave the house. He could not be sure, but one of her cheeks seemed to be a bright red, as though it had been stricken by a hand. Knowing that the dreadful Yankee woman was at fault, he seethed in righteous anger.

    Without even a muttered excuse, he stalked out of the house and followed Madelyn's tracks to the trees just around the side of the barn. There he stopped, observing the girl with her pen and journal. He hesitated then, wondering if it had been a good idea to come. After all he did not know what words to comfort her with. With a sigh, the thin young man decided to just stand where he was, near enough for her to notice him, yet far enough away that he was not intruding. Clasping his slender hands behind his back, he looked up at the sky, studying the faint white shape of the moon not quite visible in the midday sky.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 13th September 2008, 11:56 PM
    Things have seemingly gotten worse around here. Mama and Papa don't believe me when I say that I feel that James is still alive and now I've been forbidden from even talking about him! It looks like the only place I'll be able to speak about him is whatever I write in here... James, I hope that you are well wherever you are. Please come home soon...

    Maddie looked up, still crying slightly, and rubbed her still stinging cheek. Spotting Jasper standing nearby, she blushed slightly and looked down. Sticking her pencil into her journal and closing it, she said flatly, "You can come closer if you want, Jasper. I don't bite."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 12:09 AM
    Jasper started in surprise when she spoke. Flushing slightly, he took a small step closer to her but no more, unsure of what to do. He still did not know why he exactly he had followed her, and so no words came to him to explain why he had come.

    Sighing slightly at his incompetent brain, he moved closer still until he was right in front of her. He crouched down at rested his arms on his knees, studying her with a slight frown.

    "Are you well, Miss Madelyn?" he asked quietly, using her full name as he did not feel quite comfortable calling her Maddie just yet for some reason.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 12:17 AM
    Maddie nodded and then looked down as fresh tears started to spill down her cheeks. "I...I'm okay I guess..." Not really, but what else am I supposed to say? she asked herself, wondering if she should go into the details of her troubles.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 12:23 AM
    Jasper felt the weight of guilt fall heavily on his thin shoulders as Madelyn began to cry once more. It was obvious that she was lying, but he did not want to press her to tell him anything she did not want to expound on. He already felt horrible for making her tears appear in the first place. With a sigh, he suddenly lay down in the grass by her feet and folded his arms behind his dark head, looking up at the sky with the same slight frown on his face.

    He could tell there was something going on that people were not explaining, but he really did not know if it was his place to question anyone about it. Glancing over at her, he sought for a way to distract her from her troubles in hopes that the sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach would be appeased.

    "I had a journal once," he said, nodding to the book in her hands. "Unfortunately my life was so dull I rarely wrote in it and when I did it was mostly drivel." He gave her a grim smile as he propped himself up on one bony elbow in order to look at her more directly.
    ...to the topTop



  8. #8
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 12:52 AM
    Maddie smiled slightly and said, "I've kept one since I was a young child. Before the war it would be just things that I did, special events, and the like. During and after the war..." Her voice trailed off into silence for a few moments before she continued with, "During and after the war, it was more thoughts of and letters to James."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 12:59 AM
    Jasper watched her thoughtfully as she spoke, wondering again at how different the Yankees were than what he and his fellow Rebels had been taught to believe. This girl could have very well been his younger sister. This revelation did little to improve his mood at the moment, however, and his frown ended up darkening somewhat.

    Pulling absently at the grass with his free arm, he played with bits and pieces in his hands and watched them intently. When he spoke he kept his dark green eyes on the grass and not Madelyn's face.

    "I had no time for journaling on the march," he said after a rather long moment of silence. "I scribbled down a few words here and there, but most of the time I simply threw the end result away." He tossed the pieces of grass to the side as if illustrating his words. He glanced at her briefly before tearing up some more of the greenery to keep himself preoccupied in the silence.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 01:11 AM
    "Did you ever write home to your family?" Maddie asked softly, bringing her gaze up to Jasper. She still had every letter James wrote home to them, keeping the hope alive in her heart even though her parents wanted her to forsake that hope. She set her journal down next to her and started to absentmindedly pick at the grass as she waited for Jasper's answer.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 01:20 AM
    Jasper grimaced at her question and lowered his arm in order to lay down on his back once more, shutting his eyes as he rested his head on one arm and the other's hand continued to play absently with the grass beneath him.

