Tuesday, December 28, 2010

3 Resolutions

All right, so here are my new year's resolutions:

1.) I will finish at least the first rough draft of my novel. (Seeing as I can only write it in my spare time, even though I am about a quarter of the way there, this still might be a challenge).

2.) I will post at least twice a month.

3.) I will not procrastinate. (This does not necessarily pertain to blogging, it is something I have struggled with for years, and I figure if I post it online I will be more motivated to no longer do it).

I'd love to hear yours!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Questions about the Moon

Wow, I have been writing a ton of poetry lately. Here's another one for you guys!

Why does the moon lay gracefully in the night sky?
Was she a curious star that gave up her twinkling
To cast silver beams on Earth?
Was she banished to the darkness
Only ever reflecting the light of her love
The sun
Is her light meant to be:
Or were we meant to decide?
Is she watching us?
Or is she forever gazing
At the stars
Using our gravity
Only as an anchor
So she does not drift
Lost forever in the nothingness of

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ode to Max

I wrote a mock love poem to my cat, Max, this afternoon. He's one of the cutest things you'll ever meet - if you meet him that is, but he's quite shy, so he'd probably try to hide from you.

You are a lion of majesty
You are the clouds over the rolling hills of the prairie
You are the knight, valiantly slaying all invaders of the castle grounds

Oh, how I count the hours till I can sleep beside you!
Your soft breathing soothes my core
How your nails dig into my flesh
As if at any moment I might disappear!
How lonesome you make me feel, when you leave me in the middle of the night
When you leave my side
Your half of the bed, slowly growing cold
Leaving me
To cower under the futon bed you had been so content on a moment ago
How I wish to call out your name
To have you back by my side
But alas
I am unworthy
But I know when your next appearance will be
At five a.m.
Your mournful ridiculously-high-pitched pining beseeches me to open the bedroom door
And I know our night together is over

You will leave gifts for me on the front porch:
A bird
A mole
A shrew
A mouse head for my mother to step on
Initially unnoticed
Stuck to the bottom of her shoe
The surprised gasp that brightens my days
All because of you

Your ample frame glides across the floor with uncanny grace
Your back arches when I stroke you while you’re eating
An orphan
Your affections are not easily earned
But you have chosen me
And we shall be together until the end

Friday, December 3, 2010

In the Mindset of a Tree

This poem I wrote is about what it would be like if I were a tree. When you think about it, there are some trees that are thousands of years old! They must see a lot of things, and they can't really change anything, just watch. That was why I settled on it. I was choosing between that or a rock, because rocks are pretty ancient as well and would be just as good material.

If I were a Tree

If I were a tree
I would take root
By the side of a bridle path
And the noble’s horses would be
Tempted by my newborn shoot
I would grow taller
And when the sun would hit me
I would cast shadows on passing carriages
I would see the children grow up to be adults
Now in coats with tails and silk skirts
I would see the world changing around me:
The bridle path broadened and paved
The horses replaced with pistons and gears
I would see the first airplanes
Casting their shadows on me
I would grow even taller, thicker
The meadow that I knew as a sapling
Now a forest
I would be a constant in the world around me
If I were a tree

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Very First Drabble

A drabble is a short work of fiction with exactly 100 words (not including the title). I decided to write one as sort of a challenge. They're fun little things, kind of like a literary puzzle: there are 100 pieces, and with them you have to create a beginning, middle, and end that flow and make sense. Anyway, enough with my analogies, I'll just let you read the drabble!

A Grasshopper on a Summer's Day

The sun’s rays pierced threw the green foliage of the weeping willow I was sitting under, reflecting off my laminated bookmark as I placed it inside my novel. I exited my leafy shelter and saw a cricket flowing downstream in the creek beside the tree. I bent down to scoop him up, my red hair touching the water. I held him in my cupped palms, gently blowing his wings dry. His body was the color of the grass all around me; his gossamer wings, almost translucent, but had tinges of iridescence. Chirping a few bars of thanks, he flew off.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Happy NaNoWriMo! NaNoWriMo is a challenge for people to write a 50,000 novel in the month of November. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. I have wanted to do it since I first heard about it a few years ago. The closest I have ever come to writing a novel is my novella, 'War is Not a Game of Chess', though, but I do have sixty pages of a real novel that I am working on, perhaps NaNoWriMo will help motivate me. One year, when I can have more of a say with my schedule, I will take the month off and do a real National Novel Writing Month novel. But until then, I will just inform my followers, who, for your sakes' I hope have a more flexible agenda about it.

This is the link to the NaNoWriMo website:

(Sorry I have been writing out NaNoWriMo so much, but it is really fun to type! ;-))

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ghost Story

In honor of Halloween I have written a short story to spook you all before you gorge yourselves on candy. (Just kidding, it is not really that scary, but it was super fun to write and I hope you all enjoy it! ;-))

I am frozen in fright; my feet are rooted to the ground. A pale wisp of moonlight peeks through the thick trees on the outskirts of my family’s farm, reflecting off my white nightgown; no doubt I look like a ghost. The rays of pallor light cast eerie shadows, which I hardly notice, across the forest floor; shadows are the least of my worries now. Cappie, my tabby, yowls. I never should have gone out looking for her in the middle of the night, believed my Da that cats can survive the night outside, even if she had always come in to curl up in front of the fire every other night of her life. I never should have followed the lady with the long black hair and apple skin red cheeks into the woods on the promise she had my cat, even if it was true. Far away, I can hear bells of the chapel in the small town on the hill announce that it is midnight, November 1st, 1817. I can no longer feel my legs, or my hands. I don’t look down, but I already know what is happening to me. There is a fluttering of wings beside me, and then I hear it, the incessant, evil cackling that poke needles of ice up and down my spine, it is the last thing I hear before my curse overtakes me…

