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April 14, 2010
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June 9th 1866

I’m sitting in my upstairs room on the corner of the bed, ‘writin this. The candlelight is dim, so excuse my bad handwriting. The door downstairs opens quietly. It’s my boy, come home from wherever he was. He’s a good boy, he is, but ever since he came back from the war… Anyway, he always stays up half the night, ‘doin lord only knows what. He’s a problem that boy. I always ask him what’s he ‘doin, but he just shuts his mouth and don’t say nothing. He rarely says anything anymore. Now he’s coming up the stairs real quiet like, my husband of course goes on snoring.
That man could sleep through a battle! He keeps a gun by his bed, he says to keep the Ku Klux Klansmen away, but if those evil people came I doubt my husband would even wake up! I guess I should go on to bed too. I’ll ask my husband to do something about my boy in the morning.

June 10th 1866

Well I asked my husband about the boy. You know what he said?

“I don’t know of nothing I can say to that boy that I haven’t said before.”

“But Jim!” I argued “He’s ‘outta control! He’s our last son, and I don’t want to lose him.” At that Jim walked away. I knew I’d gone too far. My husband has never been able to handle the survivor’s guilt of the war. He and three of my sons went off to fight for the North, my other son fought for the south. My three Northern ‘fightin boys didn’t make it back from the war, and poor Jim has seen that as his fault. My southern fighting son came back, but he’s not been the same.
The war robbed us all of our innocence. Just like it robbed many well-off families of their pride and fortune, just like it robbed lives of poor young men, on both sides. Just like it robbed my state of its beauty. Oh what a sight to behold Georgia was, before the war. It was the prettiest state you ever saw. Now it’s squalid and dirty. Even ugly. So many people are without homes it makes me sad. Of course, we’re well off since we have a lumberyard and everyone needs wood, but it makes my heart ache to watch those once-proud people so humbled. Meanwhile we have the KKK ‘doin ‘nothin but stirring up trouble.
In truth, I’m scared they’ll come after us. Even though I’m a white southerner I believe in blacks getting the vote and so does my husband. We don’t keep our beliefs quiet. Also everyone around here knows that most of my family fought for the northern army. You can see why I’m worried.

June 12th 1866

I decided to take matters into my own hands about the boy. Tonight, when he goes out, I’m ‘gonna follow him. To see where he’s sneaking off to. I’ll bet its some pretty little lass. Or maybe a bar, though he’s not drunk when he comes home. Oh well. Tonight the mystery will end at last.

June 22nd 1866

I haven’t written in a long while because I’m so upset over what happened. Oh why did I want to know so badly? If I hadn’t I might still have a son. Curse my nosiness! No more sons, no more sons. Two dead, one POW, one robbed from us. Just like everything else. Gone. Robbed by the war. Oh that stupid war. Today’s my birthday for lord’s sake. My birthday, and I can’t ever remember being more miserable. I’m a survivor. I know I’ll rise above this. But part of me doesn’t want to. Maybe I’ll just jump in the lake and end it all. End all this misery, and unhappiness. Hang on I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll tell the story from the beginning.
That night, the 12th, I did exactly what I said I would. When my son went to go gallivanting off on his own, I followed him. It wasn’t hard to do, he seemed rather distracted and didn’t notice me slipping out the door after him. He walked a long while, with me after him, then after he was on the town outskirts, he goes into the Riknelets barn. I watched him go in there and I got very angry. The Rinkelets were a poor family, how dare he steal from them! They were such nice people, and it’s not like our family didn’t have enough to eat! I didn’t realize he wasn’t stealing from them. Oh- if only he was stealing from them! Even that’s not as bad as the truth.
Anyway he was in there for a long while so finally I peeked in the window to see what was happening. There, I saw eight men wearing long robes and pointy hoods. Ku Klux Klansmen. I gasped and my heartbeat quickened. What were they doing in there? Where was my son? Had they abducted him? Suddenly one of them turned and saw me there in the window. I ducked but it was too late. The side door to the barn swung open and out came one of the men all hooded and cloaked, the coward. I ran of course. It was scary and I ran faster than I think I ever have. All I could think was that if he caught me who would take care of my son? Eventually he caught up to me, he was faster, stronger, and younger. He tackled me and I lost my breath. He left me there on the ground. I’m a good Christian woman, but I can sure cuss when I want to. I wanted to now and I did. I cussed him out real good. He just stood there looking at me for the longest time. Or at least I think he was watching me, I couldn’t see his eyes of course.

