A/N: This was a short story i wrote for school a while ago... that pretty much all i have to say about it so comment if you see any major flaws (or minor ones ... ;) -Denim Dove

Blackberry Pie

Sharpsburg, Maryland St. Steven's First Aid Station September, 19, 1862

"I always knew you were bound for trouble, boy!"

That's what my Pa would say; if he could see me right now.

I was bloodied head to toe. My leg was mangled and the nurses told me not to move it. Someone had taken a shot at me and nipped my arm. They had to put some gauze on it. It hurt like the devil; the nurse kept asking me if I wanted any morphine or whiskey. I said no.

"Pain only hurts for a bit and then it's gone, you have to wait it out until it's gone"

He was one to talk; he spent his days working at the docks and his nights at the pub.

Yeah, he sure knew how to handle pain. I thought

I asked Ma about it once. She told me,

"He was confused in his mind and he was just trying to find his way"

Well he must have found that his way was away from us, because a few weeks later he up and left.

I was only nine then, my baby sister Vera was seven.

She came to me the day after. I was in the barn milking the cows. I remember her small face all scrunched up trying not to cry. She sat down next to me on the hay. Ma had done her hair that morning but Vera had pulled it out. The mess of black shrouded her face. Her green eyes were sad. After a silent moment she spoke.

"Ma's been up all night crying you know" she sniffed and rubbed her nose

"Ma said that Daddy didn't love us no more, and that's why he left" she was on the verge of tears. I tried to stop her crying.

"Don't you worry Vera, Pa'll come back." I said not really believing myself "And if he don't I always be here Vera, always"

"Is that why you left us, Michael?" I looked around but the owner of the voice wasn't here.

"Vera?" I called aloud. Some of the nurses looked at me like I was insane. Maybe I was.

"You didn't love us anymore?" said the bodiless voice

I could almost feel her big green eyes staring at me. Her eyes were like Ma's, but her hair was like Pa's. My eyes were grey like Pa's. I hated them.

Grey eyes could never decide what they were blue, green, grey… Pa could never make up his mind.

I could.

I did; at least I thought I had

I promised I'd never leave, but here I was, miles away from home

Home

Home is a four letter word you know

Or at least it was when Pa left

He didn't leave us much. Ma would have us go into town and sell the extra vegetables, eggs, and milk. When blackberry season came she'd send us into town with a few pies too. Ma could make the best blackberry pies.

We would pick blackberries until our fingers were sore

People would pay us a whole nickel for a pie. That brought in some money, and life was good for some time

When I was older; I was in town with Vera. She was twelve; I was fourteen. I had gone in to the bakery to see if Mr. Jameson would buy some pies to sell in his shop that day. Vera stayed outside by the cart.

Some boys from the town were trying to take some vegetables from our wagon and were scaring the mules. I heard Vera yellin' at 'em, tellin' 'em to knock it off. They didn't stop so, I ran out there and the boy started throw rocks at me. Soon enough it turned in to a fist fight and Mr. Jameson came and broke it up. He told the boys to go home. He bought our pies and told Vera to take me home and have Ma patch me up.

"You're a silly boy, Michael, do you know that?" that's what Ma said. In fact that's probably what she would say if she saw me right now.

Ma never thought much of fighting. She would say it was silly, pointless.

"Unless you had a cause" that's why I was here. I thought the north had a cause.

Vera threw a fit when I decide to join the Union army. I could see the disappointment in Ma's eyes. When our platoon left the Bangor, they made a huge deal banners and horses. We wouldn't see another scene like that for a long while. Blood, bullets, and smoke would cloud our visions as we fought. What was it for?

All these men were out here fighting to free them slaves in the South.

Yes we were fighting, but all we were to the generals, and the president was a little number on a dead or wounded toll.

We were out there with our guns trying to stay alive, because the only thing that would matter at the end of this war wasn't which side was right, but which side was left.

My mouth was dry.

What I wouldn't give for a slice of Ma's blackberry pie right now. I looked around all there was, was whiskey and morphine which would either kill you if you took enough (that would free up a cot) and if you didn't die at least the pain would be gone. I didn't want to die, and I was okay with the pain. I was stronger than my father.

I might die here I thought I wonder if they had blackberry pie in Heaven.

"That would be of course if you end up in heaven" said my sister's voice

I looked around. Now I must be insane. I thought; at the foot of my cot stood my baby sister.

She was younger than she should be.

She was eighteen when I left, months ago; but the girl I saw was no older than seven.

"Vera?" I asked

"You know Ma always said people are like Blackberries. Everyone starts off as a bud which blooms in to a white little flower, then the blackberry grows; some blackberries grow sour, some sweet. Have you gone sour Michael?" her young green eyes were pleading.

"No of course not Vera, I would never do that to you and Ma" I said aloud. Now the casualties in the cots around me were looking at me funny. They couldn't see my sister they couldn't understand.

"Then stay alive and come home when they finish patching you up here" She started to fade

"Can you stay with me Vera?" I was talking to a ghost of my mind. I had definitely gone mad.

"I'm always with you Michael, always" The ghost started to fade and I stayed here.

Waiting to heal, waiting to make up my mind, and waiting for Ma's blackberry pie.