“My feet hurt!” Complains my younger brother Finnigan, his clunky Buzz Light-Year costume clearly weighing him down.
“Mine too!” Squawks the miniature Cinderella next to me in a most un-princess like manner.
I moan inwardly, little siblings are such a drag! The sun had been down for all of ten minutes before they faded like little violets. “All right you two, let’s go home.” We walk the five blocks back to our house on the end of a cul-de-sac. I walk up the stairs to our front door, nearly tripping over my red devil’s cape and tail. Inside, our parents are watching reruns of daytime soap operas that have been recorded on our DVR. My little brother and sister run to them, digging through their candy bags to show off their biggest chocolate bars and M&M bags.
Standing in the doorway, I wait for permission to go back out into the night where I have promised to meet my friends. When at last I am dismissed, I bolt out the door, and this time, I really do trip on the stairs, landing higgledy-piggledy on the cement. “Crap!” I breathe in through my mouth. Looking myself, I find that I have skinned the heel of my hand, something I have not done since the third grade. I roll my eyes at my stupid clumsiness and continue walking down the street.
I meet up with my friends Natalie and Lila in front of Hollyhock Farm Park. Natalie is dressed up as a clown with a ridiculous amount of face makeup that makes her smile overly enthusiastic and a fake red nose. Lila is going as a shower, so the curtain blocking me from seeing her face.
“Hey Mags!” Natalie greets when she sees me coming. Lila echoes her.
“Hey guys! Lila, can you see at all?”
“Nope,” my friend giggles.
“Well, let’s get started shall we?” Natalie and I grab hold of Lila on either side and start heading down the road, stopping at each house to collect our treats.
Over the years that we have trick-or-treated these streets, we have mapped out who gives out what where. We go to Shuster Road first. This is the richer street in our neighborhood, and the street that hands out the yard long licorice and king sized candy bars. Then we go down Pinebark St., Dunthorp Pl. and avenues one, two, three, four, and six. We skip 5th avenue because the people who live down that way have been trying to put the trick back in trick-or-treat for years and have banded together to only give out plastic spiders and the key chains shaped like pigs and cows that have brown stuff protrude from its posterior if you squeeze it.
I look at my watch, and it is almost midnight. The pillowcase I am using to collect candy is bulging with goodies, though I am not ready to go back to my house quite yet.
“Hey guys, does anyone want to take a little detour through Hollyhock Farm Park?”
“Sure!” They giggled in unison.
“I was planning to head there anyway, my Mom only let’s me keep half of my candy, so I’m going to bury it in the park and tell her I already threw it away,” Natalie says.
“Gosh, I didn’t know she did that, I’m super sorry Nat,” Lila chortled.
“I doubt you are, it’s okay,” Natalie hugged the shower curtain, “I love you anyway.
The entrance to the park suits the Halloween mood perfectly, the moon is thinly veiled with clouds, and glows like a will o’ the wisp.
“So, Natsters, where is this secret candy hideaway you were talking about?” inquires Lila.
“I was thinking in the woods somewhere,” Natalie replied, “come on, let’s go!” She grabbed Lila-the-blind-shower-curtain, and started running through the park towards the trees.
I ran after them, following their shrieks and outlines in the dark. The cement walkway gave way to packed dirt, and I tripped over a root. I call out for them to slow, but their shouts drowned out mine, and soon they were out of earshot. I stumbled to lean against the tree whose roots had tripped me, and rubbed my ankle. I looked up at it. It was unlike the other trees in the park, it had a thick trunk and twisted limbs. There were burls on the tree that almost made a face in half-light, one that had a look of warning and horror. I put the thought out of my mind quickly
Something black flapped past my head. A bat flitted and landed in the tree, there was something strange about it that I could not quite place, than I realized it had red eyes. I kid you not, glowing red eyes, like the Halloween decorations that were hung from the eves of my house. Only this one was real. At this point I was thoroughly spooked and was about to take off at a run down the path, when I heard a far away cackle. One that seemed to be nearing very quickly.
A figure materialized in front of me. And though I could not see her face, which was cloaked in a hood, I could hear her voice like shards of icicles that pierced my ears.
“Well, look what we have here. It seems a little lamb has strayed too far from the heard. She has the exact same look as the last one, don’t you think Cappie?” The stranger’s attention was directed upward. The red-eyed bat peered down with a look of contempt and hissed. “Well that’s no way to treat me is it?” the woman flicked a bony wrist and the bat fell to the ground.
She’s a witch, I thought. I knew that if I had been in my right mind I would not have thought that, but it was the only answer I could come up with, and as it turned out my out-of-my-right-mind self was right.
“Such a pretty thing you are,” the witch took a vial out of her sleeve, I couldn’t see what was in it, but it could not be anything good. “Come on Deary, drink up,” she held out her hand as if to give me the vial.
I found my voice.
“Are you crazy?”
The witch sighed, apparently disappointed. “I so hoped that it wouldn’t come to this, but an incentive such as this has always motivated people like you to comply with me in the past,” she raised a hand, which, seemed to glow slightly and an image appeared in her hand, hazy at first, then coming slowly into focus.
I find it strange that when you reach a certain point of terror, your mind comes up with the oddest of thoughts. As the haze focused, my only discernable thought was my inner geek whispering hologram.
All thoughts disappeared from my mind completely when I realized what she was showing me. My friends, Lila and Natalie were caught in a net of moving darkness. They looked horrified, and in pain.
“You’ll have to choose Deary,” she chided me in a sing-song voice, “it’s you or them.”
I could feel my hands shaking at my sides, and a cold sweat ran down my spine. I couldn’t let anything happen to my friends, but how could I know that she wouldn’t do anything to them once she was through with me. I was about to ask her this when I felt three consecutive buzzes at my side, my phone. A flicker of hope fluttered inside me. I turned around so that I faced the tree and pretended to cry – well, it wasn’t really pretending. I brought my devil’s cape up around me so that she wouldn’t see the light of my phone as I read the text.
Omg mags, where r u? r u lost rofl wud b just like u *NATBUG*
I put my phone back in my pocket. Lila and Natalie were safe. The haze was an illusion, but though I was reassured about my friends, I did not see how the information would help me escape. One thing I was sure of though, if I drank whatever was in that vial, it wouldn’t be so hot for me.
“Crying will not do any good for you. Choose, you, or your friends.” Her tone of voice was more that of someone asking a child to choose between two flavors of ice cream.
My mind was racing. I didn’t know how to defeat a witch. Would she melt with water like the Wicked Witch of the West? Did she have some detrimental element she couldn’t be in close contact with like Superman and kryptonite? My tongue felt like paper, I had no weapons or options. In the end I did something I hardly ever do. I let impulse take over.
I ran at her, grabbing the vial out of her hands and smashed it onto her shoes. A puff of green smoke came wafting up; it smelled like decaying leaves after a rainstorm. She shrieked in fury, she reached out for me, and soon we were grappling with each other. I knew I had to get away; it was only a matter of time before she placed a hex on me. She was already muttering in a language I did not recognize, and, for someone who had hands that looked as decrepit as hers, she was strong.
After what could have been years I managed to slam her against the tree. I heard a sickening crunch that made my stomach churn. I was sure I had broken her back, but then I noticed a bag slung over her shoulder, shards of glass had broken through it. It appeared to be some sort of potions bag, and all the liquids had just broken out.
I only had time to think of a less-than-very-highly-thought-of synonym for excrement when the whole thing exploded and I blacked out.
I woke up to a pounding head and a torn cape. I looked up, and the witch leaned against the tree in the same spot I had left her. I got up and went over to her. Her features were hard. I reached a shaky hand out to touch her, and there was no doubt about it, she had turned to stone. Something icy touched my shoulder, and I whirled around in a start. There, in front of me, stood a girl, well, she more floated than stood. She wore what looked like a nightgown, but it was hard to tell because she glowed eerily and looked like she was made of mist. A similar mist seemed to be bubbling up from the body of the bat. I expected to see a bat ghost to come flitting out, but when the mist finally shaped, a cat came trotting over and rubbed itself against the girl’s leg.
“Thank you for freeing us,” her voice was a whisper.
“You’re welcome,” I replied, at a loss for anything else to say, “What’s your name? I asked.
“Charlotte Hollyhock, and this here is Cappie,” she indicated toward the cat at her feet.
“Like Hollyhock Farm, Hollyhock?” I felt like I had been eating sand, and probably sounded like it too, but the curiosity thrust the words out.
“Yes, I lived there with my family until the witch turned me into that tree,” Charlotte sighed. It could have been a trick of the misty light, but it looked as if a tear rolled down her cheek.
There was rustling and familiar voices coming up the path towards us. Natalie and Lila. And quick as a wink, before I could say anything else to the mysterious girl and her cat, they dispersed like so much dandelion fluff on the wind, and then were gone altogether.
“Hey, there you are! What happened?” Natalie asked, when they finally reached me.
“I tripped on this tree root and hurt my ankle, I tried to get your attention, but you were already gone.”
“Oh, oops. Well, we haven’t buried the candy yet because we were looking for you. If your ankle is, like, broken you don’t have to come, but the spot’s not far from here.”
“No I’m fine.” I cast one last wary look at the tree that had been Charlotte Hollyhock, and my friends followed my gaze.
“That’s funny,” said Lila who had opened her shower curtain so that she could see, “I don’t remember that rock being there.”
“It wasn’t.”
Lila, thinking I was making another one of my jokes, giggled and grabbed me by the hand. “Come on, Silly, let’s go.”
We headed down the bridleway, skipping willy-nilly. Though I was still thoroughly spooked, and began to wonder: if ghosts and witches were possible on Halloween then what else was? I kept on seeing things out of the corner of my eye and urged my friends to hurry up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Self Portrait Poem

I have written several self portrait poems in my life, but this one is my favorite so far. Many of the stanzas are descriptions of young childhood experiences. I wrote them kind of abstractly, so unless you know me really well you might not get it. I read all of my comments though, and am happy to answer questions. :-)

White blonde hair and a round head
Like corn silk on a melon
Tall and lanky for such a young age
Nicknamed string bean by her parents
Spending all the hours of the day
Out in the garden
Talking to the plants
And fairies

Blankets are placed strategically
Shielding a network of chairs
The center is a table
The stronghold
Stuffed animals line the perimeter
Watchful sentries
Piglet is captain of the guard
Her charge plays with her twin inside

A golden pupil surrounded
By an iris of blue
Then a deeper blue
As the day grows older
The blue turns to
Purple, pink, orange
And reflected gold
A wink of green before a nightly slumber
An event no camera could catch

Lives, kingdoms, seasons, tides
Rise and fall at the turn of a page
A constant fascination
Words that weave tapestries as thick as if
The world in the book really existed
Something she is constantly trying to copy

As she dons pink spectacles
And wiggles her fingers above the keyboard
Placing them on it
She is not always so sure
Where those nail-chewed digits will lead her
But figures it out before long
Not the most common pass time
For a teenager who could be texting
Or blowing out her eardrums
But it is what she chooses

Balls of fluff
Some bigger than others
Some purr, some bark
Hunters and herders alike
She adores them all
And they call a truce
So that they can curl up on her bed together

So far away from any real kind of civilization
That the apocalypse would go unnoticed
The lake melted from a glacier
Even the sapphire has never known that kind of blue
Aspen leaves quiver in the slightest of breezes
Giving the impression of a gale
Wooden dock bathed in the sun
And the fear inspiring dare
When the courage is almost gathered
An embarrassing faux pas
Gasp, choke, splutter
Flailing to get out of the liquid iceberg
And up to the laughter of the on lookers

Evergreens turn to broadleaves
A great river gorge gives way
To sagebrush and cattle ranches
Without warning, the cornfields appear all around
Going on for miles
At long last
The mountains are reached
Immense wildlife and intense beauty
The land of restless earth
Of geysers and mud pots
The full spectrum of colors
In a pool so hot, you would have thought it cold

The steady rhythm of hooves rocking
A form of transportation as familiar as walking
A surprisingly short steed
For a girl of her height
They have known each other too long
To part
The oldest and best of friends
The kind that never judge
And know the need
To fly
Tearing up the earth underneath them
And dodge under and around blackberries
Familiar with each other’s movements
Intuiting what to do next

She knows her twin better than just about anyone
A million inside jokes
No one else could ever guess the meaning
Though used to being called by the name of her twin
It never stops becoming irritated when it happens
They don’t even look that much alike
Even those they have known them for years
Still fall for it

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Versatile Blogger Award

Thanks so much Nikki, for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award!

And to those I pass this award to, congrats.

So, here's the drill, award winners:
a) Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
b) Share 7 things about yourself
c) Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic. ( I know that I didn't send this to 15 people, but I really don't know that many people in the blogger community yet, so, I apologize Versatile Blogger Award!)
d) Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Seven Things About Myself:
1. I want to make my money writing novels
2. I have never been to New York City (though I hope to change that soon)
3. I have licked a slug
4. I preferred brussel sprouts to ice cream when I was younger (but no longer)
5. I am allergic to gluten
6. I am kind of a geek about movie scores, you will find more of them on my ipod then you will popular music
7. My favorite musical is Wicked

Here are my winners!

Cafe of Answers
Rose of the Desert
The Game
Silver's Reviews

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest Moon

Happy last day of summer! More like unhappy last day of summer I know, but this last night of the season is something spectacular, so it can not be all that bad. Tonight is the harvest moon, and it has been a while since I posted, so I figured that I would write a poem about it.

Harvest Moon

The brilliant red maple leaf carried on a wind born of mountain's breath signals her coming.
As does the departing geese's honking, and the frantic chittering of gathering squirrels.

She is greeted by the outstretched arms of the scarecrow, and the ever flitting bats, with their leathery wings that were cut out of the night itself.
Lighting the work of the midnight reaper, casting the cornfields in a silvery glow.

The still air is pierced, the keening of the coyote, his temptress more radiant that ever.
He and his kin, distracted in their hunt, bay in their longing.