    He was silent for a long while, lying as still as death. The only thing that moved was his thin chest, rising up and down slowly, methodically. A small gust of rare wind passed by and ruffled the limp curls that lay on his forehead and his dark eyelashes fluttered against his pallid cheeks. After what seemed like eternity to him, he gave a sigh and answered her question.

    "I did . . . once," he admitted. "A couple months after I first joined."

    He wondered how the conversation had turned onto his personal life. He supposed he had stepped into it willingly enough, but it still made him uncomfortable. Keeping his eyes closed, he thought that if the world stopped turning right then, he would not complain at all.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 01:29 AM
    Maddie only nodded, wanting to ask more but deciding not to since she didn't want to pry. She just silently observed Jasper for a few moments and then said, "You remind me of James..."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 01:42 AM
    Jasper's eyes snapped open and grew dark in confusion. He gave a harsh laugh before sitting up slowly. However good intentioned her words had been, Jasper still considered it almost an insult to be compared to a Yankee.

    "I doubt that very much," he said bitterly, scowling deeply. Standing in one fluid motion, he turned away from her, deliberately giving her the cold shoulder. He felt he must have been much too agreeable for her to assume he was anything like her older brother. The thought of his defenses becoming that weak caused him to shudder.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 01:56 AM
    Maddie only looked down again, unsure of what she had done wrong and whispered, "I'm sorry..." Maybe I should just run away and try to find James by myself. I doubt anyone would even miss me, except for Abby and Ben... she thought sullenly.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 02:03 AM
    Of course Madelyn's apology only made Jasper feel all the more guilty. Running his hand over his gaunt face wearily, he turned back and stepped closer to the girl. Reaching out a hand hesitantly, he let it hang, wavering in the air, over her shoulder, as if he were about to touch it. However he pulled back before he made contact, knowing it would not be appropriate.

    "Don't apologize," he pleaded, his frown turning from angry to penitent. "It is I who must beg your forgiveness. I spoke rashly, and I am sorry." He hung his head, staring at the ground before him and feeling very wicked indeed. After a moment a thought came to him.

    "It's only . . ." he paused, looking up to meet her gaze. "Why do I remind you of your brother? Surely you don't know me well enough to make such an observation."
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 02:09 AM
    Maddie kept her eyes on the ground as she said in a voice just above a whisper, "You look like him. Just change the hair and eye color and you have my brother. From what I can tell, you two have a similar disposition as well..." She lapsed into silence for a few moments and then whispered, "I miss him..."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 10:07 AM
    Jasper swallowed hard, unsure what to do or say. He was not used to comforting girls, having no sisters or even female cousins. However he knew he could not simply change the subject with this one. Reaching out hesitantly, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her close to him. He decided not to speak, but just to hold her and hope that that would be enough to comfort her.

    He still could not believe he could have anything remotely similar with a Yankee, but he was not about to contradict her now. His hand trembled slightly on her shoulder as he had not touched a girl since before the war began and was not sure if he was conducting himself properly. Somehow he did not think Madelyn would care at this point.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 02:10 PM
    Maddie just sat there unmoving for a few minutes, grateful for whatever comfort Jasper offered. Finally, she said softly, "Thanks Jasper. I...I appreciate it."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 02:20 PM
    Jasper smiled vaguely, accepting her thanks silently. After a moment his curiosity overcame him. Pulling away so he could look at her easier, he cocked his head to the side slightly.

    "Now, what's this about your brother being dead?" he asked. Realizing she had never told him that, he hastened to explain himself. "I could not help but overhear some of your mother's words."

    He ducked his head sheepishly, but looked over at her intently, waiting for her response.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 02:31 PM
    Maddie sighed softly and said, "An officer came to us a couple of months after Gettysburg saying that James had been killed in battle, but my heart says that he's still alive. My parents believe that I'm harbouring grief and that I should come to conclusion that James is never coming home." She lapsed into silence for a few moments and then said, "But then Thomas came with the news that James was still alive after the battle..." She broke off again, unsure of how to continue.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 02:35 PM
    "And you want to go find him," Jasper finished for her, watching her expression closely.

