Jack Cross slumped against the edge of the trench, his rifle, resting in his lap. The barrel was still warm and he felt its heat on his legs. His body was shaking, not as violent as it had a moment ago when he realized the fighting had subsided, but he still felt a slight vibration in his throughout his upper body. He had trouble keeping the cigar clenched between his fingers from sliding out his grasp because he was more concerned about getting his breathing back to normal.
His breathes stuck in his chest and seemed to burn his lungs. Each intake was quick and he heaved his chest as far as it would go. The air tasted bitter, filled with the stench of rotting flesh, gunpowder and blood. He finely worked up the strength to lift his cigar to his lips. He drew on it deeply and let the thick smoke out again creating a small white cloud. The tobacco seemed to kill some of the taste because his next breath was pure cold.
He began to reload his rifle refusing to believe that the Yankees would not attack again. To him it was a lie; a lie created to help settle the dread the army was beginning to feel and that their cause was slowly being labeled as lost by the sands of time. But he knew they could not last long, that was one truth he could never deny. He was no great tactician like General Lee but he knew one thing of war: numbers and technology crushed patriotism.
He also reveled to himself after many long days of battle that he no longer fought for ideals or the flag. He fought for his friends. Or more spsicly to keep them alive, he saved them and they saved him. It was not always an action in blood or bullets sometimes it was just as simple as keeping each other alert just as Bridger would unknowingly do now.
“Think they’ll come again?” asked Bridger quietly. “We just barely whipped ‘em!”“I don’t know,” lied Cross, he knew they would no matter what. “I would if I was them.”
“I wouldn’t,” said Bridger we’re the toughest regiment in the whole damn army.”
“I agree with that,” said Cross truthfully. “But there are a lot more o’ them than us!” “Good,” said Bridger almost shouting. “I’ll kill ‘em all!
“Tell me that when you’re dead,” said Wolf who was napping with his back to the trench and was woken by their voices.
“Yankees gotta shoot straight before they kill me,” scoffed Bridger.
“Halt den Mund,” said the German in native tongue, annoyed.
“What the hell does that mean?” asked Bridger knowing Wolf only insulted people in German.
“It means to shut up,” said Wolf bitterly.
“Why don’t you?” roared Bridger.
Cross just sighed and closed his eyes. Bridger and Wolf were best friends, but sometimes Cross didn’t believe it. He knew from almost four years with them, it took very little for them to turn against each other. He smiled, he figured before the war was over they’d duel each other.
“I gotta piss,” he said whirly.
They both stopped bickering about who was a better shot and nodded. Cross rose from the trench his legs stiff from crouching so long. He lifted his legs over the lip of the trench with great difficulty and wondered toward a bush. He slid down his trousers and did his business. He looked around him, and stared at the tree line trying to figure out what kind of bird was shirking. He squinted looking toward the tree line trying to find the bird, but then something else caught his eye. Was it just a vivid piece of sky? He watched for a moment and the patches began to elongate and multiply. Then he realized that the patches were to dark to be sky; they were Yankee uniforms.
He started running toward the trenches, almost leaping into the air as he did. “We’re bein’ flanked,” he bellowed more out of frustration than warning, because he was too far away to fight them. The lip of the trench was only a few feet away and he urged his body forward his strides growing quicker. Because he was to intent on getting back to the trench, he didn’t notice a log in front of him and tripped, causing him to skid into a mud puddle.
Cross stepped out into the early morning haze, with a satchel of books around his shoulder. Peering around anxiously Cross closed the screen door and grimaced when it gave a high moan as the hinges protested. He waited breathlessly, the hair on the back of his thin neck shooting skyward.
His fear was greeted by silence and he let his breath escape his lungs. Standing on his tiptoes he gazed toward the window of his parents’ room expecting to see a figure glaring back, but he only saw shadow.Again he felt a huge sense of relief as started away from his farm.
He smiled to himself and whistled as he strode down the old dirt road between the Cross and Walsh farms. He moved quickly toward the medium sized pound at the end of the path. Stopping half way down the path he slid the satchel containing his schoolbooks off his shoulder. He swung it around like a sling and flung it into some bushes. He knew he would not need them today, or any other day.
He glanced back at his books grinning, and then he scampered away like he had gotten away with some unforgivable crime. He halted at the edge of the pound and stared at it. In the early morning it almost looked black but he knew, in an hour two it would shimmer like a glint blue jewel.
Cross pulled down his suspenders after kicking out of his shoes and let his overalls drop to his ankles. Then he unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it uncaringly on in a patch of grass, leaving him in his underwear. The moment the breeze kissed his skin he broke in gosebumps. He cringed from the chilly air, but he knew he had to stay undressed so it would appear he had gone to school.