The lady of the night, laying in her bed of black velvet and diamonds; mystifying in her secretive splendor, wraps herself in a flowing gown of clouds, with the silver lining embroidering the collar.

Her fingers of mist run threw the patchwork of cornfields, and of pumpkin patches, and open pasture.
Finding the howling pack of broken hearts, stroking their wiry fur, enfolding them in serenity.

causing a hush to ring across the land

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Final Chapter

As a school project, my novella was required to have around ten journal entries from the characters of the story. So in this chapter, I chose to right most of it in journal entry, instead of spreading them out through all of the different chapters. Also, if the story seemed a bit rushed to you, that was because the novella was required to span for a decade or so, from antebellun to postbellum, and fitting ten years into thirty pages or so is not a simple task.

Chapter Four
Molly had been shaken up after Gettysburg, not that her fellow soldiers were in a much better position. They had lost many men, and many more of them seriously wounded. Molly longed to hear from Sam, and longed even more that she could see him again.
The weeks dragged on and on at an outrageously slow pace, almost as someone were slowing time down just for Molly’s personal inconvenience.
One day, some three months after Gettysburg, Molly was marching through a confederate orchard, the soldiers were grabbing the fruit off of the trees. They were mostly apples, once the soldiers had eaten the fruit, they chucked the cores at crows for their own amusement. Molly could not help but think how this orchard looked very much to the one on her father’s plantation, the one where Sam had broken his leg. Then, a thought came to her, is my father’s plantation being trashed like this? Is my southern family taking refuge with relatives in Richmond like so many other families? When Father had talked of war on the plantation, such a long time ago, he had compared it to a game of chess. With certain rules and whatnot that you did not break. Total war is nothing like a game of chess, I wonder where he got that silly idea.
It was now the year of 1864, the fourth year of the war, and the country had taken on the grim air of the miserable people who were living in it. If there was anything both the Confederation and the Union could agree on, it was that they wanted this macabre horrendous was to be over.

The journal of Samuel Douglas
October 1, 1864
Boston, Massachusetts
It has been almost a year since Molly signed up for the army, and I have barely heard from her. Every time there is a battle, I find myself sprinting off to the nearest newsstand to find out if ‘Roger Douglas’ is among the living. Luckily, so far she has always been on that list. Still, this war has been very rough on me -on everyone- in one year I have seemed to age twenty. Despite the good news with W.T. Sherman, it seems the only reason that I keep hope or faith in this war is that it has given the prospect that slavery might be abolished. If the Union falls, all my work as an abolitionist for the past ten years will be all for naught. We, as people, must not let the Union fall, because, what the other side stands for is just to atrocious to think of as human behaviour.

The diary of Molly ‘Roger’ Douglas
October 1, 1864
Outside Black Stone, Virginia
12th Massachusetts
I am writing this entry today to put down a rather shocking occurrence that happened earlier this week, since I have not had time to write lately. My regiment was setting up camp, when another regiment came marching along. They had no intentions of staying, for they had orders to go elsewhere, but they came to give us some prisoners of war. Whom they would have had a hard time containing if they had not transferred them. I was appointed as one of the guards. One of the prisoners looked exceedingly familiar, ‘what is your name?’ I asked him, he replied, ‘John Douglas’, my little stepbrother! I nearly collapsed from shock then and there, I had not seen John in over ten years! He had grown up so much, but under the thick mustache and scruffy beard, sure enough, it was him. He was very gruff and unfriendly- I suppose that I would be too if I were a prisoner of war- but still, he is so different from that boy who was always smiling from ear to ear. Of course, he did not recognize me.
On to some better news now, today while we were marching, we came across some torn up railroad all mangled into things that we call Sherman’s hairpins and Jeff Davis Neckties. They were hung on every tree nearby, and we knew that General Sherman had been there. With all of the damage that he has been doing, I would not be surprised if the war was over by the end of this year.
Apparently, Tristen has a love for Shakespeare. I never knew that, and when I told him that I did as well, he was quite shocked. obviously most soldiers are not the literary type. He began to recite sonnet 19, when I joined in, he raised his eyebrows in surprise. It was great fun!

The journal of Samuel Douglas
November 15, 1864
Boston, Massachusetts
President Lincoln has been reelected, thank goodness! Not that Gen. McClellan would have made a horrible commander in chief, but Lincoln has a good head on those broad shoulders of his. I trust him to get us out of this mess of a war, Diana agrees with me on this.
I received a letter from Molly today! She says that she is alive and very thankful for her health; it appears that her friend, Tristen O’Reilly, has caught some form of influenza. But he was doing well, the letter was dated October 27, so I should suspect that he has recovered by now. I have been so worried about my sister lately, but I will be able to rest easier tonight having read this letter.

The diary of Molly ‘Roger Douglas
November 15, 1864
North of Danville, Virginia
12th Massachusetts
Some sort of madness has crossed over me, it may have had something to do with some of the whiskey that Tristen offered me that he has been using to ‘sooth his throat’ after that nasty sickness he has had. That has to be the lamest excuse to consume alcohol I think that I have ever heard- it would be pathetic even if he had not been well for over two weeks. Anyway, my madness that I was referring to is that I was getting half-a-mind to reveal my identity to John. I do not know why. I guess it just pains me to keep my own stepbrother prisoner, but if I did tell him all he would do is go around telling anybody and everybody he sees that I was not who I appeared to be. He always was a blabbermouth.
Word has reached our regiment that Abraham Lincoln has been reelected as president. I am quite excited about this; I would have voted for him if I had the right to vote. Many of my fellow soldiers were McClellan supporters and I heard more than one of them call the president a ‘Lincolnpoop’. Lincoln is the farthest thing from a nincompoop though, so it puzzles me why they would say such a thing.

The journal of Samuel Douglas
April 2, 1865
Boston, Massachusetts
Today, as I was walking down the street to buy a sandwich from the delicatessen, there was a huge commotion in the in the city. The people seemed to be celebrating, I heard one call out ‘the Rebs have themselves beat now!’
When I reached the deli and asked the server if he could please tell me what in the blue blazes had everybody so excited, he replied, ‘didn’t you hear? We have taken Richmond!’ I was shocked! I had slept in, and so I went out for a late breakfast or an early dinner, and had not bothered to read the morning paper. It was astonishing, and when I had eaten, I went back outside to join in the celebrating! Everybody was in a good mood, a weight had been taken off of all of us. The idea that the war might actually be ending was almost inconceivable! After all of those battles where victory had been so close at hand, those opportunities that had fallen through our fingers, many people had begun to take on a pessimistic view of things. Today though, all the rain clouds over people’s heads evaporated when the bright news of Richmond’s taking came.

The diary of Molly ‘Roger’ Douglas
April 2, 1865
Leesville Lake, Virginia
12th Massachusetts
John Douglas, prisoner of war was moved again today to a different regiment. I do not know whether or not I shall ever see him again, but as he was leaving, the strangest thing happened! His eyes glazed over as if deep in thought, and just as they were taking him away, he looked at me and some recognition ignited in his face. Just at that moment though, the soldier from the Maine regiment who was taking him moved him forward, that was the last I saw of him.
We were moving our prisoners because we were ordered to go directly to Richmond and could not keep some twenty prisoners in check all the while.
I had no time to be sad though, for the reason that we were ordered to Richmond was that it had been taken! We were sent over there to help keep control of the city and its population. Oh, it is just so astounding the a]capitol of the confederacy is taken! It makes me want to bring out a bottle of champagne and celebrate, for now we know that the war is coming to an end.

The journal of Samuel Douglas
April 9, 1865
Boston, Massachusetts
There are no words that I can think of that properly describe the news that is spreading like a blazing inferno throughout the country: General Lee surrendered to General Grant at the Appomattox Court House! Everyone is ecstatic and celebrating the Union’s victory. The overwhelming sense of joy that the war has ended is simply ludicrous.
I can only imagine what a relief this must be for the soldiers, though Molly’s contract is not up for another two months, I am sure that they will be a much more relaxed two months then the type of hustling about and walking ten miles a day like she has been doing for such a long time.
When I write it like this it seems so odd, but I have not seen Molly in two years. I cannot wait until the next to wretched months are over. It will be unbelievably wonderful to see my sister again!

The diary of Molly ‘Roger’ Douglas
April 9, 1865
Richmond, Virginia
12th Massachusetts
Lee surrendered to Grant today, the war has ended! Though, there is still a lot of work ahead of us. We have to all work together to help rebuild the South and all the houses and properties that were destroyed. I suspect that is what our army is going to be doing, seeing as there is no more fighting. All of the soldiers have to do something until their contracts expire. Unfortunately, Tristen’s contract is a month longer than mine. I will just have to meet up with him once his expires.
The war has ended, the war has ended. The fact is taking a long time to sink, it just seems to good to be true! And along with the closing of the war comes the closing of slavery! The ideal that Sam, Diana, and all of the abolitionists, myself included, have been trying to reach for such a long time is speeding towards us.
Oh, and that champagne I was talking about a week or so ago, well someone was able to get their hands on a bottle. Goodness knows how, it was quite a decent variety too, the man was generous enough to pour some in the waiting mess cups of the people around him. It brought back the aristocratic side of me, needless to say, I have not associated with that side of myself in a very long.
Anyway, I think I will turn in for tonight, it has been a busy day and I think I will be able to sleep with pleasant dreams, now that I know that this monstrosity of a war has finally ended for good.