    He could understand how her family was feeling. He had experienced that same heartache. Even know, as he thought of it, he felt his throat close up painfully. However he quickly cleared it, refusing to get emotional now. It was one thing for her to fall apart, but it would be highly uncomfortable, not to mention inappropriate for him to.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 02:41 PM
    Maddie only nodded in response and then said after a few minutes, "Last Thomas heard, my brother was being held in a prison in Alabama..."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 02:45 PM
    Jasper hesitated as his mind told him to say something he knew he might regret. However, looking at her, he found he simply had to say it. Clearing his throat once more, he touched her shoulder lightly, pulling back almost instantly.

    "I'm on my way to Georgia," he said quietly, hesitantly. "I could . . . make a stop in Alabama." He really wanted her to come with him, but knew that would be way beyond inappropriate, especially since she and her parents barely knew him.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 02:49 PM
    "Really?" Maddie asked, hope entering her expression for the first time that day as she turned to look at Jasper.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 02:52 PM
    Jasper hesitated, then nodded.

    "I can't promise that I'll be able to get to him," he warned, not wanting to raise her hopes too high just in case his idea fell through.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 03:03 PM
    "I know." Maddie said with a slight smile. "But I'm willing to try anything...even if all it accomplishes is me being able to see him from a distance."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 03:07 PM
    Jasper blinked, wondering if he was hearing her right.

    "Miss Madelyn . . ." he started apprehensively. "If you're considering accompanying me, I must advise against it." He frowned deeply. "For one thing, I doubt your parents will give you permission."
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 03:20 PM
    Maddie's eyes hardened in determination as she said, "At this point, I don't care. I've been told almost everyday for three years that James is dead and even forbidden from speaking about him. I'm going to go and no one can stop me."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 03:30 PM
    Jasper sighed, recognizing the determination in her eyes and knowing nothing he said to dissuade her would make a difference.

    "It's going to be a long journey," he said. "And the roads are not always safe. You'll have to stay close to me and listen when I tell you to do something, understand?"

    He hoped vaguely that maybe the thought of being ordered around would possibly change her mind, but he doubted it.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 04:39 PM
    Maddie nodded and said, "I can do that...but you do realize that Abby and Ben will want to come as well, right?"
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 04:48 PM
    Jasper scowled when he realized Abby and Ben must be the two other children he had encountered in the forest. He knew such an arrangement would lead to discord, seeing as Jasper disliked any Yankee man and Ben seemed to harbor some animosity toward him as well.

    "I . . . don't know if that's a good idea," he began hesitantly. "The more people who come the slower we will travel." He wondered if that would convince her. Unfortunately if she was close to this Abby and this Ben he doubted that it would.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 04:57 PM
    Maddie shook her head and said, "Abby will insist on coming, and if Abby goes, Ben goes. Abby is no trouble and we can keep Ben corralled for you."
    ...to the topTop



  9. #9
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 05:04 PM
    There's nothing for it, Jasper's mind told him and he finally relented with a sigh, rubbing his forehead wearily with a shaky hand.

    "Very well then," he said, thinking that it was not very well at all. He stood abruptly and held out his hand to her in order to assist her in rising. "I suppose we should inform them of our plan," he continued, smiling grimly, his thin lips pressed together tightly, making his pale face look rather pinched. He was not looking forward to this journey.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 05:13 PM
    "Thanks." Maddie said as she accepted the help up. She started to head back to the house to put her journal back in her room when she stopped and looked at Jasper. "What about Thomas?"
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 05:17 PM
    Jasper wondered who Thomas was for a moment before realizing that it must be the name of the other Confederate staying at the house. He shrugged his thin shoulders indifferently.

    "I suppose he could come along," he said, doing his best not to grind his teeth. "If he wants to."

    Secretly a part of him hoped he would not, but then it would probably be good to have an ally in the group.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 08:15 PM
    Maddie only nodded and then continued on toward the house, planning on asking Thomas if he wanted to join them later that afternoon. Avoiding her mother in the kitchen, Maddie made her way upstairs and put her journal back into its hiding spot before returning downstairs.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 08:55 PM
    Jasper sighed softly before following Madelyn into her house. He stepped back into the kitchen and walked over to a chair. He stood behind it completely still until Madelyn returned. He nodded to her and then glanced at Thomas, wondering if the girl was going to ask or if he was going to have to speak up for her.