“How did you find me?” HE wanted to know.

“I followed my son,” I answered. “Where is he? His name is James, what have you done to him? I saw him enter that barn, and then he didn’t come out. If you’ve hurt him...” My warning trailed off.
The man chuckled but not as if he thought it was funny. “He isn’t hurt, in fact he’s happy. He came to us of his own accord. He’s joined the good side, gonna help us stamp out the bad.”

“That’s not true! There’s nothing wrong with blacks! But there is something wrong with people who kill other people. Besides the north won the war, so it’s against the law-“ But the KKK member cut me off.

“Don’t you dare talk to me about the War!” The man spat. His body language became aggressive. I shrunk back. Just then, I heard a shout and I turned. It was my husband coming to my rescue. He had a gun, and he trained it on the KKK member. My heart sang.
“You aren’t going to shoot me are you?” Asked the Klansmen.
“I am if you move.” Growled Jim. “I learned to shoot when I was in the army so I’m not too bad.” I got up from the ground and went over to my husband.
“Don’t mention the war.” I whispered in his ear.
“And why don’t you take off your mask and face me like a man!” Jim demanded. “Or are you a coward?” The Klansmen bellowed in rage and peeled off his mask. I screamed and the daring smirk on Jims face disappeared. In its place was a pale mask of defeat. Beneath the mask, it was my son. His eyes were popping, his face red, and spit was flying. He looked quite insane.
“It’s true.” He yelled. “I’m a coward. Everyone says so.” At this point I started sobbing. “The war was supposed to make me into a man. But it wasn’t at all like anyone expected. It was Hell!!! Complete and utter hell.” James screamed drunkenly. Sweat was pouring down his face. I staggered towards him. It was hard to see him like this. My son, my sweet, sweet boy. But going towards him was a mistake he leapt aggressively at me as though he was going to attack, but good old Jim intercepted.
“You’re my son!” Jim yelled holding my son in his arms. “You’re named after me for god’s sake! Let us help you.”
“No one can help me.” James said in a whisper. And with that he pushed Jim away and took off running. I ran after him yelling at him to come back, but he didn’t listen. My legs collapsed underneath me and I fell to the ground, sobbing. Jim carried me home. I don’t have any more sons now. They’re all gone. Robbed from me in the war.

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This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

Bailey said...
Feb. 1, 2012 at 8:52 am
I really enjoyed this story. It had a good hook in the beggining and kept me reading all the way to the end. It was very interesting and full of detail.
Dumb Dumb said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm
I thought it was a great story with great detail. I could imagain the events happening in the story. Last I loved the words they chose to describe the story.
Maranda D said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm
I loved this story! It was so interesting and I was hooked on it after the first paragraph. It had great detail. The first person view was great. I thought the diary format was perfect for this story.
dumb blonde said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm
i loved the first person the view and the details
Amanda said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 12:05 pm
I LOVE this story!! It is so interesting how her son is apart of the KKK. Very shocking, I would've never guessed that answer!
mianie99 said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 11:57 am
This is a great story. It is very emotional and has the turnabout no one expected in the beginning. The story was very well put and has a sad moral, but it was a great story.
beast boy said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 11:52 am
Creativefrog said...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 11:49 am
I think that the story was very good. It was written in a very mature, grown-up, context. It kept me wanting to read more. I think that it was a very fast paced story- but in a good way! :)
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