Slowly he walked over to a skinny oak tree and climbed it with a practiced ease to the top branch. Tied to it was a long rope that swayed back and froth with the light breeze. Planting his feet, Cross grabbed hold of hold it and swung toward the middle of the pound. He waited until it swung across and was on its decent before letting go of the hemp. His arms flailed as he dropped like a stone. Doing everything in his power he tried to suppress a whoop, as the water came nearer.
He plugged into the water feet first making a geyser spout upward. The water was like pure ice and his breath was forced out of his chest. He kicked with all his might and gasped for breath and warmth when he broke the surface. Despite the fact he was shivering he swam over to the edge and scrambled over to the tree for another swing.
The morning began to grow warmer and so did the water. Cross paddled to the banks of pond keeping his shoulder blades out of the water letting them sock up the sun. Stopping in mid stride Cross listened, the hairs on his neck pricking again. There were footsteps; Cross no doubt. He stood up, the water up to his chest, incase he had to run. The footsteps grew louder and Cross readied to sprit.
The intruder of his little sanctuary came into view. Her blond her was warped into a bun and she were a thick green dress with a matching hoopskirt. Cross sighed, it was only Jenny, the nabor girl. She stopped halfway down the path and stared at him quizzically.
“Jack?” she asked. “What are you doing?”
“Swimming,” declared Cross lowering his chest back into the water.
“What about school?” she stammered aghast. “We have a test today; Ms. White said it was very important!”
“Oh, its only one test,” he argued. “We’ll take a million of them before we’re done with school.
“She said it was very important,” repeated Jenny.
“She also said Mathematics would be useful, but it never got me nowhere!”
“Well you have fun, Jack; I have a test to take,” she said a walking down the path. He’ll get it tomorrow, she told herself. Why risk punishment? Why risk missing something we’ll talk about for weeks? He’ll be so lost and won’t even try to help him! She grinned picturing Cross struggling.
“Hey Jenny,” called Cross. “Come over here.”
Jenny whorled around meaning to give him a cold stare, but she just couldn’t do it. She cold never get angry with him. Not her best friend. “What?” she asked giving up trying to come to school.
“Get in,” he suggested while swimming in a wide circle. “It’s real nice.”
“I-I, really shouldn’t,” she said walking to the edge of the pond.
“Come on,” said Cross a little annoyed. “You only have to swim for an hour, and you’ll be back in time for the test.”
Jenny’s lip twitched and her forehead broke into tight lines as she debated her choices. She loved school and the things it taught her. But now, she felt a burning urge to defy the system she loved. Slowly, she nodded and quickly got out of her dress. She carefully smoothed it out and laid on the grass.” Mother would kill me,” she murmured.
“You should take your corset off,” said Cross.
“Why?” she asked, she knew Cross wasn’t attracted to her but she still wasn’t going to revel her body to him.
“Look,” he said with a sigh. “It’ll weight you down; I’m good swimmer, but I can’t keep both of us afloat.”
“I’m not taking it off,” said Jenny determined..
“You’ll drown,” repeated Cross quietly.
“No,” said Jenny. “I don’t want you to see my…” she said turning scarlet.
Cross grinned and uttered the phrase that always got to her, “Don’t be such a girl!”
Jenny blushed again. “Okay…just…just… turn around.”
Cross turned around staring at his farm, watching smoke flow from the chimney. Jenny turned so that her back was to him as well, then reached behind her back and slowly unraveled the strings of her corset. Cross, turned around when he heard the rustle of fabric as her corset dropped on the grass. Cross was dumbstruck. He gapped at her bare back, her long blond hair cascading down to her shoulders. Slowly Jenny turned, letting out a squeak when she saw Cross was looking. Quickly she flung her arms over her chest to shield her small but noticeable breasts. After a moment of debate on weather or not to continue, she tottered over to the edge and lowered herself into the water.
Her feet touched the bottom, causing clouds of sand and clay to form. She lowered her body into the lukewarm water and kicked toward Cross. She lowered her body into the lukewarm water and kicked toward Cross. She looked up at the clear sky, noticing how it looked almost like glass. Cross, seeing her eyes fixed skyward, grinned and slashed her in the face. She squeaked out of shock as the water drenched her face. She retailed quickly by picking up a handful of wet sand and lobbing it at his eyes.
Cross turned so most of it spattered on his check. Then he kicked hard cutting through the water with the ease of a Dolphin as he sped toward Jenny. He grinned ramming his head into her chest, forcing her backward. She let out a screech, trying to stifle it with her hand, as she fall back into the water.