    His hands rested on the back of the chair and they had involuntarily tightened when Madelyn walked back into the room. However he loosened his grip now once his bones started throbbing at the effort. Pursing his lips, he hoped neither of her parents would come home then for they would surely deter them from their main objective. Well, Madelyn's main objective. He was only helping because he had been stupid enough to open his mouth when it should have remained shut.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 14th September 2008, 11:33 PM
    Shortly after Maddie had entered the house, Jenny had also went upstairs after seeing that the midday meal was just about ready. When Maddie returned to the kitchen, she smiled at Jasper and then looked over at Thomas. "Thomas, I'm planning on journeying south to find my brother. Would you like to come with us?" Thomas just looked at Maddie silently for a few moments and then nodded and said, "I shall accompany you as far as Raleigh."

    Maddie looked at Thomas quizzically and asked, "Why Raleigh?" Thomas smiled slightly and said as he picked up his cup, "That is where my home is. I promised my mother that I would return home as quickly as possible." Maddie only nodded in agreement and then checked on the bread. Seeing that it was complete, she pulled it out of the oven and set it on top of the stove before turning to Thomas and Jasper. "Can I get either of you something to eat?" she asked knowing that they had basically just eaten, but figured she would ask anyway.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 14th September 2008, 11:38 PM
    Jasper attempted a small smile and shook his head. "I am content," he said, glancing at Thomas. However the smell of the warm hot bread began to travel towards him and he felt his stomach weaken. He had not had fresh bread in a very long time.

    "Although I will have a taste of that wonderful smelling bread, if you don't mind," he added after a moment. His lips twitching in what appeared to be another sorry attempt at a smile.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 16th September 2008, 12:31 AM
    ((warning: long post ahead))

    Maddie laughed slightly and said, "Of course I don't mind. Have a seat." Pulling out a knife, she carefully sliced the bread and then set a couple of slices of bread and some butter on the table in front of Jasper. Thomas declined any more food, and Maddie quickly got herself a bowl of stew and a slice of bread to eat for lunch. Her parents joined them a few minutes later and it seemed that the only ones who were talking were Jenny and Daniel. Once everyone was finished with the meal, Maddie cleaned up and then disappeared outside with Thomas and Jasper.

    ----

    The rest of the day passed fairly quickly and was uneventful. Supper was just as quiet as lunch was and Maddie once again cleaned up before showing Thomas and Jasper to James' room later that evening. "I hope you two don't mind having to share, but it's the best we can offer at the moment. If you need anything, my room is right over there." she told them and motioned toward her room. She wished them a goodnight and then disappeared into her room and then pulled out her knapsack and set it onto her bed. “Hmm…what will I need to take with me?” she asked herself as she started to put some random items into her bag.

    Jenny had been walking past at that moment and heard what Maddie had said. Opening Maddie’s door, Jenny just stood there with her arms crossed and watched as Maddie bustled around her room. “Madelyn Elizabeth Carter, just WHAT do you think you’re doing?!” Maddie whirled around at the sound of her mother’s voice and stammered incoherently for a few moments as she tried to think of something to say. Jenny only scowled at Maddie and then went forward and grabbed onto Maddie’s arm. “Come with me.” She said as she essentially dragged Maddie out of the room and downstairs.

    Depositing Maddie onto the sofa in the main room, Jenny turned toward Daniel, who had been reading when they entered. “Do you have any idea what Madelyn has been up to?!” she demanded, hands still on her hip. Daniel raised an eyebrow at his daughter and said, “No, I don’t. What have you been up to, Madelyn?” Maddie just sat there with her arms crossed and just stared down at her lap. “Answer me, Madelyn.” Daniel said with a frown when Maddie refused to speak. Jenny had had enough of Maddie’s blatant disrespect by her refusal to answer and turned toward her husband and said, “I found her packing her knapsack, Daniel. When I asked what she was doing, she refused to answer.” Daniel turned toward Maddie again and asked gently, “Is that true, Maddie?” Maddie only nodded in reply.

    “Well? Are you going to give us a reason on WHY you were packing?” Jenny demanded, scowling down at Maddie. Maddie took a deep breath and said, “I want to go looking for James. He’s alive, I just know that he is! Why won’t either of you EVER listen to me?!” Daniel loudly sighed and said, “He’s gone Madelyn. Why can’t you accept that?” Maddie scowled slightly and said, “Because I CAN’T. How many times do I have to try to convince you that James is alive? I WANT to go find my brother and you can’t stop me!” Maddie instantly knew that she said the wrong thing as she saw her father’s expression darken. Daniel angrily stood up and stood over his daughter as Maddie tried to disappear into the sofa to no avail. Jenny was already standing and moved over to stand next to her husband.