The journal of Samuel Douglas
April 14, 1865
Washington D.C.
It is around 10:00 AM and I am here in Washington D.C., on a spontaneous trip that Diana insisted on taking to celebrate- among other things as well- the beginning of our courtship. It appears she has been waiting for me to ask her to court her for a while, because when I sent my letter explaining my intentions, her reply was not what I had expected it to be. Instead of ‘Oh Samuel, I would love to!’ Or even, ‘I do not want to jeopardize our friendship, so I respectfully decline.’ Her five word reply was, ‘well it is about time.’
I have never been to the District of Columbia before, and so far it has been quite an interesting place. Diana and I went to see the Capitol building and the White House yesterday after we arrived here by train. We are going to the theater tonight after supper, the play we will be watching is called Our American Cousin. Diana has seen it before and tells me that it is hilarious.
11:00 PM
I am horrified and completely enraged! Tonight, at the performance Abraham Lincoln was shot! I was sitting with Diana toward the back of the theater, and this man finds his way into the president’s booth and shoots him! After he pulled the trigger he said something, Diana and I were to far away to make it out, but we heard some people say that he said ‘The South is avenged!’ We heard others say that the assassin said ‘Sic semper tyrannis’, thus always to tyrants. The name of that evil man is John Wilkes Booth, or so the authorities say. I cannot think of a man fouler than a man who would dare murder such a glorious man as Abraham Lincoln!

The diary of Molly ‘Roger’ Douglas
April 15, 1865
Richmond, Virginia
12th Massachusetts
Today, we were informed that the president died, he was shot at Ford’s theatre last night. There was no hope in his surviving. I am deeply distraught. Why did this have to happen, now of all times? Right when the war was ended and everyone was in high spirits. Just yesterday I was celebrating, and now I am mourning. It seems nothing good goes without some punishment or sacrifice.
Andrew Johnson will take Lincoln’s place as president. I do not think he will be nearly as good though, I mean, he was drunk at the second inaugural.
The assassin, and the rest of the conspirators will probably be sentenced to death once they are captured- and I can assume there is a large price on their heads. Still, deaths for a death, I am sure that there is a more poetic way to put this, but would it not just mean more bloodshed, after the war is supposed to be over? I am not saying that I am sorry for them, I think that they still deserve it, but the whole spectrum of killing and murdering, it just seems tiresome and frustrating after a time.
Despair is a curious thing, you try to talk yourself out of it, but you keep going in circles, and the question that keeps coming up is why. Why did it have to be Abraham Lincoln? He was one of the men who I looked up to and respected the most. Why now? why?
All of these are just rhetorical I guess, and I do not even know if it would help at all even if I did know the answers. I am too shocked to really know anything right now, so I guess i might as well turn in. I will feel better after some sleep, and a chance to further process the horrendous news that I have heard today.

The journal of Samuel Douglas
August 10, 1865
Boston, Massachusetts
Tristen is coming to visit tomorrow, Molly has been anticipating this meeting ever since she arrived home a little over a month. She is very excited for me to meet him, but is also nervous. She hasn’t told Tristen about her being a girl yet, and plans to tomorrow. I can only imagine what that is going to be like, ‘hello Tristen, good to see you again. There’s something I need to tell you, I am not actually a boy.’ Of course, I will be there to back her up, but from what Molly tells me, he is very open minded, so I am not overly worried.
I am going to a jeweller this afternoon, to purchase a ring for Diana, Molly has sworn not to tell Diana, she told me if Diana asks, Molly will tell her I am at the bar. She has not teased me as much about my proposing as I would have suspected. Though, it seems too good to be true, once I ask Diana to marry me, than she will probably tease me incessantly. Over the years I have learned to hold my own against my sister, and I do have many retorts that are full of wit up my sleeve, should I need them.

The diary of Molly Douglas
April 11, 1865
Boston, Massachusetts
Today, when Tristen came to visit, I was fairly blunt about telling him about how I am a girl and slipped into the army because I wanted to fight for my country anyway. Before I was done, I was resisting teh urge to succumb to a fit of laughter. The expression on his face kept becoming more and more hilarious as I continued to talk! When I stopped there was an awkward silence, then, he said, ‘so you weren’t suffering from a cold all of that time. It was just you keeping your voice low, and when you forgot to your voice would sound like a girl’s voice because you are a girl.’ ‘Yes,’ I was answered, barely able to keep my composure. ‘Oh,’ he replied. After some more conversation, the facts finally began to sink in. He did not seem to mind, in fact he took the news much better than I expected. In my heart of hearts, I thought he would walk out of the door and never look back, but he was much to startled to do anything of the kind.
Tristen tells me that he is going back down to the South in a few weeks to continue to help with Reconstruction out of the confines of the military. I was a bit upset to hear this because I had been hoping to be able for him to become acquainted with Molly, and not Roger. He has promised to right when he can though, so that is good. I wish him the best of luck on his endeavor, helping to repair the damage in the South. I feel more than a bit of remorse though, thinking of how I helped cause that destruction, but I believe that the United States will be a better place because of it.

Despite Molly’s effort to distract herself by counting the baby’s breath blooms in Diana’s bouquet, her feet ached from standing as the maid of honor. All the preparations had come down to this moment when her brother and Diana said ‘I do’. Molly remembered when she first met Diana, all those years ago, the way Sam had interacted, and was not at all surprised it had come to this. Though, she did wish that her brother could have waited until she had found someone herself, seeing as now he would have to right to call her a spinster. Well, not really, but he could if he was trying to be mean, and she preferred to have the upper hand on the names when it came to their fights. Which were really for her entertainment of seeing her brother become red in the face from frustration than anything else.
All of the guests flocked around the new couple, giving them their well-wishings, many of the women could do nothing but stare at Diana’s white wedding dress. So many people could not afford such a gown, but her parents had been wealthy to some degree, and had saved Diana’s mother’s dress for her to wear. Molly did have to agree it was exquisite, a neat row of shell buttons down the back, lace adorned the sleeves, collar, and hem. There were even pearls sewn onto the shoulders. The dress was not stark white, it was more of an eggshell, which contrasted very nicely with the color of the bride’s hair.
“Hello Roger.”
The familiar voice pulled Molly out of the reverie she had not even realized that she was in, “Tristen, I did not see you at the service!”
“Alas, the train that I took up from Richmond was delayed. I do apologize,” he said, turning to Sam and Diana who had come to greet the late arrival.
“That is quite all right Tristen,” replied Sam, “it is much better to have you arrive late than never at all.
“Well that is good to hear, I was worried that I would have to asked the priest for a penance.”
They all laughed, “oh, no Tristen, of course not,” Diana assured the man.
“How long is your presence gracing us Tristen?” inquired Samuel.
“Two weeks, I am in between employment at the moment, but I have enough saved for this holiday.”
“That is quite good news,” Sam said, “Diana are going to honeymoon at the Cape for a week, it will be good to know that my sister has some company while we are gone.”
“Yes, quite,” put in Diana, winking slyly at Molly, she had turned out to be even worse about teasing Molly about Tristen then Sam.
Molly could feel herself blushing and turned her head away from her seeing, siblings, in-law or not, were still siblings, and they knew more about how to embarrass or poke fun then one gave them credit for.
The rest of that day was a blur to Molly, the next thing she could remember clearly was falling onto her bed from the exhaustion of such a long day, a long several years really. It had seemed that there had been so much happening for so long, that Molly had never really had a chance to reflect on all the things that had happened to her in a relatively short amount of time. And now at last, she seemed to have the time to do that. She was about to blow out the candle by her bed, when she realized she was holding a crumpled up piece of paper in her hand. It was an address, she remembered now, a place where she and Tristen were to meet the following day. Molly had completely forgotten she had it. Placing the address on her bedside table beside her candle, she watched the candlelight dance across the waxy parchment for a while in a fatigued, detached sort of interest, then, blew out the candle, and let the dark velvety folds of sleep take her.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chapter Three

“Confederates fire on Fort Sumter, read all about it!” yelled a paperboy as he held up a copy of the Boston Daily Advertiser.
“That is horrible,” said Molly, passing the boy and his titanic pile of papers.
“Yes, it is horrible it had to come to this,” Sam agreed somberly, “and to think that out of all the states, it had to be South Carolina that started it.”
Over a year had passed since the two of them had conducted their first underground railroad route. Since then, much had been going on, and not all of it was good. South Carolina had seceded, soon followed by: Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. President Lincoln was trying his best to keep the Union together, but now it had gone too far and war was starting to seem like one of the few options.
“I just wish there was something I could do about it,” said Molly.
“We all do Molly,” replied her brother lugubriously.
They turned onto Charleston Street and went a few more blocks to the public gardens. It was a mild April afternoon, and also the first day in weeks that the sun had come out, everybody was out walking around. Though, because of the dreary news of Fort Sumter everything was still more on the somber side.
As they walked down the paths and crossed the bridge across the pond in the gardens, they came to a light post. On the post was a recruiting poster, Molly had seen many of them before and not had a second thought about them, but something was different this time.
Sam looked quizzically at his sister, then, seeing the look on her face said, “Oh, Molly, no that would never work!”
“I can disguise myself as a boy, no one would recognize me, I can make it work.”
“You and your conspiratorial plotting, I’ll never see the end of it,” he said jokingly, trying to keep his argument light-hearted. Then, realizing that that would not work he said, “but what about the underground railroad route we are supposed to conduct?” trying not to sound desperate.
“Sam, there is no route, I can tell when you’re lying to protect me. And though I think it is admirable that you wish me to be safe, I also find it obnoxious, you thought I was able enough to make my own decisions about leaving home. That turned out to be a good idea.”
“That was much different.”
“Perhaps,” and with that she spun on her heel and began to continue walking, but not so fast that her handicapped brother could not catch up to her.

Since she had invited them the day before, that night Molly and Sam went to Diana’s inherited penthouse for dinner. As the casserole was being passed out, Molly told Diana of her idea.
“What do you think?” asked Molly.
“Well, I know you are not one to be going around making hasty decisions.”
“Sure she isn’t,” said Sam, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
“I mean,” continued Diana, “you’re a say-what-you-mean mean-what-you-say type of person, even if what you mean isn’t what other people want you mean,” she glanced over at Sam. “But,” she added, “it would be extremely risky. I wouldn’t do it, but if I were I’d take time for preparations.”
“You sound as though you plan to help her!” Sam exclaimed.
“I never said that.”
“What do you mean?” said Molly, disappointed.
“I mean that I don’t want you in some war before we know were it is headed.”
“But,” she started, then realizing as of now that her case was hopeless, she said, “Fine I’ll wait to see where the war is headed before I make any ‘hasty’ decisions.”

