To read part one of this story, click here!
To read part two of this story, click here!
|General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army|
I awake later with a start, trying to find my bearings. I am lying on a bed that feels like it has been stuffed with rocks, and as I glance around, I recognize the stagnant smell of the camp hospital tent. Jim is in the bed next to mine, lying fast asleep and quite frankly looking no worse for the wear.
I shift slightly in an effort to sit up, but immediately regret it when pain starts to shoot through my arm like a knife. I glance over, recalling the bullet wound I sustained in the forest. Someone has removed my uniform dressed me in what I suppose is a male nightshirt with how baggy it is. There is a hint of a bandage peeing out from the shirt, and my arm itself has been done up in a hasty sling. My quick evaluation leads me to the conclusion that I probably will fully recover, but that is not the real issue here.
They know I am a women. I will be sent home and forced to re-integrate myself into the normal, boring life of being a women. It may even be worse, I could be sent off to prison, or to a sanitarium, or...
Jim starts to stir sleepily in the bed next to me, and I immediately shove these thoughts to the back of my mind.
"Ohhh," he groans as he wakes. "My body been through better days. I feel like I have been marked over by the entire Yankee army."
"You still look every bit like the charming man I married," I respond with a smirk. Despite the shades of grey that are currently clouding my fate, I still flirt with my husband. Heaven knows I have not been able to casually flirt with him since before the start of this war".
He charms me with one of his dazzling siles that I love. It is perhaps not so shining as I remember, however, due to the pain he must be in right now. He is about to offer a reply when both Generals Robert E. Lee and J.E.B Stuart stride into the hospital tent towards our beds, and my fears about what will become of me come rushing back. My husband's eyes shift from the generals to me and back again, his gaze filled with worry.
"Madam," General Lee was the first to break the ominous silence, removing his hat.
"What is your name?"
"Kathleen Hotchkins. sir," I respond.
"This here is my husband, Jim," I gesture over to the next bed.
"Ah, I see," the General said, nodding his head toward my husband in greeting with a knowing twinkle in his eye. The next thing he had to say to me caught both me and my husband completely off guard.
"Major Harpor, or should I say Mrs. Hotchkins, I hereby promote you to Brigadier General over my entire Calvary "General Stuart here is set to be your second-in-command".
Stuart sends me a loathing, hateful look at this announcement which clearly caught him off guard. I make a mental note to never be alone with him without a gun. i am pretty sure he is the kind of man who would shoot me without a second thought, regardless of the fact I am a women.
On the other side of me, Jim is looking between me and Lee, grinning widely. While this news is welcome, I know there is one thing that presents and issue I just have to ask about.
"With all do respect, sir," I begin slowly. "Won't the men have an issue serving under a women?"
The General sighed and rubbed his temples. This was clearly a problem he foresaw as well.
"Unfortunately, Madam, I am afraid you will have to keep up with your disguise. If this becomes an issue, then..."
"It will not be an issue, sir," I say, cutting him off in the surge of excitement I was feeling without thinking of his rank. This earns me another scowl from Stuart.
"I volunteered to fight this war, and I intend to do anything under my power to see it through until the end".
"Very well then," Lee says as he replaces his hat. "I want you to report to my headquarters for further instructions as soon as you are fit for duty".
We both salute each other, then Lee turns to leave with Stuart, who is eyeing me over his shoulder as he retreats. I then turn to clasp my husband's hand in relief. Sure this war is not over yet and there are set to be long days ahead of us both. For now though, I am content to just sit back, relax, and think of what lies ahead.
There it is finally finished! Sorry for the wait! Please be sure to comment and subscribe and I will do my best to respond. For my next post, what do you guys think of doing a "Write This Piece Challenge"? If you have not heard of them I will post a song, and you guys write a scene based on any inspiration you get from the song. Thanks for reading!