“That wasn’t fair,” whined Jenny her head bobbing up.
“I’ll give you fair,” said Cross smiling evilly.
Cross swam forward and placed his hand on the top of Jenny’s head. In quick movement he forced it downward for only a second. Jenny bobbed back up coughing and spiting a mixture of sand and water. She pushed a strand of hair out of her eyes and scowled at him.
“That wasn’t funny, Jack,” said Jenny giving him an I’d-kill-you if-I-could-reach-you look.
“It was for me,” he said with a wining smile.
“I’m sure it was,” said Jenny retuning his smile, she just couldn’t stay mad at him for very long.
“What now?” asked Jenny bored with water-fights.
“Wanna race?” suggested Cross.
“Maybe,” said Jenny. “Go easy on me though.”
“I don’t think so.”
“How far should we go?” asked Jenny, hoping Cross wouldn’t pick a distance too great.
“Maybe to the tree,” he said gesturing to the tree he had swung on earlier, “and back,” he added wanting to make it more changeling.
“Fine,” she said trying to sound un-phased, but she worried if she could keep up.
They lined up keeping their faces close to the water. Cross counted down from three and started toward the lone tree. At first Cross was confident. His strides were long and quick. Seeing the tree rocket closer he craned his neck and looked over his shoulder. Jenny was almost right behind him!
He kicked harder, but he couldn’t out distance Jenny. His confidence as an athlete was tricking away. Soon Jenny and Cross were neck and neck. Cross’ muscles ached from trying to keep ahead of her. In fact, he fell behind, only by a few feet. But that was enough. Jenny intentionally kicked hard and spayed a gout of water in his eyes. This caused Cross to blink and wipe away the droplets of water. By this time, Jenny was already heading back to the opposite bank. He knew he would never catch her so he eased back to the other bank, a minute or two behind Jenny.
“You beat me,” said Cross dumbstruck and out of breath.
“Looks that way,” Jenny said smiling.
After they splashed around for another hour, they decided to swim out to the large rock in the center of the pond. It was more like an island than a rock.It was rough on the sides, but time and erosion had made it smooth and flat on up.Together, they climbed onto it and sprawled out, grateful the sun flowed over them.
“What d’you wanna do when school’s done?” asked Jenny while shifting her body toward the sun.
“I really don’t know,” muttered Cross.
“You must wanna do something,” she said glaring at his indecision.
“Well Pa says I’m good on the farm, but I could never do that my whole life,” he declared holding his fist in the air.
“Okay,” she said rolling on her back and arching it toward the sun. “What do you want to do?”
“That’s just it,” he said with sigh. “I don’t know!”
“What are you at least thinking about?” she prodded.
“Preacher,” she said with a giggle. “You don’t even listen in church; how ya gonna tell other people what the bible means? Alright, Doctor Cross, then what?”
“Uh, get married?”
“T’ who?” she asked with great interest.
“Katelyn McCarthy,” said Cross dreamily.
“You two get married?” she asked with uncontrollable laughter.
“What so funny?” demanded Cross.
“She’s not interested in you,” said Jenny bluntly. “She doesn’t understand why I even talk to you.”
“I could change her mind,” spat Cross defensibly.
“Do you even know anything about her?” she asked knowing the answer, “If you did, you’d know she prefers to go by Caitlín Mac Carthaigh.”
“Could you talk to her for me?” he pleaded, to him, Caitlín Cross sounded beautiful. “Maybe you could tell her what I’m really like.”
“I think that would just make things worse, Jack,” said Jenny smiling.
He laughed, “Okay, Jenny, what’s your big plan?”
“Well…” She pretended to think, but she had all planned out. “I’m going to teach, and I’ll meet some handsome Mountain Man and we’ll live up in the Blue Ridge.”
“Right,” said Cross sarcastically.
“Hey the Blue Ridge, are a lot closer than Caitlín’s bridal gown,” she teased.
“JENNY, DINNER TIME,” rang Mr. Walsh voice from the felid next to Jenny’s farm. “I KNOW YOU LIKE STUDING AT THE POND, BUT GIT UP HERE!”
Mr. Walsh, a tall man with graying brown hair, appeared at the edge of his field. He started down hill toward the pond slowly, a hoe resting over his shoulder. When he moved down the slope far enough where the pond was in view, he stopped. He was frozen. Rubbing his eyes he wondered if what saw really happening. Was his daughter really swimming nude with the neighbor boy?