As it turned out, it was very hard to tell which way the war was headed. Many thought it would just be a few months, but it had now been two years since the firing on Fort Sumter, and still the war dragged on. During this time, Molly had brought up the subject of her enlisting many times, but each time Sam and Diana had a new excuse for her. She knew that they wanted her to keep waiting to go in until the war was over and she had no reason to and drop the subject entirely. After much thought and contemplation, she decided that if her words were not being listened to, her actions would.
Rain was pouring, the droplets of water came tumbling over the awnings of the many shops outside. Molly sat at the breakfast table, waiting for her brother. She had with her, a pair of scissors. Her brother came, still wiping the sleep from his eyes. He sat down and took up the newspaper Molly had brought him.
“What are the scissors for?” he yawned.
“My hair,” she answered simply.
“Oh, your hair,” Sam said drowsily, then realizing what she was saying, “What! Your hair?”
“That is correct.”
“But why?”
“How many soldiers do you know have long hair? Excuse me for answering a question with a question.”
“Oh come off it Molly!”
“Fine then, I guess I will just be the fashion disaster of the month then,” Molly took the scissors and a clump of hair in her hands, and was about to cut it when Sam finally gave in.
“Wait, fine I will help you, don’t you cut your hair yet. I guess there is no point of me trying to talk you out of it?”
“What have you been trying to do for the past two years.”
“I know, well, here let me help you out.”
After Sam had cut her hair down so that it looked like a boy’s, he took her to his wardrobe and selected some men’s clothes for her to wear. The siblings were roughly the same height, so the clothing fit Molly fine. They then went over to Diana’s, were they told her that Molly was going to go into the army.
“I figured we would not be able to persuade you to stay here forever,” Diana sighed, “I suppose he tried to talk you out of it one last time?”
“Surprisingly, no actually.”
“Well,” Diana’s eyes were starting to fill with tears, “promise to write.”
“I will.”
“Oh, and take this,” Diana held up a pendant of a four leafed clover on a piece of twine she had around her neck. “It was my grandfather’s good luck charm, he wore it when he came over from the old country.”
“ My goodness! this is beautiful, thank you so much Diana!” said Molly, placing it around her own neck.
“You are welcome, now what are you going to call yourself, you need a boy’s name.”
“I was thinking about Roger.”
“Terrific, God be with you, Roger,” at that moment the tears spilled over Diana’s cheeks, and she embraced her friend.
“Good-bye Diana.”
“Good-bye Molly.”
With that Roger went with her brother to sign up to fight for the Union in the Civil War. She had never seen Samuel cry before, but she swore that she saw him wipe a tear from his eyes as she left with the other new recruits. Though it could have just been the rain.

12th Massachusetts Outside Lewiston
Dear Brother,
I am taking my pen in hand to tell you that the army wasn’t everything I expected it to be. Ever since I received my uniform, we have been drilling day in and day out. Though drilling is in some ways good, seeing as I have challenge enough fitting in with everybody, and this puts everyone on a level playing field. I have been assigned to the 12th Massachusetts regiment.
I would like you to tell Diana that the lucky charm had already worked some magic! Despite my challenges, I have met and befriended a man named Tristen, who lived on a farm outside of Boston. He and I have a lot in common, and he was quite enthusiastic when I told him about our work on the underground railroad. I am sure that he would very much like to meet you when the war is over and we are relieved from our duties.
As always, your loving sister, Molly.

Two days after Molly sent her letter to Sam, she was sent to her first battle. Her regiment was sent down near a town called Gettysburg, and were positioned on a place named Oak Ridge.
“It is exciting is it not?” asked Tristen, as he and Roger sat under a tree. Chewing absent-mindedly on some hardtack.
“What is?”
“Finally being able to do something for the war! Actually fighting! Not just drilling and giving our friends and family the right to boast and say “Oh Tristen is in the army. Oh Roger is in the army.”
“Oh yes it is exciting,” said Molly, clearing her throat. Ever since she had been in the army she had found it difficult to keep her voice sounding boyish, but Tristen seemed none the wiser.
“You have been suffering from quite the cold Roger, what is it three weeks now? You had better get your voice back to normal or else everyone will start to think you’re a girl!” Tristen punched Molly on her shoulder playfully.
She threw her hardtack at him jokingly, but took the unintentional advice quite seriously.
“Ouch!,” he squawked upon impact, “that stuff really hurts.”
“You’d better toughen up Tristen,” warned Roger, “if a bullet hits you, you will be dead from the pain before you even lose one drop of blood if you let a piece of hardtack throw you off.
Suddenly, there was a bellow from a nearby officer, “soldiers prepare for battle, on the double-quick!”
Molly and Tristen stood up and ran to the place where the rest of the regiment was congregating into formation.
“It’s the Rebs!” one man cried.
Molly could feel her heart pounding inside her chest. She could see the Confederates gathering and preparing to exchange fire with her army; she was in the second row, with Tristen to her left. The order was given.
In battle, everything was chaos. Time seemed to slow down, and everything was in much more detail, like an unusually vivid dream. Molly had no knowing if five minutes had past, or five hours. After firing, she ran to the back of her line, shoving the ramrod down her gun. Her hands were trembling like aspen leaves in a particularly brisk wind. Within no time, she was parched for water, each time she bit into a packet containing her ammunition and bullet, the minuscule amount of gunpowder that got into her mouth sucked up her spit like a sponge does water.
Sweat was dripping down her brow and into her eyes when the retreat was ordered. They fell back, making their way to Cemetery Ridge. All of the smoke made it impossible to see anything clearly except the people in front of her, so Molly followed them. She looked back, and could barely see make out the silhouettes of the brave soldiers who gave their lives for the war, their bodies strewn on the field. Tears filled Molly’s eyes as she went on the double-quick with the rest of her colleagues on their fall back to Cemetery Ridge, meeting up with some ignonble skedaddlers on the way.
When she reached Cemetery Ridge she was relieved to find that Tristen was alive with barely a scratch on him. He offered her some water from a canteen, and she realized that she had never been so thankful for water in her entire life. Molly had half a mind to throw her arms around Tristen in gratitude, but then she realized that that probably was not something that Roger would do, so she just thanked him and said how happy she was that he was alive.
The next two days were far from uneventful. The next day, Molly found herself fighting again against another southern regiment. With all the adrenaline rushing through her veins from the day prior, she had barely gotten any sleep, but now was no time to be tired.
Time dragged by and the guns fired,all Molly heard was the rhythm of metallic ramrod and bursting fire in a hostile symphony, infused with the cries of the wounded. Each time she faced the shooting line, Molly felt as though she would faint. Each time she stood their in the front line firing, her life would flash before her eyes, yet no bullet touched her.
I never wanted to be in battle if I knew this is what it would be like. Thought Molly.
When the guns finally ceased to fire, there was a meal of bacon and peaches (courtesy of a family farm several miles away).
The battle lasted for a third day, and the 12th Massachusetts was sent down to join another group of regiments to fight against some Rebs, who in a desperate last act, sent many, many men in a charge. ‘Picket’s Charge’, it would later be known as, that is where they were at last defeated. Not to say that they did not admit defeat without a good fight though. It seemed like a miracle to Molly that the only injuries she suffered were a twisted ankle, and a scrap on her cheek where a bullet had grazed it.
When it was finally over, and the Union had claimed victory, Molly collapsed to her knees, the past few days exhaustion catching up to her. And when Tristen found his friend, Roger, sitting on the grass, he went to join him. After a silence Roger said, “maybe drilling isn’t so bad after all.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chapter Two

