Friday, June 22, 2012

"War Memorial" by Elisabeth Grace Foley (Short Story)

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  At the bottom of an old trinket-box lies a misshapen bit of lead—a bullet from the Civil War, an old family keepsake preserved, but mostly forgotten, by later generations. And behind it lies a story—the story of a young girl’s experiences in the days surrounding the fateful battle of Gettysburg, which force her to examine her own heart and show her the face of war in a way she could not have understood before.


Julia paused, listening, her hand outstretched to the top branches of the rosebushes by the split-rail fence. She gazed across the fields on the other side of the road, over to the gaps in the hills beyond. The sounds of unrest, of ponderous movement, of forces gathering were in the air. They were the sounds of a storm building and about to break, but they did not come from the soft lowering gray clouds that lined the sky above.

Julia slowly resumed her work, picking out the dead leaves and breaking off the withered heads of dead blooms, but she continued to cast glances toward the horizon at intervals, her eyes moving back and forth across the familiar spread of Pennsylvania farmland. She looked at last over the roses and saw nothing more to do, and she turned slowly and walked back across the farmyard toward the house, which stood silent and empty waiting for her.

There was little or no breeze. All near at hand was quiet—the very air seemed holding its breath; the slight whisper of the leaves was part and parcel of the stillness. None who waited that day in listening suspense yet knew the history of which they stood upon the brink; but they felt the import of whatever was moving toward them. A people who had lain securely north of the real conflict were about to enter for the first time into an experience they had perhaps never fully comprehended—about to encounter for the first time that hitherto faceless being known as ‘the enemy.’

Buy this story on Amazon.

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