“What the hell are you doing?” roared Mr. Walsh
Cross turned toward the shout and was horrified to see Mr. Walsh standing there his face flushed with pure anger. Veins crisscrossed on his face as he jogged toward the pond. Cross drove off the rock and flew toward the bank.Jumping up he scooped up his scattered clothes and darted down path toward his farm
Craning his neck, Cross saw that Mr. Walsh was only a few strides behind. Mr. Walsh’s eyes burned with pure hate and he brandished his hoe like a club.Cross pushed on, his muscles acing, he had to get home. He had to get the brick walls of his farm between him and Mr. Walsh’s wrath.
“What the hell was that with my daughter, boy?” hoofed Mr. Walsh.
Slowly Cross’ farm came into view and was relieved. He scrambled for the front door his heart racing. In his haste he didn’t notice a tree root smudged in the long grass and his foot got caught. He fell face forward into a mud puddle. One of his shoes was few from his grasp and skipped along ground for a few moments and settled on its side coated with dirt. Cross thought it looked a dead body, that’s what he would be in a few seconds, he thought as he heard Mr. Walsh’s thump cone closer. He feet a an icy hand on his shirt and was nudged over. He was forced to meet Mr. Walsh’s burring eyes.6/30/2009 #1
XD Very good. Still my favorite story of yours.6/30/2009 #2
That's only part I just found three other pages.6/30/2009 #3
I would love you forever if you post them. Now.6/30/2009 #4
I would but I have a 60 day trail of office 2007 and it says I can open it 20 more times with out a porduct key..know idea where that is. I think best buy fucked me so i HAVE to buy it.6/30/2009 #5
Grr... did it come on a cd?6/30/2009 #6
My dad did the loading; I think it was in the start menu and you clicked atvate.6/30/2009 #7
It's a free trial right? I think what the key means is that you go to best buy and purchase the full version, then they give you the code.6/30/2009 #8
That's evil..6/30/2009 #9
We live in an evil world. Can't you open it in WordPad or something?6/30/2009 #10
Cross rose from the thick mud like the waking dead from a grave. He pushed up with his forearms and straightened. His entire body was coated in mud, he flicked as much as he could away from his eyes. Uncorking his canteen he poured the lukewarm contents over his head. Slowly the mash of brownish black began to drip away restoring his peachy completion.
Satisfied with his appearance, he returned to reality. Rifles rattled around him and the crisp air was filled wit the whoas of the dying and the maimed. Cross started for the trench and leaped into it landing on his knees.There was crack of an Enfield and Cross turned to see a blue clad hovering over him. He raised his rife to shoot, but found he didn’t need to. The man clutched his stomach, blood seeping between his fingers. The man opened his mouth to say something but his words were translated into a wheezing sound and clasped into the trench.
Cross eyed man and stooped down next to him Running his hands down warm corpse’s side he searched for loot. As he prodded around the corpse’s hips he felt something hard and metallic in the man’s pocket. Smuggling his hand in the pocket he retrieved a gold pocket watch. He jerked on chain, and man’s head give a small nod before the chain broke.
Cross walked up the path his new boots clattering aghast the cobblestones. He paused in front of the oak front door and snatched his tight fitting kepi off his head. He griped the brass knocker and banged it twice. There was a thump as metal met wood.
“I’m coming,” said a weak elderly voice.
The door flung open and a man with silver hair and dim blue eyes smiled at his grandson. He pulled Cross in tight hung and patted his check. He released him and eyed him for a moment before whisking off his bifocals and dusting them on his vest.
“Why are you dressed like that, Jack?” he asked eying the pressed gray uniform.
“I’ve enlisted,” proclaimed Cross. “In the Twentieth Virginia,” he added quickly.
“Oh dear,” was all his grandfather said.
“Is something wrong?”
“No,” answered his grandfather. “I just hoped my grandson would be shielded from war. Well, you probably wanna get outta this heat.”
“I sure do,” said Cross moping sweat from his brow.
“Come on,” said his grandfather gesturing with his walking stick. “Your Grandma made lemonade before she went to church.”
Cross licked his lips and followed his grandfather through the parlor and into the kitchen.
All I got.6/30/2009 #13
You suck. Skip college and just write. XD6/30/2009 #14
Actully I finished it. Only saved half. Stupid me! I remember where I was going tho.6/30/2009 #15
His grandpa gives him a pocketwatch from the war of 1812 that he took off a brit. Flashforward cross sees a dead doggie, Flashback his bro shoots there hound Buckshot while huanting.6/30/2009 #17
Well that's depressing.6/30/2009 #18
Yeah..but I hate happy endingfs most of the time. Like the clor pruple was so fake...6/30/2009 #19
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