The chill had a tangible edge to it in the rough Boston winter. It crept down Molly’s spine, as she pulled her fur coat more closely around her. It had been several years since Sam had first told her about the abolitionists. Since then, when Sam had first returned to Harvard they had kept in touch by letter, and he informed her upon everything the abolitionists said.
Finally, Sam had graduated, but soon afterward when Sam returned home, he started up a heated argument about how he did not want to run the plantation. Sam said it was because he had fallen in love with Boston, and though that was probably true, Molly knew it was because she knew her brother would have nothing to do with owning slaves. He did not stay long, two days later, he couldn’t take the constant quarreling any longer and took off back to Boston, where he said he had gotten a job in accounting.
Molly had waited several weeks for her father to calm down from the situation, and then asked if she could go up to Boston to visit Sam. She had told him that she would try to persuade him to change his mind and come back (though that was not at all what she planned to do). It had taken some time, but when Sam had shone up for the winter holidays, Molly believed her father would say yes. After a very long conversation, her father had said that she could go with Sam to Boston for two weeks in January. Though it turned out to be much longer than that.
They had arrived a few days earlier, and the first thing Sam did was give Molly the grand tour of Boston. He took her to the public gardens and Faneuil hall and the Charles river. All the while telling her the history of each of the places they went. Now, on their third day there, Sam was taking Molly to a meeting held by the abolitionists, which Molly had highly anticipated.
As the speaker walked onto the podium, Sam leaned over to Molly from his seat and whispered, “that is Barry Collins, he always gives the first speech. He’s the owner of this warehouse we are in, and he started this particular congregation.”
“I see,” replied Molly.
“Thank you all for coming,” said Mr. Collins in a spirited baritone voice. “First of all, I would like to announce that word has reached me that Mr. Hogan has just successfully conducted a group of slaves on the underground railroad and is just now returning. The letter I received said that he should arrive back in a week or so.”
“What is the underground railroad?” Molly asked her brother.
“The underground railroad is a group of people who lead slaves north from their plantations to freedom.”
“Oh,” said Molly. She was about to ask more when Mr. Collins began to speak again.
He spoke of slavery and said many things about why it was wrong and that it should be abolished as soon as possible. His voice rang out from the podium like a roar from a lion. He was a very good speaker. The points he made were followed by enthusiastic applause.
The meeting went on for several more hours and Molly listened intently all the while. After the meeting was over, everyone had stood up to leave. Sam lead Molly through the crowd towards the podium, his cane making a tap-tapping sound on the cold stone floor of the low roofed warehouse.
“Sam, where are we going?” asked Molly.
“There’s a friend of mine that I want you to meet,” answered Sam
When they reached the podium, most of the people had filed out, except for two figures: one was Mr. Collins, the other was a lady that Molly did not recognize. The two of them were talking.
“Excuse me,” Sam said.
The people who were talking looked up. “Oh, hello Sam!” said the lady.
“Hello Diana, how have you been?”
“I have been quite well thank you, who is this?” said Diana, indicating Molly.
“This is my sister, Molly. She is visiting with me from our home in South Carolina. Molly, this is Diana, she is a good friend of mine.”
“You’re Molly? Well it is wonderful to finally meet you, Sam has told me so much about you.”
“It is nice to meet you as well,” said Molly, who was about to point out to her brother that he had not mentioned Diana in any of his letters, but then, knowing her brother thought better of it.
“Diana, I was wondering if you wished to join Molly and me for dinner tonight?” asked Sam.
“You know I would love to, but I am attending a dinner meeting with Robert Crawford, the wealthy abolitionist that funds most of our conventions. You could come if you would like. Robert knows you Sam, he would be delighted!”
“That sounds interesting,” said Molly, “may we go Sam?”
“Of course, it sounds quite intriguing. We’ll be there,” confirmed Sam.
“Alright, see you there then. It starts at six. Sam, you have been to Mr. Crawford’s house before have you not? You remember how to get there, right?”
“See you later then, good bye.”
“Good bye,” said Sam and Molly simultaneously. Sam stood there for a moment, looking a bit hazy eyed, dreamy. Molly rolled her eyes dramatically, “come on,” she told her brother before walking toward the door.
Sam and Molly arrived at five fifty in the evening at Robert Crawford’s house. It was cold and grey outside. The clouds hung low over the city like a wet blanket, and the two of them couldn’t wait to get inside.
“What is Mr. Crawford’s profession? How did he come into all of his money?” asked Molly after a butler with very rosy cheeks had ushered them inside.
“No one really knows, although there are are plenty of rumors, none of them at all probable though,” replied Sam as he sat himself down in a chair in the lobby where everybody was waiting. Diana arrived a few minutes later and the three of them began talking. Diana seemed particularly interested in how two people, who for their whole lives had been told that slavery was good, were now against it.
“I do not know why I have never asked you this before Sam,” said Diana, “it is really quite peculiar, in a good way mind you.”
Before they could respond, there was an announcement that everybody should start entering the dining hall. Soon afterward, a man with a large brown beard walked in and sat down, gesturing to butlers with silver platters to come and serve his guests.
Their dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes, and fillet of cod was served steaming hot and smelled delicious. Molly was about to take a bite of the fish when she had an idea. “Sam, I have been thinking, every moment that I am in the company of abolitionists, I just feel so angry about what Father is doing, having slaves and all. And I want to do something about it. It makes me want to conduct the underground railroad and free our father’s slaves, especially Tess, our old nurse, remember?”
Sam choked on a mouthful of mashed potatoes, “what has gotten into you Molly, do you ever think before you speak? Do you not realize what that could do to us? Once our parents found out it was us, they would never forgive us, I want to end slavery too, but I am not sure that I am ready to completely betray our family to do it.”
“But it is what’s right.”
“What, betraying out parents?”
“No, giving other human beings the chance to live as such.”
Those words stroke a chord within Sam. That was what abolition was all about, right? But could a cause, even as important as this one, be worth severing family connections? Sam was already not really on speaking terms with his father, but for Molly’s sake. Molly can make her own decisions though, thought Sam. Finally, he said, “I do see your point Molly, yet still, I don’t know the underground railroad well enough to find the safe houses and such.”
“I am sure that Mr. Crawford could help you with that.”
“I suppose, but you do realize that you would have to sever your connections to our family. I already have, but you are due back in a week or so, the railroad takes much longer than that.”
Molly was silent for for a moment, then she said, “ I suppose it might be difficult, but I never liked our stepmother that much. And my whole life I have felt that Father was my caretaker, but he was never really warm to me, if I run off, he’ll assume that I am staying with you and working at a factory.”
“Is that a yes?”
“It is.”
When the group was done with dinner they went out to the sitting room, and socialized. The men pouring brandy from crystal decanters and lighting up thick brown cigars imported from many different locations. Few of them American. While the women complimented each others clothing and gossiped. Molly and Sam approached Mr. Crawford and asked him about the organization of a route from their plantation to Canada, and he was only too happy to help.
A little more than three weeks later, Molly and Sam were ready. They went down with another conductor, David Thomson, a former escaped slave himself who knew the routes better than anybody. Sam, due to his bad leg, would be taking a group of ten slaves in a carriage. Whereas Molly and David would take another group of fifteen on foot. Taking the slaves who worked in the house would be to difficult to get past the guards, seeing as there quarters were a mere stone’s throw away from the mansion. Instead, they were to bring all twenty-five of the tobacco workers who lived on the east most slave quarters.
Then, when all were informed and ready, they set off in the light of the full moon. Molly felt guilty that she could not bring Monica, but the house servants had an easier life than the field workers, she had heard her father say so herself. And Molly felt hopeful that one day all slaves would be free, a practice as evil as slavery could not last forever.
The dirt road in front of them seemed regal almost, with the moonlight bathing it. As they set off both Molly and Sam looked back, not knowing if they’d ever see the house. As they started there way to Canada, they felt that they were shedding an old history, a history of naïvete. And they felt stronger because of it.

Friday, August 13, 2010

War is Not a Game of Chess

Two years ago, my school had me write a novella on the civl war. Now I am going to reedit it and post it chapter by chapter. It's funny, how when you look at your work after several years the first thing you think is 'Red pen, someone get me a red pen! How did I not put a period there, Holy Moly, I just repeated that sentence!' And then,'boy, do I have a lot of work to do.' Of course I didn't have a lot of time to edit it the first time I wrote it, seeing as the deadlines were a bit shorter than I would have liked. But no more, I am doing this on my own free time now! Yay!

Chapter One
The songbirds chirped, as the sun rose in the pink morning sky casting a silhouette against the Douglas mansion. Smells of eggs and blackberry pancakes wafted up from the kitchen; occasional livestock brayed. Flowers in the courtyard bloomed, as the summer light kissed their glossy petals. Nothing, it seemed could disturb this, the most peaceful hour of the day, thought Molly, as she lay in her bed allowing her senses to wonder. Then with a jolt she remembered, and sat upright in her four poster and said in a hushed tone, “Sam is coming home today.” Sam was her brother, her closest brother, in age and in relationship.
When Molly was four and Sam was five, their mother, Barbara Douglas, died of scarlet fever. Three years later their father remarried Maggie Johnson, with whom he had the rest of the six Douglas children. During those years Molly and Sam had become quite close. Their nurse at the time, Tessa, said they were as alike as two peas in a pod. Molly had always liked Tessa, she was much friendlier than some of her father’s other slaves. They all treated her with respect, but some had a wariness that unnerved her.
When the pink tinges of dawn started to fade, Molly decided it was time to get up. She washed her face in a basin, pouring the water from a white pitcher painted with purple pansies. Then she woke Monica, her personal servant (though she was really just one of Mr. Douglas’s slaves). She told Monica to help her dress into a periwinkle blue dress made out of cotton from one of her cousin’s farms.
As soon as the last lace was tied, Molly was surprised to hear the sound of hooves and wheels on gravel. She ran to her window and saw a carriage pulling up the drive. Without wasting another second, Molly hurriedly made her way through her bedroom door, down the hallway and two flights of stairs, Monica bustling behind her.
Dress swishing, Molly finally reached the foyer and swung open the oak double doors, not expecting to find that the rest of her family already outside and waiting. “What is happening? Sam is not supposed to arrive until noon.”
“Samuel managed to catch a train that came in at six a.m. and apparently he saw the Atkinsons, and they sent one of their slaves to inform me that I should send someone to pick him up,” replied Molly’s father in his usual gruff and formal tone.
“Alright,” said Molly, “but still, why did you not wake me, Papa?”
“You are still recovering from that horrible summer cold. We thought it would be best for you to sleep in, Dear,” answered her stepmother, in her all too sweet voice which had annoyed Molly for years.
“I feel much better now though, Ma’am.”
“That is good, I am glad that you are feeling better,” said her stepmother wistfully, staring into space, indifferent to her stepson’s homecoming.

