A/N This is a story I had to write for school. It's based loosely off Davy, Lad, Horse: The Story of a Horse in the Civil War. The theme had to be about prejudice, and I had to have specific ways to "spice up" this story, so it's not my strongest example of my own style because I had to follow those evil (grrr) guidelines.
Blaine rolled onto his back and reloaded his rifle. He quickly rolled onto his belly and fired a shot and grinned with bloodthirsty glee.
"Hey! James! Oliver! I got a Yankee!" Blaine shouted at his buddies nearby over the pop-pop of gunfire.
"Yeah, yeah," Oliver groaned. "We all want to hit a Yankee today and you keep hitting them. I'm beginning to think you're a liar, Blaine."
Blaine nearly leapt at Oliver, but instead he retorted, "Maybe your aim just sucks and I'm havin' a good day! Ya ever think of that?" Blaine spat and returned to his shooting. He was in his own little zone of madness. He felt the hot barrel of his rifle as he rolled over countless times to reload and fire. He tasted the peculiar, yet wonderful, taste of gunpowder as he tore endless packages open with his teeth. It was where he belonged, and he knew it each time he fired another minie ball at the enemy.
After awhile Blaine noticed a decrease in the sound of gunfire. Everything had become quiet. Finally, blaine decided to stop firing and attempt to figure out what was happening.
He scanned the area around him suddenly and nearly yelped. Everyone was gone. James! Oliver! The whole squad! They had all left and he hadn't noticed a thing! Blaine finally decided he had to get up and find them. He placed his legs beneath himself and jumped up. Studying the area around him, he concluded that he would have to search the nearby forest behind him for there was no way they could have disappeared into the flattened fields. When he turned around, though, he was met by another surprise.
Union troops were inching up on his position. They marched closer and closer, but never made a sound. Blaine glanced at his blue attire. Sure, he was a Confederate, but he had stolen many clothes off of fallen Union troops. He concluded that he would have to fall in with these Union troops or end up being killed as he searched for other Confederates.
Blaine crept up behind the Union troops and finally fell in step with them. He quietly followed them, studying their attire and their step as he marched. He was satisfied with how well his uniform matched theirs until he saw their shoes.
Blaine's heart sank at the sight. Their boots were perfect, with excellent laces and a shine so mirror-like that he could nearly see the reflection of the boughs of the trees above in those beautiful boots. Blaine glanced at his worn-out, Confederate-issue boots coated with a layer of dirt with the laces just barely holding together. Somehow he would have to make sure nobody saw his boots until he was back in Confederate company.
"Ready," someone in the Union troops shouted. Blaine looked around to see who it was. He didn't know a command that started with ready, and his mind began to search for what would be the command.
"HALT!" Everyone took one final step and halted. Blaine bumped into the enemy soldier in front of him. The soldier turned to glare at him with eyes that burned like fire.
"Don't you know any commands, you idiot?!" the soldier muttered. Blaine's face had utter shock and dismay written all over it, and the soldier's face fell to a grim scowl.
"Sergeant White! Git over here! I think we have a Confederate in our midst." The soldier was staring at Blaine's shoes as Sergeant White's imposing figure slowly stepped toward the back of the ranks. Blaine wanted to run as White inched over, but he couldn't move. Fear rooted him to the ground as his eyes, filled with terror, searched for futilely escape.
White stopped inches away from Blaine and glanced over him.
"How can you tell?" White inquired. "He looks just like any other soldier."
"Can't you see?" The Union soldier gestured at Blaine's poor boots. "His boots. They're a wreck. We've only been out here for a few minutes patrolling this area and his boots look like they've taken a week's worth of marching plus a battle here and there."
"He could have just been lost by another unit. What unit are you from, son?" White asked. Blaine just stared back. He tried to open his mouth to say something, but nothing came out. Finally, he punched White on the jaw.
White nearly fell over from the force of the blow. The fear in Blaine's eyes was now replaced by fury and contempt.
"You Yankees are trash! You know that?! Trash!" Blaine shouted. A few burly Union men rushed to Blaine before he could strike another blow on anyone. Blaine kicked and yelped, struggling to free himself from enemy clutches as they grasped his arms, legs and torso. Finally the men were able to restrain Blaine before he could cause more harm.
"Sarge, what are we going to do with the, um, prisoner?" the soldier that had discovered Blaine asked.
"I'm guessing we'll have to hold him for a week or so before we can transport him to Fort Delaware," White replied as he turned back toward the front of the ranks. "Keep him restrained for now; we'll find a place to keep him when we get back to camp in a few hours." Blaine felt a bump on his head, and everything went dark.
* * * *
Blaine was tied to a post on the muddy outskirts of the enormous Union camp. He awoke to the feeling of soft bread being pushed against his lips. He slowly opened his eyes, but he couldn't see who it was that was trying to feed him. Focusing a bit more, he noticed a blue uniform and a black face.
"What the?! What are you doing in the here?" Blaine shouted. He pushed against the post as hard as he could as he tried to back away from the black soldier. "I thought the white soldiers were trash, but-"
The black soldier had shoved the piece of bread into Blaine's mouth as he was talking. Blaine instantly quieted at the delicious taste, though. He hadn't tasted bread this good since before the war, and he savored the wonderful morsel of bread.
"It's all righ'. I ain't gonna hurt ya, I just want to help ya righ' now," the little black soldier said. "Ya need to eat something. You've been out for at least half a day." The soldier pressed more bread into Blaine's mouth as he slowly relaxed. The fire was gone in his eyes now, replaced by a thankfulness for the kindness of someone in enemy territory.