    “You think we can’t make you?” Daniel asked angrily, reaching down and grabbing Maddie by the arm. “Why don’t you just come with me, young lady, and we’ll see about that attitude of yours.” Yanking Maddie to her feet, Daniel dragged her outside to the barn. They returned to the house several minutes later and entered the main room where Jenny was waiting for them. “Sit down and stay there, Madelyn.” Jenny told her with a frown as she gently pushed Maddie down onto the sofa. Jenny and Daniel then went into the kitchen. After a few minutes of quiet discussion, they returned to the main room and stood in front of Maddie and just looked down at her for a few moments but the girl refused to look up. “Madelyn Elizabeth Carter, you will look at us when we are speaking to you.” Daniel told her angrily. Maddie bit back a retort and looked up at her parents, trying to keep the scowl off of her face.

    “Madelyn, your mother and I have had quite enough of your insolent behavior lately, and it has got to stop, especially after tonight’s claim that we have no control over you.” Maddie opened her mouth to speak, but Daniel cut her off with a glare before she could say anything. “From now on, you are forbidden to leave the house unless you are doing your chores or going to school. You are not allowed to roam around the countryside anymore until your behavior improves and we WILL be keeping close tabs on you.”

    Maddie sat up straight at the news and started to protest. “But that’s not fair! I’m not some common criminal! Who gives you the right to treat me like one?!” Jenny reached out and slapped Maddie again as Daniel said, “We are your parents, Madelyn. We know what’s best for you and what you need when you get out of line.” Maddie started to protest again, but Daniel cut her off. “One more word, Madelyn, and you will be remaining inside indefinitely as well as being escorted to school.” Maddie only slumped back against the cushions with her arms crossed over her chest defiantly. Daniel growled angrily and yanked Maddie off of the couch and propelled her toward the stairs with a swat to her behind. “Go to bed, Madelyn. In bed and lights out. If I find you staying up, there’ll be hell to pay, understand?” Maddie only gave a brief nod and muttered, “Yes, sir.” She then ran up the stairs and slammed her door shut before changing into nightclothes and collapsing onto her bed. I’ll show them… she thought angrily as she pushed herself up and quickly finished packing her knapsack. Hiding it under her bed, she set out what she was going to wear and then climbed into bed to try to get a few hours of sleep.

    When Maddie woke up, the moon was high in the sky and Maddie wondered what time it was as she pushed the covers off of her legs. Changing out of her nightclothes, she pulled her knapsack out from under the bed and dumped out its contents before quietly left her room. She debated on whether or not to leave a note and decided not to since she didn’t want her parents to know just where she was going as she quickly filled her knapsack with some food provisions. Pulling open the kitchen door, she stepped outside and pulled the door shut behind her before running down the road toward the Lancaster’s farm. Once she arrived, she dropped her knapsack at the base of a tree and then climbed it until she was even with Abby’s window. Tapping at the window, she looked around and hoped that no one would stop her. It took a few minutes, but finally Abby came to the window and opened it.

    “Maddie?” she asked sleepily. “What are you doing here?” Maddie looked around again and said, “I’m going to go find my brother. Want to come with me?” Abby was instantly awake at that news and nodded. “Good. Go get dressed and meet me outside. I already have some food packed. Oh…and don’t wake Ben. I don’t want him tagging along.” Abby nodded again and said, “I’ll be right down.” She then shut her window as Maddie climbed back down to the ground and changed out of her nightgown and then quietly made her way downstairs and outside to where Maddie was pacing impatiently. “Okay, I’m ready.” Abby whispered as she came alongside Maddie. “Then let’s go!” Maddie exclaimed softly as she shouldered the knapsack again and headed down the road. “Let’s see how far we can get before daybreak.” Abby nodded and followed along, looking around as everything looked different at night. The two girls walked until dawn and then found a place under some underbrush to get some sleep for a few hours before continuing on their journey.

    ----

    The morning dawned bright and clear and the rising sun woke up Ben. Squinting in the morning light, he got up and dressed before knocking on Abby’s door to wake her. He raised an eyebrow when he didn’t get a response and poked his head into her room, only to find her already gone. “She must’ve came to her senses and started to get up early.” He muttered as he headed downstairs to have his breakfast and do his chores. It was mid-morning by the time Ben realized that Abby was nowhere to be found, and in a panic, he ran over to the Carter farm to see if she was there.