Horses hooves clomped, while Sam looked out the window of his father’s carriage. he rolled his cane back and forth with the palms of his hands in anticipation of seeing his family, Molly especially.
For the past few months he had been studying at Harvard. Personally, Sam was not at all interested in going to college first thing after being finished with his tutor, but when he had mentioned living abroad and then coming back for his education to his father, he had been scolded and his father had told him “you are not going anywhere. You will run my plantation some day and you are going to get an education before you do!” Sam did agree that education was important, but like so many things between his father and him, he only agreed with half of it. Maybe he was supposed to do more with his life then run a tobacco plantation. Sure, he would make a large amount of money, but perhaps money was not the only thing that was important in life.
There was something that he did not agree with his father about at all though, something he had learned about when he had been in Cambridge, Massachusetts: slavery. Growing up on a plantation, he had always been around slavery, but then he had always been naïve, and he had figured it was natural to have slaves. He had never thought much of it. When he was in Cambridge though, he had stumbled across a group of people called abolitionists, who were against slavery. He was intrigued by the concept, so Sam stayed for a couple of meetings and realized his father, who had many slaves, was a person who, in Sam’s opinion, was someone he would never want to be like or take after. Slavery was now another reason he didn’t want to run his father’s plantation. Sam was not in denial that the cheap labor was the reason that the plantation was still going, and he knew that his father knew it too. Sam would never look at that man the same way again.
I need to tell Molly about this. She should know, she shouldn’t have to be naïve like I was! Thought Sam.
Sam’s carriage pulled onto the drive that led to the mansion where he had lived throughout his childhood, and several other formidably sized neighboring farms. None of them as large as his family’s plantation though. Despite all the thoughts whirling relentlessly around his head, Sam could not help but admire the beautiful summer morning that South Carolina always seemed to produce. He loved the way the rays of sun hit the willows that his grandfather had planted by Williams Creek as a boy. Beams of light hit his carriage as two large, chestnut horses pulled it past.
Sam knew he was drawing close to the end of the drive and nearing his home when the dirt road was replaced with gravel, and he passed through the gates with the sign that had the words Douglas Tobacco Plantation engraved on it. Then the carriage pulled around the circular island with a statue of a bald eagle perched on a stump. There the carriage stopped and Sam could see the front view of his house and on the entrance steps stood every member of his family: his father, stepmother, stepsiblings, his father’s mother, and Molly. I am finally home!

“Samuel!” said Mr. Douglas, greeting his son with enthusiasm.
“Father!’ replied Sam, aided by his cane walked to take the extended hand offered by his father.
Sam required the use of a cane because when he was eight, he had gone into the orchard and climbed the largest, oldest cherry tree there to steal some of the ripened fruit. After awhile he started his way down when a bird flew out of what seemed like nowhere and startled Sam so much that he fell out of the tree and plummeted to the earth a good eighteen feet down. The result was a shattered leg and a sprained wrist. All things considered, he was extremely lucky, the leg did not even need to be amputated, but he would need a cane to walk for the rest of his life.
When Sam had finished greeting everybody they all went inside to have a breakfast of eggs and blackberry pancakes.
“Will you pass the butter please Molly? I’m starved,” asked Sam.
“Yes, of course,” giggled Molly, watching her brother pile pancakes onto his plate.
“How long will you stay with us? Are you out for the summer?” Asked Sam’s stepmother, Maggie.
“Yes, I am staying here the rest of the summer. My goodness, do I have stories to tell you all,” was Sam’s reply.
“Over dinner perhaps?” suggested Maggie.
“That sounds good to me,” said Sam.
“I love it when everybody is home,” said John, Sam’s ten-year-old stepbrother.
“Me too,” added Molly, “me too.”

The summer flew by, but it didn’t really feel like summer to Sam, everyday his father had him woken early and went around preparing and teaching Sam how to run the plantation. with the days being so busy, Sam did not have time to see Molly or tell her about his time with the abolitionists, so when he finally got a break on the last week before he was scheduled to head depart for Harvard.
“Can I talk to you Molly?” he asked.
“Of course Sam,” she replied, “just let me tie this off.”
Sam waited patiently as she tied the thread of some needlework she had been doing so it would not come out. Then he led her over to the pond that was on the eastern side of their property.
“Sam, what is all this about?” inquired Molly.
“Well I have not seen you very much this summer and while I was in Cambridge... I learned some things that I thought I should tell you, things that you would not hear about around here,” said Sam, peaking Molly’s interest.
“Alright, I’m listening.”
Sam proceeded to tell Molly about everything that the abolitionists had talked about, and how he had gone to their meetings, and - in a way - had become one of them.
Even though she was a girl and many of the people Sam knew had always told him that girls brains’ were smaller then boys so they could not understand as much, Molly was one of the smartest people Sam knew. And that was after attended Harvard University.
When he finished telling her everything, it was super time was drawing close and the sun was low in the sky. Sam looked at his sister, who was deep in though. At long last she said. “I had never thought about it like that before, slavery, I mean. It does make sense though, but if it is as bad as I am inclined to believe it is, why would Father allow it.”
“I have been trying to figure that out myself,” said Sam, he paused for a moment and then, turning his mind from his father, added, “when I go back to Cambridge, I will find out more. I was only there for a few meetings, so I wouldn’t mention anything about this to Father. You know how he gets when people criticize him.”
Molly nodded. “I just never thought anything Father would ever do was bad.”
“Well, Father is a stubborn man, and he grew up around slavery, so I guess it is just what he’s used to.”
“I suppose, but so were we,” Molly pointed out.
“That is true...” Sam trailed off, then sighed, “I guess we should head on up to the homestead, it’ll be super soon.”
Molly agreeing, they started trudging up the hill that led back to their house. As they neared, they lifted their noses to the wind like two of their father’s bloodhounds, and picked up the aromas of roasted meat and potatoes coming to greet them.

Monday, July 19, 2010

2nd Place!

A couple of days ago I received a letter informing me that I had won second place in an international writing contest for a piece I had submitted several months before. It was 'They save the worst for last at ol' dogwood', a piece that I posted in february. It is funny though, because I won second place in that same contest last year. That time I won 2nd for the following poem.

There is a rustle in the tall grass as the wind goes sweeping through
As the last of the sunset fades away
The blanket of clouds comes anew
The night is cold
But it is dulled
For hear, here comes the rain
It is like the whisper of voices talking of choices unmade
For hear, here comes the rain
It is like the pattering of feet softly treading
For hear, here comes the rain
It is like the battering of all the crows’ wings
For hear, here comes the rain
Then, all was still

Monday, June 14, 2010

HIstorical Fiction

Now that school is out, I have been looking through the work that I have done this year and realized that I have something that I have been meaning to post but haven't yet, so hear it is. It is a historical fiction piece about the author of the beloved book Black Beauty, Anna Sewell.

They Have No Words

I opened the carriage door as the driver climbed down from where he sat near the top of the vehicle to offer me a hand.
“Oh, why thank you sir,” I said, while leaning on him for support.
“You are quite welcome, Miss Sewell,” he replied.
“Anna dear, I have your crutches,” said my mother, getting down from the other side of the carriage, holding the crutches on which I relied so heavily of.
“Thank you Mother, I do appreciate it,” I took the crutches and positioned them underneath my arms. I looked around and took a breath of the crisp fall air; as I glanced across the street I saw a maple tree, with only a single leaf on its otherwise barren branches.
“I love autumn, it is so poetic.”
“I do agree with you Anna,” said my mother, “but we mustn’t be late for your appointment with Dr. Smith.”
I turned and began limping towards the doctor’s office, a quaint little cottage where Dr. Smith held all his appointments. I had only gone a couple of feet when a gust of wind blew down the cobblestone street and blowing with it, a copy of the daily newspaper. The newspaper wheeled upward off the street and became caught in one of the horse’s blinkers, causing it to rear and let out a piercing whinny.
“Blast it! You stupid old mare, you’re not worth half the fifty pounds I spent on you!” the carriage driver howled, he then took his whip and struck the horrified horse.
“Stop it! What on God’s great Earth are you doing? I shouted, limping back over to where the driver was.
“Putting this beast in its place, that’s what I’m bloody doing!”
“And that’s how you are doing it?
“You got a better way? It’s just a stupid, dumb animal, what do ya expect it to do? Talk to me?” he apparently found his own statement quite amusing, for he started to laugh exposing some very brown and crooked teeth.
“We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but the do not suffer less because the have no words. Good day to you.” I nodded curtly and then continued on toward to the doctor’s office. My mother was waiting for me outside the entrance. “It is simply infuriating how people treat their horses.”
“It is Anna, It is.”
“I only wish there was something I could do about it.”
“I am quite certain you could find a way.”
“How? What possibly could a cripple like me do about it?
“You could write a book, you’re quite the eloquent writer you know. You could write a story that would let people see things as a horse sees them.”
“That is a very good idea Mum!” an idea was forming I my head.
“Let us go in, Dr. Smith is probably expecting us.”

An hour-and-a-half had passed since we arrived at the doctor’s office, and now we were waiting for Dr. Smith to come back with the results. I was reading a book of poems by John Keats. To be frank, I was a little nervous. Dr. Smith did not usually take so long. At long last, he came in.
The first thing I noticed about him was his face. He was an older gentleman, with smile lines around his mouth and eyes. I had never seen him so grim in all the twenty-five years I had known him.
“Miss Sewell,” he said.
He is not looking me in the eyes, I thought nervously, why is he not looking me in the eye?
“Your condition has worsened. There is no easy way for me to tell you this but you may not have very much time left.”
The words rung in my ears, “I am sure I do not understand what you are trying to tell me.” I must have misunderstood. I must of.
“I mean to say that you only have about eighteen months left to live.”
“Oh,” I did not know what else to say. I felt hollow. Not really knowing what I was doing, I put my crutches between my arms and started walking toward the yellow wooden door that led to the street.
The air was chilled outside the first frost coming, but it had already clenched my heart with its cold. Eighteen months to live. I could not believe it. My mother had come out from the doctor’s office now, so I acknowledged her presence by saying, “Well if it is the Good Lord’s will to take me, then it is my fate.”
“Anna I…” my mother trailed off, she surreptitiously wiped a tear off her cheek, but I noticed.
“Let us go home mother, the eve is upon us.”
Two horses pulled the open-top-carriage that we hired to take us home: one was a young bay. The other was an old flea-bitten grey horse. Both of them liked skinny and very muddy. The flea-bitten one was obviously too old to be a carriage horse, and I was perceptive that it had the whip scars of a hard life. The man who drove the carriage now did not use his whip, but forcing that horse to work seemed like a cruelty in and of itself to me. I also saw though, the man’s torn and faded clothing, and realized that he probably could not afford to retire that old horse, whether he wanted to or not.
This is just crazy! I thought, I am going to do something about this; I do not care if I only have eighteen months to live. I am going to make them the most productive eighteen months of my life!
Right there, on that bumpy carriage ride, I started formulating the plot, for what would be my only book. When I reached my house, I rushed in as fast as my crippled legs would carry me. When I reached my room, I pulled out my typewriter, and began to write. I would call my book Black Beauty.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Alright, since nobody besides Maddy has posted any haikus and nobody has voted, I guess I get to decide which is the winner. I am going for one of the comical ones:

Bugs on my windshield,

Lives so short lived I feel bad,

Ew blood disgusting

Congrats Maddy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Here are the entries, I will post them as soon as I get them.
#1 By Maddy
Bugs on my windshield,

Lives so short lived I feel bad,

Ew blood disgusting

#2 By Maddy
I love watching birds,

Wings fluttering in the wind,

Like snow on the trees

#3 By Maddy
I love my Henry,

He is so Frikin smart he,

is my computer

#4 By Maddy
medieval times were

hard,most of the time people died

it's not funny, ha

#5 By Maddy: Pencil
A tool of your mind,

Use it as you please but please,

Don't disrespect it

#6 By Maddy
Turtles are so cute,
They are like moving green stones,
I wish I was one.