After a few more mouthfuls of bread, the soldier stopped to ask Blaine a few questions. "What's your name, Southerner?"
Blaine was nearly shocked by the question. Friendly conversation with an enemy soldier? That seemed impossible! Considering the situation, though, it might help him escape further harm from the other soldiers in the camp if he treated one of their fellow comrades to some chatting.
"It's Duncan Blaine Kemble," Blaine muttered. "Just call me Duncan." Blaine refused to use his middle name. No enemy soldier was going to call him by that name.
"Well, Duncan," the black soldier said, "my name's Davy. Pleasure to meet you, Duncan. Now, do you want to get out of here?"
"What?!" Blaine shrieked.
"Hush!" Davy placed a warm hand over Blaine's mouth. "We have to leave quick if you're going to make it back afore dawn."
"Wait, why would you want to help me to escape? I'm a Confederate soldier. I'm your enemy. Sergeant White even said he was going to send me to Fort Delaware!"
"You don't want to go to Delaware, and I won't let you. No soldier deserves to be locked up in that prison camp, not even an enemy soldier." Blaine was utterly speechless at Davy's will to betray his own country for the sake of an enemy soldier.
"But why me?...." Blaine mumbled.
"Listen, do ya want to go or not? I think you'll be a nice person when ya get over your anger and your prejudice for others, that's why I wanna help ya, but we can't talk about it now if ya want to get outta here." Davy began to untie Blaine from the post. Blaine rubbed his sore wrists once they were free and shrugged his shoulders a bit.
"Now hurry! We must be quick or it'll be dawn afore we know it." Blaine and Davy rushed to the far edges of the camp, slipping on the muddy ground while trying to be as silent as humanly possible. Every now and then Davy would dive into the mud and drag Blaine down with him. They would hear footsteps a distance away and wait for the sound to disappear before they leapt up and continued on their way through the slush and filth.
Finally they had made it past the multiple sentries that guarded the camp. Their sleepy forms had barely noticed the shifting shadows of Blaine and Davy as they made their daring escape. Once the campsite was far enough behind them, the two began to walk and talk normally.
"Now, have you learned anything from this?" Davy asked. His inquisitive eyes dared Blaine to say no.
"Well....." Blaine was reluctant to say it, but he had. "I.....I guess I did."
"That's why I wanted to save you! I knew from the moment I saw you that I could teach you something! Now, what did you learn?"
Blaine's face turned red with fury and embarrassment. "I learned that not all black people are trash!" Blaine shouted. "Happy now?!" He was beginning to get annoyed with Davy. Although he was grateful for all the help, he didn't want to get a life lesson from it.
Bang! A shot whizzed by Blaine's head.
"Get down!" Davy shoved Blaine to the ground as he placed his body in front of Blaine. Another shot rang out and Davy was knocked to the ground. Blaine scrambled from beneath Davy's body and stared in horror. Blood stained Davy's muddy, blue shell jacket. Davy's eyes were filled with something Blaine was unfamiliar with, a fatherly love and protection that Davy had acquired for Blaine in the past few hours. It was such a foreign look to Blaine that it frightened him at first. He had never had anyone treat him like Davy had before, even for one night, and it rendered Blaine motionless. A single tear streaked down Blaine's face at the loss of such a person even though he was black.
Footsteps rushed to Blaine's side. Blaine looked up to see Oliver and James standing over him with their rifles pointed at his face.
"Blaine?!" James and Oliver both exclaimed together. Blaine just stared back miserably. Rain began to fall, washing the mud off his face and arms. The mud ran like tiny streams down his face, hiding his anguish from his comrades.
"You're alive! We all thought you were in one of those caught-by-the-enemy situations those freaky veterans tell at midnight just to scare the new recruits!" Oliver grasped Blaine's shell jacket and helped lift him to his feet. "Looks like you're not the only one that got a Yankee today, either! What happened anyway, Blaine?"
"He didn't even know my real name...." Blaine mumbled to himself.
"What did he say, James?" Both James and Oliver stared at Blaine like he was nuts or something. "You know what, let's leave the body. We've been on patrol for hours and we heard there was a battle going on west of here. Let's go!" Blaine trudged behind James and Oliver. His boots, after all that their weak build had been through, finally fell apart, but Blaine didn't care. He trudged along in the mud, trudged behind his comrades, trudged behind his enemies.
James, who was the first to hear gunfire, leapt with sheer joy, shook Blaine by his shoulders, and shouted, "We're gonna get us some Yankees, Blaine! We'll pay 'em back for capturing you, just you watch!" Blaine just shook his head and muttered mindlessly to himself as his friends rushed off by themselves, their minds filled with bloodthirsty thoughts. He wandered by himself, letting his bare feet lead him through muddy meadows that would have been peaceful had it been another time. At times he would glance up to see an outstretched tree limb looming ahead of him, but other than that, he never watched to see where he was going. As he walked, though, the sound of gunfire grew louder and louder, nearer and nearer, until Blaine knew he was in the middle of a battlefield. Bullets whizzed by his head.
Suddenly Blaine realized he had to make a decision. He couldn't just stand there in the battlefield. No, he had to make a decision. Left or right, blue or gray, Union or Confederate, Davy or homeland. His mind raced in all directions as his eyes grew wide. Such an awful decision had been placed in front of him, and he couldn't trust himself to make it.
A final shot rang out, and Blaine fell in the center of the field. His mind ceased to strive for that life-changing choice, and he was finally left in peace.