    ----

    Jenny and Daniel woke early and quickly got things ready for the day. Jenny noticed that the pantry looked a little barer than it normally did, but didn’t think anything of it as Thomas and Jasper came downstairs. After a hearty breakfast, the two Confederates went outside and Thomas checked on his horse, getting ready to leave. Once that was done, he went inside and bobbed his head toward Jenny and shook Daniel’s hand. “Thank you for your hospitality, but I must be on my way back home.” He said with a smile and then headed back outside. Jenny noticed that things were awfully quiet and headed upstairs to check on Maddie. Finding Maddie’s room empty, Jenny was furious and went back downstairs to tell Daniel that she was gone. “We’ll wait til this evening, Jen. If she’s not back by then, then we’ll go looking for her, and that girl will have hell to pay when we find her.”

    ----

    Seeing Thomas and Jasper in the yard, Ben made a beeline for them and stopped in front of them, panting. “Have either of you seen my sister around here? She’s not at home…” Thomas had overheard what Jenny had said and turned toward Ben, “Perhaps she and Madelyn are together somewhere? Madelyn is missing as well…” Ben only shrugged, wondering what he should do.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 16th September 2008, 08:14 AM
    Jasper stiffened when Ben approached but listened to the two young men with an impassive expression. He had heard raised voices the previous evening and had an idea of what had happened. When both other boys fell silent, he wondered if he should speak up or simply go after the girls himself.

    Although he hated most company (and the company of a Yank was no exception), he had a feeling that Ben would be the only one to get through to his sister so the boy had to come along. And Thomas needed to get home. Sighing inwardly, Jasper saw that there was nothing for it and so he spoke up.

    "I know where they went," he said, but offered no explanation. Instead he turned and headed back toward the house in order to gather some supplies.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 16th September 2008, 08:44 AM
    "Really? Where did th--" Ben started to say as Jasper walked off. Sighing softly to himself, he leaned up against a nearby tree to wait for Jasper to return.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 16th September 2008, 01:57 PM
    Jasper went inside and started filling his sack with food, strips of cloth, and a couple other odds and ends that would probably come in handy on the trip. He tried to calm his conscience as he did so. He was not really stealing, not with the owners right in front of him. Besides, he promised he would pay them all back once he got back home to the massive plantation he lived on.

    Once he got everything (he ended up with two sacks), he walked back outside. Tossing one sack to Ben, he turned and began walking off into the trees surrounding the farm, heading south.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 16th September 2008, 02:25 PM
    Ben caught the bag and slung it over his shoulder before following Jasper into the trees. Thomas followed them on his horse, in good spirits, and happy to be going home. "You said you know where they're going..." Ben finally spoke up after a little while. "Where is that?"
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 16th September 2008, 02:59 PM
    Jasper gritted his teeth slightly, but since the Yank was acting amiably, he supposed he must do the same.

    "Alabama," he said shortly, shifting his sack to his other shoulder. Although he still appeared thin and sickly, he was still strong from the rigorous marches he had been subjected to. He walked briskly, without looking back at the men following him. He knew of a railroad that would take them down to Virginia if they could hop aboard, which would cut off a few days of their journey. However he was not sure if the girls knew of it and he could end up too far ahead of them. He wondered how far a couple of girls could travel in one night.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 16th September 2008, 04:34 PM
    "On foot?!" Ben asked in shock, pausing for a few moments to just look at Jasper. Shaking his head he continued on, muttering about how dumb Abby and Maddie were to do such a thing.

    ----

    Maddie woke up close to midday and reached over and shook Abby awake. "Come on Abby. Let's get moving again..." she said as she stood up and brushed the leaves and twigs off of the skirt of her dress. Abby stood and did the same and the two girls started south again.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 16th September 2008, 09:36 PM
    Jasper smirked slightly at Ben's exclamation. The soft Yank did not think he could make it across country on foot. Well Jasper had walked across several states before and he knew that this boy was still young and strong; he would survive the journey.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 16th September 2008, 10:39 PM
    Ben just followed along, still muttering under his breath about Abby and Maddie. "How far do you think they've gotten?" he finally asked out loud.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 17th September 2008, 08:24 PM
    Jasper sighed. Did the boy never keep his mouth closed? Turning slightly to glance over at the younger boy, he studied him silently for a moment before turning back and walking ahead. When he spoke his voice was gruff.

