Wind Whispers, Chapter 2: Abandoned

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Chapter 2: Abandoned

Shortly before I turned twelve, my world as I'd known it came crashing down around me.

For months before, my dreams and the whispers were my constant, unwanted companions, sleeping and waking, but not comforting or informative like they'd usually been. I couldn't escape them. I thought I might be going mad. My lessons suffered, I dragged through the days like a zombie, food tasteless in my mouth...I'd drop into my bed at night and awake in the morning feeling exactly the same, as if I'd never slept. I begged God or whoever might listen to a little girl's prayers to please, let this stop. I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't want to be special anymore, if it meant I could have a bit of peace.

Mama Dina fussed over me, that I was taking ill, stuffing her home-brewed medicines and tonics down me, preparing my favorite foods to try to tempt my appetite, anything she could think of to shake me out of my stupor. She watched me constantly, dark eyes full of worry and fear. I heard her praying a lot, when she didn't think I could hear her: Oh Lord, Lord and Spirits above and all around, please watch over my golden girl, and take away this cross you've given her...

The images and whispers were always the same. War.

I saw men dying in my dreams, dark as thunderclouds boiling on the horizon, full of menace. I saw blood and smoke and heard screaming and gunshots as if they were in my room with me. I heard men and boys plead with their maker to take them away, to let the pain pass. I saw rows and rows of white crosses, marking graves. I saw brothers and cousins and best friends fighting one another, destruction and plague and rape.

A little girl shouldn't see and hear such things. It changes you.

But worst of all, I saw my Jasper in the middle of it all.

He was leaving me.

No matter how often I begged him to promise me he wouldn't sneak away, no matter how many times he made that promise, I always knew he was lying. I could see it on his face, and the whisperers told me so anyway. He'd always stroke my head and try to soothe me in his strange, familiar might work for a while, but it was more like a painkiller, masking the sensation for a while until the drug wore off, leaving as much pain as before...perhaps even more, as you became suddenly aware of hurting again.

The day it all exploded, the day it all came to a head, was when Papa brought the paper home.

He'd been to a meeting in Houston, where the local assembly had gathered to discuss a resolution put forth in the State legislature, on whether or not Texas should join the other Secessionist States and leave the Union altogether. I knew what was coming. It was whispered in my ear as I sat in the kitchen, hearing Papa's horse's hooves pounding the turf in the stable yard outside the kitchen door.

He'd burst in with the news, that Texas had decided, Texas was out, Texas would stand with the Rebels for State's Rights and against Unionist interference with the Southern way of life.

I watched Jasper furtively as Mama read the paper Papa had handed her. He knew what it meant. I saw the sly expression flicker across his face, could fairly read the plot he was ironing out in his thoughts. He was leaving. Soon. And I couldn't stop him.

That night, after dinner, I tackled him and tried to use all of my available weapons to try to convince him to stay. Tears, threats, logic...None of it really worked.

We were dancing an elaborate little masquerade, each of us with our own secrets that we were guarding, each of us pretending to believe the other's lies. I couldn't tell him I knew what he was planning, because then I'd have to tell him how I knew; he couldn't tell me the truth about his plans to run away and join the army, because then he'd have to admit his lies to me.

Wind Whispers: Virginia Whitlock's StoryWhere stories live. Discover now