By the time the Drewry's were fully awake the next morning, Harry was gone. The children went rushing around to all his favorite spots, but found no evidence of the green-eyed lad. Janet began to wail, feeling sure that he had run away. Meredith frowned with worry, James and Samuel wanted to cry too, but wouldn't. Mrs. Drewry was worried, but cheered up slightly when Sophia declared confidently, "Look, his blanket and uniform jacket are still here! He'll be back. Do quit your bawling Janet! Come help me finish weeding the peas; that'll please him when he gets returns."

And return he did. Darkness once more had settled in when the familiar masculine tread was heard at the door. "Harry!" a chorus of voices broke out. The young fellow was quite engulfed by the arms of the children. Janet clung to him violently.

"There, there, now," he exclaimed in suprise, "You'd think I'd been gone for a year!"

"Where did you go?" Mrs. Drewry asked anxiously.

"Oh, is that it?" the boy replied. "How dull I am! Well, I said I planned to work hard and long to pay off that debt. I figured I might as well get a head start ." He looked around at the faces surrounding him, "Maybe I should have been clearer about my intentions," he added.

Suddenly, Meredith stepped back, aghast. "You mean," she stammered, "you mean, you went and got a job working for those Scalawags, the Harveys?"

"Well," he demanded, "who else didn't get their property burned out and salted? Besides, their money is worth as much as anybody elses." At the aghast and even horrified looks on their faces, he said quietly, "I said I sold myself out..." With that he turned and left the barn.

After a pause, Mrs. Drewry said, "He's right; and he does have debt to pay off..." She got no further, for Meredith, feeling it was her fault that he was being ostracized, rushed out the door after Harry. He was walking slowly towards the trees, his chin on his chest, wondering if now he would have to leave. Just as he reached the treeline, Meredith caught up with him.

"Harry," she gasped, "Harry, please...I'm sorry!"

He had turned toward when he heard her voice and now he stood looking down at her. Being dark, he couldn't see her tears, but he could hear them. He didn't say anything, but his attitude asked, 'are you sure?'

"Please, Harry. Come home." She was somewhat frightened by his silence. He felt her hand slip into his. "Please, Harry?"

He started to amble back towards the barn, Meredith still clinging to his hand.

To be continued...

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    A Gray Kepi

    I saw the opening scene for this story in my head and I knew that I had to finish it. I wrote it over several days. Some of it won't be as intersting or as polished as others.  I even teared up while writing it...but I won't say where.

    The War Between the States and Southern Reconstruction are a period of history that hold a great deal of interest for me. I hope that all my facts are historically accurate. (I rather suspect that as I type it up I shall do some fact checking...)

    Perhaps some day I may be able to turn this into a screenplay...but for right now, I will just post it in sections, or 'parts'. Some will be longer and some will be shorter. And so, without any further ado, here is "A Gray Kepi"