    "A few miles at least. They've had twelve hours to travel, while we're only just starting. It will be a while yet." He shifted the sack to a more comfortable position over his shoulder and continued on silently.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 17th September 2008, 08:38 PM
    "Great..." Ben muttered as he lapsed into silence. He just trudged along silently, keeping an eye out for anything that would give indication that the girls had passed this way.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 17th September 2008, 08:46 PM
    Jasper enjoyed the silence immensely. However the silence was shattered when there was a loud shriek and a tiny dark body fell out of a tree nearby. Jasper stopped and sighed, wondering what was going to go wrong now.

    He frowned slightly when the figure picked itself and displayed the form of a small, black girl who was glaring at them in irritation.

    "Youa watch were you go!" she cried, shaking a dark finger at them. "You woke Cassie and she not happy!" Folding her arms definatly, the girl stamped her foot in annoyance.

    Jasper wondered how a black girl as small as her had gotten this far from her plantation. He wondered idly if there was a reward for taking her back to her master.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 17th September 2008, 09:01 PM
    Ben smiled at the girl and said, "Hello. What were you doing up in the tree?"
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 17th September 2008, 09:05 PM
    Jasper sighed and started walking again, not willing to let a slave girl slow him down. She would probably get caught sooner or later. She was not big enough to go very fast for very long.

    The girl, whose name was apparently Cassie, walked up to Ben and reached up to poke him in the chest.

    "Cassie were sleeping!" she told him. "You woke up Cassie. Bad boy." She pouted piteously.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 17th September 2008, 09:09 PM
    "In a tree?" Ben asked with a raised eyebrow. "Anyway, how did we wake you up? We were quiet when we walked under the tree."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 17th September 2008, 09:17 PM
    Cassie looked at a loss for a moment, before she whirled and pointed to Thomas on his horse.

    "Horsey make loud horsey noises," she said by way of explantion. Her small round face puckered up in satisfaction at this excuse.

    Jasper kept walking silently, glad Ben was distracted by the newcomer. Cassie turned and pointed at the Southerner's retreating back.

    "He stomp loud too," she said loudly with indignation and Jasper rolled his eyes as he caught her last statement.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 17th September 2008, 09:22 PM
    Thomas only rolled his eyes as his horse snorted. "Sorry, kid, but my horse does not make loud noises." Ben laughed slightly and then asked, "I take it your name is Cassie?" He looked up at Jasper and said, "Wait for us!"
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 18th September 2008, 02:55 PM
    Jasper stopped in his tracks, sighing inwardly at Ben's command but obeying it anyway since he felt somewhat responsible for the others in the group since he was suddenly the unspoken leader.

    "This is Cassie," said Cassie, pointing to her chest. "Who is you?" She pointed her dark finger at Ben's face once more.

    She glanced at Thomas on his horse and stuck her small pink tongue out at the horse who she knew had made enough noise to wake her up, no matter what the white man said.
    ...to the topTop



  10. #10
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 18th September 2008, 02:59 PM
    "I'm Ben." Ben said with a smile. "How old are you, Cassie?" he asked, looking over the girl who looked like she couldn't be over 10 years of age. Thomas' horse seemingly noticed Cassie sticking her tongue out at him and he snorted again at the girl.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 18th September 2008, 03:04 PM
    Jasper leaned against a tree and waited semi-patiently. Each minute that passed was another minute that Madelyn and her friend got farther away.

    Cassie frowned suddenly in thought and brought her hands up to her face, counting them twice, starting over, counting them again, and then grinning suddenly.

    "Cassie's Momma say Cassie is born sixteen years ago." The small girl nodded firmly and poked Thomas's horse in the nose gently, giggling slightly.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 18th September 2008, 03:16 PM
    "Really?" Ben asked in veiled shock, finding it hard to believe that Cassie was only a year younger than he was. He glanced up at Jasper and noticed that the Reb looked impatient, but at the moment, he didn't care that much and had completely forgotten about Maddie and Abby. Thomas' horse nickered softly and walked over to Cassie, and nuzzled her neck in a friendly way.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 18th September 2008, 03:20 PM
    Cassie giggled as the horse nuzzled her and nodded to Ben's question.