#7 By Maddy
I see my kitten,

So hyper and very cute,

She could be the cutest!

#8 By Maddy
Flash drive why do you,

Freeze up Henry my good friend,

Are you not happy?

#9 By Maddy
Homework does not suck,

I am really trying to,

Be positive umm..

#10 By Maddy
Books are the greatest,

I love to read them in bed,

Aren't they the greatest?

#11 By Maddy
Don't you love kittens?

So full of energy and,

Happy all the time!

#12 By Maddy
I hate after school,

Math teachers, they make me cry,

Literally, sad

#13 BY Maddy
Thailand rocks I love it,

There is an uprising there,

My job is harder now...

Haiku about my cultures project.

#14 By Maddy
I'm traveling to,

Chaing Mai, a beautiful place,

Northern Thailand rocks!

#15 By Maddy
My cat likes to sleep,
He sleeps in a chair by the,

Fire he likes it.

#16 By Maddy
Larfisha is a,
Good name for Larissa she,
is not a fish though.


I have a reader challenge for all of you! I wan to see who can write the best haiku. Remember the haiku format is:

5 syllables
7 syllables
5 syllables

Please leave them as comments to this post and after there are enough of them I will make a format for everybody to chose their favorite haiku. Feel free to write more than one!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An un-medieval poem

In cultures (aka social studies) my class just finished up a unit on medieval Europe. My teacher had us write a haiku on the middle ages-for no apparent reason as far as I can tell. I was not particularly inspired by the assignment, so mine turned out to be a little something like this.

Medieval poems
Were not formatted like this
But I do not care

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Medieval Short Story

Our Cultures (aka social studies) class is just finishing up a unit on the medieval times. One of the assignments was to pick a type of person out of a hat: kings, noble ladies, knights, Vikings, etc. and write a short story about one. My person was a minstrel; they were entertainers who traveled from town to town. This is my short story.

Edit: For context, I was in the seventh grade when I wrote this. - 2015

Becoming Ackerley Hughes
BA-BOOM!” Went the thunder. Lightening forked across the sky, looking like some great demon licking the sky to taste the air. I both love and hate thunderstorms; I love them because it was on the eve of a storm like this one that I started my new life as a minstrel. I hate them because that was also the night I ran away from home.
I was born Latisha Hughes, an innkeepers daughter who served up ale, mead, and cider to all of the people who came traveling through our small village. While I was bringing around the drinks, I would hear some of them talking about their ventures around the outside world. I soon decided that I wished I could go traveling around the kingdom; but there was just one problem with that, I was a girl. A girl destined to be an innkeeper’s wife. One day when I was about twelve, I saw the minstrels parading into town. They were doing somersaults and playing the lute and singing, they seemed such a merry bunch. One of them was juggling sticks of wood that had been stained a purplish color, probably berry juice, and I decided then and there that I was going to get out of this one horse village and travel around with the minstrels juggling. I watched that juggler carefully, trying to memorize everything about what he was doing, and the next day when I had a bit of extra time I found some good rocks and started practicing.
I started with only two, and then three. Every time minstrels came through town I would always watch for the jugglers. By the time I was fifteen, I had taught myself to juggler eight rocks at a time. I resolved that I was skilled enough to run away and become a minstrel. Preferably I would join up with a group. I started collecting the men’s clothing that the travelers would sometimes leave. Finally, when I had an outfit that more or less fitted me, I began to wait for the opportune moment for me to slip out. You may think me some awful person for wanting to leave my parents without saying a word; well my parents were never that nice to me, to them I was just another mouth to feed, so the thought of leaving home was more liberating than it was making me feel like some sort of family traitor.
The opportune moment that I had been waiting for came on a blustery evening, it was a giant thunderstorm, and everyone was waiting it out, I had ‘gone to bed’ and gathered up a small bag of possessions including: a knife, some food, and my bracelet, which I intended to sell for money. Then I donned my boy clothes, cut my hair, and climbed out of my window. I took the north road; no one would be traveling at this hour with this weather. I walked, not really paying attention to where I was going, for I knew that it did not matter as long as I stayed on the road. The road forked, and I took the left road, I must have gone about a mile more when I saw a fire feebly winking in between trees off the road. I went over to investigate, knife in hand. The group of travelers around the fire did not look dangerous though, in fact they were minstrels. I approached them, explaining that I was an innkeepers son who had run away to become a minstrel. I introduced myself as Ackerley Hughes. Ackerley was my cousin’s name. I told them that I was a good juggler and would be honored if I could travel with them. They were extremely friendly and took me under their wing, I have been traveling with them ever since. They are my new family, but they never have asked me much about my past and I don’t ask them about theirs. It works quite well for keeping my true identity secret.
I have been with them for over a year now, and I have become even better at juggling, I have also picked up acting out the stories that my colleagues tell. I love my life of performing and travelling. It is all I ever dreamed it would be. Even though right now it is raining and I am soaked through. My best friend, Aeuuard is asleep, he could sleep through a crusade, I swear.
The next morning, our group of five packed up and went on our way, we were about a mile outside the nearest town, the leader of our group, Birkitt, began arranging us. I was going to juggle four balls, while Caldwell and Burleigh, The Brothers, would be doing cartwheels and somersaults, and at last Aeuuard and Birkitt were going to bring up the rear strumming away on their lutes. As we entered the town, the people clapped and cheered, someone called, asking us to tell a story. Aeuuard is a phenomenal storyteller, he began to tell one of a brave knight, one that he loves to tell. Burleigh and I begin acting out the parts. We were rewarded with a few coins they threw at us. The story lasted about thirty minutes or so, then the people of the town invited us into the public house. I do not like pubs that much because they remind me too much of the inn that I grew up in, but I went in anyway.
The villagers were eager for news of the outside world, so while Birkitt and The Brothers, were informing them of all the news we had gathered from the other towns, Aeuuard and I went off to explore the town. I dislike talking with the people of the towns that we visit, because I am afraid of one of them recognizing me. I know it sounds dumb and improbable that I would think that someone would recognize me as the innkeeper’s daughter who served them ale a year or more ago at some random village, but if anyone did recognize me, or even find out I was a girl it could mean the death of me. I like to think that if I told my group of minstrels, that they wouldn’t mind, but to be honest I have no idea. I think that if anyone would be all right with it, it would be Aeuuard. That is probably why I wanted to become friends with him in the first place. We were walking down the dirt road when we heard the sound of cantering horse hooves, I looked up and saw a line of horses running toward us, and I could tell by their expensive clothing that they were part of a lord’s court. Aeuuard and I dashed off the road to make way for the nobles. I was expecting them to keep on going, but they stopped in the town center, I was suddenly very excited, the day was still young! We might be able to perform for these important people, Aeuuard was smiling and I knew he was thinking the same thing.
We decided to head back to the pub and see if Birkitt was done telling the townspeople about all of the news. He was finished, and so we went out to the square and began. At first we sang, and then we each did the thing that we were best at: Aeuuard and Birkitt did a duet with their lutes, while The Brothers did acrobatics, and I juggled. As I was juggling, I got this crazy idea that perhaps, just perhaps, if the men of the court liked us enough, they might want to have us come be the lord’s minstrels. It sounded far-fetched, but stranger things have happened, right? Because I thought this, I did something crazy, at that moment I was juggling eight balls, the most I had ever juggled, I called to the audience, asking if they could find another ball or good sized rock, they found a rock that was the right size. I had them throw it at me. Before I knew it I was juggling that rock along with the other eight balls, there was a big cheer from the crowd. I do not remember how long it went on, but finally, we were done and I snuck a look at the nobles, they seemed impressed to me, I could not tell. With the coins that we earned, we were able to buy a good dinner. Just as we were finishing up our meal, one of the nobles approached us.
“Our lord is in need of a good entertainer,” he said with his eyes directed at me. “We would like to ask you if you wished to become part of the court.”
He was talking to me, not the rest of my group, the idea of working in a court was amazing, but I was not going to leave my friends, they were like family to me.
“I would like to work for the court, but not without my friends, Sir,” I said.
At this the man went back to the table where he sat with his group, he talked with them and then came back, he said, “you and your colleagues may accompany us to the court, the minstrels that we hired previously turned out to be thieves, and when we cut off their hands, they could not practice their art any more.”
“I can assure you that we are no thieves,” I said.
“How old are you and what is your name?”
“My name is Ackerley, and I am sixteen Sir,”
“Well, then Ackerley, you and your friends had best be ready before sunrise tomorrow, we leave early.”
“Thank you very much Sir, we will be ready, Sir.”
At sunrise, we set off, the nobles were riding on their horses, and they let us ride on their supply wagons. Everyone in our group was excited. They were all smiling at me and clapping me on the back. As the wagons rolled down the old dust roads, I still tried to believe what had happened. I had no idea that someone’s life could change so rapidly. The sun rose higher, and soon my friends started up singing a tune which I joined in, all the while I thought about how lucky I was.