    "Really, really," she said. "Momma said Cassie is special, cuz Cassie be like children for a long, long time and gets to have fun!" She grinned, displaying small pearly white teeth.

    Jasper wondered if finding out about the slave girl was really more important than them finding Madelyn and Abby before the girls got into any trouble.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 18th September 2008, 03:27 PM
    Ben suddenly remembered the reason he was out there and asked, "Cassie, have you seen two girls come this way earlier this morning?" Thomas' horse nickered again and nuzzled Cassie's neck.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 18th September 2008, 08:45 PM
    Cassie wrinkled her nose in thought and then nodded very slowly.

    "They wenta that way," she said, pointing in the direction Jasper had been heading. The young man rolled his dark green eyes. Of course they had gone that way. He was following their tracks, was he not?

    "Are they in trouble?" she asked solemnly, clasping her hands behind her and staring seriously at Ben and Thomas. She tried not to giggle again as the horse nudged her.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 18th September 2008, 08:52 PM
    "They might be..." Ben said with a sigh. "It's my sister and her friend. They ran away from home in the middle of the night..."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 19th September 2008, 08:36 PM
    "Naughty girls," Cassie said. "You need Cassie's help?" she inquired, glancing around at the three boys, hands on her small hips.

    Jasper scowled and shook his head, he did not need help finding the girls and he knew another member of the search party would only slow them down more, especially when that member was a tiny girl.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th September 2008, 08:39 PM
    "I don't see the harm of you coming along." Ben said with a slight smile. "You seem to be a very observant girl."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 19th September 2008, 10:47 PM
    Cassie giggled and Jasper rolled his eyes.

    "Can we please move forward?" he asked rather abruptly, speaking for the first time since Cassie fell down on them. "Every minute we waste is another minute they're travelling farther away." He frowned.

    Cassie frowned back. "You grumpy," she observed.

    He simply snorted and turned away, walking once more through the trees.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 19th September 2008, 11:07 PM
    "A few minutes isn't going to matter that much, Jasper." Ben replied with a frown. "They already have a half day headstart on us."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 22nd September 2008, 06:42 AM
    Jasper growled underneath this breath.

    "All the more reason for us to keep moving," he said gruffly, turning his back on the group and beginning to walk away once more.

    Cassie bounced lightly on her feet. "We gonna go on great adventure?" she asked, her dark blue eyes gleaming.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 22nd September 2008, 07:49 AM
    Ben only rolled his eyes at Jasper's back and then looked at Cassie with a nod. "Yeah. We need to find my sister and her friend before they decide to get into any trouble. Hopefully you don't mind heading back south, Cassie."
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 22nd September 2008, 09:05 PM
    Jasper snorted softly but kept walking, knowing they would not be far behind him.

    Cassie shrugged her small shoulders. "Cassie not 'fraid. Cassie free. No man own her now."

    Jasper gritted his teeth, sure the girl was lying. Only a fool would free his slaves. Did her Master not know that the intelligence of a black man was far inferior to that of a white man? It was for their own protection that the whites took them into their homes and cared for them. Yes, of course they had to work for their room and board, but that was only fair. He huffed and shifted the pack on his back. The sooner he found Madelyn the better. It was then that he could finally find her brother and be rid of this company.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 22nd September 2008, 09:16 PM
    Ben nodded and said, "Come along then, Cassie." He then shifted the bag to a more comfortable position and followed after Jasper. Thomas had dismounted to give his horse a break and was following on foot as his horse nuzzled Cassie's neck again.
    Posted by BeautyLikeNight (Member #231837) on 23rd September 2008, 07:49 AM
    "Pretty horsey," Cassie said, petting the horse's face lightly. "What name?" she asked Thomas, turning to him as she walked beside the horse.

    Jasper's body was tense as he walked, wondering if it would be too much trouble to try and lose them along the way.
    Posted by Ellesar (Member #76200) on 23rd September 2008, 12:59 PM
    "Brisa." Thomas said with a slight smile for Cassie. Brisa nickered softly at the attention she was receiving and pranced a few steps. Thomas laughed at his horse's antics and said, "It appears that she likes you, Cassie."

    Ben had slipped into a sullen silence as he followed after Jasper, wondering just what had gotten into Abby to do such a hairbrained scheme as this. "I can't wait to find her..." Ben muttered to himself, leaving the thought unfinished.
    ...to the topTop



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